Full Tummy Tuck with M.R. From U.K. going to Belgium.

Well, finally got this started. So fed up with my...

Well, finally got this started. So fed up with my flabby belly, stretch marks and lack of muscle strength that no amount of working out will ever resolve. I am 5ft 3 and now weigh 123lbs, after losing 18lbs in 4 months by eating healthier food, no sugar & doing squats, lunges and walking. Dropped a dress size! I had read it was a good idea to get to your optimum weight (also sustainable) for a better result from the op.
The cause of my diastasis; 1 x 10lb baby, followed by 2 8lbs. Carried all in my front lower area. No-one warned me about preventative measures, i.e. compression garments and care when getting up etc, back in the 90's.
I went to see my surgeon on 21 September, in London.
Good news; I can have my operation. Overjoyed, that I do not need the liposuction..so the healthy eating & exercise plan saves me a few £££ & possibly extra pain.
I was surprised, I thought the floppy belly was partly fat, but, my diastasis is quite bad..hence the need for muscle repair.
My surgeon even got my hubby to measure the separation, so he knows why I need this op. It was quite funny having what seemed like permanent pen markings on my abdomen..which took a while to scrub off!
I will have a scar from hip to hip, vertical scar and new belly button.
All these years of backaches and ocassionally irritated bowels could be due to the slack abs. I don't plan on getting a hernia, but, it is likely without the MR.
I am having my surgery in Belgium, as it is half the cost of the U.K. Got a quote of £9500
I stay in a private/NHS Belgium hospital with full staffing for 1 night, then transfer to a hotel for 6 more (I did not relish the idea of travelling back to the U.K. with drains in, or too soon when I can hardly walk, at Christmas).
I have read other ladies experiences on here and would like to thank you for allowing us to read your journeys, great information.
I am now sticking to my healthier lifestyle (although enjoying it) I am totally focused on being as prepped as I can be for my operation and hoping it will aid my recovery.
As time draws ever nearer, I have a few moments of anxiousness; scaredy cat phases. The usual 'What if?' questions. Will I make it? Will my recovery be smooth? Will I look at my new flatter belly in disbelief that it belongs to me? Will I be pleased with the result? Have I got all the equipment; binders,Spanx, vitamins, poop softeners I need?
I hope I stay focused, I have wanted this for so long. I am counting down the days now, praying I don't get a silly cold and have it postponed.
Good wishes to all those ladies who have been through it, or are about to.


Consultancy day

This is roughly where my incisions will be. These were done at my consultancy in September.
A low hip to hip incision, vertical incision for much needed muscle repair and a new belly button. Cannot wait to say good by to that wrinkly skin.
I have informed my boss I will be taking 6 weeks off work (I have a physical job and I am not rushing back to it for fear of overdoing it and tearing my stitches).
My meeting was very informative, my surgeon honest. He does not push you into anything just to obtain extra fees. Tells you what to realistically expect, what will happen if a review is needed (i.e. dog ears).
I am so glad I found him for my operation.

ugh..ab crunchies..

Okay, so I have been exercising everyday since June. I try ab crunchies, I can do them, but, they only work on the upper abs. It is my lower abs that hang creating the lower abdominal bulge. The lower ab exercise is called reverse crunchie. My problem? My lower abs are so separated the exercise feels useless! My back also aches from this. Pft.
To help with my surgery and recovery, it is recommended that I do 25 of each everyday :-(
I also jog for 1 mile, walk for 6. I find planks most useful, they have strengthened my core.I alternate days for weights and lunges/squats.
I watch what I eat. The thought of bad fat, added sugar and salt passing my lips gives me the willies! Totally focused on this op being a success and doing everything I can to maximise the chance of a good result. I have waited 17 years for this moment. Time is getting closer, but, I am just cannot wait to join the flat side.
I do not even mind that my op is 22nd December and I will be in a recovery state on Christmas day..a good present!!
I have ordered my walker & compression garments. I am stocking up on Tramadol, paracetamol, stool softeners, protein shakes, arnica and bromelain.
I am ready...

8 weeks and 3 days to go.

Eating clean, exercising daily. Lost a bit more inner flab, so much so, that my wobbly bits appear in my lower abdomen only now. Cannot wait to get rid of the loose skin and have tight muscles.
My operation has inspired my into fitness!
Got my compression garment, walker and comfy jog pants organised.
Best get the Christmas items organised, as I will be mostly out of it at Christmas.
I am staying in a hotel, after 1 night in the hospital, through Christmas week.
It will be the best Christmas present ever to wake up on the flat side.

Exercise is becoming addictive

In my quest to be in the best health for my surgery, I have been eating well and after 5 months of exercise, I am now 114lbs. I can now do 30 abdominal crunchies and not get a backache. I am now performing them correctly. I can also hold a plank for 1 minute without shaking. I run for at least 1 mile everyday, I still do brisk walking. I eat more than I used to, but, I eat healthily.
I am just hoping for no colds etc before the big day, I couldn't stand my op being postponed..and preferably no illnesses immediately afterwards.
Still nervous about dealing with the drains. Paranoid about mother nature turning up at the worst time.
Wondering, just how much of a shave I need prior to surgery?! I keep it neat..but..not sure how trimmed it should be?!
I have a hat (or 2)for smuggling/hiding my flyaway hair into the hospital, as I cannot use hairspray (help!) pre op. The bad hair day afterwards is acceptable.
Not worried about the no make up rule as I don't wear much usually.
Cannot figure out if my comfy trousers will be too tight or loose..so I will be packing a few sizes.
I will transport several pillows on the Eurostar from London to Brussels via vacuumed storage bags, no problem..but a thought..How to bring them back from the hotel..without a vacuum cleaner to suck out the air?!
Eurostar train seemed a better option than flying in Winter. Less likely to be stuck due to snow at the train station. I also refer back to the drains. I am staying over in Belgium for 6 nights and hope they are removed, but, I did not fancy flying with them in...or getting frisked at security upon my return.
8 weeks to go...

Phone app helping in fitness targets!

3 weeks to go

Been a bit slack with my exercise routine over the last 2 weeks due to a back ache & sprained ankle. Managed to do an aerobics and spin class & get some power walking done. Now I exercise I cannot go too long without doing some. I had a few glasses of wine on holiday, so gained 2lbs..so I needed to burn that off.
I have managed to tone up my upper abs by doing crunchies, but, the lower portion is a waste if time..hence the muscle repair is needed.
I need smaller clothes after the 5 months of eating better and working out, but, due to impending swell hell, I am keeping hold of my slightly loose jog pants. Seeing my shape improve has motivated me to continue with my healthier lifestyle. I am not paying all that hard earned money to ruin it afterwards. If I see tempting food or I need a kick to get active..I focus on my bikini!
I am excited about my wrinkly skin being taken away, as I can picture the results. I swear I might be in shock and disbelief that the flat belly belongs to me.
My husband has been very supportive. He loves me, regardless of the chicken skin look..but understands how it saps my self esteem and causes other issues.
It will be great to have my intestines intact with a stronger ab wall. My posture will hopefully improve too...less back aches.
It will be amazing to wear a fitted dress, without a sagging belly.
I still feel a bit guilty for being away over Christmas. I will miss that special day with my family..but we will savour New Year.
My main concern is the drain I might be still wearing whilst travelling back. Not sure how they will be concealed on my train journey home. Fear of it/them catching. I need to learn how to clean them too.
I am in hospital on 22nd Dec,overnight stay on 1st night seemed sensible as there will be qualified nurses to look after me, then a nearby hotel for the next 5 nights,before my return home, via London, then coach to home...this will be tiring. I hope the drains will be gone by day 6, but, probably not knowing my luck.
I have a hat to cover my hair seeing as no styling products can be used prior to surgery..fine flyaway stuff that refuses to do anything cool without copious amounts of mousse and spray! Not so bothered about the no make up rule.
Taking a smoothie maker with me to provide easy to digest food in my hotel room, as I am not sure if I can manage to eat in the restaurant post op. I don't want the horror of constipation.

No Christmas dinner for me this year! My grown up kids looked a bit shocked at the prospect that they would be cooking their own Christmas dinner! My daughter has ordered it from good old Marks & Spencer! I hope they keep the house tidy.

I am looking forward to hibernating in January, away from work. Taking 6 weeks out, not prepared to risk anything. My job is physical and I would be on my feet for 7 hours straight per day...which is how I help myself keep fit. Slightly concerned that I have to refrain from my usual exercise sessions for a few weeks. Having a few weird dreams that I will end up undoing my efforts and looking like a weeble with all that resting, having wasted my time having the op in the first place. Stupid paranoia, I guess. I have read other reviews and am taking the advice not to overdo it seriously.

Last few items to buy; pillows..I don't have room for a reclining bed, although I have a reclining chair.
I wish it was 22 Dec already.

current view of belly

Fed up with conflicting advice.

