30s, 3 Kids, Severe Diastasis and Ready to Fit into Clothes Again - Chicago, IL

I'm scheduled for my TT on March 18 with Dr Thomas...

I'm scheduled for my TT on March 18 with Dr Thomas Mustoe. After interviewing many doctors, I felt like he understood the medical need I have for this procedure.

I had three children within 5 years. They were between 8-9 pounds. I started off at 110 pounds and gained roughly 50-55 pounds.

I'm currently suffering from a sore back and bowel issues due to my hernia and lack of core muscles. I'm very, very down about this.

All of my children were born naturally and two were home births. I'm quite fearful of the concept if surgery, but I refuse to live life like this. I can't wear dresses and I can't fit into clothing properly. Though I'm only 5'6 and 130 pounds I'm having to buy size 12-14 pants. Everyone said give it time... I knew my third birth changed my body forever. After my second kid I did Zumba and boot camp. Within 6 months I was 120 with a flat stomach.

I tried physical therapy. I'm now ready for this to happen. I want to tuck in a shirt again. I'm tired of (and pissed off at) people lecturing me about getting pregnant AGAIN. I tell them I'm not and that this is just "how I look".

I'm sad and overwhelmed. I can't believe the journey I'm about to take.

Blood Test Completed and Pre-OP this afternoon

Having been anemic most of my life, I was very worried about meeting the surgeon's requirements for hemoglobin and platelet numbers. My surgery is scheduled for March 18 so it was critical for me to get the right numbers.

Thankfully the hemoglobin was 13.1 (I've always been about 10) so over the requirement and my platelet was 250 (150-400 average).

To be honest, starting a month ago I started taking the slow-fe slow release iron supplements at night with a huge glass of water mixed with an emergency vit C packet (to aid in absorption). I also avoided dairy at this time since it can negatively impact absorption of iron.

So I have passed a major hurdle. Thank goodness. Now today I have my pre OP appointment. I'm officially two weeks out from my surgery date. And because I'm two weeks out, I'm starting my vitamedica recovery supplements.

Pre-Op

I had a wonderful pre-op visit this morning with Dr. Mustoe and his nurses.

The office was running a tad behind, but I received a courtesy call an hour before my appointment. It was really thoughtful of them to call. It allowed me to slow down and browse the shoes at Neiman Marcus.

His nurse went over my payment schedule as well as reviewed the dos and do nots before and after surgery. Pretty much common sense stuff.

The doctor examined me carefully for a second time. We spoke about the surgery and recover a bit. I had thought about adding lipo to my thighs, but he expressed that my hips are a bit on the wide side and I have little fat....while I would see a result, it might accentuate my upper thighs more (not my best feature). I absolutely love when doctors/professions are honest.

(Side note, I once was desperate for a short hair cut. My stylist said "no!!!" you have a big nose and recessed chin! Baaaaad idea" did it hurt my feelings? Eh, a little bit, but she was right! I love honesty)

This bring me to my next topic: adding to the TT surgery. I've always been extremely self conscious of my recessed chin. We recently watched family videos from 30 years ago and in that video I actually say I have no chin.

So despite being fully booked, he spoke very clearly and earnestly to me about this concern and the options I may want to explore. He did not pressure me or start this conversation with me. I absolutely drove the conversation and he was an excellent listener. He did discuss how altering the nose a bit (in my case) along with chin enhancment would balance the face and alter the profile. I appreciated his honest judgement. Exceptional clarity and eye contact when speaking. No flashy talk or glazing over anything.

Now will I add this to my TT? Not sure. It adds a significant cost and my surgery would go from a short 2 hour to a 4 hour procedure.

So far his office has been fabulous. I met with many other surgeons, but I have zero regrets about selecting the surgeon in the city.

I'm so nervous and excited to recover. I know that my life and feelings about myself will be greatly improved. Just tucking in a shirt will bring me happiness.

So far I highly recommend. My surgery is March 18. I will post honest feedback for anyone interested in TT in the Chicago area.

Thinking about adding....

I'm thinking about adding a rhinoplasty and chin implant to my TT surgery. My surgeon is confident that combining procedures is not an issue.

I have about 2 full weeks of full time help for my three kids--so the 18th is kind of my chance.

Here are some photos of my profile--I've been so concerned about this my whole life. I may just work in chin (lipo and inplant) which will make the nose appear smaller.

My surgeon should be sending me some 3d images if what I might expect the results to be.

