Tummy tuck for back pain, issues with seroma and wound separation, 47 with 4 kiddos

I am excited and nervous about doing this. I have...

I am excited and nervous about doing this. I have terrible back issues and wonder how I will get through recovery with my normal back pain and without being able to do my back stretching but I am also really hoping that the muscle repair will help improve my back pain. I am going to use the experal and would love to hear from anyone who used this as I think it will help with post pain recovery. My surgeon uses a drainless approach. I am 5'7" and weigh 171, if I can lose another 5 pounds, great but my stomach just pops out due to no muscle to hold it in, so hopefully I will see a big change after surgery.

Lots of Questions for Post - Op - can someone help?!

Well, the wait seems to be forever once you decide you are going to do it. I decided to wait until close to the holidays since I will have less work commitments and my kids will be out of school for the holiday. I am also trying to lose weight while I wait. I was close to 180 when I started and weighed in at 169 today. I am hoping to be at least 165 by the time surgery comes, my lowest I have ever been is 162 and I look pretty good (fat wise) at that level, I just have my stomach poking out due to lax muscles and the extra skin and only the TT can fix that.

Now, my questions. My surgeon made it sound like the recovery from surgery was not THAT bad. However, when I read things here, people are renting hospital beds and walkers, and using adaptive bathroom devices... so I don't know what to think! What do I need to buy / rent to prepare. Here are my questions...

1. Will I be comfortable / able to walk up a flight of stairs to my bedroom and back down to be with family or just want to room downstairs for 1-2 weeks?

2. Will a regular bed work for sleeping?

3. Will sleeping with a moving spouse bug me?

4. Should I consider renting a hospital bed for a week for downstairs?

5. Is it better to rent a special chair? Or some kind of lift chair?

6. I have a leather recliner but I can't really imagine sleeping in that... I also have a power sofa that reclines, will those work?

7. What about dogs who live with you? I am concerned they will decide to love on me...

8. What do I really need for bathroom needs? Will I be getting up to use bathroom with regular toilet okay?

9. Do I need a walker?

10. Should I buy a second compression garment ahead of time? How do I know what type or one? There are so many and I have NO IDEA what size!

11. Do you pee with these on?

12. Do you take off to shower and put back on, they seem hard to put on if swollen, wouldn't that be painful to do?

13. What is a list of other things I should buy? I can't really find a good list, even though I have read all the Q&A areas.

14. On a scale from 1-10, what is your pain like right afterwards? How about on day 1, day 2, day 3?

15. I usually don't have a BM for 5 days after regular surgery, so I am always afraid of getting things moving... anyone have any thoughts besides stool softeners on this...

Okay, enough questions for now :-) THANKS to anyone who can help me! Trying to figure this out since my surgeon gives me the impression it is a walk in the park!!!

Pre-op is Monday, Getting Close!!!

I can't believe it is finally only a few weeks until surgery! I have been putting it out of my mind mostly because I would go crazy if I thought about it all the time. I still wonder if I am crazy for choosing to put myself in this much pain! I am scared that I have never had any surgery this BIG before. I had a partial hysterectomy but that wasn't too bad at all. I had a spinal fusion of L5-S1 and I thought that was going to be terrible and it is for MANY people but I did a minimally invasive one. It was "difficult" but really not too bad, I imagine this is going to be much worse than that. I only had two cuts that were 6 inches long each on my back. Moving afterwards was hard and I think that part will be similar to this.

I also feel guilty that I won't be all "there" for the holiday. I am the one who takes care of almost all the holiday stuff. I do all the shopping and organizing of holiday cheer. I know this Christmas is going to be low key without all the gifts and I feel sort of guilty because of it. Maybe it will start a good trend of less is more... I needed to find a time to do the surgery when I would be least needed for other things and the kids always need me for homework, driving, and just being there... holiday time is the only time when all that other stuff is not there as much.

Well, I don't even know what is in a "pre-op" so I guess I will find out. I already had my blood done and an EKG which came out a bit off so it led to an Echo but that was fine. I guess he will give me prescriptions and go over the procedure??

18 days until the flat side...

Two days to go

Well two days to go. Here is what I bought and did to get ready:

1. Cleaning / nesting so house feels clean while I can't do anything about it.
2. Ordered meds (too late and pain meds will come day after surgery but I am getting experal so I should be okay)
3. Ordered full body pillow
4. Walker
5. Toilet riser
6. Arnica
7. Bromalein
8. Shaved bikini area, legs, underarms
9. Cut nails
10. Colored hair
11. Bought button down shirt to wear
12. Prepared for help
13. Cancelled work
14. Kids will be out of school most time, hence not have high demands of school work and activities
15. Prepare for holiday

I took some new photos today and might try to get a couple more done on tomorrow, the last day before I go to the flat side. Make a comment if your body is similar to mine.

Night before jitters

I cannot believe the day of surgery is tomorrow. I tried to do things right as I have constipation issues to begin with, some mild IBS, so I ate just green beans for dinner the last two nights hoping it would help get things moving. I also took colace and one senecot and had one very small BM so now I am worried I will either have nervous bm's in the morning or none at all and then get backed up from surgery. It took over 7 days after my last surgery. Everything gets so sleepy down there... Ugh...

On the other hand, I find myself freaking out about not living through this. I sat down with hubby and talked a little about my wishes and as my friends and family called to say how much they loved me, especially those who don't usually say it a lot, got me more freaked out.

My kids are a little worried too, I can tell.

I'm sure it will be fine, they do this all the time... Still, can't help but worry, don't want to leave my family without me....

So, yeah these are my wonderful thoughts the night before surgery, I keep trying to distract myself. I took my shower tonight and got out my clothes and meds. I can survive not eating but not having my cup of tea will kill me. I hope to wake about an hour before I have to leave.

All right, time to see if I can sleep...

Surgery day

I woke early of course which just added to how hungry I was by surgery time. When I finally got called back, I met with the nurse first and she went over my history, nothing major. Then I met the anesthesiologist and she asked a bunch of questions. I liked that she told me all the meds they would be using. It was twilight sleep, no breathing tube or anything like that. Then the doctor came in and drew a huge area on my stomach, I probably should have taken a picture. He said, we are going to take off a lot. They also talked a little about my face as they were doing an injection of Filler in my nasiolabial lines and a few small shots of free Botox they gave me in my forehead.

Next, I maws taken to their surgical suite room. I climbed under the covers and they put compression bags on my legs, an IV in, and I got warm air shots under the covers, NICE. Next thing I knew, I, was out. All meds were through the IV.

Then, the nurse was telling me to open my eyes. I was already dresses, LOL. I did not really want to wake up. Sleep was so nice. Finally, I opened my eyes and they were encouraging me to sit up and get into the wheel chair. I did with help. They wheeled me to the back entrance and hubby had car. Doctor and nurse helped me walk to car and I went home.

It might seem fast to those who spend time in hospital but after going that route with my back fusion, I am much happier with this. The doctor called to check on me.

I hurt quite a bit at first and was nauseous. So I took a pain pill, nausea pill, and ate and feel a ton better. I peed without a sleepy bladder like I had with regular anesthesia so I am pleased with.

I also laughed, Big Mistake, don't do it.

I had the experal so my pain may get worse on day 3, I hope not. Doctor said he took off 5.5 pounds of skin, Wow.

I will keep updating. Right now, i am just feeling sleepy.

Cat compression and what you say when you are under anesthesia !

My ps suggests buying a bag of bird seed, putting it in a pillow case and using it as additional compression on the mons pubis. It also makes a good cat perch and you get bonus cat compression too. :)

Here is a story I forgot to add... So I brought a scopolamine patch with me for nausea that I had from my last cruise since you all have me freaked out about throwing up post surgery and anesthesia makes me sick. I asked the anesthesiologist about it but she said I would be fine without and didn't really like them. I said fine. We went to surgery, no patch... I just found the thing behind my ear and have no memory of the discussions we apparently had that allowed me to get it there... I wondered why the doctor was asking if I threw up... Do you have polite filters when you are under the influence? Lol or did I demand my patch... Who knows what I said.... ;)

Day 1 post op

i wasn't tired at all yesterday which was strange, finally around midnight decided it was time for bed. My plan had been to sleep in the living room recliner. However, I tend to get migraines if my neck gets in bad position and a migraine with vomiting right now would not be good. So Hubby suggested we try our bed. I put pillows under my knees and had a body pillow between hubby and I.

I felt pretty good. The only thing I can't do is go from being flat to sitting up. I have call Hubby to pull me to a sitting. My bed is nice and high so it is easy to get in and out of once I get into a seated position. I still felt nauseous off and on and took the Zofran prescribed.

I have no problem going to bathroom alone. I have not gone #2 yet though, I might need help for that, we will see.

My walker is amazing. It allows me to go places without help. I only need help on the stairs, which is to be expected. I take short laps around the house each day with the walker too.

My pain level is worse than I thought since I had experal. I would say a 5/6. Today is a little worse than yesterday. I did not sleep through the night and the most annoying thing was not being able to change positions at all.

I tried sleeping on my side, sort of, and it was okay when I was on but afterwards my pain increased to a 9/10 so I stopped trying.

During the day today I am sleepy and bored. I don't even want watch TV as I will forget what I saw.

Well, there is more but getting sleepy..
I did take off compression garment so I could put a tank top under it, now it feels better. I am posing a picture without the cg.

Happy healing and good luck to those waiting.

Post op day 2

Today was much better than yesterday. I slept much better last night and only woke up one time in the middle of the night and then very early like 6:00 or something but went back to sleep until 11:00.

I have chronic back pain and I already take meds regularly for this so my doctors had to do something different for me for pain control but my meds weren't ready until 4 pm today. Once I got my correct meds, things improved greatly. I am on longer acting meds that I usually take but at a higher dose so I can take less Percocet.

You can see in my post op pictures how asymmetrical my hips and pelvis are. This is why I have so much back when you add diastesis recti to it, the problem is worse so a big motivation for me in surgery was to try and improve my back pain. Now, it could be that I am on a higher dosage of pain meds for the surgery but I feel like I am having less back pain which makes me hopeful especially since recovery from the surgery alone can cause back pain. The anesthesiologist even seemed to feel strongly that I would get some relief.

Back to recovery... Last night my son came in my room when I was ready and scared me, I jumped and tightened everything , the pain was soooo intense. I had tears streaming from my eyes for five minutes. I ended up putting an ice pack on over my binder for 15 minutes for some relief. I read up on ice packs and most ps don't tell patients to use them for fear of frost bite since you can't fully feel everything there, but I was careful, it was a soft ice pack from a drugstore (not real ice), it was over a shirt and my heavy duty binder and I only did it for 15 minutes.

During the day today, I had more energy, could stand straighter, walked longer (did laps with walker around inside if house). I have not eaten too much so I need to go eat some more. I stepped on the scale. I weighed 173 going into surgery and right now (naked) weighed 169.8 so about 3-4 pounds down.

I took a shower today, that was the hardest thing I did. Once I took off my binder I felt sooooo weak. I could barely stand for my quickie 5 minute shower. I did a quick hair wash, rubbed soap over parts of me and needed to sit down. Maybe a shower chair would be good. That binder gives me all my strength.

