If someone had said to me that I would be posting...
If someone had said to me that I would be posting nude photos online, I'd have thought it was the beginning of a bad Paris Hilton joke. Seriously though, Realself and the honesty of its members has been such a source of inspiration and wealth of information while navigating this process that I felt it only proper to pay it forward.
In March of 2015 I had gastric bypass surgery and have lost 130 lbs in the year since. I now weigh 133 lbs (half my previous size...literally!) and am struggling with all of the extra skin and my saggy, deflated breasts.
I am scheduled for a tummy tuck, thigh lift, breast lift and breast augmentation with Dr John YS Kim at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on 6/22. Frankly, it can't come soon enough for me!
Dr Kim has suggested a small implant - 275ccs to 350 ccs in conjunction with my lift. This is what I'm struggling with the most. It's very important to me to have a natural result. I'm looking forward to my pre-op appt early June when we'll go over sizing. I'm just so afraid of making the wrong decision!!
I had consultations with five premier surgeons in Chicago and knew during the appointment that Dr Kim was my surgeon. I booked it the same day. His work is impeccable, and he has such a quiet, confident demeanor. I immediately felt at ease- a hard thing to achieve given the circumstances! The surgeons I saw seemed pretty split on whether I should have a lower body lift or a tummy tuck. Honestly, I don't have any hanging or crepey elephant skin on my backside so I was comfortable moving forward with just the tummy tuck.
The count down is on & I'm freaking out!
I am a week away from the big day - have all of my supplies purchased & Im all packed. I'm just freaking out a bit about recovery. I will be recuperating at my dads house in the suburbs. He is a great guy, but not a care taker. I have an aunt and cousin who live nearby my dads and will be coming over to help - especially with more intimate things like bathing or wound redressing.
I'm just freaking out about being so vulnerable and dependent on others. My surgeon said I probably won't be able to go home and live independently for 3-4 weeks post-op which really blindsided me.
I have the utmost faith in my surgeon Dr Kim, but I am freaking out a bit about choosing to have implants with my lift. We discussed 300 ccs and he assures me that I will be curvy but not out of place in a business professional environment. Sigh. I just have a lot going on in my head and too much time so it's overwhelming.
i gained two pounds right before my period and I swear it all went to my boobs. I literally went up a full cup size. This hasn't happened to me before & it kind of reignited my trepidation regarding implant size even though I've already made peace with it. Spent the rest of the day getting ready, running errands, got a facial (yay!) and my legs & lady bits waxed (boo!), cleaned my house, went to yoga, a long walk... Basically just anything to keep my mind and body busy today.
I've been doing yoga every day this past week and it has really helped keep my stress level down - so for anyone out there struggling it's worth a shot. I like the experience of going to a class but in a pinch I'll stream yoga with Adrienne on YouTube on my TV.
Surgery went smoothly yesterday- procedure was at Prentice Women's Hospital and my surgical nurse Linda was phenomenal- a true advocate for me and my needs. I opted to stay the night and it was the best decision I could have made!
Was very comfortable pain wise on the dilaudid. Later in the day they switched me over to norco & I became increasingly miserable. Getting up & out of the hospital bed and sitting down on the toilet (5 times and counting ) was pretty brutal but is getting easier. They started supplementing dilaudid on top of the norco & that made a world of difference.
I ended up with six drains - and they are a pain - literally - but I am growing more accustomed to them & how to avoid any ouchies from them. I have not seen under the compression garments for my tummy or thighs, but even with 5 lbs of fluid gain during the day my tummy looks flat and I have s tremendous thigh gap! Dr Kim ended up using 310 ccs along with my breast lift. They are very swollen as of yet, but I am hoping that dissipates quickly. The surgical fellow who did rounds this morning said most of the swelling will be resolved in the next week or two.
FYI my thighs hurt the most by far, the tummy really only hurts when I get up or down (the transitional movements) and the boobs don't bother me at all in terms of pain.
Day 2 - starting to take a better shape
Here's a boob update- they're talking on a less swollen, more natural shape already.