Photos

More pictures

Nose photo

Nose

1 week before my surgery

So it is Wednesday. In 1 week I will have my surgery (or possible surgeries). I'm still trying to work with the patient coordinator regarding my 3d imaging. I guess she needs to take special photos to make it happen...that means I have to go all the way downtown again. I can't blindly agree to a face procedure without getting an idea of what my potential result might be. My surgeon is excellent and has great photos from his past surgeries, but this is my face.

So I'm anxious to figure out exactly what I will have done next week. For sure I'm having the tummy tuck. I want to address my profile concerns as well.

I pulled out nightgowns that seemed appropriate. I have my pain medication and ointment ready. I have some extra pillows. Aside from that....no real purchases specific to the surgery. I'm just not that worried about it! I have stool softener from my last birth...so I'm pretty much set.

The one thing I do have to do is write up everything for the nanny. She'll need to take my girls to school, cook, and do all of that good stuff. I wish I could just copy myself!

Feeling good. Happy I'm able to get the surgery done. I feel supported by my spouse and mom and dad. Everyone sees this is necessary. The tummy tuck. Ah, crazy to call it elective. Especially when a hernia and massive muscle separation is present. My surgeon says the surgery is more restorative in his eyes.

Ahhhhh! Surgery is TOMORROW!

I am excited and nervous. I'm doing quite a bit of work this Wednesday. Im having my full tummy tuck, chin work, and a rhinoplasty! It's a lot to do all at once. I have three kids and will have plenty of help so now is the time.

I'm feeling like I may opt out of the rhinoplasty. I'm getting the last minute second thought type feelings. I DO want the result. But I'm so embarrassed about doing it. I'm embarrassed for the baby sitter to watch my kids while I sit in my room recovering from cosmetic and elective surgery. She's going to think I'm so pathetic and vain. I'm so embarrassed to have my own mom see me wrapped in bandages like I'm straight out of a reality tv show. She knows I might do it as I had to tell her (she'll be at my house.......) It all seems so wrong. At least the stomach is "reconstructive" in nature. If I'm embarrassed does that mean I should not do it? I wish could wake up in three weeks and be done with it all!!

Is it going to be awful with my face broken and my stomach, too? Oh gosh....so nervous.

So I do want the results, but ugh the whole idea of it........I don't know if I'm strong enough for this.

I received my 3D imaging. The nose looked so good, different, but more in a "huh" kind of way than "wow now THAT is different!!!"

I leave for the surgery center in 5 hours

I'm feeling a million emotions right now. I won't update until after. I can't believe I'm actually going to do this.

Excited
Scared
Hesitant
Embarrassed
My own version of mommy makeover
Happy
Panicked
Joy
Thankfulness

Feeling all of these and then some. See you on the flat side.

At hotel

Guys. I couldn't be happier. I'm so absolutely thrilled already. I am so glad I did it all. It cost a small fortune, but we planned for it.

I had a massive period migraine. All lights in hotel room off.

No binder no garment (my surgeon doesn't use then). I'm so cozy in my bed. There's no packing or plastic in my nose either.

He put in a small chin implant. I truly love it. I cried with joy. I thought a bigger size would be better, but he knows exactly what he is doing. Look at my before chin photos.

Photo

Photo

Wow!

So my face doesn't hurt at all! I can breath on my own without much issue. How amazing is that? I'm very comfortable with the noseand have no splints. I can't really see what it looks like yet, though. I have the bump removed and the bulbous tip redone and the projection diminished significantly. I've had almost no bleeding.

The chin and sub mental liposuction: what an amazing and immediate difference. From this I also feel very little disconfortant--none actually. I can already feel my bottom lip (was numb for 6-8 hours) I can smile, although it hurts my nose stitches and doesn't look quite right. After 12 hours I can feel most of my neck (was totally numb) and under my chin 28 hours later is still numb and sore to the touch.

The tummy tuck is a different story. Oh my god this hurts. I've never felt anything like this in my entire life. My husband is trying to get me to stand.... Wow. I can't engage my core even 1% without feeling like I'll die. But you guys see the before photos. I had a very very severe case of diastase recti...several inches in fact. And the hernia.

I'm not prepared to give my review on the doctor yet. However, u will say he was so nice to me in surgery day. He does care a lot. He texted me back within a good time frame to answer a question and the. He later called me to discuss a drain question.