After resting, hubby took some photos and I was happy to get back in my binder. My face is looking better too. They did fillers in the smile lines and a couple free Botox shots in my forehead lines.

Well, I will post an update again tomorrow. I hope I am feeling as much better today as I did between day 0 and day 1. My biggest struggle continues to be sitting up from lying down but I can even do that about 10% of the time now.

My 21 year old son decided to fly to CA to be with his girlfriend so we are doing an early Christmas with him, gotta get better for that. :)

Post op day 3

I haven't had time to take today's pictures yet, so I hope to do that later but I actually came into my office and sat at my computer for the first time. Previously I had typed everything on my phone or ipad. It is nice to be on a big screen. I had another good night last night. I woke up at 6:00 and took two ibuprofen and went back to sleep until 11:00, then got up and took my first pain pill which is a 15 mg long acting oxycontin. My goal for today was to only take my 3 oxy's and fill the rest of the day with tylenol or ibuprofen.

Overall, I feel "okay," I am sore and if I move the wrong way I can cause some serious pain but nothing that is anywhere like day 1. I am guessing the experal has worn off. I never really felt too much of a difference. I guess I was sort of numb at the internal stitches area but I had so much pain from the lipo that it didn't matter. Lipo sucks!!!

I also realize how very different it is for everyone. I think age makes a difference too. I know that when I had my back fusion in my 30's, it was much easier for me than those in their 40's and 50's. Now I am in my late 40's and it seems the younger crowd in general is bouncing back a little bit easier than me. Even still, I feel like I am doing decent. I am not a complainer and I try to be independent, often too much and hubby yells at me to slow down.

I was hungrier today and craved cheeseburgers. I had an eighth of a cheeseburger with a protein shake for lunch and one half of a bacon cheeseburger with a salad for dinner. It was soooo tasty! I still have not had a BM though. I keep taking stool softeners and softeners with laxatives but nothing except a LOT of gas... I tend to struggle with constipation so the fact that I am only day 3, is not too surprising, I have gone to day 5 or 6, maybe even 7 before, still I wish it would just happen so I could stop obsessing about it!! My goal is to have pooped before my 1 week check up.

Last night I did have a really red area on my left hip and it was very warm to the touch. I also had a mild fever, so hubby wanted me to call the PS. He had me send him a photo and I did and seemed to think it was although said I could come in today if he felt I needed to. I (opposite of hubby) tend to be more relaxed about that type of stuff, so I decided to just wait until Monday until anything drastically changed, it has been red and warm for a few days and PS said a low grade fever is totally normal and my picture was not anything that worried him. So, we will see him on Monday.

I am walking a lot around the house with my walker, it feels good to walk. I feel no pain when I walk. I wish it was warm outside as I would love to walk outside even though I would look strange to all my neighbors with a walker, LOL ... I don't care though! Doesn't matter, it is cold. Maybe this Sunday will be warm enough for a short bit if I am in the sun.

I can definitely re-position myself much easier now and get from lying down to sitting easier. It is amazing how much recovery happens in 3 days. From reading other people's stories I wouldn't have gathered that but I think a lot of people actually do a lot better at day 3! I hope it all continues.

I am off to watch some Stars Wars as a review for the new movie... will try to get today's pictures posted later.

Updated photos from day 3

day 4 PO

i slept well last night, I woke up at 6:00 am, took two Advil and went back to sleep until 1:00 pm. I had slept on my side all night and I was very stiff and my back hurt when I woke up. This is normal for me anyway. I took 15 mg OxyContin and put a pain patch on my spine. I then felt like I had to possibly have a BM.

If you don't want TMI about my BM, you might want to skip to the next paragraph now. Some people struggle because they have to push to get it out, this was a little bit of my issue but if you try to poop and it gets stuck and then you don't know what to do... And want to, do read on... This is a problem I have had twice before so I am getting better at it. It depends on how much you think is stuck, it might be one piece and once you get that out, everything flows naturally or it can be many pieces backed up. If you think it is just one, you can start with the rubber glove approach, otherwise, get an enema and push that it while on the toilet, this will soften everything up for you. It will probably still need excavation if bad though. So push with your stomach lightly until it gets stuck and then start guiding it out with your gloved fingers. You have gloves on, it's your own poop, so it really isn't that terrible, just the smell can be a little nasty. You might also need to break up hard pieces with your finger too. The water makes it soft and easier to deal with. Keep going until you have or feel normal stool in there. Yep, this was my poop adventure today. I told you not to read if you didn't want to....

Hopefully, most of you skipped the last paragraph. After my BM, I drank water, ate some light breakfast and rested. It wasn't a busy day... Rest, rest, rest.

I watched the last two episodes of Big Bang Theory and had to find a way to hold in my laugh.

I started getting tired at 8:30. I won't get any pictures today, nothing looks any different anyway. I was hoping to get to the scale now that I pooped. My preweight was 173 and my current weight has been around 171.

Day 5 po

Well, this morning was a good morning. I woke earlier, at 8:45 (instead of 1:00 pm) and had a lot of energy. I puttered around the house doing Christmas activities and do more activity in one day than in the last four. I am still using the walker to support my back.

I did end up with a mild migraine today and felt sick and in pain through the second half of the day, most of it because I keep putting my neck at odd angles.

I took a shower (second one) and this time didn't feel like I was going to pass out and enjoyed it. I had another couple small BMs which were great after yesterday's troubles.

I tried to put neosporin in my belly button and it was super sensitive, very deep, and I am phobic about it being touch so it made me seize up and have a panic attack, I pray the doctor doesn't have to touch it because the might need Valium sedation to do it, lol. My weight has gone down, mostly because I am eating about 700 calories a day right now... It was 169.8. It was 173 before surgery, he took off 5 pounds of skin.... And I know I have lost about 4 pounds just from a week of this calorie level, so I should be down 9 pounds, which means over 5 pounds of swell is my guess...

In a year, when everything is normal, I really hope to be 160, that would be great. Well, I go in for post op tomorrow, let's hope it goes well.

First post op, day 6, more swelling

Today was my post op. The doctor didn't say much, all was normal, typical, he took off my tape and added more. He trimmed stitches, he did have stitches to take out of my belly button which I feared but it wasn't deep, so I managed ok. The appointment wiped me out, I went home and slept for several hours and if you look at today's photos, you can see I am much more swollen now. Ick. I am also red from him messing with my belly button.

I am moving around easier though and I had to wear real clothes out the doctors. My shirts are so WIDE on me. I think I will have to get rid of every shirt I own, it is crazy how wide they are. You can fit two of me in there. My bra circumference was also smaller. My pants were a little too big too, I will eventually need all new clothes, which is not a bad thing. ;)

8 days post op

I am amazed that healing is happening faster than I thought. I am still taking it real easy but I thought I would be far worse one week out than I am. I can move in bed pretty well now, I sleep on my side, and today I started not using the walker although maybe by night time, I might want the support.

I went outside today and walked a very short distance down the street with my dog, just to feel normal and start to build up some tolerance to walking. Besides it is warm out and I want to take advantage of that.

My teenage son, however, had me laughing so hard this morning, I really had to force him to stop, it hurt soooo much. I knew that was going to be a problem, humor is a staple in our home.

I tried on my stage 2 garment, however, and found myself so swollen that it doesn't fit. Weird, when I was much bigger, preop, I could close it but now with the swelling, even though, I am sooooo much smaller, I can't close it. I guess, I need to buy a bigger size for now, darn!

Add on ... Day 8

i wanted to add that I am keep ing track of my weight...

Presurgery: 173.4
Surgery... Took off 5.6 pounds of skin
One week post op ( with swelling) : 167.4

Down 6 pounds, which is about what they removed. I figure there must be at least 2-3 additional pounds from swelling, so hopefully, I am right at goal weight of 165.

Now I can shoot for 159, but if I don't get there I am okay with that. What I like about 159 is that I am not overweight at 159! Nevermind that I haven't been in the 150's since early college....

I also had some fun finding a dress I have not worn in 20 years but kept anyway and it finally fits. I will post the pict, please excuse the lack of the fact that my hair and makeup aren't done, lol.

Day 9 Post Op

I am losing track of how many days PO I am... I think that's right... Well, today seemed like a step back - maybe somehow it in a weird way it was a step forward, who knows...

I woke up and my belly seemed so much bigger than it has ever been. Additionally, today was the day that all my nerves started WAKING UP... that is not FUN... I liked them better sleeping... my skin (sort of all over) feels raw, hypersensitive, and tingly. Having any clothes on my tummy, even a shirt or compression garment or anything feels terrible!! I tried taking everything off and pulling up my shirt and just letting air get to it, that felt good but as soon as I touched anything to it, it felt terrible.

I went and got a silk scarf and put that on my tummy and it is helping some. I read this is normal but it can also last for months?!!! Ugh!

I also just felt more icky today, kinda like when you have a low level virus. I didn't want to move around, my stomach was upset from allergies, and I had no energy or concentration. I was hoping to get outside and do another walk today but I just didn't feel up to it.

Since tomorrow is Christmas, I hope I feel somewhat better!!

Christmas Day, I think this makes 10

Merry Christmas to all.... I was lucky to feel better. My kids waited for me to get up at 10:30-11:00 am, we had our stockings and a few gifts and then it wasn't too long until it was time to cook. I was determined to help. I did, I made the stuffing, potatoes, and gravy, stood about 30 minutes or so in the kitchen and then my incision started to burn so I handed the end of my work off to hubby and my son and rested until all the food was on the table.

Then I proceeded to eat more in one meal than I ate in three days combined... It was so good....

The kids helped hubby clean up and then we played some family games. Overall I felt okay. I do want to cut back on my narcotics but my script is still high so I am trying to take 1 in the morning and 400 mg ibuprofen in the afternoon and then another narcotic at night. Next week, maybe I will call my doctor about lowering my dose back to my back pain dose that I was on before surgery.

I did this surgery in hope of getting some back pain relief, I am really hoping to cut my overall back pain dosage that I was on in half if I get relief from the muscle repair. I won't really know until I am back on my regular dose and able to go back to my daily walks. So far, my pain seems less, fingers crossed.

I am still feeling bummed by my swelling. I was so much smaller the first few days after surgery than I am now. I also have uneven swelling. My right side next to my belly button is much bigger than its twin on the other side, and always has been, I am hoping they eventually even out.

I also keep getting goop and draining from my belly button , it has killed me to gently pick stuff off the sides of it. I hate touching it, maybe it is because of the hypersensitivity issue. Speaking of that, it is a tiny bit better today, some areas, especially around my belly button that are really bad but overall it was a little better than yesterday.

I also was looking at more photos and noticed some women end up with real deep creases/lines/folds down from their breast bone down to their belly button. Anyone reading this have that? I see a bit of it in some of my pictures but not all of them, so I don't know if it will be there in the end or not. I looked it up and found two answers, one said, ps do this on purpose to give definition to your abs and another said it is from loose skin that couldn't be tugged horizontally, since they just pill down vertically. Anyway, found it interesting....

