Here Goes - Calgary, AB

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Hey girls. Real Self has become my goodnight read...

Hey girls. Real Self has become my goodnight read. I am scheduled for a mommy makeover (more recently described to me as a rack and rake!) on August 23rd. I paid today so it's officially official. Until this payment it felt like I could, and would, cancel. I am 38 years old and, thanks to a great girlfriend, your stories, and my doctor's amazing staff, I am sooo excited for this experience. I have three boys ages 14, 8 and 4. I also have a wonderful husband who is 100% supportive and having a bit of fun with my belly before it's gone. He is happy with my body but I'm not. I'm looking forward to swimming with my boys instead of covering myself up. I'm excited to not have to tuck in my skin or sit and have my underwear roll away. I'd like to buy a belt. I want to throw on a t-shirt and not look pregnant. I want to do Zumba and not have to find workout clothes to hold in the "stuff". It's all so much work. I'm ready.

Looking Around

It's interesting... I've never really looked at other people's figures before. I just know what I don't like about mine. But ever since I've been researching this procedure I look at people differently. I think I'm trying to figure out what I am going to look like afterwards. To find a person with my future body. It freaks me out a bit that won't recognize myself. I'm really stressing about having boobs. I've never even purchased a real bra before. I live in sports bras. I was so flat in junior high I remember it made me feel better to pretend boobs were a name for just another fat roll ;) A fat roll I didn't have. *laugh

The pain I'm worried about it the muscle repair. I have a 7cm separation all the way up to my rib cage. It has been taking a toll on my back and my vertebra has started to fuse due to the lack of core strength. It was actually my physio therapist who suggested this was the only way I was ever going to correct that. The (hopefully) yummy mummy look afterwards is the fun part!

I've weaned myself from coffee (felt like a three day hangover). I hate to admit I'm literally hooked. Well, no longer. I'd like to rid my body of things like that first.

So, I have this mega list that I've compiled, with the help of real self members, regarding items I should pickup before surgery. I spoke to my PS staff about it and they said I won't need anything on there except maybe a leg wedge that they can lend me, a binder which they already gave me and a naturalpathic stool softener (they said sometimes the real stuff cramps a person up which is not fun). Otherwise, supposedly, they stay in such close contact that they dish out stuff like nausea meds, scar tape, bruising stuff etc as I need it. I hope they are right! Big question... Is a toilet seat riser truly needed? What about a shower stool? Girls, what could you not live without??

Oil of Oregano... Here I come...

So, I'm stressing today. I've come down with something. So far it's mild sore throat, sore left ear, pain behind my left eye etc. My colds often turn into sinus infections. I have two weeks to get better on the natural stuff only! Vitamin C, oil of oregano, extra sleep and cold FX. Anyone have any other suggestions? My PS has his office closed until August 19th so I am not able to get advice from him right now. I don't want to risk starting antibiotics without him giving the go ahead but by then it will be too late. Because of my work, if this gets worse and then postponed, I will have to wait until January :(

I'm self employed but very busy over the Christmas season... October on. It's good that I have control of my time but since I can't know how quickly I'll recover I feel like I am putting some of my business growth on hold. I'm looking forward to being past this part and moving forward again so a delay would be really frustrating. What will be will be.... However, that doesn't mean I can't put up a good fight!

In five minutes it will be two days!

So, I kicked the sinus infection and I'm back on track. I've been crazy busy with work and it has definitely helped to keep my mind off the surgery. I feel as though I should be more stressed than I am at this point. My two biggest fears are 1) that after all the time, pain and cost I put into this I'll come out looking the same. I suppose I just cannot imagine myself without this belly. Has anyone else feel that way before surgery? I really don't want to be disappointed. I look in the mirror and try to stretch my skin out of the way to get a visual but it doesn't really work. 2) the swelling everyone talks about. I looked like a throw cushion in all three of my pregnancies... The swelling was brutal. Does anyone know if that was hormones or if I'm more likely to swell after surgery because that's just the way I am? Sigh.

So, I need to be at the surgical center Friday morning at 7am. My hubby is going to drive me there and get everything organized for me and then a friend is going to pick me up afterwards. The plan is for my husband to take all of our boys on a three night get away while my girlfriend stays at our place and plays nurse maid. I feel better not having the kids around for the worst of it. Hate to scare them and also... They are sooo loud! My boys never seem to stop moving ;)

I called my PS today with several questions about prepping and he said I don't need to use special soap before surgery. I can shave if I want to. No special instructions other than not eating before midnight. He is so relaxed about everything. That gives me a lot of confidence in him. His staff said I'll feel great by day three. I laughed.. "Great"? I told them I'll have to hold them to that if I can even manage get out of my recliner.

10 more hours and...

I am starting to feel like I'm either going to die or come out with my leg sewn to my head! Yikes!

Day One

Feeling good right now! The worst pain was when I woke up this morning and had to walk around to avoid the blood clotting but still very tolerable. Looked in the mirror for the first time a few minutes ago. I'm all bandaged up so can't see much skin but the shape is looking really nice! Pictures to come later.