Yet another back ache. I get them several times a year. I have diastasis recti..about 4 fingers wide...from 3 fairly big babies and me being petite. I think this is a cause of my back aches. I can see a lumpy area float up through my abdominal wall when I take a bath, so my ab wall must be pretty thin. This is more obvious now I have lost weight.
I was told by my local doctor to do crunches to fix my muscles..pft!! It has not worked. ..no surprise. I have tried. I can do them. I wish they did work..it would save me £4 k. He disagrees with what he perceives as plastic surgery. He expects to see me afterwards for treatment for problems...I suppose I should be grateful..some U.K. docs are not interested if you go abroad for treatment. He listed the negatives of this surgery only..no positives. He has not ever examined my abdomen.
Luckily, I have a wonderful plastic surgeon who will sort me out. It will be worth the fee.
I have read that crunches and certain yoga/pilates moves can actually cause further discomfort if you have diastasis. Elsewhere, yoga etc are encouraged. I was advised by my surgeon to do some crunches to keep my muscles flexible, as he said they are easier to operate on and give a better result post surgery. I can do crunches and my upper abs are not too bad (I carried my babies low down) I think the supposedly gentle pilates class did me no favours.
This is not the worst back ache I have had; I have not needed diazipam this time, but, it interferes with my work. I have taken a few cocodamol/ibuprofen tablets to get me through the pain. The extra vitamin tablets with iron have given me constipation on top of this (despite a healthy/adequate fibre diet)..not helpful with a backache..so now I have taken anti constipation tablets too. I have to stop the painkillers by Sunday. I have binned the vitamin tablets too..I get enough from my daily food.
My surgery is 17 days away..I cannot wait to be stitched up. I am hoping that I will have a flatter belly, working & supporting muscles and NO back ache from normal living. I used to be bothered about my stretch marks..but now I just don't care about them so much. They have faded a bit after 17 years..but in the scheme of things, not having diastasis and loose skin will be the best result for me.
Had a great week really..my car broke down.
Oh well...things can only get better...and it is good to know other folks are doing well after their surgeries.

Things to do:
1) Elective surgery insurance (cannot be bought too early)
2) Pillows (I don't have a reclining bed)
3) Bikini wax
4) Scar lotion / strips

Best wishes to everyone

Colds colds colds everywhere!!

With 2 weeks to go, getting a cold is my biggest anxiety.
Everyone with a cold needs to stay away from me. I do not want my surgery postponed.
I think I will eat garlic, onions and chillies in the hope they will fend off the germs.
I have waited so long for this, I hope nothing trips me at the last hurdle.

Yucky pic: 20lbs weight loss.

Warning! My excess skin just hangs down when I am bent forwards. It looks like a cat that has been bathed...horrible.
Nothing but a full TT will resolve this mess.

Gross pics warning!!

My loose skin (24lbs weight loss) just hangs like a cat that's had a bath.
Gravity takes it toll!
Cannot wait for the ugly stretched skin to be assigned to the bin.
And...to have muscles that support me..Heaven.

Not long now...

Well, what a week.
Things have not been going well.
I have had awful backache and IBS issues, therefore I have still not been working out much. Everyone around me has the Winter sick bug or a cold.
I have had to stay off work the last 2 days, so no money coming in. My daughter now has the sick bug. My youngest boy had the cold. I have tried to keep away from them. Now, my poor husband is in hospital. He is hooked up to an IV pumping antibiotics into him. He has M.S. He is on beta interferon medication for this (it has kept him alive and reasonably well over the last 9 years) Unfortunately, he has had 2 injection site problems recently. A nasty infection in his leg, which leads to cellulitus/necrosis. He is in the right place; hospital. It needed urgent medical treatment, else his organs would have been attacked.This happened yesterday. He is my main carer when I go to Belgium. I cannot visit him as the hospital is closed to visitors due to these sick bugs striking so many people. Poor fella has been through so much. I hope they release him tomorrow.
We are supposed to be travelling to London on Saturday to get the Eurostar train on Sunday. I have a slight sniffle..I am eating well, in the hope that I do not get a dreaded cold at this stage. If it turns into a cold, my operation will not go ahead.
I have absolutely no anxiety about my impending operation, my mind is elsewhere. I have been paranoid about colds more than anything else.

I don't think there is much else that can go wrong now.

I hope a miracle happens and my op goes ahead.

If not, we will be having Christmas in Belgium. It would just be a shame I am away from my family for nothing over Christmas if it doesn't go ahead.

I try to remain positive. Either way, after a bit of a downer, I am determined to give it my best shot. I have got my "get it into perspective mode/pull yourself together mode" switched on now!

I have never been in fear of catching a cold before!

No matter what, having my husband home will be the best Christmas present.

I am blessed, I have a lovely family and good friends.

Best wishes to everyone on here.

Merry Christmas, a fab New Year!

well....not the most relaxing few days

Hubby was kept in hospital again..and they were not keen on him leaving today. However, he is recovering now, so he has medication to last over this trip.
I think he will be resting as much as I will be!
I am feeling better. I have drunk copious amounts of green tea with ginger, orange & lemon. Mint tea. Water. Fruit juice. Fruit. Spicy carrot and lentil soup. Garlic chicken stew. Dark choc with chilli. I refused to stay down. I went out for a power walk. I did my squats/lunges and crunches. My back is rested.
Thankfully, by the skin of my teeth, we are GOING!!!!!
We leave for a very busy London tomorrow. We will be resting in our hotel before taking the packed Eurostar to Brussels, then hire car to Sint Niklaas. My surgeon will visit me at my hotel on Sunday evening. My bloods will be done Monday at 7am. My operation is at 10am. I should be in recovery by 2pm.

I wish everyone success for their upcoming operations and recoveries.

Thanks for all the advice and support from many wonderful RSers.

Merry Christmas folks!
Happy, peaceful (flatter tummy) New Year x


Got to the hospital...op now re scheduled at 1pm. I want to get on with it!!

Well..what a journey!

I had my op yesterday. All went well. My muscles were severely separated, amazingly I did not have a belly button hernia..I will find out more about it tomorrow when my surgeon visits me at my hotel.
Last night was no picnic. I had antibiotics via IV, as well as food and painkillers via IV. (I was put on antibiotics as a precaution because I have a slight heart valve condition)
My problem was the sudden nausea. Jeez..wretching after this operation is Hell. Fortunately, upon the 2nd time of sudden nausea, a nurse put something in my IV to stop it..RELIEF!!
I feared for my stitches. It has made me paranoid that I will tear them whenever I move.
My blood pressure dropped quite low a few times, but, the nurses checked me regularly and dealt with it. I am glad I stayed in hospital, I would not want to be in a hotel the 1st night.
Used a bedpan for weeing. Thought my bladder was filling up..but not totally sure as was a bit numb. Took 5 minutes to do a wee! Never used a bed pan before though. Can now use the normal loo fine (quite high toilets in Belgium!!)

I was starving all night. I stopped eating at 11pm Sunday, but my op was postponed til 2pm Monday. I was Nil by mouth after the op, until 9am Tuesday morning. I would have eaten anything by then!!
I did have a drain in. I did not have much liquid drain from me, so I had that removed this morning. Ouch! 25cm pulled through my lower abdomen. Glad it is out though.
Any movement is very challenging. The journey from hospital (wheelchaired to car as slightly faint) was not fab..you notice every single bump in the road that normally would not bother you. Then I had to get to my hotel room..Gawd knows what the receptionist must have thought!! Wore my hat as my hair was wild, pigeon steps..no sparrow steps! Slightly hunched..but not too bad.
Difficult to get up from my bed, partly cos' I am so worried about bursting my stitches. My hubby (poor guy..still unwell himself) has been helping me through all this.
My compression garment is comfy. I keep that on for 2 weeks, then 2 weeks daytime only.
I did have a little weep..out of frustration from the little moving I can do...but heck..crying is no good!! It hurts, just as laughing does.
I don't feel breathless..if I need a bit more air in my lungs (when yawning) I simply hunch up and pull my knees up whilst lying..and it gives my lungs room.
Onwards and upwards. I think my worse days are done (hopefully). I will no doubt get swell hell..but hopefully it will be manageable.
I took all my new pjs with me..but..in hospital..I just wore the gown they provided. No knickers..as would be too difficult using bed pan! A night dress is easier at first. Very loose jog pants to leave hospital..as anything else just irritates the wounds.
No way could I have gone through this without my hubby.
Will post some pics..but atm I look like a mummy wrapped in bandages!!
My belly looks flatter..lol! I was told by my surgeon to eat...I must not lose any more weight! I had not lost any in the last few weeks due to my back..cannot feel that now!!
Happy Christmas to all of you ladies.
I will probably think this has been very worth it, once I get my independence back!
Love to all.
Take care.