Tomorrow is 2'weeks post op

I am doing fairly well. I know others are walking miles, shopping, doing laundry, and having sex... Nope none of that for me yet... But I know recovery depends on lots of things, my age and the fact that my muscles had a lot of tightening after four pregnancies to deal with, means I need more patience.

I did walk a quarter mile to our pond, watched the pond and other people go by and then walked back. I went and did some very low level shopping, mi got some new underwear that will fit me better, my current underwear is all,too big, and I got a couple cami's to wear under my binder.

I still get odd sharp , burning pains, in my incision at times. My skin still feels sore to the touch, my belly button continues to,ooze, and I still have sore areas to the side of my belly button.

I still haven't seen my scar, ps, said I could take off the tape now if I,want but it hurt when he took,it,off and he says the tape is good for it anyway, plus In addition to hurting, i,am,worried it might bleed, so I have chosen to just ignore it for,right now....
My current weight is 165.4, I still feel I can lose more and then when swelling goes down, that should be god,for,3'pounds. I am trying to get to 159.

13 dpo photos, still swelling

Two weeks post op exactly

Well I am feeling better than I expected to be at this point. I get tired easy and I am trying hard not to push myself. I slept without my binder last night, it has these hard parts to it that just dig into me and I find that uncomfortable. My PS said I only need to wear the binder for two weeks so I am experimenting without it. I wore it through most of today but have it off for a while now. My skin just gets aggravated and sore with it on.

I bought a spanx underwear garment that provides a lot of support but pulling it up and down to pee is a pain.

I am feeling fat... I look back to my photos from week 2 and I am so much bigger now, hubby says I am just swollen, but when is that going to go down?

I am still lopsided also, right side is bigger than left, my right side has always given me problems. I called the doctor today to make sure taking ibuprofen was okay and they said it is fine. I also asked when I can take a regular bath and they said at 3 weeks.

I am also having oozing still and scabbing in my belly button, I don't know when that is supposed to start looking better. I will ask about it in January when I go back again.

I also get intermittent sharp pains here and there but as long as they aren't constant they said that was okay. It is so hard to know what is normal and what is not.

New Years Eve, losing track of days post op - something like 2.5 weeks...

I don't know how everyone keeps track of days post op. I hear women saying, I am 49 days post op... I am sorry but I have to go to weeks now, I can't keep track of days anymore. I am 2.5 weeks post op give or take a bit. It is Thursday and next Tuesday will be 3 weeks, so I guess it is just 2 weeks and 2 days to be exact! But I will probably call it 2.5 weeks until the beginning of next week.

It is New Years eve and I have changed things up a bit. I tried the one night without wearing any type of garment but felt like I am swelling too much. So, I am now sleeping in one of the Spanx garments instead and that is more comfortable. During the day I switch off between wearing the binder, the Spanx, and having a small amount of time with nothing just to give my skin a break as it feels uncomfortable sometimes with all the pressure on it.

I am still swelling like MAD! I feel like a balloon. My right side is still bigger than my left. I still have the indent down the middle from the muscle repair because I have so much swelling on each side. I really hope this swelling goes away. I hope it is swelling and not fat that has just moved in from other places. It wasn't like this after surgery so that is why I think it must be swelling. It is soft and mushy though, not hard. I haven't had a lot of experience with swelling in my life so I don't really know what swelling is like.

My belly button is still oozing every day. It isn't a lot of ooze but it looks like a waterfall coming out, I will try to take a picture and post it later. It isn't pretty, so beware.

I did get the silicone tape finally in the mail so I looked at my incision more today to decide what to do with it. I went ahead and pulled off tape in areas where the tape wanted to come off and seemed healed. It looked "okay" except that in one spot a stitch is sticking out, will that just dissolve? This is where I wish I had more directions from my doctor about what I am supposed to do about stuff like this. I know I can call but I have this thing about not wanting to call with a zillion questions and of course right now is a holiday and then a weekend, so there is that too. It isn't red, it is just a black stitch sticking out of my skin. I will call on Monday and ask, I doubt it is an emergency and it has probably been under that tape a while and I didn't know because I just looked.

There are other areas of the tape that are crusty and seem like I would pull apart my incision if I pulled off the tape so I didn't even look at those areas, they may have stitches under them too, I wouldn't be surprised based on what they look like on the outside of the tape. I just left those areas alone and pulled off those areas that seemed okay and put my silicone tape on the areas that I took off. I used the type of silicone tape that acts as both silicone strips and as doctors tape so it has both benefits. It was really easy to use and didn't cost too much.

I am trying to take less pain meds... now remember that I took pain meds BEFORE surgery for my back, so I got down to what I took before surgery and today tried to take a little less to see if I could manage. I will admit that it didn't go as well as I had hoped. I was feeling really good about my back pain but without my pain meds, I felt more back pain. I guess I should be happy that with my same level of pain meds I feel less pain but I am so hoping to decrease the amount of meds I take and was really hoping this surgery might allow for this. It might just be how I spread out my dosage, I need to talk to my regular doctor about that when I see her.

Overall, I am tired of being "in recovery" from surgery and ready to feel like a regular person again. I know you need to really have patience with this surgery and I am doing way better than I thought I would be so I am grateful for that... but... still tired of taking it easy, having a sore belly, and just not being able to "do life." Only time will get us to that point though so I will work on my patience and remember the benefits I am gaining from the surgery!

Photos... Warning, not pretty

This is my belly button and it's waterfall of ooze look and my incision. If you look there is one area without any tape on it and a small stitch is popping out. There is also a lot of old blood and crust under my white tape that I am worried about a little.

Mepitac tape, loving it... 2.5 weeks po

As I said yesterday, I had pulled off some tape and changed it out with the silicone tape (mepitac) that I bought on Amazon. I had found a stitch sticking out too but I recovered it with the mepitac tape. Today I took a look under and wasn't expecting much, it has only been 24 hours.. But wow, I noticed a difference. I will post a picture. Also the stitch is gone now. There are a variety of different levels to my incision. In one area, you can see in the picture, you can barely see the scar, then it gets darker where it wasn't healed as much before the tape. It seems to accelerate the healing more than the plain white tape.

So, I also took off another area that wasn't too stuck but seemed like it might heal better with the silicone tape. Once that sits, I will post a before and after since I remembered to take a before picture this time.

I still have a few areas that I am too afraid to remove the white tape from as I think they are still too open under, are bleeding, or have stitches poking out. So for now, the white tape stays on them, I am guessing the doctor will look under them when I see him and I am kind of nervous as I would rather be the one to take off the tape there than have him if someone is going to. I would do it much slower.

Besides that, still feel very swollen, weight has stayed at 165 for a couple days, but I am doing more. I sleep in my spanx compression and use a binder off and on during the day. My skin has hypersensitivity so the more I use the binder during the day the more bothered it gets.


They say the chances of a seroma with a drainless procedure is only about 1%. Well, it never fails, if it is unlikely, expect to see my name. I knew my swelling was abnormal and I always felt it was little liquidy but I thought, nah, positive thoughts... It is just swell hell as they say.

Last night I was lying flat and noticed my left side just looked weird and really bloated and off. So I started poking it and it did the whole waterbed wave thing. I also could see how my right side went straight down and my left side bulged out. It is not really that noticeable when I stand up but when I am flat on my back, I can clearly get it to swish around. I don't think it is too big or I would notice it more while upright too, or at least that is my hope.

So, I texted my PS this morning and told him and sent him a photo. He agreed that he thought it was a seroma and I am going in on Monday to get it drained. I will keep you posted on how that goes.

I also sent a picture of my belly button and he called it some word that I looked up that means it is not getting blood flow but he seemed to think it would be okay. I wonder if it is all related to the seroma though as my incision won't heal all the way I think because of the pressure from the fluid from the seroma. I need to ask questions on Monday so if anyone has any questions you would ask if you were me, please share them in the comments. Up to now, I haven't asked him much as I have preferred the just, it will work out attitude (a new approach for me, lol) but I am too tired to think of what I even need to know, I just am ready to be at the moving on stage....

I have been trying to go back to more couch time and more compression.


Well, I was thinking I would be feeling better at three weeks with not much to report but yeah... Today wasn't a good day. I felt like I was at week one. I was in pain (stabbing pains) throughout my incision all day today, mostly from moving but tender even when not moving. I think it is worse from the fluid from the seroma. My sides at my hips just stick out instead of going straight down, this makes my incision move oddly which aggravates it and it is still drippy and wet. I will be anxious to see what the doctor thinks although he tends to be very relaxed about stuff.

I also realized that my belly button skin is splitting, I thought it was just ooze but I felt it more and realizes the skin it actually split in the white area, kind of like a really really bad stretch mark.

I am feeling a bit down that nothing is going right....

Seroma drained, almost passed out

I was nervous about the appointment, I was afraid the needle might hurt. I was relieved when the doctor did the numbing needle and it was just a pinch. I then saw this mega huge horse needle but he said I wouldn't feel it. He was right. I had watched people have this done on YouTube so although I wasn't planning on watching, I wasn't worried. All was going well. I glanced and saw he was getting red fluid in the chamber. I turned back away. I don't remember if we were talking about it or not, he was finishing up, saying the seroma wasn't that big, about 60 cc's and then I started feeling a bit dizzy.

Dizzy turned to feeling like I was about to pass out. I was sweating and nauseous and had terrible anxiety too. It was a horrible feeling. He had to get smelling salts, that actually helped the most. It took about 5-10 minutes and I was finally steady enough for him to try the other side. He did a quick poke and nothing came out so he didn't think it was worth it to try too much and we ended our seroma draining. I was glad to get out the fluid from the left. I was we could have tried harder and gotten out some more but my body was not going to tolerate it.

I have increased compression and that has helped also, I think there was even less fluid today than when I first noticed it just from working on compression in that area which I hadn't been doing since it was so low on my hips.

I asked about my incision hurting and he said to take 800 mg of ibuprofen 3 times per day. He also said my belly button will heal like a stretch mark is in it, but it will fade.

For now, I am resting as I still feel dizzy.

Figured it out....

When I still felt terrible all evening yesterday, I began to think about what made this seroma draining so terrible, then it hit me. He used a local on me.... I was thinking lidocaine, but what if there was epinephrine in with that lidocaine? I forgot to mention I have a sensitivity to epinephrine. All the symptoms matched perfectly, I was hyperventilating and so anxious and I wasn't better hours later.

My mother has the same too, maybe it is genetic. I also have her Sulfa allergy. So, I texted the doctor today and he said, yes, there was a lot of epinephrine in the shot. So, that explains my reaction. I don't think this type of hypersensitivity is too common but if you have one, please learn from my mistake. I will hopefully now remember to ask before ANY local. I was just used to most being fine except at the dentist.

Besides that, I have taken to increasing my compression in hopes that this seroma doesn't refill. So far so good. I did a lot more today as my husband went back to work for the first time rather than just working from home. I also drove for the first time, I drove for 10 minutes and don't feel I could do more than that at this time.

Things are moving slow due to these set backs but I am trying to stay positive. This week is going to get busier for me so I hope I am ready.

Pains here and there

This recovery is hard. If it isn't one thing it is another. I continue to keep extra compression on the area of the seroma and it still has free fluid in there but not at the level where he drained it yet, so hopefully I can keep it that way. But... I struggle with...

