Mommy Makeover. Breast Reduction and Full Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair and Flank Lipo

I’ve been told that I’m obsessed with this...

I’ve been told that I’m obsessed with this site by my BF and he’s right. I mean I did abandon my precious Candy Crush to eye guzzle countless reviews. I’m at the point where I can recognize reviews in my daily email by the body parts in the cover picture...yeah that reads as creepy as it sounds! I found so much helpful information through the reviews that I feel compelled to document my journey here.

Obligatory stats:
3 children, at least 65lb pregnancy weight gain, breastfed, 39 years old, 5’1”, last two times I was measured I was told I was a 34 DD and a 32 F….that was 19lbs ago. The 34 band creates a couple of extra back rolls so I tried a 36 band but it is too large. I use the 36 at the height of my menstrual swelling but that’s about it. My breasts spill out of the DD bras but I always have a Barely There CustomFlex Fit bra underneath to hold it all together. I love those things…I wear them to bed and during the day. Without them my ninja breasts find a way to slip under the underwire and I am reaching into my shirt to readjust them constantly. To workout I have to wear two sports bras…and the girls are still jumping all around and require adjusting. According to the measurements I get using the chart I posted I am in between a DDD(F)/DDDD(G).

I developed breasts early on; I remember giving a presentation in grade school and afterwards my friends telling me to go bra shopping ASAP because my bubbies were jumping all over the place. I’m an animated speaker…I use my hands, head, body…you get it. I’m a curvy gal and for the most part like my shape when I’m clothed. Without clothes is another story; I still like the shape but the stretchmarks, large/heavy breasts, and loose post pregnancy stomach is a shock and doesn't match how I see myself – in my head that is.

Symptoms:
Headache/neck/shoulder/arm/palm pain. Trap muscles are tight with knots at all times, weird cracking sounds in my back between my shoulders whenever I pull my shoulders back, round them forward, or circle them around. I’m starting to think that the discectomy surgery I had in 2013 to resolve herniated cervical disks with compressed nerves had to do with the weight of my chest and the jacked up posture…who knows.

How I got here:
I mentioned my symptoms and issues at my routine physical and my PCP sent me off for a variety of tests. Updated MRI – no new disc disease. Ultrasound of lipoma on my shoulder – not seen on ultrasound, not the culprit. Mammogram – we both felt a lump which wound up being nothing but they did find a “suspicious dense area” that needs to be monitored every six months. A referral to a Plastic Surgeon to see what their take is on my symptoms/chest size. The PS was the last appointment I followed up on. I finally called in early October for a consult and was given a date of 11/17. I arrive for my 4pm consult to be told that it was at 12:30…umm my robocall confirmed a 4 appointment but OK. At the office the receptionist gave me a new date of 12/1 at 12:30…I call the day before because I didn’t get a robocall and I’m told that I’m not in the schedule…sigh. The poor lady (not the same person) had to listen to my rant because at that point my RS obsession was in full swing and I was READY to talk to the PS. She suggested 12/22 and I lost it…so she got me in for 12/11. I arrive at 4 and saw the PA at 5:15…super busy office…she went over the procedure in detail but with the tone of a voiceover for a prescription commercial. Nice enough and knowledgeable but it did sound like she goes over the same information all day. The PS came in, apologized profusely, listened to and answered all my questions. He was very personable, didn’t feel rushed, and nice on the eyes!

Breasts –
The highlights being, yes I’m a good candidate, yes he is confident I will be approved by my insurance, yes he can easily remove around 390-400 grams but do not focus on the grams they assign to be removed that he will do what’s best for my body. Listen as long as I am smaller than a D cup and don’t get a bill, do what you do sir.

Other areas –
I asked about a tummy tuck since I will be under the knife anyway…oh and bilateral axillary lipo…simply to compliment the reduction of course. I was told that my loose skin is mainly in the front, I will likely have a short scar, may not have hip to hip, muscle repair, and he includes lipo with the TT. He can do the axillary lipo, no I shouldn't have loose skin. **Should we talk about the fact that I let this man that I knew for all of 2 seconds fondle my belly? I mean NO ONE gets to touch the brain (it looks like a brain when I suck it in)…and here he is…with a handful of it….blech…it’s for a good cause.

The nurse was in the office with us, the camera came out, and the battery died! So I got to ask more questions and make small talk until the battery got some juice. I was photographed and sent on my way. I stopped off at reception and the nice lady that got me the appointment was forewarned that I will be her best friend until I hear that she got all info to the insurance and heard back.

Follow up/Paperwork/Stalking:
True to my word I called on Monday the 14th to ask if she received the notes from the PS, she did and she would send the next day to the insurance. Tuesday evening I received my quotes for the non-insurance covered procedures. Thursday I called the insurance to see if they received the paperwork…they didn’t but did give me the direct number for my clinical case manager and her fax number to give to the PS’s office. On Monday the 21st my case manager confirmed that the documents showed up over the weekend but missing a date of service. I call the very nice lady at the PS’s office and she offered a place holder of 1/11/16…then says it is possible that I could have that as my actual date if all works out. I prayed to the MommyMakeOverGods et Voila…on the 22nd I call my bank for a loan…approved…I call the very nice lady at the PS’s office to ask about the date and the authorization…both approved. I dropped off a check for the surgeon’s fees today…I was told that all fees have to be paid in full two weeks prior to the surgery but that will be Monday the 28th and I like to see a couple of extra coins in my account, especially around this time of the year!!! I will call the hospital to explain the last minute date and see about paying the facility and anesthesia fees later next week.

Work:
I told my leader today that I will be out for surgery, and through conversation I wound up telling her it was for a BR…medically necessary and approved! I said that I will start off with 2 weeks off but I will put in a request with our short term disability provider to cover me if I need more time than that. I have a ton of sick time so I used 10 days of that to cover me from 1/11 – 1/26 (1/18 is a Holiday and I need to fulfill a 10 day elimination period using my own time to qualify for STD). The PS said that with the combined procedures I may need 4 weeks but we shall see. I have the ability to work at home full time so if I am feeling better week three I may start slow with PT hours and ease my way in. Everything is easier to manage when you can stay in your PJs and on your couch or recliner ;).