Little by little

Had a good nights sleep of 4/5 hours a time. I woke up to take pain meds and visit loo.
Throat a bit dry still, I presume from pipe placed in during op.
Still tender on right side where drain was removed. This is the only problem that hinders me getting up and down.
I am taking my own ibuprofen and paracetamol every 5 hours. The hospital paracetamol was not quite enough.
My incisions pains are manageable on my tablets..just that drain area gives me jip when moving.
Eating & drinking small amounts regularly is important. Provides energy to heal and doesn't bloat me.
I have no problems with my bowels. I took Dulcoease 2 days prior to surgery.
Weirdly, I enjoy sitting on this high toilet in my Belgian hotel! It is comfortable..just the right height and support!
No way would I be able to eat in the hotel restaurant atm. Luckily, the food is good and reasonably priced for room service. I would not travel home after 2 days either. I could not face another car journey right now. I cannot walk far either, so getting to the train would be impossible without a wheelchair.
The only item I wish I had in the hotel, something I could pull myself up with. My hubby currently pulls me up, but, I hope he doesn't hurt his back doing so. I definitely needed him with me.
He is currently out at a supermarket getting supplies for tomorrow. He does well, considering he cannot read Dutch! Now that is one language I have never studied. I thought it might be French (which I can read/speak a little) or German here..but nope! Dutch. Thankfully, many local shops can speak some English.
I am looking forward to my smoked salmon and some dark chocolate, upon his return.
I look forward to my postponed Christmas next week, back home.
Wishing everyone well.

pre op pics

The 3rd day

Woke up early on Christmas day..for pain relief!
I had a drain inserted from my left side to my right. It did not protrude from my right side, but when it was removed I was left with tenderness on that side. It is really bothering me. It feels like an internal hole. It is annoying me, as it is awkward and very uncomfortable when I try to move. This is the problem that is dragging me down. I need to be moving about to help blood flow, but, it is so uncomfortable to get up or back in bed because of that drain site.
Today, I felt the burning sensation along all of my incisions. I think this was because I slept 5-6 hours and was due my pain relief.
I presume the stinging is a good sign, that my body is trying to fix itself.
I will keep taking the meds to control those sensations.
I don't feel too numb around my abdomen. Only thing I noticed that was a bit numb was my bladder. Whenever I feel a fullness under my cg I go to the toilet.
Whatever I eat seems to make me a little gassy!
I have also swollen, I can feel the pressure on the cg now. I had to release it by 1cm yesterday, so I could eat a small dinner. I closed it back after I had digested my food. I need to eat to keep this recovery on track.
I did not see my p.s. yesterday. I have not received much communication since I left hospital. I presume I will have a post op check by Saturday. I presume my dressings will need changing again by then, although it all looks clean; I have not had any seepage.
Now my pain meds have kicked in, I feel more comfortable again. I will take another nap.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Comedy t.v.

My hubby put The Vicar Of Dibley t.v. programme on. This particular episode was the Christmas nativity.
Well...it literally was side splitting!! I tried so hard not to laugh, I had to shut my eyes and put my fingers in my ears.
I have banned such comedy for the next 2 weeks!!

Drink, eat, wee, tablets, fart, sleep repeat!

The crappiest days are hopefully behind me.
I will no longer be paranoid about blood clots forming everywhere, ripping my stitches..that came close that 1st night. I have survived nausea, a sneeze and a fit of laughter..by the skin of my teeth.
I drink lots of tea to avoid a dry throat.
I accept that I walk like a cross between a pigeon and the Hunchback of Notre Dam...so what? I am up and moving! I was never going to do a John Travolta style move from Saturday Night Fever.
I don't care about hanging in my nightshirt and knickers, I am not up for any fashion awards.
I do fart from time to time. I am not holding anything in that will make my cg grip me harder and make me breathless.
I do puff after walking around my hotel room twice..it's takes the breath out of me, as if I smoked 40 fags a day.I have to stoop, bend my knees to get some air back in my lungs without bursting. I look like an OAP!
I feel a bit weak in my arms and legs, despite all the exercise I did beforehand, so I have learned to shuffle and drag myself in and out of bed. I now use any wall available to me for assistance/support!!
I did ask myself Why? Then on Christmas day morning, my doc called. He informed me that my muscles were 6cm separated...that's some justification!
I realise I am quite strong willed..and I am glad. This is a tough journey. You need time to recover and any help you can get.
I respect anyone who has or is going through this.
I am getting improvements every day now. I can sit up, get in & out of bed. I even washed my hair today. I also made my own coffee, tea and lunch. I can pick things up with my foot..which I frequently drop (murphy's law).
I manage 5 hours on my paracetamol/ibuprofen tablets at a time. It is foolish of me to extend this atm.
I can feel that the blasted drain wound is finally on the mend.
I get to see my tummy tomorrow, for the first time. I must not be emotional..joyfulness is not allowed...but I might allow myself a smirk!

In a few days I have a journey to make to get home to the U.K. I have to prepare myself for that trip. A car ride, train ride, coach ride. How people can do that after 3 days remains a mystery to me!
I hope to take my first walk outside tomorrow...it will probably rain, thunder, or snow!!! If I could just make it to that steak restaurant.......oh like a mirage in a desert...lol (not, cos it would kill me)

I am now on the drink part of my daily routine..ho ho ho!

I am getting more cheerful by the day!

I am a silly, sarcastic person..I apologise to all!

Best wishes to everyone. Chin up. Carry on.x


It is night time. How does my body know that? I have tried to trick it by lying in bed..eating at different times..opening curtains..putting lights on...but nope!
Tonight..whoopee.. I have started the swelling phase. I had a peek..then wished I had not. Nope, not because of the swelling, although a bit uncomfortable (again think of a python swallowing a gazelle.. I ate a chicken korma..really I did..that was all!) However, that smooth skin impresses me more, so distracts my mind away from the beer belly! No..it is the common complaint on here..the good old compression garment!
Love - hate relationship sums it up perfectly. You must,must,must wear it for support (otherwise it feels like you will spill out, like a scene from Aliens)
But..oh..so tight tonight. I feel like the wolf full of stones from Red Riding Hood.There was hardly room to fit my dinner in. I like to eat some food..I am not a sparrow. Besides, my body needs the energy to seal up these incisions and repair those muscles.
Then..damn and blast..I did not realise I needed a degree, or to be the World's strong arm champion to do it back up!
Then the blooming velcro was super efficient, so it was difficult to re adjust it each time I did it up..crooked, too loose, too tight..never just right (how the nurse put it on me initially) Of course, I got angry, like the Hulk. Swearing ensued, worrying my hubby somewhat! I was in the bathroom at the time, been for a wee and had just dropped the loo roll across the floor!! Never done that before..like I said Murphy's Law (I prefer sod's law)
Curses!! I cannot pick it up from the floor (I have recently become a champion of using my foot to pick up small items that I drop on the floor)
The instruction"Do not bend" was ringing in my ears, from my surgeon, preventing me reaching for the 2nd roll..just 1 foot behind me!!
Anyway..a few choice words were spoken to my cg. (Yes, I speak/shout/swear at inanimate objects that misbehave) Eventually, after probably 10 minutes of this chaos, which felt like an hour, I got it back on in the right position..i.e. where it did not irritate my boobs or my nether region or my incisions or my swellings! I like symmetry..I am a bit anal about it..I hate that this cg does not do symmetrical alignment!! Lol (not)
Anyway..it is now Boxing Day..another day closer to normality.
I am half expecting my surgeon to make a comment about the cg being wrongly positioned when he visits today!
I hope he brings me more drugs..I have nearly used mine up and doubt the chemist will be open today!
Hopefully, I will have been for a poop too! Amazing what you wish for post op!!
Knowing my luck, having swallowed several Dulcoease over the last 2 days, I will get my wish..but as diarrhoea.
Oh..and I got my period too..lucky old me!!!
Now remember..no laughing.
Happy Boxing Day folks!!!
Keep smiling, tis' the one talent I have!

Get me..going outside!!

Okay..think I might resemble Mrs Overall , with my current walking position.( Mrs Overall from Acorn Antiques sketch played by Julie Walters in the Victoria Wood comedy show from 1990's)
She played a frail, stooping tea maid/servant!!
It is sunny and quite chilly out..I hope to make it to the town square..100mtrs away.
Wish me luck!!

I have the Egyptian Mummy look.

Having a modification in the morning. I have had a small after bleed which has caused the swelling. When it gets fixed and I can reveal, I will post a decent photo.
Take care all.

I have been rebuilt!!