My incision is still open in a couple spots, it still leaks, bleeds a tiny bit and doesn't want to close...

I also get sharp stabbing pains in my incision area, sometimes in the areas where it is open but other times in areas where it is closed and in my hip area near where the seroma is.

I also get chest pains usually at night, don't know what that is all about and I get pains in my abdomen on the right side when I walk (have had these off and on since the beginning). They can be really annoying and painful when I walk.

At night I feel my incision is really tight too, like I was just sewed up.

So, it is a whole bunch of annoying things and it is fine, I can deal my only concern is, am I overlooking something serious? Are the chest pains just part of the deal or something else, what about the fact that I am three weeks out and damn incision won't close.... My doctor is a bit too relaxed about stuff so I never feel any sense of urgency from him nor does he say, watch out for this or that, so I am just taking it day by day and hoping it all works out... Although I might stop in to see my primary care physician as a precaution and just talk things over with her.

Today: Leaking from my wound...

So, I noticed that my shirt was wet and my pants were wet... yep, my wound started leaking. I put gauze over it and taped it all up. I texted the doctor who called and said that it was fine and basically think of it as a drain! So, I can just let it drain as much as it wants to and as long as it doesn't start to hurt real bad or get big and swollen because the fluid can't get out. In which case, I can go back for him to drain more fluid.

When are things going to calm down, I really need to be able to clean my house, do laundry, drive my kids, do my job, etc. Well, I guess I just keep waiting....

The good, bad. And ugly

If you have been following me you know my struggles. I decided to post photos so if anyone else's has the same, they can at not feel alone.

One of these days...

One of these days, I won't do a daily update ... Why? Because there will be nothing new to report and I think that will be a good thing, because right now, everyday, my road to recovery just keeps getting bumpier ...

I thought I was doing a little better today, I ran a few more errands than yesterday and my pain was down a bit. I changed my incision tape on the left side this morning and was pleased with its progress. I wasn't leaking on the right anymore either so I just put on some tape. So, then dinner time comes. I get up and feel very wet. After no drainage all day. I guess I had too much extra fluid or movement or my incision just decided to pop but I started losing a bunch of fluid, more than yesterday. I filled a few big gauze pads and dripped over the towel I had under me. I would be okay and then move in a direction and have these gushes. I looked at it and instead of it just being a slit, it is now a hole.
I see these pictures of people who get these giant holes that the 6 months to a year to close, require wound treatments, etc. and I am afraid I am heading there.

The problem is that the hole is right at the spot where you move your legs and it moves that spot so unless you are on bed rest and even then never move, you can't really keep that area still. On top of that, you know how,we are supposed to be flat, I am not anymore, because of the seroma and swelling or both, my skin hangs over that area, kind of like my flap before the tummy tuck. It doesn't when I am standing up straight but it hangs over when I sit or even bend slightly at the knees lying down, again putting pressure on that one spot.

I really like my doctor but he is super relaxed about everything so I often don't know when something is a concern or not. How,often should,I bother him? He seems to,suggest it is okay if I am not,drained unless I have a ton more fluid but will I have less healing problems if we drain, even if,we only drain off 30 cc? I feel like I could call every day since something new crops up everyday. I will see what things look like when I get up,tomorrow. He said he would be in the office Saturday if I wanted to drain... Do I want to? No... Do I need to? I have no idea...
Question, do you like my creepy pictures... Ie do you want to see my hole... Or should I,save the photo just for the doctor?

Thanks to all who have been encouraging me, it has been great to have a support group of women who understand this journey.

It was not the road I thought I would be taking... I didn't ever think I would do this surgery, almost chickened out... And then thought I did so,well with my other two big surgeries so this one will be fine too... Maybe it's the surgery, maybe it is the age, or just bad luck, but I am on that road now.

New hole, does it ever end?

Well, before my belly button looked bad but now there is a giant hole in there... Sigh, really? Cuz I needed more problems. I took off from Dec 15- Jan 6 because I had time to be off but I can't afford for this to continue, I need to be functioning and pulling my weight and on top of that I look huge, hurt, have two holes in me, and don't know when or how to get better.

Doctor continues to be very laid back about it all... Of course he doesn't have two holes in his body gushing fluid as he changes position... Sorry to be so negative just really sick of all this....

Needed to post something positive for a change....

i am really happy with how well my left scar is improving. Min just a week, it went from red,,tight, raised, and icky, to a decent scar. I would love to do the same magic on my area that is directly under my belly button that's won't close but I feel like that will get there. I'm hopefully it won't turn into a hole and maybe in another week, it will start to show improvement. I ordered some Medihoney paste for it.

Now my right side... That is a whole different story, with the fluid still coming out, there is no hope that it cam start to heal. ,I think I should get it drained, wrap up tight again for 1-2 more weeks and then start with Medihoney. This is my plan, gotta fill in the doctor still. Oh I am so scared to drain again. I will be taking Xanax and phenegran beforehand, that's for sure. As for my belly button, don't have a plan for that yet, see if it will close on its own? Writing this without my glasses on, hopefully I hit all the right keys since I can't check it ????

Started Medihoney today

So today seemed a little better. I was not changing out the gauze pads as often or gushing fluid all day long like the last two days so maybe the fluid is starting to decrease. My Medihoney paste came in. They have videos on their site about how to apply each different type of product if anyone decides to use this stuff.

This morning I decided to only try it on the area right below my belly button, that is the picture I posted earlier. It has an area that won't close but it doesn't leak or anything. So I squeezed a small amount just on the open area and then covered it with a bandage. I changed it twice today. It did, maybe, look a little better, maybe... I am anxious to see if I see any changes after a full night.

At first I wasn't going to treat any other areas yet but since the fluid was much less today, I decided to put on a small amount later in the day and a regular amount on and bandage up the area where my leaking hole is. This should take longer to heal than my first area since it is a whole, I would think. After I put it on tonight, I got these weird sensations, not really painful but like something was happening down there....

Now my new area of concern is my belly button, the hole is almost the entire size of the belly button now, you look in it and you are just looking at my insides... Creepy. I don't know what to do. I decided to put a small amount of honey on a small gauze and put it gently inside to protect it front infection and then I taped over it. My next appointment with the doctor isn't for about 10 days. He has seen pictures and just said, do what you are doing... So I may push to see him sooner or just give the honey a few days to see what happens and wait it out as long as things don't get worse.

I am still trying to work at no more than 50% of life... My kids are telling me they need me back though... I may have to push the bar this week as my son auditions for a show and once that starts, a lot of craziness ensues....

I will post a before and after once I see some good results from my honey.

Incision opened a lot more, got packed today

Last night i went to bed feeling good, put my honey on. In the middle of the I felt a sharp pain in my incision but I was tired so I went back to sleep and didn't think about it. It must have been when I tore more of my incision open. I woke up to a hole three times the size and it was bleeding.

I changed the dressing and emailed the doctor who told me to come in. The doctor removed some stitches and then showed me how to pack it. First he tested how deep it was. He went in about six inches. He took a huge piece of gauze and put salt water on it. Then using a big qtip, started pushing the wet gauze inside me, it kept going and going and going... I told him, it was really creepy that this gauze just kept disappearing somewhere deep in my body. It didn't actually hurt, I admit I took two Xanax before going. So eventually the gauze didn't go any further and he left a small piece hanging out that I can see. He says I have to do this twice a day, well actually hubby does because I can't really see what I am doing. I am scared that hubby isn't going to know how to be gentle and it will hurt. I am still creeped out that that much gauze is deep inside me.

I asked about my belly button but he wanted to put a long qtip in to see how deep the hole was and that freaked me out and I said, no way. He said I can just put gauze into belly button without going into the hole and cover.

Ugh, this is just so overwhelming...

I can't do the honey in the deep wound because it tunnels so deep, I don't know how I would get it in there. Once it shortens up, I can try that some more. He said it should star shortening in a week and heal in a month or two.

My back and the pack

Okay, I am getting punchy with my subject titles. First the packing...

I am packing my wound on my own. For those who want to know how this done, I will tell you, for those who don't, please skip to next paragraph. First I take a very large piece of gauze and wet it in salt saline water given to me by doctor. You want it damp, not dripping. You then get this long swab and open up the gauze and wrap one end around the swab. You stick the swab and gauze into the wound and push, now you are pushing it under your skin where you can't see anymore, you pull back on the swab and grab more gauze so you can push in more of the gauze that is still hanging out. You keep doing that until all of the gauze disappears and a small amount is visable in the opening of the wound. When you later pull it out, pull at the same angle you put it in at. Pull slowly, if the gauze were to dry out, I imagine,it would hurt but that has not happened. I cover my gauze filled wound with another piece of gauze and a big bandaid or tape. It will fill up and I change it out two or three times. It is much less fluid than it used to be and my wound seems much cleaner now. Sometimes the pulled out gauze might have a little blood on it and sometimes it stings for a little while after I put it in. Doc tells me that instead of going in 6 inches, he hopes in a week, I will only need to 3 inches. Me too.

My other fear is that the skin around my hole is also very weak and know that it is open under there too, I fear that skin will split too, making the size of this thing huge. I hope not, it is as big as I can handle but I was looking at my old pictures and it just popped open one day from this small hole.

On a more positive note, I did this surgery for my back pain. I had really bad lordosis and pelvic tilt which I assume was one of the many things contributing to my back pain. Lordosis is when your back curves in right after your butt and tilts everything forward. Today, I noticed that my lordosis is so much better, my whole curve at my butt is gone, the curve now doesn't start until my mid back. My back looks totally different. I also have had no,leg pain since surgery, I used to have daily leg pain. My back hurts a little but so much less. It is like everything shifted back to nuetral position since the abdominal muscles were tightened. If this continues, I will even say that all this hell with my holes and wound care is still worth it. Being flat would be an added bonus but my number one reason for doing this was for my back. :)

I am turning into Big Hero Six

My stomach is so swollen now. I feel like a plus doll. Long ago are the days of me looking like week 1, I hate to post new photos of me, they would look like before photos, not like after photos. My tummy is so round. I also now have huge swelling in my mons pubis that wasn't there yesterday, I don't know if it is swelling or fluid. I am wearing compression over it.

I also have an area with two white lines that won't turn to scar right below my belly button. I have been trying to get this to turn to scar with all types of treatment but it is very red with the two white lines and won't change after a month. I think it is like my belly button and just not getting enough blood flow based on my reading. But now, it is looking bruised and turning black and blue, so what is the deal with that?

Belly button is still oozing, still gets crusty everyday, is still red and has a hole in the middle. Anyone know how to keep a gauze in your belly button without tape on your skin?

My wound continues to leak a ton, I tried a maxi pad today and it filled up, I keep soaking everything, whatever I put on it, all my clothes, etc. I am stuffing it with giant gauze twice a day, so far no improvement. It hurts a lot so I can't walk around much.

I am trying to eat more protein, take more zinc and vitamin C and tomorrow I am going to have to suck up the pain and go to meet the teacher night because I really need to be there.

I wish I could find some reviews that detail people who went through this, if you have found any, please let me know.