Recovery is ok. I did NOT have GA so no nausea at all after waking up. Within 39 minutes I was talking. I was in a fabulous mood as well (just so thankful to be alive and know that I will see my little kids again....I love them so much). I had deep sedation through IV. I felt and heard and saw nothing. My surgeon has perfected this type of technique combined with local shots directly in the muscle. He has published numerous articles in this. He was also the former chief of surgery at Northwestern University for many years. If you're in the Midwest, you should consider. Although I will give updated doctor reviews over the coming weeks. So far, things are good.

Period in full swing as on surgery day! Oh the timing!!!

Meet my belly button!!!!

It's gorgeous. Before my intestines pushed it out and it guns 1/2 out of my body like a oenis almost. Now....it's amazing. Crying with happiness!

Had a follow up!

My hubby and I walked 6 blocks from hotel to doctor. Wonderful! Now I'm resting all day and night.

He cleaned out my belly button, took of nose gauze that was taped under the nostrils, cleaned my incision site.
Great appointment. Happy to not have a compression garment. I'm so comfortable.

Chin and nose look outstanding!!!

Drains out!

I was draining 5-10 so out came my drains! Nurse was gentle, but it was definitely uncomfortable.

We took a taxi hine and now I'm in bed resting. I'm obsessed with my profile. Best decision ever.

Stomach is super swollen

Profile Shot

Look!!!!

.Starting day 4

So I'm starting day four. I'm so very happy I did the surgeries.

Today my mom left, my husband starting getting a bit frustrated with the whole mommy being out of commission thing, and my friend brought over a yummy dinner for my family. I know my husband was so relieved to not have to make dinner for everyone. He's looking foreword to getting back to work on Monday :) I can't blame him. He has been very stressed and it is a lot of work helping me and the kids. I'd say if you generally have marriage problems, hire extra help, because this is another massive strain.

So I took 2 Tylenol this afternoon and then 2 pain pills from the doctor this evening.

NOSE
How do I feel? Well, I a, very annoying with the dried snot and flaking inside my nose. I'm carefully cleaning out the bottom part of my nose as instructed. But it's a little hard to deal with. From the first day I could breath perfectly normally. I had my nose broken, I had the bump removed, I have extensive tip work done. My doctor gave ,e a cast on the outside of my nose but nothing on the inside. The first two days I had a gauze piece tapped over my nostrils. I have had practically no bruising whatsoever. Maybe an inch slither of bruise under one eye, but my mom couldn't even see it. I think everyone is shocked. Again, I am breathing perfectly normal. It is bizarre. The doctor is clewrly amazing. He does more conservative work, but he's clearly a gentile and precise artist with respect to surgery. It is very apparent the utmost care was taken into my nose. He has also answered my text questions (3 so far) within a very reasonable amount of time. I appreciate that. The tip is very swollen. This is to be expected.

CHIN
I had originally wanted a large implant as my receding chin was severe. He prefers to use small implants on women. I'm glad I didn't second guess or push. Although I have a lot of swelling, I do see how complications are finished with a more conservative approach. I have wonderful definition and projection now.

One thing I read a lot of what that people often have a lot of numbness in the lips, chin, face, neck... As of the first day I could feel my bottom lip. My neck is sore from lipo, but it is not numb. Directly under my chin is still quite numb and swollen. My husband loves the result of the chin. Next time I go into the office, I want to be sure the implant has remained in its place and that the tips of the implant are where they need to be. I don't have a real concern, but I do like asking questions and confirming. I'd like for him to check it and confirm it is correct.

I only have a little piece of tape under my chin where the incision was made. Right after surgery I did have some dried blood around my neck area. I had ,y husband wipe that off since it bothered me. I am a bit sore, but nothing too bad, it feels like a boil (a deep zit) if you have ever had that. Tight and stretched, but not super painful at all.

TUMMY:

Yeah. The main reason I went to the doctor was for the tummy tuck after my three kids you can see my before photos are quite severe. I needed this surgery. The nose and chin, I wanted since I was already there...the stomach was necessary.

I think it is s bit harder than I thought. I underestimated the back pain I would have as a result of walking strangely. I have only slept in my bed with pillows. I bought nothing extra special for the surgery. I don't think I'd feel Better with a lift chair--not necessary I think. Basically. I am trying to take it easy. I'm very tight and swollen. The stretch marks near the incision line and pulling and rippling. This is to be expected. I have no real concern with it, but it doesn't look great at the moment. I just can't quite see the end result right now. So I'm still very happy, but really unsure at the moment. I need patience and some more rest time. Soon enough I will look awesome. But for now, I'm still in bed and wishing for thwt nice tummy.