Well..my doc phoned whilst I was on the loo having a fight with my knickers and tampons, and my phone was on charge! Hubby answered it..stating it was my doc..as if that would get me to the phone!! Doc wanted to treat me this evening, not wait until morning. I was just about to eat..and drink a delightful espresso....pft!!
Anyway..it is as if you have relatives coming to visit..panic..quick..get dressed get those damn fresh knickers on..again..do hair..brush teeth..and get downstairs in the hotel foyer within 30 minutes.
My doc, on time (still apologised for keeping us waiting) collected us and drove us the 20 minutes to his private clinic (he said the hospital A&E would be slow at passing sterile utensils, so the clinic was better)
I had a local anaesthetic. Part of my belly was numb anyway. On a scale of 1 to 10 the needle pain was a 5...but reduced quickly.
Now..picture this. In the operating room. I am lying on the bed. Hubby is in the room, thankfully sat on a chair..I worried that he would turn green and faint. (He nearly did in the labour room many years ago..and he got a cuppa..not me..even after some 40 hours of hard labour, pft!!)
Anyway..my doc and hubby had a good banter about physics (hubby doing a degree in it) & politics etc whilst I was being un-stitched!! I joined in a bit of chat too..but not with the physics as I am no scientist! I joked about my old belly button being completely rubbish and that my new one was a big improvement. I had to tell hubby to stop making me laugh at some points, as I needed to be still on the bed. His face when doc asked him if he wanted to see my innards and stitches!!!! Hubby said, 'No thanks, I will stick to riveting aircraft'! I told them to stop being mean..I cannot laugh for another week. It is bad enough he made me watch another comedy show (My Family Christmas Special) earlier!
After being opened up, which felt odd whilst awake, but pain free on the whole, doc had a good root around to see what was going on. Well..it is not everyday you have an op..well this is my firstt..or should I say second?.. in 43 years! All within a week.
I add, I did not enjoy my skin being pulled up, so was not laughing at this point...a step too far for even my humour.My skin felt like the leather of a cow! A cow hide being moved about! I had visions of Hannibal Lecture, from The Silence of the Lambs film..that freak peeling his victims skin! Lol.
At one point, I heard the mention of another drain might be needed, if I had more fluid there..imagine my horror!! Not the dreaded hosepipe!! NO!! Thank goodness I escaped it. Turns out, I had a small bleed and a little clot..nothing major to fuss about..but good to get out, so as to not cause trouble later on..i.e. on my trip home..that would not be fun on the Eurostar. I did not bleed much at the finnish of surgery, which is why he thought it odd that I would have a problem...SOD'S LAW STRIKES AGAIN!!
Anyway..although this bit was weird and uncomfortable, they still carried on with their chat!! I had my eyes closed and focused on my calm place. I
didn't fancy stiffening up when being re stitched..else my stitches might end up being overly tight! That was what I was thinking anyway..probably no one else!
I have dissolvable stitches..so in 6 weeks they will be gone. I have a stitch that I will have cut off in a weeks time. I will have a stiff drink before hubby snips it.
I watched him sew me back up..very tidy job, I might say.

I felt instantly better once I was deflated again. Pressure off. A new compression garment (I drew on the last one, so I knew where to refix it to, after changing dressings..I didn't fancy a repeat if that nonsense in the bathroom yesterday, as well as the knicker fiasco today..not forgetting the loo roll incident)
Doc drove us both back to the hotel, after more chat in his car. It was relaxing. I cannot believe I just had more surgery!
It was more like a social evening!
Poor fella..with me making him work overtime. He even treated my hubby at the pre op meeting for his first leg infection.
He really is a professional doc. He really cares for all of his patients. I definitely chose a brilliant surgeon. I am now at the excited, cannot wait to see this rebuilt belly stage.

I can enjoy my avocado, seafood and coffee (I was really hungry after missing my dinner!) in the knowledge that I do not have to get 6am tomorrow..argh..a lie in!
At least sleep is one activity (jkg) that I do very well. 6 hours kip per bedtime session. I usually wake up, take a few tablets, swig water, then enjoy another nap!!
Nom nom nom...food time!!

Love to all xx

I am a muppet.

So my belly was nicely sewn back up, I sat in my hotel room and I was ready to devour some healthy food.
What happened? I got a tiny Ryvita crispbread crumb stuck at the back of my throat. My brain informs my body to: cough, cough, cough. My conscience has a new programme: No coughing whatsoever. My override button fought with my natural instinct. I pulled up my knees to lesson the impact on my stitches and held a pillow on my belly.I tried a small 'er herm' type of cough...that blasted crumb refused to be dislodged. In between the small attempts to clear it..I coughed! Ouchie. I remained in the brace position. I drank water. I did 3 coughs in total, fortunately the override button won. My poor hubby was beside himself (again).
However,the fall out was a badly strained neck & migraine.
By this point, I was wincing and tears were in my eyes from the pain in my neck and head rising up to my behind my ears. The gentle glow of the lamps turned into dazzling, blinding, interrogation style bright lights. My temperature was up & down. O was cursing (again)
It is a good job we have no guests next door to us; they might have mistakenly confused the strange noises for me having wild sexy times!
What to do? GET CALM!
Bathrobe thrown over head, hands covering ears, all lamps off.
Pain killer swallowed, 10 minutes wait for that to help.
Get to my calm place; Under the sea.
I went scuba diving. My hands over my ears ;my breathing resembling Darth Vader, as I breathed slowly through my regulator. The beauty and serenity of the marine life, the coolness of the water engulfing me as I swam along.
What do you know? It worked!!
I suppose it is similar to meditation. I have never practised meditation, so I do not know how it is done, but, I think it is similar.
Alas, I couldn't leave my stupidity there.
In the middle of the night, I needed a wee.
After scaring my poor hubby so many times over this last week, I wanted to let him sleep. I didn't want to be a burden at that hour.
So, I attempted to get out of bed by myself (which I can do usually, but, it is trickier with a full bladder from a sleeping position after being re stitched)
I rolled to the side of my bed, I used the wall to help me. Just as I nearly made to the about to put my feet on the floor stage, my foot slipped off the wall!!
Bang, crash!! I fell onto the floor. Luckily, I have stopped trying to save myself, as that just strains the belly more. I also landed like a cat!! Sort of all fours..but instead of feet, it was my knees.
Of course! That woke my hubby up with a shock!! Totally the opposite result of what I was aiming for. Pft!
Anyway, thankfully, no damage done. A few more choice words were sternly spoken to myself about being a complete muppet..and to STOP STOP STOP trying to ruin my recovery !

1) No more dry food for me, I do not want another experience like that. I will stick to wet food, at this point I do not care if that means wet cat food, so long as it doesn't get stuck in my throat.
2) Do not wear socks in bed, when trying to get support for the roll out of bed from the nearby wall. This was my error; my sock slipped!!
3) Ask for help. You cannot do everything yourself; especially at the end of a long day, when an aching/stiff back hinders attempts to manoeuvre to an upright position. (This is why a recliner is ideal..I have one at home)

I think I should have been placed in a medically induced coma, for my own safety...or strapped to a bed in a padded room with a catheter inserted.
I am my own worst enemy.

I hope to have zero further incidents...
Today, we have snow. I was going to take a walk..but with recent events, I might be better off staying in?!!!!

I can still look back and laugh at all this.
If you avoid everything I have done, you will be fine!!

Happy, sensible/safe healing to everyone.

To pee, or not to pee, that was the dilemma.

I had gotten used to my high toilet in my hotel room. Then it became necessary to travel home, using toilets unfamiliar to me and my present situation.
My "need to empty my bladder" trigger has changed.
I do not feel like I am busting, just full, but, this can get confused with bloatedness, or swelling.
The most obvious sign I need the loo, is the slight discomfort from being full, I take that as a hint I need to go. When my bladder is full, I cannot move about as much either.
At the Brussels Midi station yesterday, I needed relief. We had spent longer in the car getting there, due to snow, lack of road signs and the general chaos (massive market) outside the train station, hiding the hire car return entrance.
This station seems to have 1 set of toilets. They are some distance from the entrance; well, for someone like me, walking like the Hunchback. After so many metres, I need to rest, sit down, breathe.
Eventually, I made it to the public (in) conveniences. At 50 cent a visit, I wanted my money's worth! (Had to use a 50c coin, no denominations to add up to 50c)
So, luckily, my hubby had a 50c coin.
Now, here is my ocd moment; I had to sit on the public loo seat! I cannot wee from a squat position to avoid sitting on the seat at present! So, I had to put toilet paper on the seat!! In addition to my woes, it was blooming cold at the station, so I was shivering, even with my coat on..not helpful when needing a wee.
Anyway, I finally sat down...a relief in itself.
Well, my bladder was so full, I had trouble emptying it! Honestly! I think 5 other ladies came & went in the cubicles next to me. I half expected the toilet attendant to knock on my door.
It took me 10 minutes of starting and stopping to empty it fully.
As I said, I wanted to ensure that was my only visit to this set of toilets. I didn't fancy walking all that way again and having to find another 50c coin!
Luckily, once they let us in the Eurostar lounge
1) there was heating -5.c outside
2) there were chairs
3) there were toilets (free) within 100 metres
I was allowed to use the disabled loo too..great! Had all the support rails around it. It then dawned on me, that I must have looked like I was disabled.

Back home to my own loo. I realise the seat is quite low. In hindsight, a toilet seat raiser would have been useful.
I might get one, seeing as I have to sit now.
On a positive note; I still wee neatly! I was worried about the spray direction issue some other ladies have had. I have also been spared the 'peeing like a man' issue.

Onwards and upwards.