Let me count the ways....

one.... See the size I was at one week post op, see what I look like now.... Hmmm... Why do I look like a before tummy tuck picture now :(

Long day

Today was going to be my first day of trying to fake being a normal person since I became the proud owner of this new "child" to take care of on my hip. Mi had to spend 2.5 hours at Meet The Teacher and did a lot of walking, even up a flight a stairs. This is the most I have down since my wound opened up.

So, first, I took pictures in the morning, early! As you can see, I am much less swollen, still not as nice as my week 1 pictures but I feel better knowing that it really is THAT much swelling. For those of you who haven't gone yet or who are early post op, be prepared. So many of us who had surgery when I did, had no idea that at 1 month and even 2 months out, you can be so swollen in the even you look like you are pregnant, some ladies have had people even say that to them. I expected some swelling, but this is crazy. Maybe there is hope. I was even thrilled to see my weight back at 164. I had stopped weighing myself because my weight (and this was in the morning every time) just kept going up since week 3. Today was the first time it was back to what I was at week 2, which is probably still up since I know I lost weight that isn't showing up from the fluid and swelling still there.

Now for my wound, the size has dropped by 1/3, yay. I had to cut my gauze down to 2/3 the size because I could not fit the whole gauze in there anymore. I do have another part of my ins ion though that I am worried might open up now though, it is looking suspicious to me, we will see.

I am also worried based on comments here that my ps isn't doing all he should. I should him the white / yellow lines under my belly button that just won't heal and if they need to be opened to heal, then we should has done that so we can move forward, everyday no change in healing. I am going to post that picture, please comment if you have or had this.

Antibiotics and another seroma?

Today in the story of Tummy Tuck Complication Land...

My son got a part in the musical... Had to get some good news in there...

Onto my life... Each day 2 or maybe 3 times a day gauze goes in, gauze comes out. Each day the out coming gauze looked the same until last night and again this morning, so I looked it up, the Interweb Gods suggest to me that it is infected, these days, I have to rely on the InterWebs a lot... So I text my ps and tell him, suggesting that maybe it is infected and maybe antibiotics should be considered since his usual response is similar to my 21 year son who always says, "it will be fine!" The ps said "it is probably fine but antibiotics won't hurt me," so he called them in. Trust me, I would mix rather NOT be taking these pills but it was green... Just didn't seem right...

I also am pretty sure I have a seroma on the opposite side I had one the first time, well actually it has always been, their just not terrible and with my doc, 60cc is a small seroma so this would have been tiny back then, but it was enough fluid to brak open my scar and cause the hole. Now, even with the hole,it can't drain enough and I am seeing more and more of a bulge over the whole. Why can only I see these things? I feel like if we had done more with this fluid to begin with, I might not be where I am right now. I need to talk to him about it Wednesday which means draining it and I am worried because I had such a horrid experience when he drained the other side, but I know it needs to be done... Ugh...

I also have another area that started dripping the tiniest bit of fluid next to my hole, another reason why if I don't get this drained, it will probably open too.

I also have to see what he wants to,do about my white lines, there is NO healing progress at all. Maybe he needs to cut into them so they can heal? I don't know, shouldn't he be explaining this stuff to me?

Let's end on a positive note... I went back through my preop pictures and realized how bad my stomach protruded through those stretched abdominal muscles, yes I did have a lady ask me once when my baby was due and I wasn't pregnant. I so needed to do this, for cosmetic reasons and for my back and posture. So, eventually when I get through this hell, I know I will be glad. Things that are worth it take effort and time and this is one of those things. It is kind of like boot camp, you just suck it up and get through. I am so thankful to be sharing it with my real self family, you ladies (and guys) are wonderful.

Feeling better today, it was sunny and warm...

It was sunny today, the sun makes everything better, maybe I should have chosen spring time for this, if I only had known it wasn't going to be like a normal recovery. So, after soaking up the sun outside, I got dressed and decided I was going out today, no matter how I felt. I had to go very slow but I went along on some errands with hubby just to get out of the house. He would drop me off at the front of the door and I would sit when I needed to.

As for my surgery stuff, I have a new hole. It is still small, leaking fluid, but my big hole started small so I don't know if it will open big or not. I didn't bother to tell the doctor because by now, I know just to cover it with gauze and see if it gets big enough to need to be packed also. My other one hasn't changed much, still has the thick green stuff on the gauze but I am in the antibiotic now. I am also on probiotics too, just got some today. That's about it, no changes in belly button either, I am trying to put wet gauze in it and cover too now to see if the moist environment helps it heal faster.

Wounding healing queen

just adding some pictures, I am getting this down, i may be Swiss cheese, but all my holes are covered. And surprised, tonight I noticed part of my white line extending out of my belly button is red, since I started putting Medihoney in it with a wet gauze and covering it, it started healing faster. Just wish I had tried it weeks ago but maybe I can help someone else out... If you have a belly button like mine, ask ps for sodium chloride solution, wet gauze, put Medihoney paste on area, put wet gauze on top, cover, repeat twice a day. :). I am trying it in my white lines below my bb too, hopefully that will help.

Video link of me packing wound

i know I looked for YouTube videos before I had to pack my wound and didn't find anything very relevant, so I taped myself as I did my gauze change tonight. It isn't really that gross but it is an open wound so be prepared. If you want to view it, it is at: http://youtu.be/Q354L0Vvd5c

Healing or wishful thinking?

i felt somewhat better today. My small hole, which is the one that hurts like hell is giving me less pain since I filled it with Medihoney. My weight was 163.0, so I am officially down 10 pounds since surgery and still going down, not up like I was for a while. Four pounds to my goal weight.

I am looking at my wound, wondering how long until this heals. I keep thinking if it weren't for the incision issues, I would be in good shape at five weeks post op. So, I need to get this incision healed, besides it is time for some lovin with hubby! So, I can still fit a whole 4x4 gauze in there... But I think it is still smaller. On the outside, I can see it filled in on the right side, it seems just as deep but the sides all seem thicker. I hope... That's my theory and I am sticking to it.

I see the ps tomorrow, he probably won't remember how big it was so I don't know if I will get any clue to his opinion but we will see. I also want to see if he will do something with those white/yellow lines, they just are not healing. My bb is healing a little, very slowly, and since that freaks me out, I am okay, giving that more time and not getting aggressive with it. I also have that new hole, which he will have to dig into, hopefully there isn't a canyon below. Wish me luck.

Visit with doctor went well

I had my appointment today. Here are the issues we discussed:

1. White/ yellow lines on incision below bb, he tried to remove any dead tissue but said it wasn't dead tissue and gave me some special gauze to try on it. He said it will just take a long time.

2. Big hole: said he felt it was just extra swelling not a seroma around it despite the fact that I told him it was still draining like crazy. He said it growing granulation tissue and suggested that I don't put gauze all the way to the bottom of the hole anymore to see if that gives it more space to fill in the hole at the bottom.

3. He dug around in my new hole but didn't find any reason for my pain. That was disappointing as that is what is holding my recovery back the most. I will try the expensive gauze and continue with the Medihoney in there, thankfully it is not a deep hole there, so I hope that small one will close within a month.

4. He said to just leave my bb alone for now especially since I really hurt my skin with tape burns trying to put gauze in there.

For the most part, I feel good about the visit, not sure I agree with everything in my gut 100% but he is the doctor, not me, so I'll go with it.

He also gave me those pretty flowers for my one month anniversary, which was a very nice gesture.

I am going back in two weeks.

Healing and ups and downs

I have been on a roller coaster emotionally. Some days I feel good that I am seeing some progress and other days I am so frustrated that I don't feel like I have strong support about my wound care. I sometimes feel like other choices could have been made that would have been better and I ask but he says things that don't agree with my gut feeling about my body and healing. Anyway, I will get there, it just may be slower.
It can also be frustrating to hear others talk about exercising and moving on when I thought that is where I would be too, but you can't control what happens so I need to just put on my big girl compression panties and suck it up and take things one day at a time. As long as I am healed by the time warm weather rolls around, I will be happy.
Enough of the pity party, the good news is that I do see improvement in my wound. It is closing in. It is still as deep but it is much tighter. I am putting in less gauze as suggested by my ps so it has more space to close, not sure if that is a thing or not. There is still a hole at the bottom that leaks a ton of fluid which is why I feel the bottom won't close up, I suggested something like that to the ps but he thinks my bulge is just swelling (I don't). Today, however, I am getting pains deep inside the hole, that worries me a little but asking won't really get me answers so I am just hoping it will go away. I re packed it and it is a little better.
My second hole is still very tender, I keep putting Medihoney alginate in it, eventually it will debride itself and then healing can start.
My skin can't tolerate any type of tape for me to do any care for my belly button so I am letting that be and I am trying different things with my white lines below the belly button.
I feel like they are my four "other" children I am caring for each day, they are time consuming.

Tomorrow will be 6 weeks!

I can't believe I am just about at the 6 week mark. I feel like I am getting used to dealing with my wounds, it has become a part of my life now and I feel like the rest of me is finally healing. I get tired very easily since my body is still putting so much effort into healing from a) the whole surgery and b) the addition of all these wounds. I feel like most people do at about 2-3 weeks but each day I start to feel a little stronger now so I am thrilled to be seeing progress again, both with healing and energy! Finally!!!

My stomach is still very swollen and in my opinion has lots of fluid in it, especially on the side with the wound. I still think it could be drained but doctor didn't seem to think so. My small hole has not started closing at all yet but the big one took 2 full weeks to get healthy skin before it started closing, so I think I am still in that time frame so I need to just wait. My big hole is now "about" 50% smaller INSIDE, I think. I can't see in there but I am putting in 50% less gauze, so that is my theory. Today, I bought Medihoney rope so it is the first time I have used Medihoney rope to pack it, I am a little worried about what this impact will have as it gets really gooey but hopefully it will speed things up. I have 5 days worth of rope to use. I am still using the Medihoney sheets in my small hole. It takes me one hour each morning and one hour each night to do all my medical wound care. I am very thankful that I am able to adjust my work schedule. I am not taking on any new clients and most of my real estate work load won't be heavy until showings start in another month or two for an open rental I have.

I am down 10 pounds since surgery and now have plateaued again! It is frustrating since I am eating a small number of calories and if I wasn't healing / swollen, this would normally have the pounds falling off. Still, I am down a pant size from a 12 to a 10 (had to go buy some pants as I had NOTHING that would fit) and my shirts are all big too, so I bought some to get me through until my size settles down. I actually bought size medium in shirts, crazy, I was wearing an XL! It is so nice not to have my stomach stick out like I am pregnant. I can't wait to buy a bathing suit. They are already starting to stock them (don't know why they put them out in the winter in NC) so I will have to shop soon for good selection, probably can wait until Feb, maybe March at the latest but after March, they are usually gone.

I am feeling lazy about scar treatment now since I it takes so long to do wound care, so I am just doing coconut oil on my left side. My right side is all holes so it will be so far behind the left and probably need a revision :(

My good side and bad side

My left side looks good, still swollen but nothing like my right where all my problems are.

6.5 weeks

Heading toward the 7 week mark, I thought I would summarize some healing milestones for those who might be in my same path.

