Happy 50th Birthday to Me . . . Charlotte, NC

After 49 years of weight fluctuations, one child...

After 49 years of weight fluctuations, one child and multiple medically necessary surgeries - I am choosing to go all in on a 'mommy makeover', 3/2/16. With a recent weight loss of 71 lbs, I am left with sag I have never seen in my 49 years of highs and lows. While I have always fantasized of having elective surgery - this was the straw that broke my bank, LOL!

I am scheduled for a circumferential tummy tuck; BL/BA and lipo. While I am totally scared, I am excited too. My journey to finalize my decision was much in part because of this wonderful Real Self community as well as supportive, honest and loving family and friends. I do not have pics yet because until now, I have been on the fence. In fact, my pre op is 1/25/16 - fingers crossed I get cleared. If so, I hope to be on the flat side with perky twins very soon so I am healed in my new body come my 50th birthday!! I will also try to post my experiences going forward to help others yet to embark on this journey. Finally, any tips to make this adventure easy would be much appreciated!

All clear for surgery and very nervous . . .

All clear for surgery and very nervous . . . I went for my pre-op Monday 1/25 and talked with the anesthesiologist yesterday - way was easier than I expected. I think that I have been waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop so I have been guarded with getting my hopes up. Now it is so real, I am incredibly nervous. My pre-op with my PS is 2/16 and now the question is twin size - who knew it would be such a difficult decision. I will say though that all you wonderful real self ladies have given me a lot of great information and insight as to what to expect. I don't think I would be this far into the process without you! I promise to post photos once I go for my last pre-op. Thank you all for sharing and caring. Happy healing!

Shell shocked - PS pre op was a long process . . .

Where to begin? We arrived knowing there would be lots to cover, but after 3 hours - I was on information overload. Let's start with the basics. The approach changed so now I am having two separate procedures. I was initially unhappy with this, but in retrospect - I am very glad for the change. 3/2 I am having mons work with the 360 body lift and muscle repair; Lipo to my abs, flanks and bra roll; then the breast augmentation. This is where it got confusing. Choosing size changed everything as I thought I would have the breast lift at the same time. As it turns out, 500 cc's silcone moderate plus (the size I chose and hope not too big) was too big to do both at the same time. The recommendation is to do the augmentation then come back for the lift later. The reason is - I only need an aerola mastopexy and the PS concern was that the size would put too much tension on the aerola sutures. While this adds another $974 (after much negotiation), the good news is that I am more confident that the results will be straight and even head lights given the twins should be settled giving him a better visual for placement. Bad news is - I am not sure how I feel about doing this under local anesthesia, oye! Why 500 cc's? I am tall with a moderate frame and my husband preferred that size. Also, when playing with rice sizers (on Valentine's day, LOL) we were at 475 so not a big leap. I trust it will all turn out well and should put me at a full D, possibly a DD.

The appointment - holy cow, I feel like I signed every page of a novel and given so much information my head is spinning. I will try to recap: I was given all my meds and pre-op instructions that included 6 pharmacy scripts and a dozen or more vitamins as well as other supplies needed. He is very funny about brand and prefers plant based/pharmaceutical grade vitamins and minerals - let's just say, not cheap! There were also others recommended so I need to call and inquire about those. In addition, I still have all the scar management supplies to buy, but that is a few weeks away. Did any of you buy silicone strips?

What I purchased so far - front closing sports bra's; probiotics; Bactitracin ointment; Miralax; stool softner; Multivitamin + Multiminerals no iron; they provided arnica; Vitamin C and Vitamin D3 pharmaceutical grade; and yes, maxipads for the wound healing (they said it works just as good and much cheaper than other wound dressings). I am not buying any close because I have plenty loose yoga pants and button up or zipper front tops. I am getting a walker from a friend as well as a shower chair. We also have a hand held shower head so that will work just fine. Other stuff we have on hand always is coco butter, baby wipes, alcohol prep pads, etc. So, I think we have everything we need once I pic up my prescriptions. I opted not to get the pain pump because personally I know me and if I don't feel the pain I will overdue it thinking I am ok. As for the pain meds - I am severely allergic to tylenol, codine and morphine so he had to order me special meds for that and for the life of me - I can't remember the name. I will share when I pick them up.

My surgery will be in his surgery center and I will stay overnight. Here is what has me really confused. I have to bring my own food for after surgery. Now how do I know what I want or even if I will want anything? Did any of you have this situation? If so, what are your recommendations?

We also covered post op, but I can only take this one step at a time. Drains, dressings, etc. - oh my! I just know I am very grateful for my husband as he will catch the brunt of that process. I do know that I will be in the recliner for at least a week and will need to start back on pharmaceutical grade Vitamin E and Fish Oil after surgery. Oh yeah, they also took me off HRT from now until 4 weeks after surgery to prevent blood clots. I can only imagine the impact this will have on my emotional madness.