An up & down kind of day

Well, after getting back home from Belgium, I had a long sleep of 9 hours.
I felt good in the morning. I managed to get my own breakfast, lunch and tea, wash up, put some clothes away.
Walking is getting straighter, but, I am not ready for a shopping trip (especially after yesterday)
I was feeling good, reading magazines, watching films, feeling pretty good.
Then, this afternoon, I felt my abdomen. I started to get paranoid. I felt it was swelling again. I was worried it might be a repeat of last Friday.
I checked my temperature; 36.5.c it was normal. My heart rate was 65bpm (good for me)
So, why was I getting in a state?
Started the tears, not too much..that would hurt, so wept a little and tried to stop. I am worrying about hematomas! Is my swelling normal? Aargh. Driving myself crazy.
Was it just that late afternoon (around 5pm) swelling I have read everyone goes through? Did I stand too long, or, was yesterday's journey catching up?
Thank goodness for my hubby. (Alas, he has gone back to work, away from home & I miss him)
He reassured me. He was there when the surgeon explained what had gone on, at the 2nd surgery, I just couldn't remember it all. (I do have memory issues from an illness I had last year, in my defence)
Hearing this explanation calmed me down. I even managed to tighten my cg a bit later this evening. I thought that would never happen..but it feels okay! I am not afraid to move it anymore! I can adjust it myself, I have enough strength and nerve. I need to stop being a chicken. I am such a wimp about this, I am dreading changing my dressings too! I can scuba dive and paraglide..but this?!! I think & hope that this issue was caused by the swelling worry of last week; I did not want to see my belly like that again.
It seems, it is my skin that is swelling (mostly late afternoon/evenings)
This swelling happened last week too, as I said, but, it was harder..which is where my paranoia originates.
My surgeon took me in as a precaution; I did have a small hematoma, but, it was removed and my surgeon checked for any other issues. Sometimes they clear up by themselves. As my skin was restitched, I guess I went back in my recovery a few days?
The colour of my skin looks fine. It is firm, but, not rock solid like last week, so I should not have panicked.
This is partly why I have no new photos.
I did not think there was any point in taking a snap in the late afternoon..when swollen. However, I am changing my mind about that.
I hope to take some in the morning, then a few in the afternoon to see how much of a difference there is.
I am still more than happy that my skin is smooth and I have a neat belly button.
I can take fewer pain killers now, which is less troublesome for my gut.
My incision is a bit tingly at times (usually when cg presses on it after I have changed position), but, it was stitched twice, so to be expected.
I have to remove a stitch next week, from the 2nd surgery...think I will get hubby to do that!
I couldn't have done this without his support. He is my hero.

Take care of yourselves, take it easy, accept support. Have a good day healing.

A different day, much better.

Stayed in bed late & enjoyed being a lazy lounge lizard!
My lovely daughter, her boyfriend & my youngest son all took me shopping!
I was in desperate need of healthy fresh food, as my cupboard/fridge was low on supplies.
I would rather eat nothing than order take away laden with salt, I just see ready meals as poisoning my body! I cannot order food for delivery as slots are full for NYE. I didn't get a chance to stock up upon my return, hubby had to go straight back to work. With all that went on beforehand..I was not so well prepared.
My daughter used the disabled user shopping trolley with seat, it was brilliant. I could sit down, whilst she pushed me round and the boys put the fresh fruit, veggies, seafood in my trolley. She did well, she has never used this trolley type before, she had to negotiate the crowds too..she did not mow anyone down! The boys packed it up and put it away back home for me!
I can walk round my house, but after 15 minutes on the go, I get a little worn out and need a rest. Walking would have meant taking 2 hours to get round a big supermarket, amongst crowds, taking a regular rest, struggling. No thanks!
I think I will manage shopping next week.
I would have taken my walking frame, but, my daughter's car is small..no room with the chaps in the back and the shopping bags in addition.
My daughter just makes me laugh with her antics! I was thoroughly cheered up by the little trip. It has really lifted my spirits. A little socialising is a good thing.

Now, I have enjoyed my avocado, prawn, tomatoes and wholegrain toast with a glass of pure orange juice, I feel great..if a little fatter...although I think that is just gas from the tablets! Ibuprofen and IBS do not mix well !
I know that I am a little swollen in the evenings, that this particular swelling is the normal sort, so, tonight, I am calm. Paranoia is banished to a little drawer, tucked away somewhere in my mind, in the file called junk.

I am getting stronger. I am getting more mobility. It is getting easier to get in and out of my bed, from a chair, wash my hair etc.

My stitches are a little tender at times, but, not painful. I am cutting down on the paracetamol/ibuprofen needed.

I am feeling positive again.

You know when you are truly on the mend; You start browsing all those lovely new Spring/Summer clothes on line that you can soon wear!!!

Thanks for helping me pick my sorry arse off the floor!

Infinite JOLLY days ahead, for all!

Happy, healthy, New Year!

Getting better and better; starting to feel human again with each new day.
It is great to be less reliant on pain killers. I am down to 1 paracetamol every 4-5 hours and no ibuprofen.
Mobility is improving. I am not straight just yet, but, I am making progress.
I am continuing to eat well, which has helped me feel better these last 2 days. Hotel food was ok, but, contained salt and probably sugar, which needs to be avoided. I usually eat natural, mostly raw foods, I am glad to be enjoying clean food again. I might have gained a couple of pounds, due to lack of exercise and a little bit of Christmas chocolate, but, now would not be the time to diet. My body is fuelled with 1450 calories per day to aid recovery and is now starting to thrive. It is amazing the difference a few days has made to me. I look forward to starting my gentle exercises in a few weeks.
I have no intention of overdoing things and jeopardising my progress.

I might have a very small honey rum shot to toast the New Year in, to celebrate making it to this point.

Tomorrow, I am going out to the seaside, for fresh air, if the current sunny, cold, crisp Winter days continue.

Tonight, my kids are all out celebrating. I get my hubby back this evening too, if only for 1 day. I hope he sees an improvement in me!

I wish everyone a safe, smooth healing and wonderful New Year. I thank all for their blogs, their advice and support; I am grateful to all.

Dressings changed, Iodine everywhere!

Had my dressings changed this morning.
You can see that I am swollen in my mid low abdomen region. To be expected at this stage. I do not expect to have a washboard tummy, well..not yet! I will work on that in the Spring. I managed to get a better shape before my op, so without the saggy, wrinkly skin, I believe I can get a decent result afterwards.
The splats are from the iodine! Iodine is used for being a sterile method to peel the tape from my skin (which was really stuck down) without pulling it and causing unnecessary pain, less chance of infections. I cannot get this in the U.K. My surgeon prescribed it fir me in Belgium.
My scars are healing well. My incision line is superbly symmetrical and neat. I think my surgeon is as keen on symmetry as me! Nothing wrong with a bit of correctly positioned obsessiveness..or Feung Shui (as some might call it!)
Sorry, I know these are not impressive photos. I was still lying down when taking these rubbish selfies..I also took them at an angle to avoid a shadow over my belly..but I look a bit more swollen than I actually am as a result.
I was going to do a standing pose, but I have to do these on my landing , as my bedroom is a mess from where a radiator fitting my hubby worked on exploded a week before the op throwing black water everywhere..and I had to shove my clothes into the new half built wardrobes! Anyway, I couldn't use the landing this morning, else I would have frightened my sons who had just returned from their NYE celebrations! Lol!

I now have the joy of opening my Christmas presents. I did not fancy my chances of taking them on the taxi, coach, Eurostar transport to Belgium..knowing my hubby would be the one to carry everything back.
So, New Year's Day is our belated Christmas day too. (Kids had their gifts last week..this is for my hubby and myself) I feel well enough to enjoy it today, so I am glad I waited. My daughter, son in law to be and my hubby are cooking a feast (hence the supermarket shopping trip earlier to get supplies) No doubt, my sons will make an appearance when the aromas reach their bedrooms!
She insists on playing the "Final Countdown", by Europe (a silly tradition my hubby started some years back)..to which I will not be dancing, or singing, along to this year!
Whatever they are cooking is smelling good!
I will be sticking to my healthy seafood though..but might have a small home made stuffing ball. No to roast parsnips, they give me gas (IBS) I do not need that kind of aggro right now..and it would be dangerous, having lit the candles!!
Sorry, TMI again. I wish my bodily functions could be more discreet, be mindful of etiquette!

Walkies; between a chimp and a neanderthal.

I managed to get outside today, to put much needed bread in my hungry bank account !
I am still hunched over a bit. I walk about 250mtrs at a time, then get slower as my back stiffens, so I take a short break. I feel unfit; a short walk is like a marathon; especially when an incline is involved. I miss my power walks, but, it will come.
In the picture, my walk style resembles that of number 5 from the left! I have progressed from chimp like movements. I hope to get back to homosapien level in 2 weeks!!
Swelling remains about the same, starts after 5pm and after activity, but, it is ok. I still fit within the c.g. It gets adjusted a few times a day, it gets pulled down to avoid irritating my incision, after I get up from sitting.
I am finding that broccoli, onion, pepper (and darn it, wine!!) are not enjoyed by my gut; causing bloating...but I do have IBS, so these just became more obvious a problem with the tighter abdomen and c.g. on.
I can now feel that my skin and muscles are tighter, I am feeling that a bit more now, as I am not as numb today.
I had a lovely meal out, at my cosy pub down by the sea, really boosts morale to get out and socialise.
My mind, sitting here at rest, thinks my body can run...until I try to just walk up the road.
I prefer to walk without weight, a handbag burns me out!
I still have an appetite, I never lost that. I would have eaten straight after surgery, had the 'Nil by mouth' sign not been visable! Oh how I yearned for that banana that sat on my side table for 12 hours!
My 1 stitch, after the 2nd surgery, comes out tomorrow.
I also get to see my new belly button again..I have not seen it since last week.
Feeling better everyday, looking forward to fitting in my normal clothes again soon.
My legs do not like being propped up on a pillow at bedtime. I wake up with them trying to spasm into a stretch. I try to catch them beforehand, so as not to strain my abs. I hope to sleep with just my head and shoulders propped up, to ditch the pillow under my knees.