Home:
My BF took a week off of work to take care of me…this will be ummm different…a true test of my ability to surrender! I’m reading so many stories of SOs needing to help with bathing and going to the bathroom…yikes! I will probably be high on the pain medication and not care so that will be that. Our apartment complex will be moving us from our current apartment to another (smoke free building but smokers moved into the apt below us and our place smells like stale cigars) around the first week or second week of January. I feel bad because if it is post-surgery I won’t be able to help…they are paying for the movers…I wonder if asking for the movers to pack and the complex pay for it is being greedy? Between my sons and the BF I’m sure they can handle it. I will freak out because NOTHING will be where I want it but again…I might be high on the pain meds and not care…until I do.

If you read through all of this I thank you much! Now I have to figure out what forum to join…MM, TT, BR, Lipo, or all! Decisions, decsions…

Queue the naysayers

Breast reduction grinches made an appearance during my family Christmas gatherings. Here are some of the comments:

"I've seen women that need reductions and you're nowhere near their sizes" "You're not that big" "A smaller chest may not look right on you" and my personal favorite was "Your insurance APPROVED that? You know that doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies are in cahoots right? They will chop you up unnecessarily for the money."

Deep sigh...
To that I responded with tons of eye exercises. Side eye, eye rolls (hey I can see my brain!), blank face blinky big eyes. No one shall steal my MMO joy; I'm holding onto it like Smeagol/Gollum with the One Ring. It's my body, and I'll contour if I want to, con_tour if I want too...you would con_tour too if...I can't think of a witty ending that rhymes. Ah well!

Silly Rabbits I will gain relief. Relief from headaches, shoulder and neck pain, backache, double bras, and built-in airbags! The TT and lipo...well that's just icing on the cake! I didn't mention the other procedures because I knew the reaction would be the same.

I'm still singing...
I'm bringing sexy back, yeah, them other (blanks) don't know how to act, yeah!

Honestly, my family wouldn't be my family without the questions and commentary! Their concerns come from a good place. They love me and want me healthy and happy.
I will accomplish just that, better health and I will be happier with how I look naked!

Consult - check
Approval - check
Surgery date - check
Slay the naysayers - check

Next up:
Totally over research recovery supplies
Create schedule for family members to cook and clean for me

It's really real now!

Excuse me while I do my happy dance! Hip thrusts, hands in the air, I just don't care! Hahaha ok I'm done!

I received my BR authorization from the insurance company in the mail today. I confirmed the approval verbally last week but it's nice to see it in writing.
I also received my surgery information packet from the hospital today. There were six pages of medications and supplements to stop one week prior to surgery...none of which I'm taking. I'm paranoid so I sent a list of what I am taking to the nurse at the surgeon's office along with other questions about supplies, compression garments, etc.

I'm back to dancing now...I will spare you the details!

Things I will miss during recovery

I know the recovery period is short and I'm being "extra" right now but so what? I'm getting sentimental in my old age...shrug!

What I will miss the most is...
My youngest's basketball games
Morning chats with my middle child during the drive to school - there's something magical about being in the car that gets a teen to actually talk...not just speak...to you :)
Movies and cocktails in with the BF
Playing with the puppy
Squeezing the heck out of my oldest when he comes to visit

Ahhhhhh 1/11 hurry up and come but slow down too. Enough of my random musing!

Phone Pre-op and PS follow up

I’m a little bummed that I received my pre-op call while I was on my way into an appointment yesterday. I had some time so I took the call; I’m bummed because I didn’t have a pen and paper handy to jot notes down. The gist of the call was to go over my anesthesia and surgical history, medical history, and current medications. I was told to stop everything except the vitamin C and not to have any booze on the 10th…my surgery is on the 11th…Ok…cheers!
I was told to pick up and shower with hibiclens the day of and not to put lotion on...anywhere…Ummm. My skin requires daily lotion…this will be a tough one! Not even on my face…lorshe what is a girl to do? I’m silly vain that way…I don’t want anyone looking at my ashy, dry, thirsty skin! It’s all irrational I know!

Moving on…

Today I received a call from the PS’s office to go over my scheduled surgery and arrival time. I’m scheduled for 10 with an arrival time of 8:30. I am going to be a monster without coffee and ashy as hell. I have to reconfirm on Friday afternoon that the time remains the same but oh my goodness it is getting real.

Comradery

Early this week I notified my staff and others that I am working on projects with that I will be on leave for a couple of weeks. Some asked why and others just asked who is covering. Those who asked know about the past surgery (cervical spine) I had and were concerned that it was the same. Same-ish symptoms different area of the body and that led to disclosing what I’m having done. Don’t you know that I heard from 3 people so far that had reductions and were willing to share every little detail. It was like having the RS community at work!

'Twas the night before her MMO

And she's flippin exhausted. Where do I begin?

Friday was a LONG day at work wrapping up everything that I could possibly think of.

Saturday was supposed to be the day that we moved apartments in the same building and same floor. "It will be quick and easy" he said...lies. The carpets weren't ready so we had to move on Sunday. Back to Saturday. I spent my life savings...kidding...kinda...on my surgery haul. First stop was Relax the back where I picked up their adjustable wedge system. I figured I'd go that route so that I can stay in bed with my hunni. It felt good at the store and hopefully it will feel good post op.
Then off to Lady Grace where I was fitted for a compression bra (first off I measured as a FF, say what?) the sales associate guesstimated a post surgery size of 34 D/E and it felt good. I got one and a soft comfort bra in small C/D.
The lady was hilarious. We talked about the BR and TT, she looks up and asks if I'm going to get any fat transferred to my booty. She's easily in her 70s and says "that Kim K, she ruined butts period". Ok!!!
Then off to Target...need I say more?
Then off to a local DME store for a walker and other misc stuff. Phew! I get home and I have to go right back out with the BF to Home Depot to get boxes, yes we waited for the last minute and do I ever regret it!