Finally, they took photos and measurements. I did not get a copy of the pics, but I will and will share when I do. Right now my measurements are:
Chest: 38"
Waist above Belly Button: 33"
Abdomen under Belly Button: 36"
Hips: 40"

I think this about covers everything and if I missed something, please ask and I will be happy to share. I just know this journey is surreal and I never thought it would actually come to fruition, but two weeks from today - I will be in process of making it to the flat side! Yikes!

Again, thank you all for your support and input! I could not do this without you wonderful veterans and newbies of realself.com!

Tomorrow is the big day - no guts no glory!

As promised, here are my before photos. Tomorrow I enter the twilight zone of transformation and beyond nervous. I have taken my arnica, started stool softner, talked to the surgery nurse, have all post op products and ready to be on the flat side. I will be staying overnight to return home on Thursday morning. Thank God for my husband - he is so supportive and as nervous as I am, but excited at the same time.

I am doing the full 360 tummy tuck to get lift on my butt, outer thighs and mons as well as a flat tummy with muscle repair; Lipo of my stomach, flanks and bra roll; and 475 - 500cc Natrelle Inspira silicone gel implants sub-glandular. A total overhaul if you will, haha! My PS has his work cut out for him :)

The BA lift will be a peri-aereola reduction and done in April to ensure lift suture integrity and will be done with local anesthesia. I wanted it all done at one time and this approach freaks me out; however, I am hoping my nipple results will be more beautiful. I will say, I have total confidence in my PS (Dr. Victor Ferrari) and his staff. They have been wonderful through this whole process.

As you can see from the photos, PS is the only way I will achieve the results I have longed for since a young age. I have posted my measurements previously and will continue to track progress as my journey continues. I know it won't be easy, but I am committed to doing me in 2016 and if I could deliver a baby awake during a c-section - I can do this too!

I wish everyone scheduled a successful journey and recovery. Cheers to all on their mommy make over adventure! Now I am moving on to total freak out and a Valium to hopefully get some rest. If you have questions or advice, feel free to message me and I will do my best to respond as soon as possible!

Thank you real self ladies and I will see you all on the flat side!!!!

On the flat side . . .

What an experience surgery was - good news is that I got every thing done and do not have to return except to follow-up. Things I learned: take more stool softner (day 4 and nothing); enjoy the pampering; and never text on narcotics.

There is whole lot more with pics, I am just bit groggy. I will post in a day or so to share more! Here is to the flat side!

It's a journey - not a race!

It has taken me several days to think clearly enough to post my surgery experience! Apparently, I am a light weight when it comes to anesthesia and pain meds - hence the "never text on narcotics". I have so many texts that may be used against me in the future, but they are definitely worth a laugh. BTW, giggles hurt post op - seriously!

Surgery day: scared, nervous and anxious are only a few words to describe my state of mind. Upon arrival at the surgery center - Caroline made me feel so at ease. She is an excellent surgery nurse with an awesome sense of humor. Not wasting any time she dressed me in my sexy surgery garb and began my vitals and history. Dr. Ferrari then arrives to review our plan and mark my body like a Picasso canvas followed by Dr. Collins to discuss my anesthesia. What seemed to take forever, only took moments with the exception of starting my IV. I am not an easy stick so let's just say I am a pin cushion! Side note - did you know we as humans can have barnacles? Well - I - Ursula the sea witch had one or two that Ferrari kindly removed - LOL!

Surgery and post-op: From my understanding - surgery went great. 9 hours under seemed like a nice nap. Everyone raved about the results even though the swelling is skewing the immediate results. 5 lbs of skin and fat removed; 490cc implants; donut mastopexy (bonus - I don't have to go back for that one); TT with MR, a nice tight butt and no barnacles, LOL! This is the awesomeness I remember before I failed to pass the tests of what year is it? When is your hubs bday? Who is president? The complete barrage questions to make sure anesthesia was reversed without issue. Well, not me - I scared everyone into an ambulance ride to the ER for a CT scan and Labs. While I knew it was nothing, I appreciated the urgency in which they all responded.

The ER: Everyone came with me - hubs, daughter, Dr. Ferrari, Caroline - I mean everyone. Once I was cleared from the ER, they asked if I wanted to stay there or go back to the surgery center. Of course I wanted to be back at the surgery center with Karen who was the most awesome night nurse ever. She was attentive, entertaining and excellent at her job! Who would pass that up - not me!

While this all sounds like a horror story, it was the best experience I could ask for from a team like Premier Plastic Surgery. The days that follow to now is not for the weak, but with a great husband - I am surviving. I even got a pimped out walker with lights and a cup, haha! Karen even came by to give me a shot and check on me and thought the walker was so cool, she took pics!

Even the drains don't bother me, but I will say - don't forget stool softener as it took me 5 days. I even opted not to have exparel as 3 days didn't seem to be that long and I would rather feel the pain. Today is day 7, I am without the walker as cute as it is, drains are slowing down and I have my first follow-up Thursday. I can't wait to hear everyone's recall of all that happened. All-in-all, I am well on my way to recovery and wouldn't hesitate to do it again. I believe this covers everything for now and I will certainly keep you real self ladies posted on my progress. Thank you all for your continued support and I wish you all uneventful/successful surgeries and recoveries!