Wound healing: my wound started 4 weeks ago. I started packing it, about 3.5 weeks ago. It took 2 weeks for it to start to,do anything. After three weeks, it closed down by around a half. Now at 3.5 weeks, it has closed a little more, not quite another half yet but some. Maybe by Wednesdy when I go back to the ps I will be down another half. It was a very deep hole, at least six inches, so we have a long way to go and when it closes, it sometimes will close in sideways, not always in how deep it is. It is probably still four inches deep but skinner.

My second hole has mot changed yet. It is a half inch deep and as big circumference as my big hole, I call it small since it isn't deep. I hope it decides to,start healing soon. It is time.

My swelling overall is a little better. I still feel swollen overall and think it will go down more but I don't blow up to be Big Hero Six size as often anymore. I still have a ton of overhang over my holes but even that is a bit smaller so hopefully when those heals, it will go flat like my other side.

Energy... That has finally gotten a bit better. I still tire if I do too much but until six weeks I couldn't do anything because of all the healing that was taxing my body, at week six, I started having a little reserves left for healing and life but if I do,too much one day, I need to take the next day off and rest to make up for it so I need to balance how much I schedule in one day.

War stories of the wound continue

everyday I question why a lay person is doing this type of work. I read a lot and try to learn as much as I can but I am still grasping at straws. My latest involved my wound getting very bloody,,bright red blood. It was also tender. I didn't want to put anything back in it. I finally let it rest for 30 minutes and the used Medihoney rope.i cut about 5 inches off and shoved it in. It is challenging to tunnel with sticky honey rope. After that, it started getting goopy and sticky. I had to cover it as it was just going to get messier. I finally got it covered with gauze, followed by a maxi pad, all under Tagaderm.

The next day, I unpacked it and pulled out he honey, it was blood. So, I put in more honey and left that alone again. When I pulled that later it was less bloody, so I went with regular gauze with honey paste on it. Not much went in. When it came out later, it seemed more normal. I decided to try again but this time couldn't get much gauze in. So you still have to push one good push into the deep dark hole but not much beyond that.

My other problem is that I am still draining a lot of serous fluid. I still think I have at least one seroma that we are ignoring...I push on my tummy and it just flows from my holes.

Well enough for now, I am tired.

7 week update

i can't believe it has been 7 weeks. This journey has been so much more than I ever thought. I have learned so much about myself and my health. I am not someone who likes to go see doctors, you usually have to drag me so to choose this intense of a surgery was crazy, especially when I didn't even know if it would give me any pain relief.

It was a leap of faith and trusting my gut instinct and in the process I learned why many other women make this choices and how their body's really impact their self esteem. I do find it sad that we have to keep it hush hush when we choose to do things to better ourselves. If you have depression, that is hush hush,if you do cosmetic surgery, keep it quiet, yet braces are fine to fix your smile. Who decides all this? Why can't we say, I had a tummy tuck because I wanted to be healthy, to reduce back pain, to tighten my stretched out muscles from childbirth, or to make my body back in line with how it used to look before x, y, or z...

Anyway, sorry for my ramblings. I have told people for the most part and they haven't said anything negative to me... What they might say to others I don't know. But I have also been told how beautiful I look and how skinny I am and it is nice to hear. More importantly, I feel more positive about how I look.

I am down 11 pounds since surgery, weighing 162 right now. My pants were a 12/14 and now I wear a size 10. My shirts were XL, now I am buying mostly mediums.

My wound is a work in progress and I will update more on that after I see doctor tomorrow. My bb hole is closing but still inflamed.

My scar is still very red, I read once your scar looks the worst at 3 months and then starts to get better from there. I am only at 2 months, so another month of getting worse, I guess...

I do have a lot of my energy back now and am not just a couch potato anymore, that feels good, I still need to watch myself, I would say I am at 65-70% normal.

Compression tank, stage 3 support

First I had on the binder, then stage 2, I used compression bottoms which gave me good support and I sleep in that but during the day, it was a pain to have to pull down to use the bathroom so I looked at tanks. I didn't want one initially because all sport bra type tanks I have used before give me that uniboob look so I tried reading reviews until I found one where someone talked about not getting the uniboob look. It came today and I was happy, two mounds :). It is comfy although definitely less compression. It is perfect for what I call stage 3. When you don't want nothing yet but want to transition to less. I am wearing my stage 2 more tight bottom compression spanx when I sleep and I will wear this during the day. I will post pics of what it looks like. I bought on Amazon.

Swelling on right side

I wanted to share the swelling on my right side. It is still terrible. I also have some on my left but much much less. The seroma was on the left but drained and I have my two wounds on my right. This is probably why it still hurts to side sleep :)

Itching may be a good sign for wound closing

My wound / hole was so itchy last night, it was driving me a little crazy. However, I went to pack today and it was a lot smaller! Maybe it is a good sign. It is also itchy today, maybe it will be closed tomorrow ;-) I haven't been keeping up here but since I went back to see my doctor last Wednesday... my wound was 4 inches deep (closed 2 inches) that day. There is this spot, however, in the middle that was getting tighter quicker than the rest and the next day or two, it closed off the rest of the hole (or suddenly two inches closed off all at once but I doubt that happened). Also, I am suddenly getting MUCH less drainage. So, I am a little worried that I have a pocket that now can collect fluid that is closed off but there isn't much I can do but hope it closes and my body absorbs the fluid , so I am trying to put it out of my head!

Yesterday, when I went to pack, I noticed it was smaller again, then I had the itching and tonight was quite small, maybe an inch only now. One doctor said you can nothing for weeks and then a ton of closing all at once.

Also the wound opening looks like a fish mouth, it was probably 2 inches long too. However, only half of that actually went deep, the other half was shallow. That shallow part has closed off completely now, so my fish mouth is closer to only 1 inch long now, rather than the 2 inches it was and it isn't as wide either.

I can see how the scar is going to look in that area, it will look just like the originally fish mouth except indented probably. I have a ton of swelling still all around these areas and on my hips. It might be a mix of swelling and some fluid.

The lighter drainage is big though, packing the wound was a pain but then you couldn't just forget it all day as you had to worry about the maxi pad sliding everywhere, filling up, fluid staining all your clothes, I was always leaking everywhere. I could never get bandages to stay put. Now I can finally just put a small cut piece of a maxipad under a tegaderm bandage and leave it and it can get me through most of the day without too much trouble.

I am still having some staining from other areas though, like my bb and the area below my bb. Anyway, that is my update for today, maybe soon I can just use bandaids!!!

One wound is almost healed

My second and smaller wound is almost healed. It is growing scar tissue on the top now and closing. The wound was about 1/4 inch deep and maybe 2 inches long by 1 inch wide. I treated mostly with Medihoney alginate the whole time. It went from the size in this picture on Jan 24 to just about closed on Feb 9. I am posting pictures in case anyone wants to,compare their wounds and time lines.

My big wound is still in progress and when we start to close on that, I will post pics then. It looks similar actually, it just tunnels six inches deep.

Thanks for all,the continued support and encouragement through all this, you all are amazing wonderful people.

Changes today

Last night I put some Medihoney back in my wound. This morning, I was able to get back to the bottom of it! The bad news, it has not closed to 1/8 in but the good news, that pocket is not closed off anymore. The Medihoney allowed me to get in there so today I filled the hole all the way with gauze again. It made me worry much less about an abscess or something. It is closing still, just in width, the hole is much tighter, especially in the mid section.

My overall TT swelling seems less. I think if I didn't have all these wound issues, I would be writing about how happy I was about less swelling. I still have a dreadful amount of swelling near my wound and in my hips but other areas are getting better.

Speaking of my hips, they are so puffy. I look like I have a dog ear and I have burning in my hips and the right is worse than the left but since both are bad, I wonder if it is due to the lipo, this the only area he did lipo and I don't even know why as I didn't have fat hips before. My hips are way bigger than they have ever been.

My belly button is still angry but doing some healing stuff, it is going to take months to look journalist.

My small wound continues to finish closing, I don't even put a bandaid on it.

My weight was 173 at surgery (159 was my goal as that is considered normal BMI for my height). They took off 5 pounds of skin, today I weighed 159! I have lost 14 pounds since the surgery and hit my goal. The surgery makes it easier to eat less and stay motivated to lose those extra pounds. I am okay if I still lose more, I have not noticed and difference in skin results from the weight loss, I read you can lose at least 15 pounds with no different and that is post surgery so I was at 168 after the skin removal, so I have lost 9 pounds on my own.

Photo update

Feeling good about the physical changes in my appearance. My dress is a little bug but now fits flat on my tummy and you can't see my fat rolls like when I wore it before. My overall non- wound related swelling is getting better and the extra 15 pound weight loss helps too. Going out with hubby for Valentine's Day, might have to go shopping ;)

The last is my scar update. It looked great for a while during the early weeks and then got more red, which they say is part of normal healing. I was using mepitac tape which was good early on but keeping up with the tape now is too much work. I tried coconut oil and saw no change and then tried scar cream and saw no change, then tried Mederma and saw a change after one week so that is what I use now.

Valentine's Day

I enjoyed surprising hubby today with my new dress. I had bought it without him knowing and while he was out, I got ready and was able look nice for him when he came back to get me for our date. It felt nice to go out and feel attractive in a tight a dress! It ended up, however, being a busy day and night and by the time I came to bed, I was sooooo swollen. I am more swollen than I have been in a long time. My incision hurt today too and my wound was really hurting on our date. My hope is that this isn't anything more than just doing too much. Unfortunately that means I am going to have to wait on hubby's other gift until things hurt a little less but hopefully things will feel better soon. Tomorrow is a "snow" day so I will try to take easy and maybe the pain and swelling will improve. As they say two steps forward, one step back.

Two months TODAY!

I just looked at the date, my surgery was 12-15, so it was 2 months ago today! Wow! So, yesterday as I said my wound was really bothering me when I was out with my husband on our date. I went to pack it today and realized how small the hole entering the wound had become and tried to put the tip of the Q-tip in to pack it. It hurt when I tried so I took a picture and texted the doctor asking him if I should push through anyway or not. Last time I measured it, about 2 days ago, it was just about 3 cm deep and fairly tight. It is still draining but not a ton. I told him all this. He suggested that I leave it alone and see if it closes, although he says if it does trap fluid (like I feared before when the middle had closed), he would have to open me back up so we could go back to packing deeper.

I do have these things called Hydrocolloids that I can put over the top that form a jelly substance into the hole so it actually will keep the top of the hole open (I think) so that the inside can continue to close so I am going to use those rather than just putting a bandage on it. Let's hope it closes correctly and then maybe some of this pain and swelling can go down.

I am feeling like I will be back for a revision, maybe next Christmas time. I feel like I need a break for a bit once this heals.

Overall progress is good.

Overall, things have been better. I continue to see less swelling from the overall TT. Also, I am finally seeing some of the swelling go down by my wound!! I didn't think I would ever see that start to go down. It isn't back to normal but the fact that I actually see progress shows me that it can get there!!

My wound / hole is too small on the outside to pack. So, I have no idea how big it still is inside. I am hoping it is closing okay so he doesn't have to reopen it, that would really stink! It is finally "barely" draining, so a bandaid works fine and I can even do some open air time with nothing. My skin is so happy to have NO adhesive on it.