Sunday the movers arrived at 8:30 sharp! BF packed the coffee, bad move on his part. It was a long damn day and I'm finally sitting down. I wanted to get all my stuff put away the way I like it so I wouldn't have to kill him when I get back from the hospital.
During the move I get a call and surprise it's Dr. Lin! He wanted to see if I had any questions for him and boy did I ever. He was so patient and informative; so far the man has been nothing short of awesome. I will be spending a night in the hospital, I didn't realize that was part of my plan but he let me know and I'm more than ok with the overnight care! Man oh man I can't wait for tomorrow partially for the rest I'm going to get!!!

Oh and here's a goodbye pic. Goodbye fluffy belly and big, heavy, drraaaaoooooppppyyy boobies. Buh-bye ;)!

Surgery

I had my surgery on Monday the 11th and needed a couple of days before I was out of my anesthesia and narcotics fog before posting.
My BF and I arrived at 6am for a 7:30 surgery start time. I was called up to the prep area fairly quickly, met with a nurse and changed. I was given a cocktail of medicines which were pain killers, antibiotics, etc.
I then had my IV put in and met with a PS resident along with a PS student. We went over basic questions and I confirmed what procedures I was going to receive (BR, TTw/MR, & flank lipo). I met with the anesthesiologist to go over her plan; I would have local and a breathing tube. I was concerned about the metal cage I have in my neck she didn't feel it would be an issue. My BF rejoins me at this point.
The man of the hour, Dr. Lin enters my space, we chat a bit and the mark up begins. I had this moment where I look up and there are 4 people watching me being poked, prodded, and marked up from my collar bone down to my hip bones. Talk about a humbling experience! I asked Dr. Lin to take a picture of my removed belly fat and skin. I guess if wasn't a frequent request because everyone was cracking up! Yes, yes keykey it up folks but I'm serious about the picture!
Once that was over things started to move quickly. Dr. Lin quickly chatted with the BF on how the day would go and we said our goodbyes. We went to the OR, the breathing mask was put on my face and I was moved onto a table/bed.
I wake up around 6pm in the recovery area dazed and confused. I'm asking for my bag and phone to text BF. Find out the poor guy has been waiting since he got the call that my surgery was over but wasn't told I'd be passed out in recovery :(.
I asked the nurse to let him up and they ok'd it for 10 minutes. After a gazillion kisses I send the poor guy home because I wasn't getting into my room until 8pm. In the meantime Dr. Lin came to visit and gave me a rundown of the surgery and showed me a picture of the tummy skin he removed! He remarked that there was a lot of skin! I'm waiting for his staff to send me the picture!
Once I got to my room the fun began. In the recovery room I was given Dilaudid for pain meds but when they moved me to my room the switched the meds to Morphine. I had one bad reaction in the past and guess what? Yup another not so great reaction. I immediately did not feel well and got a small headache. My parents were visiting with me and I was downplaying it so they didn't worry. After they left I stood up with assistance to try out the commode because I had massive gas and I wanted to see if I could move my bowels. The only thing I moved was every newly stitched muscle when I threw up. It was HORRIBLE WHITE HOT PAIN.
My pain level was through the roof at that point. My meds were switched back to Dilaudid along with Oxy, antibiotics, anti nausea, and stool softeners. I swore I busted open a stitch but both the PS team doing rounds that night and Dr. Lin in the morning said all looked good.
I had a rough night in the hospital and I'm grateful that I stayed to be cared for by the professionals. Dr. Lin suggested spending a night when we spoke the night before the surgery and I'm so grateful that he had the foresight on that.
My breasts were/ are swollen and kind of look like implants! They are so pretty even in this state I just know that I'm going to love them. I asked every medical staff member that came by to inspect the dressings to snap a picture of my new breasts so that I could really see them. I asked for a picture of my belly too when they opened my binder but they forgot. I was able to see that I have a bikini line incision though!
At 1am on the 12th the nurse removed my catheter and said that by 8am I should be able to urinate on my own. I would also need to try to eat something and keep it down (I had been living off an IV). Take my pain meds orally instead if through the IV and keep them down, and finally take a walk. I had the compression cuffs on my legs so I didn't have to walk around before. I had to check each box if I wanted to be discharged. By 2:30ishpm everyone was satisfied and I was released. My only gripe is that I was due for Oxy at 3:30 but it was too early to give me that dose. We left with 6 RXs to fill, we stopped at CVS by our home to drop them off and my BF brought me home. Yikes, everything hurt, everything! I took the meds at 5...note to self...never miss a dose again! I'm so happy be be in my bed in my house! The wedge system I bought is working out beautifully. I will eventually see if it feels good on the couch as well.

My post op is next Tuesday and I will have to ask Dr. Lin how many grams he removed and how much the skin/fat he removed weighed. I think he said 350 grams from the left and 300 from the right but I was so out of it that I can't rely on that memory. So I'm going to post the breast pic with this review. I was told that I can shower on the 13th so I will try to get a tummy pic then. I don't think I mentioned above: no drains for the breasts and two drains for the stomach. Dr. Lin ok'd my Compression bra from Lady Grace along with the soft comfort bra. I was given a surgical bra but it is soiled now and I ready to change it. I was given a stomach binder which isn't bugging me too badly. It covers what it needs to cover and I will look into stomach CGs in a week or so.
If you're it though this, thanks so much for reading...or skimming!!!