Day Two

I find that it isn't a consistent level of soreness throughout a day. About two hours after pain killers is my best period. Big difference to when it starts wearing off.

I'm hoping that my itinerary for day two includes washing my hair in the kitchen sink. Our sink is like the big farm style single tubs and it has the detachable spray nozzle. Perhaps if I rest my elbows on the side, my girlfriend can give it a wash. I know it will help make me feel more human!

Still not much of a desire to eat. I've had some apple sauce, yogurt and lots of Pinapple juice. Tried to eat a small piece of lasagna last night, because I thought I should, but it made me feel really gassy. Yuck.

Before surgery, I purchased a recliner that brings me up to full standing position. This chair was, by far, my best buy! Got it second hand off kijiji for 60 bucks! My two kitties think they are in heaven having me lounge all day. They are constantly on top of my blankets or beside me. They follow me to the bathroom and even on my little exercise walks around the house. Soooo cute! I haven't had any swelling in my legs and I haven't removed my binder so I'm not sure about my tummy swelling. It does not seem like I'm draining much though.... Maybe it's the arnica that is helping? Is there a "normal" amount that I should be draining?

My chest is about the same level if pain as tummy. Just a different type of pain. After surgery, when I woke up from my anesthetic I immediately asked my nurse if she had punched me. I don't think she thought that was funny ;)

One Week Update

I got both drains removed yesterday and it feels wonderful. So freeing. I think I was always trying to protect them a bit. My belly is very flat too! I got to see it for the first time :) it's a bit surreal!! My belly button still looks like what a newborn baby has though.

He stitched up a 7 cm separation and also said I had a hernia he repaired! He said he cut off 5 lbs of tummy skin and surprised himself on that a bit too. I'm so happy I did this for myself.

Tried on some cute panties that I had purchased a long time ago but never wore and it's a world of difference. The scar is really low. Kind of hidden in the bikini line. He said that continuing to sleep with bent knees helps to keep the scar tiny. I do still have a bunch of stretch marks because they used the cover my entire belly but I'm okay with that. I just really want to feel good in my own skin and never really thought that I would again. I didn't really realize what this proceedure was about. I didn't even think about it before my physiotherapist told me how much I'd benefit from it. She was mostly referring to how the 7cm gap repair would help my back in the long run but the flat tummy is a HuGE bonus! Yay!!!

One Week Photos!!

Day 9

I can't believe how happy I am for having done this!! Recovery has been a breeze. I still swell a little but that is nothing compared to my old belly. For the first time in years I no longer feel over weight. I always went on different diets hoping that loosing another ten pounds would somehow make my belly magically disappear. What was I thinking?! Turns out I was a perfect candidate for a tummy tuck. I still remember how mortified I was taking clothes off for my consultation!! now, every time I walk into my bedroom I want to look at my new tummy :)

My surgeon is amazing! I found out he also specializes in micro surgery and therefore does an awesome job with details. I truly believe it is due to his skills that I have zero bruising, low pain (was off percoset after day two), very low swelling and a perfect looking, very symmetrical scar! My new boobs are also incredible... I'm just too shy to put a photo of my breasts on line right now ;). He did a complete aerola incision and I never lost any sensation due to numbness. Wow! I highly recommend doing your research on surgeons before this proceedure. I had to wait three months for my first consult and another seven months until the surgery date but I decided maybe a wait was a good sign and it totally was!! Sooooo happy :)

Two weeks

It's officially been two weeks since surgery and I feel really good. My husband took our boys camping this weekend and I stayed home. Had lunch with some girlfriends and a movie night with another. Sleeping on the ground at a campsite sounds like a bad idea to me at this point :) I find body fatigue sets in sometimes which is a little frustrating but I think it must be due to my body still working hard on healing. I think it's good to listen to the fatigue and relax for a while. I have my steri strips off and only wear my binder during the day now. I follow doctors orders on wearing the binder but I do look forward to the day Its gone for good. I also am looking forward to some exercise! I think it's a while before doing anything other than walking but I'll ask my PS about it this week.

20 days

So, all of a sudden I'm in swell hell! I've had very minor swelling until now. Why now? Is it because I'm doing so much more? Is it because I'm not watching sodium enough? Is it because this is a new stage of healing? Also, until now, I've mostly experienced an overall achy or body fatigue when I do too much but now it is a more concentrated soreness that seems to move to different spots. Yesterday the left side of my incision was quite sore but now I feel it more in the muscle repair area. Are nerve endings connecting or something? My belly is so round by the end of the night. It's quite frustrating! If I knew that it was just a healing process it would make me feel better. I see my PS this afternoon so I'm curious what he will say :)

18 months post op

Just some updates. Everything is great. No regrets!
Dr. DeHaas

So far so great! I've seen his work on another person and he's a real perfectionist. I've been told he actually contours the belly so that it curves in at the belly button instead of being perfectly flat... I'll let you know if that happens! He has given me a lot of his time. Doesn't rush. I'll add to this section PO.

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