I do have a terrible indent in the area where the big hole was. This won't get better so I am really thinking I will need a revision but we will see once all the red goes away. It is just hard to look at the right side when the left looks so nice.

The small hole is closing too, kind of scabby and itchy. I will forget and find myself scratching it! I gotta stop doing that!

My bb still looks "off" but once it heals, it will be okay, not perfect but it is a bb, so who is going to be looking inside it for a scar!

I also have these very hard ridges near my scar, under the skin, not RIGHT under the scar, some are deeper down a bit, they are wider than the scar and one area was as wide as my thumb is wide. They are really hard and it goes quite a distance. It is not just those hard bumps you get under the scar. They are not red either, like I said, they are deep. I am massaging them a lot, trying to soften the area. It helps and they will get softer after a massage but if I can't make them go away totally and if I don't keep massaging, they will get rock hard again. So, I am not sure what they are all about. I will see what happens between now and my next doctor appt.

I am also having pain (sometimes significant) on the right side and need pain meds to get through the day. I can't tell if it is from the hard masses, the wound, or the area that I was packing before. I am trying to figure it out.

So, I am still definitely dealing with issues but I am also seeing the progress with the wound closing and swelling going down. Just being able to wake up and not having to play wound nurse for an hour on myself before I can get out of bed, is amazing and freeing! That will put a smile on anyone's face!

I will keep updating.... hoping to see the pain and those hard spots go away for my next post!!!

Going to see PCP next week

It will be good to get a set of fresh eyes on everything. I see my primary care doctor next week. Mi hope she can give me some guidance about healing wounds and expectations. I still have a fair amount of swelling and hardest near the wounds and I get some really bad intermittent pains. Sometimes, it just throbs. Could all be normal, would just like to know.

Besides that, the big wound is getting smaller each day. I don't know what the inside is doing. There is no more drainage. The small wound has healed, just itchy.
I am still wearing light spanx compression though, it helps. I would love to take a hot bath but until that wound closes, I don't think I should.

Hole closing but swelling still going strong

It is so nice not to pack the wound! I am, however, still very worried about all the swelling and how things look on my right side. I just thought it would be better than that by now and I don't think it will all heal flat without surgical help. I go back in two week, I think, to see my doctor, I am terrified he is going to open me back up. Hubby will be away on a trip then too. I see my PCP this week, I am anxious to hear what she says too. I still have incision / wound pain that I take meds for. I also take my back pain meds so I a, trying to figure out how bad my wound pain is since I am usually on the meds for my back. I think it is somewhat better, I have been trying to delay my back pain meds for a few hours to see what wound pain I have. My back pain is better since surgery and I have been taking 2/3 my pre-surgery dose right now as is. I would love to take even less, but not sure if I can do that. Maybe once I can start exercising more.

I have had the flu for a week now so that has not helped matters. I really want to be able to get back to walking but even with feeling like I am getting better from the TT, better from my wound, better from the flu.... When you put all that stress on your body, you have to go slow. Hubby says my flu recovery will be slower because my body is dividing its resources. I am glad to be over the worst of it, the first three days were the worst! At least I am leaving the house for short errands now. And this is WITH the flu shot!

Anyway, the weather gets better and with it, all things in life improve :)

That Gut Instinct

Uggh...Okay, I am not going to share my life here but I have been through a lot. I have had a lot of medical situations in my life and my families that I have had to learn how to research and rely on my own ability to research and make medical calls about things. In many of these situations, without doing this, the outcome would have been far worse. So with these experiences in my life, I have learned to trust my "gut" feelings more than just blindly trusting doctors.

My gut right now is giving me bad feedback about healing. I keep trying to be positive but when I look at myself, I just don't think things look right. It didn't look right last night, the fluid retention in my body has always been far too high for my liking and I never felt that my seroma was dealt with seriously enough. Today, while leaning over the skin and watching my skin hang (which it shouldn't, right, I just had a tummy tuck!) I have a liquidy area that, in my opinion, is filled with fluid still on the left that will hang down when I lean over, and a bigger area that might be one of those sacs that hold a seroma on the right. If I push on the hard big hanging area on the right, it will even send a ripple on the watery side on the left. My PS never has me in different positions when he examines me. I am going to have to address all this in a couple weeks when I see him but he never seems that worried when I read that if you let this stuff go on, it can cause major problems later.

I am really afraid that he is going to have completely open me ALL back up again to do this right and I will be starting over. I feel like that is the right thing to do but I don't want to go back to healing from week 1 after almost 3 months of just finally getting better!

Thanks for letting me vent, let's hope I am wrong and it can somehow heal on it's own!


Here is a picture of me leaning forward. Anyone else look like that? If I tap on it, it is jiggly and watery like my seroma was and I see a small wave.

Saw my PCP

I saw my PCP today. She seemed concerned about what I showed her and had the same questions that I had. She immediately suggested we get an ultrasound done to see what things look like. I am going tomorrow. The only thing that stinks is no food or drink until afterwards and it is at 1 pm, ugh! However, I feel like this will help me figure out if this is just swelling or fluid. I am hoping that it is just swelling and it was just really bad from such a big wound. Either way, at least I will have some answers and they won't be just "guesses" anymore. When I see my ps, he won't be guessing either and choosing to open me back up or not open me back up based on a guess. I don't think I will get results until Friday. My PCP was very impressed with my physical changes though!

Am I an alien?

I had my ultrasound today. I need to wait for my results. I couldn't see the screen while she did it when I was lying down but I asked if she saw any large pockets of fluid and she said no. So that was good. She did have me stand though and I could see the screen then and together, we could see my entire wound. I could see how deep it was and I can't tell if it looks healed or not. It was very clear to see on the u/s although, it was black and gray so, it wasn't like it was all filled with fluid. There was an area on the top that looked all black though that might be enough "fluid only" area to be a concern, I guess I need to see what the radiologist and eventually ps say.

Here is my other question to all of you though, I can now press firmly on my belly and feel a hard bump where every stitch was placed in my abdomen. I could draw dots all across and down my stomach ( it would look like the dot game) and show my ps exactly where he put every stitch. What is the deal with me... Maybe I am an alien? My body clearly does not like to be messed with. I am guessing this is not normal or common and the rest of you don't feel every stitch under your skin? I hope it goes away! Another question for my ps.

I am still having pain and normal as well as more than normal tightness. I am also having more swelling.. Hopefully I will get some news from the u/s tomorrow.

First day as a normal-ish person

Today I think was the first day since surgery that I felt like I could take on a full load of what I did pre-surgery! I had a rental that needed to be painted and so I spent the day, painting all the handrails on the porch. I took my pain meds before (that I take daily for back pain anyway) and I did well, afterwards, I did have a searing sharp pain in my wound for about 2 minutes when I finished but then it let up. It just felt great to be able to do what I was able to do pre-surgery when I have struggled with so many things for so long (and then caught the flu!).

I still have many questions and concerns for my ps. I see him a week from tomorrow. My doctor called with the ultrasound results and said there is a pocket of fluid by the wound. She doesn't know if he will need to drain it, open it up, or take a wait and see approach. I still feel that there is widespread fluid under the flap but nothing that stood out on the u/s. I will still "try" to talk to the ps about it and show him how it does the fluid wave thing and how I am no longer flat when I was before. I will also have him feel all the knots where he quilted down my belly from the drainless procedure. I hope those will go away in time. I am not sure if it is scar tissue or the actual suture knot I feel. It did feel good to be able to work on my rentals without any physical trouble!

Hanging in there

I wish I had someone to come with me on Monday. I know I am going to try and explain my pain but I fear it will get dismissed and then I won't really know what to say. That always seems to happen. This morning I woke up with pretty bad pains in my midline area above my bb, where I can feel the knots / hardness the worst. I tried massage but it just made it more tender. It finally subsided after two hours. I keep getting pain there off and on. I am still getting wound pain too. I would be hurting if I didn't take 20 mg of OxyContin per day for my back. I am walking more, that is good. My scar is still very red. The wounds are closed. I still wear compression 24/7 too.

Monday is my appointment, kind of nervous, need advice

I have started my list of questions. The main areas are: wound and the pocket of fluid closed off inside, the pain I still have, and the large swelling still there. Second is feeling that I am having a reaction or problem with the sutures... I can feel them all through my skin (including all the ones to tack me down for the drainless procedure). I have very hard areas near those stitches, and significant pain at rest and worse when moving mid line and sometimes left or right of midline that is very bothersome. My gut says something with my body and these sutures is not working out. I also have a large amount of abdominal wall laxity that wasn't there after surgery. My stomach has continued to increase in size,over the last five weeks. I took pictures to verify. I look like I need a tummy tuck now. I feel like they could pull another 2 inches of skin off. When I sit, I have a huge muffin top. When I lie down, I am barrel. Standing gives the best look but that used to be flat and is not anymore. I don't know if my Plication is gone or if there a separation with the fascia.

Any thoughts for you ladies from looking at my old pics vs. now, would be helpful. If you,were me, what would you ask? what would you want and expect from this appointment. He makes me feel rushed sometimes and I don't feel like I get his full attention. I wonder if I should bring a friend, hubby will be away for work.

I feel like each day I get worse. I thought once the wound healed, that was going to be it, but now that I appear to be losing the tummy tuck, I don't know,what to think. And some doctors don't like to admit that it went wrong and needs to be redone. And.. Man, doing this again will suck.... But I can't leave things like this?

Offer me some advice on what I should ask, expect, and do. Thanks!

I feel a little better :)

Thanks so much to everyone who offered advice and support!! You gals are amazing!

I had my appointment. I had to go alone and I was a little nervous, it is weird, I am fine about speaking up for someone else but am not so good at doing it for myself, I really don't know why!

Anyway, he gave me reasonable answers. He said I need to consider myself about 2 months behind in healing - so while everyone else is at the 3 month mark, I am more like at the 1 month mark. The bumps I felt, are not sutures, but probably fat nodules or some part of the healing process, they actually seemed better today, so they should go away. He did use dissolvable stitches and they should dissolve around now (3 month time frame) - although non-dissolvable midline on the muscle. He felt the pain area and couldn't find anything that worried him and since they didn't find anything on the u/s, he said to just give it more time. Again, I am further behind in the healing process and it is the right side that hurts and is more swollen and that is the side where the big wound was. He said that he will schedule a scar revision in 2 months and will take that whole right side and open it up (under local) and fix the area where the wound is. It will get rid of the big ridge that I have and allow my body to re-adjust a better flow of fluids, etc. which will allow for a decrease in the swelling.

He did say that my stomach is protruding some from swelling but some from the fact that after the stitches start dissolving, some of the tightness goes away since it is not tacked down anymore (drainless).

He gave me hope that once I have the scar revision and give things more time, things will be improved. He said most people are at 95% at 3 months and I am only at about 80%. So, I will continue my journey and schedule my scar revision for 2 months and hopefully my new pictures will look much better and the rest of the pain will be gone!

Over 3 months now...

Here is my 3 month plus update...

First, thanks to all who have followed my story and offered support and suggestions, I really don't know how I would have made it without you.