Progress and painful decisions

How do you pick between pain relief and pain relief? It's so hard to say goodbye to nar_co_tiiccss. That's was sung in my Boys to Men voice!
I need to have a BM. Stool softener, Miralax, and MOM are producing nada so I have to kick the Oxy to the curb. I took my Tylenol and hopefully I feel some relief soon. Ok moving on, let me tell you about my excitement yesterday.
I was allowed to take my dressings off and shower yesterday. It was comical. Me with a PT band around my neck with my drains pinned to it (thanks RS sisters for the tip) and my BF semi in the shower with me with his swim trunks on. The whole ordeal took close to an hour between undressing, removing gauze and screaming don't pull out my drains, bathing, putting lotion on, new gauze on, new compression bra, repositioning the stomach binder, and PJs. PHEW!!!!
During the shower I was standing at a bent angle with my back to the shower and I had to surrender to the fact that I'm half useless. He got my back and I got the front. So awkward.
I had a little scare too.
When I took off my binder I noticed a lump over my belly button. I immediately thought I ruptured my internal sutures when I vomited in the hospital because I have had a sore spot where the lump is since that event. I took pics and sent the to the nurse at the PS's office. A side and front on view. She said that my swelling looked normal but be on the lookout for increased size, redness, and pain that reaches 10/10. Attached are the pics I sent...I also had a crying fit because my emotions are everywhere!

Experiment over

Well that was short lived. Without the Oxy I can feel every ache and twinge. Shoot my hair strands hurt. I missed two doses and I'm ready to pass out. Maybe just skipping one...

Missing my snuggle buddy and going to be seen tomorrow

She misses her momma. She's curled up by my bed looking sad. I miss playing with my puppybaby :(

My doctor's coordinator called to see how I'm doing and answer some questions. She asked how I was and I went on a tangent about my tummy lump...she put me in to be seen tomorrow at 1:30 so that I wouldn't obsess over the long weekend! I have hearts in my eyes for that chica!

Wow...that was on my body?

My PS honored my request to take a picture of my tummy skin/fat during surgery. The picture was just emailed to me. He showed me quickly while I was in recovery but it didn't really register...holy smokes that's a lot of skin! Buh-bye Fluffy, RIP.

Just swelling he says

According to the PS my little lady lump over my BB looks and feels like swelling. I told him that I diagnosed myself with so many things and he said it's not a hematoma or Seroma! He said its likely from giving the BB a new home and pinning it down. We will keep an eye on it. Next week I will go in for drain removal, hopefully both cuz I can't with these painful snakes. Catch one of those bad boys on a doorknob and you will have an out of body experience!

Rants and Gratitude

Disclaimer disclaimer - I'm bored AF.

Rant:
My caregiver has left me to re-join the outside world (doesn't he know that if I'm down he's down? Hmphhhh)
My teens have gone crazy and I don't have the energy to set them straight
Flat side? What flat side; I'm swollen everyday all day! More like the interim side! Hahahaahaha, I just cracked myself up!
I'm going stir-crazy but don't have quite enough energy to do anything about it
Stomach: Swelling has travelled down and I now understand the Ken Doll syndrome
Breasts: My nipples? Dear gosh my nipples have a superpower...they are able to feel everything within a 100 mile radius

Ok I'm better now...for a bit anyway :)

Gratitude:
I have a caregiver that sacrificed a week's vacation to tend to my every need. Cook, clean, obsess over everything I wanted him to cuz he's awesome, covered kiddie duty. Last night he hosted my mom, dad, sister, and two nieces unexpectedly. He cooked he cleaned, picked up the boy from BB practice, and he kept the family company when I retreated to my bed. For the love of Pete he went to see a movie...he'll be back, he deserves it
I love my kids, I love my kids, I love my kids...even when they are knuckleheads
After the swelling comes the flatness and I haven't been flat since my teen years
I've seen great improvement (read make coffee, change gauze, haha) with what I'm able to do for myself. I have the ability to take enough time off work to dedicate to my healing. I wanted the procedures, I got the procedures, and I will love my improved body
Stomach: the pain is dying down to the point that I haven't taken the Oxy today...but I will tonight!
Breasts: damn they are pretty and perky. Zero sensitivity loss. Most importantly thanks to the reduction the back, neck, and shoulder pain have left the building. Wizardry I say!

At any given moment I swing from one side of the emotional wheelhouse to the other. I will feel what I will feel, own it, and release it however I will also check myself because really this.is.amazing!

Ok back to stalking the boards and reviews :)
XoXo

I eat like a toddler

A couple of sips of anything or couple of bites of anything and my stomach becomes unbearably full and tight. It takes forever to finish anything so I have a bit of everything. Variety is the spice of life right?
Anyhoo what you see in this picture will take me hours to finish so it will serve as my breakfast and lunch:
Pineapples
Juice made of pineapples, kale, carrot, apple, lemon, and ginger
Greek yogurt
Coffee
Water
Crackers for WHEN not IF I get nauseous (seriously when will that end?)

What you don't see is one hard boiled egg and that's because I inhaled that b*+€#.

Menu brought to you by the lovely individual who left me yesterday to be with people who don't only speak about BMs and swelling and incisions and drains...oh my, bitter much?

Party Animals

Just a girl. Sitting on a stool. Leaning on a walker. With a puppy on her feet. Rocking the coolest pair of Superwoman knees socks cuz she can. Recovery at its best folks.