Allowed to shower today and try to remember to take shots of the belly & thighs for you guys. So far this everything is very flat but hella swollen. I've heard so much about swell hell & never thought it'd be an issue for me,,. Wishful thinking I guess!!!
Exploring Dr Kim's work
Just had my first sponge shower of sorts and was able to see all of Dr Kim's fine work. The incisions are so thin; I could not be any happier! Also, I'm still very swollen but even so, the quality of skin on my thighs is night & day. No more hanging skin - just firm, smooth thighs like I've dreamed of all my life!
Pain is easing up
I'm now taking the norcos on a strict every 4 hr schedule with an alarm. Most of the time this is fine but sometimes as we're nearing hour 4 mark my body is already hurting pretty well. As has been the case, my boobs really don't hurt at all, my tummy hurts during transitional movements- getting up/ laying down, sitting on the potty etc, and my thighs burn/ ache pretty consistently.
Was totally naughty but tried on one of the lace bralettes I bought at VS pre-op. It is a size medium, and my boobs are full and perky in them instead of falling out the front with my extra grandma elephant skin.
Still can't poop!
Today is Sunday, had surgery Wednesday, so my last BM was Tuesday. Things aren't uncomfortable yet but I'm worried that I'm going in that direction. Taking RX senna every night. Maybe will page the surgeon on call.
Can we talk about my amazing thighs? He got them so taught and shapely. I can't believe these are my legs!!! Things are still very swollen so I can't even wrap my head around the fact that they'll soon look better than this :)
Hiccup in the road to recovery
Have a small section of skin that is red, inflamed & swollen at the top of my inner thigh / pubic mound. Residents on call called me right back, thinks it is an infection as it is weeping orange fluid a bit. Called in a new antibiotic & wants me to come in and see dr akin tomorrow instead of Thursday. Don't know how this will affect my drain situation!!!
Still have not had a bowel movement. It's been just over a week and it has finally caught up with me. Starting yesterday afternoon I've been pretty uncomfortable. At my check up yesterday (no infection! Just a patch of irritated skin adjacent to my incision) I was told to take ducolax. Took a big dose last night and still nothing :/
It's getting to the point of being both painful and demoralizing. I kind of want to cry....
Speaking of crying, the pain meds and healing process have my emotions all over the place. Have cried every day since Saturday. Yesterday's crying session was at the Drs appt where I cried & asked if I was an addict. That elicited a laugh from Dr Kims PA Kristen and from my father aka caretaker/ nurse extraordinaire. I was assured that with the amount of surgery I just had, I shouldn't even discuss tapering my pain meds for 2-3 weeks.
Swell hell & still constipated
My calves, thighs, and tummy are very swollen, perhaps in part to all the additional time spent on the toilet and walking to and from the bathroom.
Hopefully more and better to report tomorrow!
Out of the woods!
Finally had a bowel movement yesterday and it was a complete game changer. My spirits are great, pain level is manageable, emotions are in check. They have me doing colace & senna every day. Eventually what helped was the magnesium citrate. Took the whole bottle and about 36-48 hrs later I felt like singing a whole new world! Lol
Seriously though, I'm not getting up all the time and forcing the bathroom issue which puts so much pressure on my incisions and caused so much swelling.
I'm still pretty swollen but already in a day it's gone down a bunch.
I'm moving around well & have been able to cut my pain meds by 50% in the past week. I am no longer setting an alarm to take a dose in the middle of the night and am waking up feeling fine.
I'm allowed to walk for 10 min every 2 hours, no more no less. I'm in good spirits but tire out easily. Stayed in the car while my dad ran errands yesterday & needed a nap when we got home.
My scars are looking great, my boobs have a beautiful shape and are settling nicely. The swelling in my legs has reduced greatly, but still swelling above my compression garment high on my thighs. My hips are swollen 6 inches wider than normal, and my belly is flat but still a bit swollen (2 inches larger than pre op).
So excited with my results already. Have a post op appt Friday & expect to get my final 2 drains removed. I will see Dr Kim in 2 weeks to discuss & begin scar treatment options.