Second, what is up with me? Well, I should probably take some photos since that makes it easier to compare but with just mirror glances I thinks my size goes up and down. In the morning I am still the flattest and the end of the day , I am the biggest. I can still get a LOT of swelling. For the most part, I am ok with how. Look in the morning but don't know why I still swell so badly during the day when I am 3 months post op, unless I am supposed to say I am one month post op given wound healing. Maybe in two more months, my swelling will be at what everyone else's at now.

I still have the swelling edge above the scar, I still have tender area if you push near this scar, and I have generalized pain from movement in the scar area. I also get my mid-abdominal pain from the tight areas and hard areas but that has gotten a little better lately.

My mons is still very puffy as are my hips (I did not have puffy hips before surgery).

It has been over a week and they still have not called to,schedule the revision yet, did they forget? I will call next week if they don't call after this week.

My p.s. I feel so conflicted about him. He s a vet nice and like able person. I think he generall des good surgery and those without complications seen happy with him. I think if I had gone the normal route, I would have nothing but great things to say about him too.

So, to me... A doctor really shines when he gets the less traditional cases and we see how those are handled. Let's have a discussion about our expectations of our Doctors. What if things went wrong for you, what would you like to see for your care? What is reasonable care! My doc says Only 1% of his cases have complications... Don't know if that is true but since he gave the number, let's assume that for this argument.

This would mean 1 in 100 patients would need extra care. That is not too bad. If he does 7 surgeries per week, 4 weeks a month, that is only 30 surgeries a month, so in 3 1/3 months he will have 1 patient he needs to give extra attention to or at most 4 per year. That is not a lot.

What could he do to help these four patients:

1. Schedule weekly appts to check n them (some of my appts were 3-5 weeks apart)
2. Call during week to see ft we have questions
3. Be proactive In his approach, own a wound vac, have access to ultrasounds
4. Take a history from each appointment, write it down, take pictures and measurements, mark and discuss progress
5. Explain what might happen, long term impact, listen and encourage patient t talk. Ask lots of questions, " what was it like when you packed? Was there fluid? How much? Color? Any bleeding? Any pain? Record and reference answers for next time.
6. Do a full exam in multiple situations, do measurements to check for swelling.

7. Give patient suffice supplies until next session.

8. Tell your patient, not to worry, that in the end you care and you will make it right.

All these things would have changed my experience greatly, I don't want to tell someone they are doing a poor job but I wish I could express how hard this was for me and having these steps would have made it easier, made me feel less stressed and hence do allowed me to heal faster, and trust in my doctor. The constant mantra of , "it will be fine" doesn't actually build trust and relieve stress.

I would love to hear other things you would add to my list or thoughts on this subject, maybe when all is said and done will email,a letter.

Updated scar photos, post wound closure

So what do scars look like after the wound closes? Here are mine. Just a reminder for anyone who hasn't been following my journey...

Belly button: had a big hole inside, white scar that looked like a stretch mark or waterfall falling out of my bb. Now there is a red scar where the white mark was. It looks darker than the photo.

Midline: Right below my bb, there was this area that wouldn't heal for the longest time. It had white / yellow lines there. I kept pointing out to ps but he kind of ignored them. Now you can see how it did not heal well.

Big wound: my deep big wound was about the size of a half dollar but six inches deep ( deep to the left, towards my midline), it has finally closed and scar is looking more thick and wide now. There is also still a ridge and lots of swelling

Small wound: another one that was not as deep, almost as wide as the first, is also thick now but hard to see in pictures.

3.5 months post op

Updating with some scar photos from a standing position. My belly is less rounded if I wear compression 24/7 but if I take it off I blow up, I don't know what to do once it gets warmer, I won't be able to keep wearing it, it will just be too hot. My ps never called to schedule my revision so I guess I need to call them, sigh.

The three mes

Just playing... I sitched three pics together. The preop, the post op when I was a nice flat and now when I am less flat but at least not a barrel anymore.

Timing of the revision

My ps hasn't called to schedule the revision and I was going to call but I am making summer plans that keep piling up and I have no idea what healing will be like from the revision. Even if I find out what "normal" healing is like, I don't trust that will be my road! So, I am wondering if I should wait. I will probably be going to FL in June, CT in July and maybe on vacation in Oct and I want to be able to go swimming both on these trips and if it is hot this summer. When should I get this done?!

Still having pain :(

Well, I thought the pain stuff was improving. A couple days ago I had the sharp pains on the right side by my belly button but today I did a lot more activity than I normally do in a day and my pain started really bothering me down by my incision. It was constant, sometimes sharp and piercing, sometimes dull but fairly strong. By the end of my outing, I was holding the area like a really bad stitch after running. Anyone else get this (at almost 4 months)? Or should all this be done by now. I also felt so swollen by the end of the day, my stomach feels like twice the size since I was more active than normal.

I did go shopping though and I am still baffled by my size. I never know whether to get a S, M, or L off the rack! I often have to get all three! Here is an example of what I fit into today: I put on a size 6 dress (that is CRAZY!! It just seemed big and was stretchy so I felt like I could fit into it and I did!) that may never happen again in my lifetime. The last time I wore a size 6, I was 6. I bought one size small shirt, I also bought a size Large rain coat, but somethings I tried on were too big in Large and others were small in Medium and then there were the few Size 6 and Smalls that fit!

It makes it hard to shop online since I have no idea what will fit, yet, most of the clothes that I like are online, not in stores. Anyone else struggle with finding the right size with their new bodies? Before it didn't really matter since baggie was fine since it hid stuff, now, baggie just makes me look fat! I did find a couple sweaters and a shirt and I ordered a bathing suit online, I hope it fits!

Share your favorite shopping places, online and in store!

With my last post being about clothing, I love all the responses. So, please share your favorite shopping places and if possible how clothes fit (run small, big, or all over the place) so others can check it out. A few posted some places and I am checking them out, thanks! I like Venus online. I just got my first order and the clothes were nice and fit consistently. I fit in size medium tops and size 12 as my "safe" number size. (5'7", 160 pounds). I just ordered some more from them too.

Four months!

I can't believe it has been four months. I remember when this surgery wasn't even on my radar. Some people plan this for a long time, I decided and first thought about it around June last year I think, so not even a year ago and here I am 4 months post op.

Even with the complications and continued pain, I am still happy to have my old stomach back. I finally look on the outside like I felt on the inside.

My stomach still swells a lot, it can still have bouts of pain, sometimes quite bad pain that lasts for 10-15 minutes unless I rest. Both are worse with movement. I really want to try and lift but I am afraid to hurt something.

I wear my compression garment when weather permits but into the 80's is too hot. Tomorrow will be a swell day. I have finally started shopping more and more. I am buying a new wardrobe but trying to keep it affordable since I have so much to buy. I went shopping in some stores where tanks were $40, shorts were $70, and dresses were $140. I just couldn't do that. So, I will continue to hunt for good,quality, cute, affordable clothes. I am enjoying the shopping trips,!,

My newest pics are on my phone and I Amon my iPad, so I,will,have to try to upload from there.

I am planning my revision in October.

4 month pics

Couple pics

Closing in n 5 months

Another few days will make five months. Crazy. I am doing a lot better. My pain is las frequent although strong when I get it. I am tying to decrease my use of narcotics. I struggle with lots of itch I can't scratch and that is a terrible feeling. I a also bloated and gassy. I get very swollen and bloated by the end of the day still.

My left dog ear is terrible, the right isn't as bad,, my tummy is flat in the morning and round at night. My left side looks good, my right side, does not.

My left side scar is still quite red but thin. My right side scar is terrible, purple, and thick. Waiting on surgery for that, probably September or October,

I finally started working my core. I signed up for a 30 day plank challenge as I really want to tighten my core.

7 months already

It is hard believe it has been 7 months. Here is an update and hopefully later I can find time to add pictures.

Scar: my scar is still very visible. I admit I am kind of lazy with scar treatment and don't do stuff everyday but even so, it is still more red than I thought it would be. The right side where the wounds were are still a big mess, very wide and red. I don't give it much thought since I will be starting over with a revision soon.

Wound area: I still have pain in the area of my wound. It is tender to touch and it adhered to my hip so it pulls when I move which hurts. That whole area still looks and feels terrible, I am anxious to get it fixed but worried if it will be done right.

Swelling: I still swell by mid day and worse by evening, the more active I am, the more I swell. I don't really believe this will suddenly go away one day, I think I am just susepectable to swelling.

Tightness: I also still very tight in my lower abdomen. I feel like it was sewn really tight there and I don't get any bulges from my belly button down but above my belly button I feel loose and when I gain a few pounds, I see it in my tummy above the belly button.

Numbness: I am still numb in a square around my belly button. Sometimes it really disturbs me.

Vag: my pubic hair line is so much higher now, I hate that. It starts right at my scar line, which is way too much hair so now I must shave daily (not a waxer) to make things look right and I still get stumble if I miss a day, Before, the hair line was fine and just regular trimming was sufficient, now it is such an increase in surface area, it is a pain. Also, I still have a slight puffiness to the mons, it never went back to as flat as it was before surgery.

Overall look: Overall, my tummy is mostly flat. It has loosened up since the first few months after surgery, maybe when the stitches dissolved. It isn't a swim suit model belly but it looks better than it did. I would love to lose more weight but have never been good at keeping my sweet tooth in check, so I might have to be happy with a reasonable weight and a reasonable tummy.

Revision: I am still trying to figure out when to do the revision, there never seems to be a good time to be cut open and deal with that kind of stuff again.... Maybe in August but no later than October.

$500 for the revision, what do you all think?

So, I went to schedule my revision today and got the cost estimate. I was surprised it was $500, I expected free to $200-ish. He is charging $350 for the operating room (which is in his office) and $150 for the local. He had told me ahead of time, things like this were at his cost, he is not charging me for his services to do the revision itself, but these other costs seem high, any thoughts? Anyone else have to pay this much. Remember I had a two large wounds open up and I have 2 dog ears, he is going to open up half my scar and re-do and fix the dog ears.

Scar and dog ear revision scheduled

I went ahead and scheduled my revision for November. He will open half my scar from my mid section all the way to the right and redo it and hopefully remove the scar tissue that is binding it to my hip area. He will also fix dog ears on both hips. I have no idea what to expect. It will be done under local. I know he said it would take about an hour in surgery. I am trying not to think about it, it can't be anything as bad as the tummy tuck but I am sure there will be discomfort. I figure I probably will have to go back to sleeping on my back which is the worst part of it. I also probably won't be able to drive since it is on the right side, hopefully not for too long though. Surgery is on Thursday... maybe I can drive by Monday? If anyone has any experience with a large scar revision and/ or dog ears, I would love to hear from you.
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon

If I didn't have complications, I would have given him a five star rating too. He has really great bedside manner. He is very laid back, which gives you a calming effect. He responds to texts quickly when you have a question but I feel he and his office need a better plan in place for taking care of patients with complications. They should be given more information, seen more often, treated proactively, and checked on regularly. This would change his practice from 3 to 5 stars. It is frightening to have complications and we need more support.

3 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
3 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
2 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 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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