Pinch, itch, and progress

As I taper down on my Oxy I'm feeling things that were masked before. Yesterday I had just one dose before bed and nothing so far today. I'm still using the Tylenol for aches.
My drains are pinching the heck out of me. It feels like when you pull your hair into a ponytail and one single hair is tighter than all the rest and you can't pull it down for relief. I usually wind up snapping said strand but I can't do squat about the drains. They aren't producing much, under 10 on both sides, so I hope to call in and have them removed tomorrow. The nurse wouldn't remove either at my visit on Friday with the PS because they like to see the drains in for at least a week and at that point I was 4 days PO.
The incisions around my breasts are itchy as heck and suddenly they are throbbing in spots so I switched out of my compression bra back into the surgical bra to let them breathe.
I still have significant swelling in my stomach specifically around the muscle repair, below, and above my belly button. My belly incision is also itchy yet numb.
Now the progress!
My BF went back to work today and I'm devestated brcause really he's not supposed to rejoin the world until I do. I thought we covered this already but he tossed out the memo. Moving on, my wonderful niece came to stay and take over babysitting duties. I just love her to pieces :).
I showered all by myself today!
It took forever and I needed a nap after but hot damn I did it! I had extra energy yesterday and I was able to walk around the apartment staying up and active for most of the day. Per my Fitbit I took 2662 steps. Now that's a far cry from what I'm used to but it is up from last week!
Naturally what does a gal do when she starts to feel better? Yup try to top the day before and almost overdo it. My niece had to go to the mall so I went with her. I walked around Macy's while I waited for her. I only made it to the coat section because my back kept whispering "hello dear settle down". Pest.
When she was done I had her take me to Target because I needed more gauze and other supplies. I told her to stay in the car in front of the store and I quickly realized that was a mistake. My basket started to get heavy because one doesn't simply grab the ONE thing from Target. My breasts started to ache, my back was yelling, no longer whispering, and my tummy started to tighten. I made a beeline for the register, paid, and ran...ok hobbled...to the car.
All that being said I'm still happy I got out! Currently I have 3338 steps in and I hope to increase this number daily...she said from the safety of her über comfy bed.
I'm glad I turned a corner shoot I hope to make myself dizzy turning corners this week, go me ;)!

D is the letter in the day

D is for the disrespectly cold weather that assaulted me during my outdoor adventures today. Brrrrrr
D is for the drains that have been snaked...literally...out of my body. Yes you read that correctly your girl is drainless!!! It didn't hurt and I was super grateful for the stitches around the drains being cut. Buh-bye pinching sensation. The nurse said that I can switch to Spanx immediately and keep them on for 3 weeks or so. I hobbled my happy behind right out to buy a couple to test out.
D is for deflated excitement: I went to take my "look at me drainless" pic, lol, and I was disappointed with the swollen lumps and bumps on my belly.
D is for disclaimer: My disappointment has nothing to do with my PS's skill, he's the man and I still have hearts in my eyes for him, it has everything to do with me wanting instant results. I want instant sexy, like "just add surgery" kind of results.
D is for damn you cosmetic surgery TV shows! Within a span of an hour you see someone go from flub to fab. I know it's not reality reality; it's scripted, edited, long term "reality" but that instantaneous result was in the back of my mind hiding and waiting to jump out like a dang on Jack-in-the-box.
D is for do not stress out over things that you have no control over. Do enjoy your downtime. Do have realistic expectations.

All DONE for now!

So wear Spanx you say?

That's really cool Ms. Nurse Lady but you left out a couple of details. Little things like how TF you get them on without tearing open incisions. I was straight up wrestling with myself, complete with grunting, trying to get that gluey, rubbery torture device over my swollen hips. I finally get it up and BAM it's not sucking me in. No this can't be right. What size is this? Oh XL but I'm swollen that should be ok right? Spanx can't be true to size. Wrong.
What I should have done yesterday after having my drains pulled was go home and take my measurements instead of running out to grab the Spanx like a kid running to the candy store.
According to their size chart I should have purchased a medium. Easy enough of a fix you would think except for the fact that it was so darn hard to get the XL up.
Ok little lady calm down and take a look at the other one you bought; ugh it's a Large. What's a girl to do? Yup put the Large over the XL and the two should equal a medium right? Hahahhaahhahaha no I don't think so but wait...something magical happened.
What it did do was suck me in like a midevil torture device. It immediately improved my posture. I was standing ruler straight with zero hunchover period. Back pain? What back pain? Instead of taking one off I decided to take advantage of my new posture and go out for my daily exercise. Today it was to go to the Supermarket.
I felt, no, I know I was walking like a toy soldier but I made it through the entire store, up the stairs back home AND I'm not crying. Micro victories all around!

Progress Pic and Public Service Announcement

Hallelujah!
I think the Spanx helped to even out the swollen lumps and bumps a little bit, thank goodness!!!!
Sidenote: I feel like I spend everyday looking for the perfect pair of Spanx and I need to stop. Obsessed much? Maybe! Did you know they also make pants? Moving on ;)!

My poor boobies...I have been ignoring them and giving all the attention to the tummy. You know what they say.,.the squeaky wheel gets the grease!

What can I say about my little lovies? Ever since the day of surgery my pain level has been super low when it comes to my breast. They are throbbing a bit now only because I started my cycle and I typically have breast pain with it. Neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain? Nada, magic I say!
The swelling moved from the top to the sides of each breast. My nipples are super, super, super duper sensitive still. I hate getting cold because they get so hard that I feel like I can cut glass with them! I'm happy I never lost sensitivity but I hope it lessens over time. With all of that being said I just KNOW when my girls settle they are going to be perfection.
Now whenever I button up, zip up, or pull on a shirt I'm in awe...is that me? The button isn't separating from the loop, the zipper isn't stopped under my breast or zipped over and squishing them, and the V-neck doesn't look Xrated!
My son actually said that I don't look like mom anymore. I told him to get used to it...that this is the improved 2016 version! You just wait for summer by the pool Lovebug...BWWAAAHAHAHAA! Get yourselves prepared is all I'm going to say!
Pretty and perky breasts with a flat little snatched waist equals a hot little mommy :)!

Onto my PSA.
Do not under any circumstances go out to eat while trying to avoid low sodium foods. Lettuce and water will NOT get ordered...stop it!
I went to the Cheesecake Factory with my niece/driver after buying more Spanx...(I know I have a problem)...and I ordered from the little bites menu. I only ate half the order and drank water. The level of swelling that I achieved was bananas. I thought my stomach was going to bust through my Spanx and send it flying through the air like an elastic band launched from two outstretched fingers.
Water, water, and more water is on the menu for the rest of the day. Phewwwwwww.