TT scar at 2.5 weeks
Scars are thinning out & healing nicely! In another 2-3 weeks I meet with Dr Kim to begin scar treatment. I'm excited about how things have healed this far without any intervention, so who knows how great they'll look with his fancy work! :)
checked out my legs!
Don't have a full size mirror on the first floor & I've been only getting glimpses. I was naughty & just climbed up on my shower stool to check them out in my bathroom mirror - I do not recommend this! My legs feel numb & tingly and hoping I haven't put too much stress on my delicate thigh & groun incisions...
Can't even begin to compare them with my pre op legs - all that extra skin is gone & even with the swelling you can see my natural shape. So happy!
Miserable day today
Well, I've been feeling tremendously better the past week or so. I'm down to one norco ever 6-8 hours. This is great bc in the beginning I was 2 pills every 4 hours like clockwork.
I have a dear friend's baby shower on Saturday & wanted to get a hair cut & a few accent foils put in. Even though I was sitting the entire time, I was beyond exhausted & in a rough place when I got home. To be fair though, I was very tired even before I left.
I bought poptarts on my way home & had most of one poptart. Bad news bears. I really do not tolerate sugar at all post gastric bypass. Knew it was a bad idea & did it anyway. Needless to say I was sick & exhausted when I arrived home.
Slept like a rock but woke up with bright red itchy eczema & bumps all over my face. Took 2 Benadryl, applied a RX cream to the eczema and ate 1/4 of a poptart. Didn't learn my lesson. Now I feel terrible. So nauseous & am having diarrhea & I feel squirrelly on the Benadryl.
Threw away the rest of the poptarts. I just can't have them in the house apparently, even I really haven't been struggling with sugar cravings lately. Maybe it's a comfort thing? That's really all I can come up with.
In terms of healing from surgery, things are looking great & healing well. My incisions are looked by straight up fabulous. Just bought a new swimsuit. My waist & hips are swollen 5" larger than presurgery, but I think I look fantastic even with all of the swelling. Can't wait to see the final results!!!
Fingers crossed that this passes quickly
Swelling going down, down down - week 4.5
Hi all, I'm 4 and a half weeks out from my thigh lift, tummy tuck, breast lift and aug. In the last week I have dropped from 134 lbs to 128 lbs. I weighed in at 136 on the morning of surgery. I didn't weigh myself for about two weeks after surgery - I just really didn't care - and then curiosity got the best of me and I weighed in at the mid 140s. Maybe 145 or so.
I measured my waist, hips, and chest today & all of my measurements are 2" larger than pre-op, so I can't wait to see my final results. Outrageously delighted with what has already materialized.
Updated thigh healing photo
Hi all, was out in my swimsuit catching a few minutes of sunshine & snapped a couple pics of my thighs & incision for anyone curious in the healing process or scar associated with a vertical thigh lift.
Also included is my tummy - flat! But with my stretch marks (frankly I don't care all that much about them. Where I am from where I've come is an outrageous difference & I have trouble working up dissatisfaction even with my scars.
Please note my thigh scars are not visible when standing in front of someone they are on the inner thigh all the way toward the back where my hamstrings are. Love the placement- hidden as much as possible.
I see Dr Kim again this Thursday to begin scar treatment therapy so Ill update once we've decided on a plan.
Huge day today
Saw Dr Kim today & got cleared to ditch my compression gear and resume normal activities!
He gave me 2 boxes of cicacare silicone strips with instructions to wear them for 8-9 hours per day, and to massage my incisions for 4 minutes four times per day.
He is very happy with how quickly I am healing and how my results have taken shape; however, he mentioned wanting to do touch ups of my inner thigh and in a couple of areas along my abdomen. His biggest issue is with my breasts and that they have settled lower than he would like. He wants to tighten them up. He will do all free of charge. Depending on what he wants to do with the breasts, j would have to pay anesthesia & OR fees.
Frankly, he is a perfectionist, which O dearly appreciate. I have just come so far already that I'm having a hard time feeling less than amazingly blessed. I've lost 140 lbs in just over a year, and even just my pre & post op form is night and day. Without all of that extra skin, I feel like a beautiful butterfly.