Hope everyone else is having a smooth recovery.

Day 11/15

Just an update.
1) standing straighter, not far till full height...a few more days.
2) can stand/walk for 90 minutes without an aching back.
3) managed to cook soup, prepare veggies for dinner, put washing on.
I cannot vacuum (too heavy, even though a cylinder type).I wish I had bought a lightweight sweeper (else I have to pester my son!)
4) I can put my own socks on!!
5) I can roll sideways out of bed well without fear I will rupture stitches. This took me a while..again due to that drain space.
6) I am down to 1 painkiller max 12 hours apart, if needed. Less each day.
7)I learned to pinch my nose to prevent sneezing (did this 2 days ago...works a treat)
8) My scars are healing well; clean and dry, albeit a bit puffy where healing has taken place.I have not touched the tape my surgeon put on from 26/12/14 . Due to remove a stitch on Friday..so I will see the incision then.
9) I have gotten used to the numbness. I would say that being numb, I empty my bladder when it feels full under my cg. as I do not have the same bladder trigger as pre surgery yet. I seem to go more frequently too..I presume due to less space under the tightening.
10) The swelling is noticeable, but,not too bad. I have it from above middle of hip to hip incision to under bb, usually more so in the afternoon/evening. I simply adjust my binder slightly, if I get too tight.
11) I am eating smaller meals at regular intervals, but, I still get a bit bloated from gas...which makes me look more swollen than I am. Taking tablets for this problem!
I do get hungry..I never lost my appetite.
I eat lean protein, healthy food to help my recovery.
12) I have more energy today. Tuesdays are good improvement day for some reason, like a new phase.
13) I am sleeping on my back still, with a few pillows, until I am standing fully upright. I don't want to jinx anything.
14)The right side above my incision, where the drain was removed, still feels a bit strange if I make certain movements. It still feels like there is a gap there and gives the sensation of internal parts moving about near it.
15) I still wish I had not watched the drain being removed, I am haunted by it. I will not be watering the plants in the Summer!
16) My back is still pain free..brilliant.
17) I seem to be stretch mark free...a better result than I could have hoped for.
18) I still look at my smooth skin in amazement..It is as if my wrinkly skin was ironed out.
19) Starting to get more normality back into my daily routine is wonderful.
20) Got a holiday to the Maldives in March, for our anniversary!! Not sure If I can scuba dive by then....I will be nearly 12 weeks P.O. Carrying a diving belt & tank might be a bit too ambitious..although I did it with a twisted ankle last November..after I slipped on volcanic rock...see..I am clumsy!
So, I have survived: nausea, small blood clot & being restitched, choking on my food and my own saliva, falling out of bed, travelling back from Belgium, choking again. I am still sewn up!
Good job my surgeon stitched me up good and proper (twice!) cos' I have sure tested each stitch!
I am still fearful of; falling over, doing too much, accidentally stretching upon waking, bending, lifting anything more than my laptop, lying flat out!!

I have to conclude, it was worth all this.
I will be delighted in a few months time, when I am not swollen, walking along my beloved Dorset coastline, working out...wearing a slinky dress!!

Best wishes to all.

Smooth but swollen

I had a big muscle separation, I had wrinkly loose skin and stretch marks.
I now have muscles where they should be and no saggy skin (no painful back so far)
However, not everyone on the "flat side" is flat from day 2. Typically..I was not!
Day 1, I was flat! Super flat! I was out of it, so I did not notice...darn it!!
Day 2 - 4 I was swollen. Partly due to that haematoma..so I was treated and re sewn.
Since day 2 and beyond I have not been flat. I have been swollen. It starts above the middle of my pelvic incision to the belly button.
I am slightly less swollen in the morning, but, a little more upon the afternoon, or after walking.
I find it a bit disappointing, but, live in the hope that it will deflate in a couple of months...or knowing my luck (sod's law) 4 months.
To prevent a "debbie downer" (seems to be a phrase that is banded about recently!) I need to remember;

This was major surgery, my body needs time to adjust. Patience, patience & more patience..and a pinch more.
I have more energy daily, my brain and mind function 99%. 1% forgets my body is playing catch up.
I have no saggy skin. I shall have abs that I can use properly...cannot wait to try them out..it is like they are brand new and need a test drive!
My mind needs to adapt to my new shape/look. (I lived with the old look for 22 years) It is taking me more time to adjust than I thought. I knew this would be a strange experience for me from tge start.
I need to stop being paranoid! My temperature is stable, my heart rate is stable. My tummy is firm and numb, it is not hot or inflamed, discoloured, nor does it have the water bed effect.
This paranoia stems from the haematoma event..I did not realise I had it..doh!!
My hair (incl the nether region that had a major shave!) and nails are growing, so that is a good sign that my body is fine.
My scar is thin and flat and dry. These bodily parts suffer if the body is under too much stress.

It is always a good idea to look at the before photos to remind myself why I did this. Zoinks...that loose hanging skin..that bad back..those useless muscles.

My expectations were not for a 6 pack, nor a wash board stomach...although, if I get that result, I would not complain!! I am no Miss World, Halle Berry, Ursula Andress, or Spring chicken, my expectations are realistic lol.

I can envisage a good result without the swelling. OH GAWD.... PATIENCE!!!! ARGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
I like lazing about, after finishing work and rushing about doing usual daily chores..but being a lounge lizard 24/7 for a few weeks begins to grate. It would be better if it was not Winter and I could sit in the sun with a cocktail! Oh wait..I can do that in March!

The new belly button still appears weird! That is just me..got to get used to it.
The stitches have not dissolved yet and it needs a bit more time to settle...but it is in the right place, dry & healing.

But, honestly! I HATE the swollen look!!
I wish I could pop it : - p

My current photos are NOT flattering..just honest photos depicting the real me at this stage.

Best wishes to everyone.

Well, that explains a lot about the bloat/swell issue.

Had a few more twinges today, so, I took a paracetamol to ease it. The same pain killer tablets I have been using for the past few weeks.
I have been moaning about my bloatedness and swelling, which seems to be persistent.
Imagine my horror to find a new ingredient in those paracetamol is the worst of my food intolerances!
Potato & potato starch are my IBS nightmare. It is only recently,that the manufacturer has listed it. Wth?!
It explains the extreme gas/bloat I have endured. Oh my relief...well, in a few days when I deflate.
Maybe the swelling will not be so bad for me.
In the meantime, having taken 1 tablet earlier on, I am resembling a balloon.

No wonder my surgeon thought it odd that I was so flat immediately post op, and despite a small haematoma, I looked a bit plump!

Glad I have found this out now.

Blooming potatoes. It gets put in some cheeses, breads, cakes as well as gravies. Why is the World obsessed with the potato? Always a bloody potato on the menu in restaurants! That is why I like Japanese, Thai and Italian food..potatoes do not get automatically served with everything.

This is going to be an uncomfortable night....parp!


That is all I feel today. Really turned a corner. I now LOVE my new belly!!
Thanks to all the TTers for their blogs, support, encouragement.
Keep on going : - )

Scars are performing happy healing so far

Healing quite nicely, may it continue.
Never good at taking photos, I am laying at an incline on my bed, with the lights directly above. I have a few lines because I am clumsy, I still dress my scars, then wear a vest under my binder. So, yep, a few dressing/binder lines. I know I am over protective of my numb belly...but I feel comfortable this way.
My left side was the part that I had undone and re stitched due to the small haematoma..so I am pleased it has caught up with the right.
I still have the iodine dressing on my vertical scar, which will come off this week.
I am not bloated under the remaining swelling, at long last, so I am mostly comfortable. A little bit swollen, but better the last 2 days. Considering I was out walking (fairly upright) a fair way today, then I had a big platter at the pub, not too bad a swell for 11.30pm!

Tried new Macom cg but had to remove it

I was getting fed up with the hospital binder not fitting my bulge of swell, if it was uniformly swollen, it would be ok. I thought I would give my Macom compression garment a try out.
I had tried this on before surgery, it was comfortable and I used the smallest setting. Well, I had trouble doing the hook & eyes up on the largest setting!! I managed to get into it after a battle. It felt very supportive on, far more than the binder. The binder fitted better on top. I felt good enough to get 2 buses to meet a friend for lunch on Tuesday, due to my comfort. I wore my cg and a vest and the binder to give maximum support on this journey. My knees were knocking initially.. at the thought of going out alone! I was still a little hunched too.
All was going well, til' yesterday. You might have heard this "1 bout of tummy trouble away from my ideal weight" phrase..well, I reached my ideal weight; I had a tummy upset. Gone from nearly constipated to the nearly the opposite.
On a good note, my garment fitted better! On a bad note; I need more loo roll!!
However, later that day, I started to feel discomfort. Swelling starts around 4pm some days, but, this was different to that minor everyday discomfort. Turns out, own cg had irritated my incision, right where the crotch poppers were..tender and now swollen there!! No dignity in this game. Swollen there definitely rules out any bedroom monkey business!
I also have a bruise on my left side at the end if the incision.
Sometimes, after a hard days work, the 1st thing I do when back home, is throw my bra off! This is similar, except I threw my cg off!! Relief! I now find my hospital binder and I have resumed our original relationship..I like wearing it again. I doubt that sentiment will last.
I will have to wait a few weeks for this lower abdomen puff to subside before I try wearing my own cg again.
I am feeling the ends and middle of my hip to hip incision today as a result..bit tender.
I think my waist is a slightly smaller, reduced by 2 cms. Measures 26.5inches; but, then it is still swollen. My lower swelly belly measures about 32inches!
Such a weird shape.
Tingly & numb to touch, quite firm..but thankfully not rock hard like it was for that haematoma.
I think it looks horrible atm. Wondering how long the bb takes to settle..but cannot complain, it is all dry. I have started using Bio oil. I will use oil for a few weeks, then see about the strips.
I don't think I will be in a bikini anytime soon..unless I buy the granny bottom style! Good job I kept my swimsuits for the Maldives.
Good wishes to all.