Happy Friday!

So I'm 18 days PO today and had a follow up visit with the PS. He remarked how "chipper" I was and it's totally because A) I feel great and have massive amounts of energy B) I'm socializing by being there (sad huh?) and C) I feel human again thanks to the cute blow out and curl job I'm sporting, lol!

The visit was quick. I still have the original steri-strips on. He said I can take them off if I like but they are ok to stay put; they do their job up to 3 weeks out. I have a love hate relationship with them at this point. I want to see the incisions but I feel like the strips are protecting me. Maybe I will rock with them just one more week..maybe!

The lump above my BB looks like normal swelling to the PS...ughhhh...I half wanted it to be something else so that he could work on it. I was mentally preparing myself to see a big fat needle to aspirate whatever it is. Nope. Nada. The lump isn't spectacular its basic. Basic, run of the mill swelling. I will try once again to be patient and wait for entry to the "flat side" that eludes me.

I'm surprised that I don't have pain, just discomfort at times. Swell hell is really disrespectful and I want to put it in a full-Nelson. My breasts are still swollen on the sides and get "zingers" more often now. Its because magic is happening in there reconnecting all the whozits and whatnot...very scientific I know!

Activity-wise my Fitbit tells me that I have 63,868 steps so far this week. I've been on full mom duty with school and BBall drop offs, cooking (sometimes), and light cleaning. I had brunch with a girlfriend and got my hair done. I'm feeling more like myself everyday, hallelujah!

I asked about exercise and I was told I could try at 6 weeks. He told me to start walking and I mentioned that ship sailed already (see Fitbit comment above). I asked about planks and push ups and he said 6 weeks. I asked about using the elliptical and he ok'd it! As long as I keep the intensity, heart rate, and blood pressure low it is ok. See what I did there? Negotiation 101 baby, hahaha!

I didn't tell him that I already used the elliptical today for 20 minutes. That will be my dirty little secret. I was cautious and my speed was 1.4-1.8. I didn't even break a sweat.

My search for the perfect Spanx has not gone well. Nothing feels tight enough and I've been layering garments or putting my abdominal binder on top to get that snug feeling. Meh, another excuse to get more steps in and shop I guess!!! I did however find a Spanx tank top and that sucker held my breasts and tummy nicely! Pic attached :)

Mind versus Body 3 Week Edition

Man oh man was I ever battling the 3 week blues this past week. My mind told me that I can do anything and when I tried to do a little (ok a lot) my body quickly told me to settle down and have several seats. I began to work from home this past Monday with part-time hours and so that I could ease myself back into the swing of things. Sounds good so far right? The entire time that I was on my computer I was standing and marching in place to get some steps in and help circulation. Sounds good right? WRONG. That was the beginning. I stayed true to my part-time hours and logged off at 12:30 but then I went to the market and ran another errand. I bought too much so I had to make several trips to the car to get the bags. I cooked and did the usual mom evening activities. By 6ish I was dead! I had cankles, my back ached, and my stomach was so swollen it felt like it was going to explode. I went to bed early and slept like the dead. I learned my lesson and the rest of the week I was much gentler on my healing body.

Here is the dilemma…my brain says, move, exercise, see friends, go shopping, twirl in circles, whatever, and my body tries, bless it’s heart, to comply but it craps out on me. I’m going to need to this to resolve soon. I don’t want to jeopardize my health in anyway but I’m at that halfway point where I’m not in pain and I have energy but my body just.cant.keepup. I’m tired of laying down and sitting still. I’m tired of not exercising (real exercise) and I feel flabby. My “fluffy” piece of skin is gone from my stomach but I’m so swollen that my waist is measuring larger now than pre-surgery. My breasts are smaller and not causing any pain in my neck, back, or shoulders but now they are softening and causing discomfort when they move around. They are partially swollen and soft and ITCHY!!!! I still have 90% of my steri-strips on because I’m scared to peel them off and they are hanging on for dear life. I guess that one is not so bad because it is holding the incisions together. I’m supposed to have dissolvable stitches but where the steri-strips fell off I can see and feel the stitches. How long does it take for them to dissolve? Note to self…I need to email the PS office on Monday to ask.

My brain says: This will pass and I can see the finish line. I’m going to look back at this rant and laugh. I’m going to have a hot little rockin body and I’m just paying my dues. BTW do you want to go work out?
My soul says: WAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAA! Whine, whine, whine, whine!
My body says: Cool let’ work out…JOKES!!!! Rest now?

Enough of that. Here are the good things that happened this week:
I can stretch in the morning, head to toe stretch, in bed without tensing my body or crying
I can sneeze, cough, and laugh without serious pain. Laughing is a bit harder, I still need to hold my belly!
Driving is easier, I still have to be gentle turning the wheel to not disturb my breasts, but it is easier
I got to socialize with work folks, over the phone, but still! I got to speak to people about things other than my healing body!
I got to take the dog out for a long walk and watch her seriously enjoy the snow and I did not feel like I wanted to die halfway through or when I got back in

Picture wise I can’t see much of a difference but I’m sure there are subtle changes that I will eventually be able to see when I’m not so all over the place :).

3 week pics

Not sure why they didn't load with my review...hmmmm

Testing...

Healing is not a linear process

Some days I'm swollen to the point that my incisions feel like they will burst and some days I feel like a sexy beast. Some days I have endless energy and some days I feel like I've been hit by a truck by 8pm and go to sleep. Some nights I sleep like a baby and some nights I can't get comfortable for the life of me.

One thing that remains consistent is how happy I am that I made the decision to get the breast reduction and tummy tuck. The breast reduction got rid of that pesky neck, back, shoulder pain, and headaches. The tummy tuck got rid of that fluffy post-children stretched out skin and will help me return to the way I used to look before the multiple weight gains and losses.