Cheers to the flatside! I just can't wait on the twins to drop and fluff, woohooo!!! :)

Week 2 Recovery Continues

Today I returned back to work which for most sounds crazy; however, I have the luxury of working from home so it is not a stretch. As of last week I got both drains removed and ditched my pimped out walker. With the hubs in tow I also managed to go to Walmart, Lowes and get my nails done - woohoo. I also bought a fit-bit to start tracking my steps. While I am not blazing the trails, I feel I am making great progress.

Things that are not so fun are gas, swelling and allergies - all in full swing. I am still taking pain meds, but only at night. I think the most aggravating of all is the swelling. Well that and the girls still riding high on my chest. How long does it take for them to drop and fluff? I know to expect swelling to continue for quite a while so I am practicing patience where that is concerned. I have another follow-up on Friday to get the stitches removed from my belly button which I find exciting. I will also get my sexy binder which I guess is a necessary evil - UGH! So anyway I am moving along pretty well.

BTW, When I was in the office last week, there were lots of giggles about the year and the scare I put into all involved with my post surgery ER visit. I am guessing they will avoid touching me again; unless, it's done under local, LOL!

Regardless, I am very happy with the results so far. I actually have a curves I never knew were under all the skin and fat. I haven't taken pics since my last post but will do so soon. Happy healing!

2 Weeks - not all Roses!

I have waited a couple days to post because I am having a hard time finding the positive, but truth is that this journey is not all roses. Again, patience is key and so I decided to bring the honest to this post. Also, the pics I took before my post op appointment Friday disappointed me, but I am posting them anyway. After all, it was only 16 days and based on other reviews I have a long way to go! So here it is . . .

The not so good: pain and discomfort more than I expected, but at my appointment I was told it's a good thing that nerves are coming back; I am back on antibiotics because my right breast has redness that was suspect - preventative; my bladder is squished from muscle repair which cause many trips to pee, ugh; swelling - holy hell; work - managed getting through week 1, but even working from home was harder than expected; my TT t-scar is gnarly and scary - I am told it is normal; my boobs are not what I expected, but again - they have to drop and fluff (patience); my butt has a gap in the crack and seems to be flat and sitting on hard services is no bueno; fitted with a god awful girdle and opt to keep wearing the compression binder; finally - food intake is a challenge as I really have no appetite and can't seem to eat much without the full feeling.

The good: The Dr. Ferrari was beyond impressed with my progress and very encouraging regarding the end results; I no longer need pain meds and can take ibuprofen; the hubs seems extremely happy with results so far and other than my butt, I look pretty good in close; I lost 1 inch in my upper abs and 2 inches off my hips. I haven't measured anywhere else; I can sleep on my side and have plenty of spanks from my pre-surgery arsenal that I can wear at night; I am up to walking a mile a day; I am moving into week 3 and it can only keep getting better from here.

I know there is more not so good than good, but I expect that to change with time. Dr. Ferrari asked if I hated him given I paid for this pain - LOL! There you have it - the good, bad and ugly. Again, I am not happy with the pictures and trying to stay positive by reminding myself it is only week two. Here is to week 3 and more progress!

Happy healing ladies!

3 week itch!!!!

First I want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement. This has been quite a journey, but I think I have turned a corner.

I started itching last night and thought that I was definitely experiencing what many real selfers mentioned in their posts. I was like, wooohooo - the incisions are healing and I am well on my way to recovery. Well, today I have a nice the rash all over that indicated otherwise so hydro-cortisone and benedryl it is - try working on benedryl, LOL! The hubs said I scratched all night. Anyway, I woke today feeling pretty good other than the itching and rash which is just another speed bump in the road.

For your amusement: I went to my husbands senior sports softball game last night which was a breath of fresh air. Of course, we haven't held back on letting folks know what I did so while the wives were inquisitive regarding the procedure and progress - the men would hardly look at me! It was as if they wanted to, but were afraid they would be too obvious not that they could tell anyway, LOL! So, me being me - I made sure I addressed each one just to make them uncomfortable (fun times)!

Anyway, my appetite is back and I think my girls are starting to drop. The incisions are looking much better as well. I don't have pics to post, but will do so soon. I just wanted to give everyone an update and shout out to you all for being so great and encouraging!

Happy healing!!!!!
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon

I can't say enough about Dr. Ferrari and his staff. Jodi, Melissa, Donna, Caroline and Karen all were top notch and made me feel like family. From my consult to my surgery to my aftercare - I received the best care I believe I could have gotten anywhere. While marking my surgery sites, Dr. Ferrari took his time and even said he was OCD, LOL! I appreciated that more than he will ever know. I also gave them a scare after surgery that they addressed immediately to make sure I was stable. Karen even came to visit me at home to ensure I was healing nicely. As nervous as I was about the entire process, they made sure my experience was a positive one. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone looking to have any kind of plastic surgery. Thank you Dr. Ferrari for taking such good care of me! You and your entire staff rock!

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