Noticeable progress, whoop, whoop.

I am upright for 85% of the day. I nearly forget I can be upright..I naturally stoop as if it is normal. I only hunch a bit when I have been on my feet for ages.
I have been out and about and it feels great.
Went for breakfast in a lovely patisserie this morning. Managed two supermarkets (I know..2 shops..they don't both have all I required)
I then went down to my beautiful Lulworth Cove to get my fresh seafood (crabs!) I walked all round the Cove, up to the viewpoint and back to my car! I could barely walk from the car park to the beach 10 days ago.
I am wearing my SKINNIES again..over my dressings, 2 vest tops and binder!! They are not tight..even with my swelling. My swelling has reduced over night and has stayed less swelled this evening...omg!!! What an improvement.
I have received my probiotic live culture good bacteria tablets too..goodbye bloat IBS hopefully.
I carried a bag of shopping.
I can even dress my crabs!!!!!
I still sleep with 5 gradual inclining pillows under my shoulders to my head and 1 under my thighs.
I still avoid coughing by drinking tea, although I have more lung capacity again now.
I can chuckle well..but no hearty laughing yet.
Sudden movements make my muscles tight and feel a bit odd.
I can do some housework..but not lift the vacuum cleaner.
I can do vertical push ups against a wall and 3/4 squats. I look forward to the gym.
I can get in and out of bed easily. That took a while. The tenderness from the drain on 1 side made it tricky.
I still get a bit windy, but, less so with my food eliminations. I have more energy everyday. My brain still wants to/thinks I can run ..my legs can but my tummy still says NO!
I can get away with the odd naughty food treat (pastrami, ham, cheese, sauerkraut & gherkin crusty baguette this morning & a handful of prawn crackers)once a week without gaining weight.
I have eaten well, as much as I did pre surgery. I have been fairly motionless, except going to the loo, fixing dinner etc and I fit my smaller clothes easily. I think I might have even lost a little..so I will be excited to see a toned set of muscles when I resume my workouts.
What will it be like to have lower abs I can use?!!! What does that feel like?

Tonight, I am celebrating feeling better and gaining strength and walking further ,without becoming breathless, by a visit to my local Japanese restaurant for my favourite sushi.
Bring on week the end of week 4 and start of week 5.
I have had a few ups & downs over the past 3.5 weeks. It feels like my op was ages ago. Time is speeding up..a good sign that I am over the hardest part.
BUT, It is true what my fellow tters told me on those rougher days..IT DOES GET BETTER. You do feel like it was worth all the hassle.
Hopefully, I will have flatter photos by next week : - ) (If I don't overdo it on the wasabi ice cream tonight!)

A BIG THANK YOU to all the special tters on here for their; encouragement to me & otherst, their honest blogging, their pics & their patience for putting up with our complaints!!
Wishing everyone happy times ahead.

Swollen like I am 4 months pregnant!

Not sure why I am so swollen tonight.
My abdomen is quite firm to the touch.
I have a stable heart rate & normal temperature. I feel well within myself.
I hope this is just normal swelling for 4 weeks and that it decreases by the morning, else I will have to e mail my doc.

A bit less 'puffa' & more wj

I am less swollen this evening..not flat..but better. I decided to slap on the Bio Oil and got carried away, I massaged my whole tummy.
The massage was pleasant & I noticed that my larger lower abs were in position!! I have never felt them in the correct place since forever. Amazing feeling. The firmness is something else I am not used to! Feels like a springboard...not sure it could be a washboard, but, I will try my hardest by doing planks and push ups at 3 months. I got to 20 push ups in a row before surgery...cannot wait to start again.
The vertical scar on my left is slightly higher than the right side; this was the side that got opened up on Boxing night, to remove the clot. A little sad that it s slightly higher, compared to the right side which can hide in my knickers, but, it is healing well all across. It will fade..I am still impressed with its progress already. Kind of makes up for swell hell.
I love the fact that I can get in and out of bed with relative ease now. I still do a slight roll to prevent straining. I have gotten used to sleeping on my back too, it does not bother me. Give me a comfy bed, I will sleep. I dislike sleeping on my side presently, however, it feels like everything inside falls with gravity to that side...stupid I know..but not taking a chance if it moving!!
I wish my silhouette was as flat standing up, as it is when I lay down! One day, it will be :-)
2 weeks until the gym...whoohoo!
10 days before I go back to work, looking forward to it now...that will keep me fit.

Glad to hear you are all doing so well, despite the odd set back. There are some really great looking bellies out there!!

Busy busy.

Well, I am now 5.25/6 weeks.
I have been a busy girl this last 2 weeks.
I am loving my improved energy, my mobility is great now...so much so, I kept going on walks in the Winter sunshine over the past 12 days. Managing 10 miles now. I was so chuffed, I felt like I was walking on air. Being upright, I felt 6ft tall.
I started back at work today. I am working only 4 hours per shift. I have a physical job, but, I cannot lift 25kg for a few more weeks yet..so I am doing the paperwork, which cannot occupy my usual 7/8 hours shifts! I would get bored.
I am taking a bigger role in my hubby's business and I am starting my own.
I have much planned this year, mainly my qualifications in water sports.
I have been out dining every weekend! Despite this, I have not gained weight.
I am 105lbs. I do not know where the other 8lbs went, considering my mobility was limited and laboured in the first few weeks. My arm/leg muscles are still in reasonable shape; I used my arms to pull myself up a lot! I do push ups against the wall. I can do light jogging. My butt needs a workout! I am looking forward to the gym soon.
As for my belly; swelling is lessening. I still get a bit puffy above the middle of my incision, where those abs have been relocated but, it has improved. My bb has settled down, it is nearly flush with my belly, maybe starting to sink in a little. It is neat and I have had no problems with it.
My vertical scar is fantastic! The scab took 4.75 weeks to fall off (somewhere in my bed!! Don't worry, vacuumed carpets, changed sheets!) There is barely a scar there..looks like a little scratch/tiny cut. Like an ugly duckling turning into a swan!
My hip to hip is recovering well. Thin line along most of it, save the inch near the pubic bone which got stretched due to normal walking and swelling. It is not a problem though and is healing well. Thankfully, by letting nature take over most of my scar healing, not fiddling with it, my scars are good. I put Bio oil on them 1-2 times a day.
I wear my cg 24/7. I like the support. I need it for the remaining swelling and to help me with my posture (which was awful pre surgery)
I am now wearing size U.K. 6 trousers over my vests and binder with a belt, despite the lower belly having that bit of swelling still.
I am still delusional. I still think I have a big belly! But,upon putting my old jeans on, I know I am smaller..there are several inches spare.
My hubby tells me he sees an improvement each week, that I am less swollen, smoother..but I still remain sceptical!
What I do know, I have no wrinkly rolls of stretched skin. My muscles are where they should be. I can stand and sit tall. I have very few, fine stretch marks that are only just visable in direct bright light.
In a few months, I hope to be flatter lower down.
I assume I need to keep my bb covered from sunlight on holiday, as well as my vertical scar? (scratch!) Obviously, my hip to hip will be hidden.
Good wishes to everyone.

Fed up now.

My tummy is smoother, but, nowhere near as flat as I was pre surgery after working out.
The swelling has gone down. The scars are ok. My skin is smooth. I don't have a backache...But, I still have a bulge. I daren't take my binder off for long because it feels like everything inside my abdomen just falls down & back out. I think it has failed.I am not in a happy place, I am so disappointed atm. I have not gained weight; infact I have lost some lbs. I weigh about 105lbs now.
I was looking forward to working out and had hoped the muscles appearance would improve, but, I am too anxious/paranoid to do anything with the abs. Walking, squats, lunges and lifting a few light dumb bells whilst sitting down is all I do.
I see my surgeon on Saturday. It cannot come soon enough. This is driving me crazy. I keep feeling so low.
I do ask myself was it worth it. No, is how I currently feel. I might as well have had a mini tuck to remove the wrinkly skin, as even with the small pooch I looked better then, than I do now.
Praying for a blooming miracle.

photos update

Bikini/Skirtini !!