Even in this interim space of swelling, incision pain, and sometimes exhaustion I'm happy with the surgeries and excited at what my final results will be.

This process has been an exercise in my patience; sitting still, letting others take on more than their fare share, and honoring my body where it's at...not where I want it to be.

I'm used to working out hard; like lay in a pool of my own sweat hard! High intensity interval training and strength training gives me life! Walking and doing light elliptical work as ok'd by my PS is driving me crazy! I keep staring at my dumbbells and kettlebell with tears in my eyes, lol! I want to pull out my Insanity, Combat, and P90x DVDs and put in weerrrrkkk ok?

Confession time...I did pull out my T25 workouts and started those workouts but on a super modified level. No jumping, no twisting, no hard punching, no burpees, just moving my body slowly and getting a little exercise buzz going ;).

I'm back to work full-time, I did work from home the majority of the week but the increased hours did a bit of a number on my energy level. I went into the office and was so excited to put on "office clothes" and heels, yes I said heels!!! It felt weird walking in the heels for the first hour because every strike in the floor made my belly vibrate/contract and breast jiggle. Both we're very odd feelings. The feeling wasn't painful just uncomfortable especially around the incisions.

Can I tell you how amazing it felt to put a shirt on and have it drape over my body the way I feel like it should? Not super tight in the chest and not clinging to my belly. I think I see lots of shopping in my future now that I can enjoy how the clothes look on me! I may be able to wear a sweater dress and NOT have it look like I'm headed to the club! #curvygirlissues

Another confession...as I got re-acclimated to normal life I started overindulging in food and drinks. It all started with a Superbowl party and it went downhill from there. I'm not sure if it was a "make up for lost time" thing or what. I had too much wine, bourbon, and carbs..what in the world was that?!?! I'm not a big carb girl but this week I had pizza, pasta, and bread, oh my! My appetite was on overdrive...think teenaged boy, bottomless pit overdrive! Thankfully I nipped that behavior because I don't want to have to battle weight gain on top of healing and normally that's just not me.

What else? My steri-strips are 98% off now. My tummy scar doesn't look too bad and neither do the scars I can see on my breasts. I mentioned that I'm still swollen. I'm wearing a size medium in the wireless bras. I'm measuring as a full 34C so I will likely settle nicely into a full B/small C when it's all said and done. I'm wearing a size small in Spanx and I still use my ab binder on top when I exercise or just feel like I need extra compression. I feel more tension on my the left side of my body, breast, muscles, scars and all. I'm ok with my BB shape so far. I'm not using scar creams or sheets or gels as of yet. I still have scabs so I'm just keeping them super moisturizer with coconut oil and Avene Cicalfate restorative skin cream.

That's all for now on my week 4 adventures. I'm off to run errands and see people! Have a great weekend :)!

End of week 6 update

Life has been doing what it does and I've been neglecting to update my lil ole blog but I'm back!

So this week was my 6th week post op and some funky things have happened...like to hear it? Here it goes! My left breast has no manners nor home training. Why you ask? Because she's a spitter...just decided all willy nilly to start spitting out stitches, 3 to be exact! The nurse at my PS's office said I could come in to have them removed but those lil rascals jumped out on their own. Those holes are healing so I guess that means she is starting to mind her manners. My breasts are still partially soft and partially swollen. I have no idea what size I will wind up with but as long as they go down from here I will be a happy camper.

Things with my stomach are going well. I still won't part wth my compression garments...even though I'm cleared to...and I still have an obsession with finding the "right" one. I bought a corset/trainer/whatever called Squeem from Lady Grace, it was nice and tight for a week and now I'm ready for the next size down. I don't think I will buy anymore...I need an intervention! I tried going without a garment for a couple of hours and I swear it felt like I pulled a muscle so I put it back on. I'm going to try a schedule of weaning myself off...one hour, two hours, etc. I still have swelling all around; it's rare that I have a totally flat moment. It's happened twice I think in the AM but once I drink coffee...buy bye flat and hello bloat!

Lastly and more importantly I saw the PS yesterday for my 6 week PO and the visit went beautifully. He was impressed with my scar, healing, and overall look. He actually said that my healing appears to be ahead of schedule! He asked what I was doing/using. I'm only using coconut oil for my scars and a cream from Avene. I've been walking, using the elliptical, and doing T25 workouts, modified of course!
He cleared me for everything. Here is how our convo went:
I said say what? Everything? Yes. I can lift weights? Yes. I can do ab exercise? Yes. I can do my high intensity interval training? Ummmm, yes but ease into it ok? Burpees? I don't know what that is but yes and slowly!

Needless to say I put in some werrk today! I pulled out the Insanity Max30 DVD and followed the modifier. I modified the modifiers moves, lol. I had to hit pause three times but I did it. Then because I don't know how to stop I put in a strength training DVD. It was only 25 minutes but again I followed the modifier. I missed sweating...like really missed it.
So far so good, I didn't pass out yet! I will see how I feel and hopefully get to workout again tomorrow.

Now I must go because my niece has appointed me her companion to play games at ChuckECheese :(!
The little people are scaring me...I'm going to guard my tummy and breasts for dear life!!!

Almost end of Week 8 Update

I have to get this out first. PMS on its own is awful. PMS + recovering from a BR, and MM with MR is torTURE. Sweet baby Jesus laying in the manger…what kind of swelling is this? My Breasts are throbbing to the point that I’m using my compression bra and post-surgical bra for comfort. My TT incision is also throbbing, itchy, and hurts. Particularly where my drains were, that oowee, that is a special kind of pinching/hurt..ouch! I tried putting my compression back on to help with the swelling and NOOOOOO it made it worse with itching! Back in the draw you go my old friend. Deep sigh.

Moving on to the more positive aspects of my recovery!

I heart workouts! One thing to note is that I’m not sweating the way I used to. I’m colder since the surgery than I was before, which is weird because I always ran hot. I can no longer rely on the “sweat test” to confirm how hard I worked. "Balls to the wall" will no longer be confirmed by head to toe sweat!

Last I left off I started to get back into my “real” workouts with the PS’s blessing; I was cleared to do whatever I liked so I went back to “Insanity Max 30” doing the modified moves and strength training with 5lbs. I used my ab binder during workouts the first couple of days but found that I was relying on the binder to hold my core in during workouts and as a result I started having back pain. When I stopped using the binder I was holding in my core while doing burpees, planks, spider lunges, etc (remember modified) and yes it stung a little bit but that feeling went away within days. Fast forward to the second week of these kinds of workouts I have moved on to doing half modified/half regular moves and using 10lbs for strength training (3 moves/exercises per body part, 3 sets xs 15 reps). The great thing about doing a program designed to run over the course of several weeks is that you can gauge your progress week to week with the same workouts. I have worked over every muscle (oh sweet burn) between using body weight and using the dumbbells…dang I missed the rush you get when you pump iron…all 10lbs of them, lol! I almost forgot that I started using my 15lb kettlebells and that felt good too. I will stay with this weight until it no longer is a challenge then I will move up to the 20s…ohhhh I can’t wait! I incorporated dancing workouts (Cize, if you are interested) so that I can get a lot of the twisting, flowy movements in there until I am ready to hit the mat with PiYo (mix of pilates and yoga) or full on yoga. The twisting and stretching has really helped my range of motion; my stomach still has tightness in spots, especially by the scar but even that feeling has improved.

On to the Body!

My stomach still swells after eating, drinking, and exercising…basically all day except for when I first wake up! I still have the bump above my belly button but I am starting to see as the swelling is coming down that the bump extends to the left side and under my BB also on the right but not as much. Basically around the MR area! I guess if I had a longer torso it wouldn't be so pronounced. I also noticed that as things settle and get softer that I have jiggly bits, love handles…where did those come from? The PS and I will need to have a nice little heart to heart about this if it doesn’t resolve by my next appointment. If I hear that it is swelling I think I will jump. I have not gained weight…so there is no explanation especially since I had flank lipo. Speaking of the lipo, the burning and stinging is mainly in the front by my hip and pelvic bones…weird right?

My breasts are softening but still sore mainly at the bottom (T junction) and sides. I’m still in a size medium soft bra and 34 C some 34 Ds as well. They still have an odd-ish shape and I’m anxiously waiting for them to take their final shape and look more…natural...like a tear drop :).

My scars are flat and thin except for my BB. It is raised and one side is bubbly-looking. I freaked out and sent an email to the Nurse at the PS’s office and she told me to start massaging all scars 3xs a day. At my next appointment we will discuss next steps which could possibly include steroid injection. I was using coconut oil and a cream from Avene but I have started to include a silicone gel serum from Scar Away. Speaking of the BB it is looking nice and round and as the swelling comes down I am sure that I will really like it…once the bubbles are taken care of. Oh yeah I mentioned above that the spots where my drains were sting like a mutha…it deserves to be mentioned again because…it stings like a mutha.

On to clothes, not my uniform of stretchy jeans, leggings, or sweats…but “real clothes!

Funny story. I went out for my cousin’s birthday and it is the first time that I got dressed, dressed. Hair done, full face of makeup, dancing around having my Beyonce moment and then BAM my moment was rudely interrupted by the realization that I don't know how to dress this body. So…what fits that won’t attack my belly and will be flattering on my chest and what bra will I wear? After my panic attack I settle on a super old 34D bra, slim fit pants, and a v neck sleeveless top with a crop jacket…well thank goodness for that jacket because I was adjusting that v neck all night because it was too large and sliding down! Side note: I did not, I repeat DID NOT have to adjust my breasts at all! That is such a new and welcome feeling. Seriously not having to readjust them and fold them into origami to look decent after every other move was heaven! It is a great feeling knowing that I need to go shopping again but I’m in limbo and don’t want to buy real clothes until everything settles on the top and bottom! Back to that night, man did I ever dance and dance and danced and got home at 3:30am. I was tired and had a sore back the next day but man was it great to be out!

I would love to say that I’m at the point where my first thought of the day and my last thought of the evening is not on my recovery but that would be a lie. It’s ever present during the day and even during the night while I’m switching sleeping positions. I have some great thoughts and I have some impatient, wanting to be over it thoughts, but at the end of the day I’m a happy gal.

Later gaters :)!

DANGIT I hit update instead of load new pics grrrr

Lymphatic Massage

I wanted...no needed some relief from the tummy swelling and sore sides at the lipo sites. I've been reading a lot about lymphatic massage and decided to go and get one today! I paid for a 60 min session and wound up getting 90 minutes! I guess it helps that I'm a Chatty Cathy and so was the therapist. She wound up massaging me just about everywhere and not just the surgical sites. She really went to town on my traps...ouchie. Other than that the massage didn't hurt and she gave me tips on how to do it on myself. I scheduled another session for next week...this time I will pay for the 90 mins, hehehe! I guess I will see tomorrow if I wake up EXTRA flat...even if I don't it was totally worth it just for the relaxation...ahhhhhhhh
Boston Plastic Surgeon

So far so good. Personable, put me at ease, took his time during our consult. Update Very informative, thorough, and compassionate. The day before surgery Dr. Lin reached out to discuss my procedures in detail and give me the opportunity to ask any questions. Again he was very patient, I didn't feel rushed, and every question was answered no matter how silly! The day of surgery he reiterated the procedures and solicited questions. Post surgery in recovery he came to see me and confirmed what he did. Dr. Lin also checked in on me the next morning in my hospital room to see how I was coming along. I had a concern post op and wanted to be seen. His amazing coordinator set up a visit for the next day and later that evening I got a surprise call from Dr. Lin to go over my concerns prior to the visit. I definitely felt cared for and not just a number.

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 Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
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