For the first time in 28 years, I am taking bikinis on a trip!
I am starting to workout well now; gentle crunches, jump squats, leg raises,side planks, push ups and 5kg dumbbells, in addition to power walking, the odd jog. I am back at the gym this weekend.
I will be kayaking, sailing, swimming and , hopefully, scuba diving on my trip, in addition to a bit of work!
I am feeling a whole lot better all round; physically & mentally. Much stronger..and getting stronger each week.
I still have a way to go. It will take a good 6 months to tone these abs, especially the lower abs. I have to remember my posture. I can suck my belly in a bit, but, it does not look horrendous if I do not.
The tightness will improve with ab workouts. I cannot do too much just yet as it would hurt.
My wrinkly skin has gone!
I still have a bit of swelling in the middle of my hip to hip incision, but, not too bad now. The bloating is under better control.
The following photos were taken in the evening, after a bit if a food scoffing afternoon! So...whoopee..in the morning of course it would be better.
Hormones are the worst enemy..they cause bloating..twice a month!
I can laugh easier now...still not at full strength. I can sneeze...but would rather stifle it. I can cough a bit more too.
I am still tingly round my bb area. I do not like to be bumped anywhere there. I get the occasional twinge from my incision, but, no need to take any meds.
I am working at near full speed (cannot yet lift 25kg...nor do I want to!)
I am wary of posture when lifting anything. I never want a painful back ever again...so far so good.
I have not wept like a silly billy for 2 whole weeks!!!
I think I am finally in a good place most of the time.
Oh..I do wear my binder to work..but not for the usual reason...it is to protect my belly from getting bumped into!
I do not need it for workouts or any other reason, I no longer swell up like a balloon...NICE!!
I sleep on my back all the time!!! I like it!
I still have 2 pillows! I can lie on my side or front...I choose not to.
My weight has increased from 103lbs to 107 since working out..my muscles have gained strength.

It has been a fairly tough recovery at times for me, but, I wanted to be honest about the ups & downs.
Not everyone will go through it the same way. Most will worry themselves silly at times..."What is happening? Is this normal? OMG! What is that?!
I was scared of everything..falling over, choking, moving...lol Fragility..my word..not used to being so helpless.
I have never had an op before..this is major surgery!
The first 2 weeks seemed like years.
I am an active person..having to stay put gave me cabin fever. I had to get outside..even if it meant using a wheelchair. Unlike others, I was not mobile at the beginning..despite trying.
If you could see me now!! 15 miles today!
Photos will show my vertical scar a little bit at the top of bikini bottom..but it has healed nicely so far. Hip to hip is reddish and thicker (3mm tops) at present..but has sunk into bikini line! I still have stretchmarks..did not see them in the first few weeks..but there are some still there. They are a light pink atm until they settle again. They did go to a white colour before and are not that noticeable unless under very bright light (interrogation lamp!) THEY ARE NOT WRINKLY THOUGH!! Yipee. I am pleased to wear slimmer dresses and BIKINIS!
I am now a size 6. I am having to sort through my wardrobe!
I hope despite my story, you find some encouragement. I hope all goes smoothly for you all.
Always ask on here and get support.
Thanks xx
Get help and plenty of rest.

3 months post update

Well, life is pretty much back to normal.
I have just returned from that magical trip to the Maldives I was a bit nervous about after the slight set back I had.
My belly and ankles swelled up on the flight, despite moving about! It was 10+ hours flight...but my belly always swells up on a long journey..even by car/coach.

I managed to wear my skirtini. They were most flattering. They hid my vertical scar quite well..and hid my hip to hip and the slight swelling around my pubic area (smaller swelling than ever..so it does bog off eventually!) I am NOT super flat yet. I need to work those abs a bit when they are settled more..I do not overdo their work out as it would hurt.

I managed to do my scuba diving!! I was so chuffed about that..as I was only 11 weeks post op.
Hooray. The dive belt sat on my hip scars a little, but, did not cause me trouble. I feel their slight tenderness, but, nothing painful. I was careful at all times.The tank weight was also fine for me to carry. I have been increasing my strength each week, but, was still pleased I managed so well.
I did a lot of swimming/snorkelling. It felt good..although a little strange with the newly positioned lower abs. I could feel them being worked as I swam.
I also managed to kayak. My fitness is at a reasonable level again. I think walking 12 miles a day 5x a week has helped!
I can lift reasonable weight at work..but no more than 10kg at once. I am wary of my previous back trouble. I nearly ruined it with a shopping trip prior to my holiday..but..thankfully now my muscles are re positioned my posture has improved and I did not suffer too long.

It was hot in the Maldives, but, I put enough sunscreen on my bb and had no trouble with it being exposed for the first time in 27 years! I would have been overdressed in a swimsuit..all the other women were strutting about in bikinis..but I wore mine !!!! At 43 years I fitted in. Lol. I also wore my beautiful wedding renewal dress to a lovely anniversary dinner on the beach..and looked quite reasonable..despite being a complete piggy all week!

My tummy below bb to main scar is still very weird to touch. Numb..but can feel the odd pinch...although one day I was pulling on my skin instead of my trousers! I do not like anything on this area...weird sensation...and tender if leant on.
I can do small crunchies/ side & front planks/star jumps no problem. I manage 5 push ups per set. I still find leg raises/toe taps tough. I can power walk 10 miles.
I run up and down my stairs 10 times twice a day. I also lift 10kg dumbbells far better now.

I bloat a bit with ovulation and pmt..but not suffered too badly this month. It was horrendous last month! Not too chuffed with a 4 month pregnant bloat! Now it is a modest 2 month bloat, so I can still fit my U.K. size 6 clothes : - P

Scar healing well..salty sea seems to have helped. It is pink, a bit wider atm, but, smoothing out. I am so chuffed that it has dropped (about 2cm) to a point where I can wear skimpier knickers...it seemed a bit high at first.

The good and the bad:
Not so good: Had to donate a lot of good clothes to my daughter..as they were too big.
Cost me a pretty penny buying new clothes to fit. Had trouble finding small size in certain shops (tunic for beach..smallest size still drowned me)
Good: to have nice new jeans/dresses and tops!!
Sales usually have size 6 left!!

Hope everyone else is recovering well.

Been a bit lazy..but!

Been indulging in the odd glass of wine and dessert..but as I walk around 12 miles each day (at least 6 miles at power walk pace up & down) I seem to have gotten away with the indulgences. I still eat healthy 90% of the time..and I eat cos' I like my food!
I am now 108lbs after scoffing (gained 3lbs since 2 month stage) but I have gained muscle tone aswell. I can now lift heavier weights..and do not look like I have put on weight round the waist since this op..I reckon some good definition will be possible in a few months..when the soreness (from ab work)/numbness improves.
I now jog 2-3 times a week for 15 minutes max (not a lover of jogging!) I run up & down my staircase 10 times if I have a glass of wine!
I do HIIT, only been doing 15 - 20 minutes 2 - 3 times per week. Weights..spent 10 minutes 2 -3 times per week.
Seems to keep my body stable. I do like efficient workouts.lol.
Going cycling in the forest for the first time since op..not afraid of a few jolts now. Getting a kayak next month..so that will be good exercise, without feeling like exercise (I will kayak to a cove, swim with the fish and devour a picnic!!) Coastal walks burn any last bit if fat from my butt..plenty of inclines. I managed to "hurdle" up the steep cliff steps last weekend..hooray!

Still amazed to think I could barely move at the end of December/beginning of January. I even used a wheelchair to do my shopping, my swelling and fatigue was so bad.
It is worth keeping a blog and looking back. That swelling phase! Talk about paranoia! I no longer spend hours worrying, looking up "is this normal?" posts on the web : - P
Like I have previously said, I do not have a washboard tummy. I still have a few stretch marks. My belly has a little loose skin when bent 100% over...but it could not be pulled tighter..else I would be bent. I did not notice the stretch marks 1 month post op because my belly was that swollen, it stretched those marks out! They are nowhere near as bad as they were. They will fade well.
I am a size 6 (U.K.) & I can wear slender dresses and bikinis...WOW! Bodycon dresses (notoriously difficult to wear unless you eat nothing or were blessed with amazing genes) are nearly ok to wear..when the scar tissue line flattens completely..but I am not keen on them anyway!
I just wish my boobs had not reduced so fast! Lol. Got enough boobage just..but miss what I had! If only I could train fat to go there first!!!
Would I do it again, if I knew what was involved for me?
Yes...because my figure is better. My posture is better. I look after my back better now.
It has given me a sense of freedom..not worrying about what I wear so much. I don't buy the baggiest cover-up clothes like I used to.
I am encouraged to stay fit and healthy.
I feel good in my dresses. I an wear a wet suit without sucking in my belly. I do not look pregnant.
I look forward to Summer.
Best wishes to all.
Dr O.

I am not sure I should give my surgeon's name, as I wish to respect his privacy. His reputation means he is always busy, a reputation he deservedly has. He put me at ease from the first meeting. He is only interested in what is best for his patients. He was completely honest about my needs and informed me of my realistic expectations. He personally cares for each patient pre/during and post op. Very informative; only a text, phone call, or e mail away.He did not stop caring throughout Christmas. He even drove me to his clinic from my hotel to fix my little bleed issue. He is proud of his work. I am now the proud owner of decent muscles, smooth skin and neat belly button. I would recommend him to anyone.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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