I have no compression garment as my doctor doesn't use them. So I'm already used to getting up without one. I'm also more comfortable resting without it. So overall I have a very high satisfaction rate with how I'm feeling after surgery.

I'd like to shower, but I'm not supposed to. So for now, im following the rules. Nose cast is off next Wednesday. It will be 1 week. I hope that it is ok to take it off after 7/8 days.

Day 4

I'm mostly sleeping and watching tv. Im feeling pretty good. I'm just so happy I've started the recovery process. Here's a shot of how my new belly button is healing. He had a big problem to work with. I think he did very well.

I have swelling, but we all expect that. Not even looking for results right now. Just resting resting resting!

6 days after

I have been medicine free for two full days, having regular bowel movements, drove the car 1 mile myself to Starbucks, and broke the rules to take a shower. I made it 6 days. I just couldn't any longer. I've also been in my period since operating day.

I have been up and about a lot more today. I have played with my kids on the floor. Nursing my baby has been harder but we are getting there.

I think impressed so far. I'm impressed that my swelling is not terrible. My belly button shape is youthful and it is healing well (I think). I have swelling above my incision line which is to be expected.i do have some itching happening along my tape line at this point, especially at the ends of my kind incision. I've sneezed three times. Very painful!

The before and after photos don't lie ????

I have an appointment tomorrow.

Check out my updated photos.

Day 7

new pictures! I can't pull my pants up too high and I have swelling on my right hip area.

Today is cast removal!!

Day 8

THRILLED! Drove to the doctor myself for my third follow-up appointment. Stitches removed from nose (that hurt so badly), cast off, and I got to really see the beginning of my results.

I want to remind everyone that the day of my surgery, I had almost no nose bleeding and I could breath near perfectly out of my nose. After a rhinoplasty. Phenomenal!


Dr. Mustoe is a genius surgeon!

Chin!

Photos requested

Day 10!

Photo

Belly button / new stretch marks

Hey guys. So I'm in week 3 of recovery. This week starting on Monday I will have to watch my three little kids all alone. The help is gone!! I'm going to lift my babe carefully.

So I want you guys to honestly tell me what you think of my belly button. Before my TT it hung out and sagged like a nose. It was really bad. Right after surgery I felt it was perfect. The center was the deepest point and it looked really natural. Now the center has pushed up a bit. Why? Scar tissue firming? Swelling? Or just it is healing and this is how it will look? It is bordering on being flush with my tummy--that's close to an outie. Granted my ps never promised an innie and said I was pretty severe and that I coukd expect 80-90% improvement post surgery. So.... What do you think?

Also all my stretch marks were placed below my belly button. After surgery I saw that and loved it (I still had pleeeeeenty under my belly button)...in week three I developed new stretch marks on either side of my belly button. This happens when you're pulled so tight. Plus, I'm very prone to stretch marks. I'm not so bummed, but just wanted to show people it does happen.

More belly button

More photos.

More belly button and side

Not totally flat from side view. I usually exercise. I can't wait to start again. Had to start lifting my littlest guy today (my help period is over!)...

feeling unsure about bb.

4th week Blues?

Hi girls,

So I have had a down kind of a week. I can't really talk to my spouse about it since he's always working and doesn't want to hear that things aren't perfect.

It feels like my stomach is looking similar to my before photos. I have such a large mound from under my bra to below the navel. It's just one big hill of a tummy. It's true I'm a bit backed up lately. My period is due soon...but I don't want to make excuses of something isn't right.

Now my surgeon does two special permanent layers of stitches. He assured me that I could pick up my 20 pound baby without breaking stitches at my last appointment. All of his advice and guidance has been spot on.

Why would I start looking worse at this stage? I feel like in wk 1 and 2 I woke up flat in the morning. I feel so bloated now. After my surgery I could see my pubic area again(yeah, woohoo!!) and now when I look down I see stomach and my feet.

Maybe I'm bloated. Maybe I'm eating too much. After surgery I hardly ate for a week...maybe that's why I woke up flat lol?

Anyways, my scar line has closed up. It's low enough. It's pretty straight. Initially I was thrilled and my side view (the best teller of a good tummy tuck) was awesome. From the front most of us look pretty great after tt. Now my side view isn't a roll like one girl complained about, it's a mound.

Keep in mind the surgeon said he could likely get me 80-90% better. He never said yes you'll be flat. But I feel like I looked better in the earlier weeks, my belly button, too.

Thoughts? Feelings? Comments? I'm just really a bit down tonight.

4th week photo menstrual bloating, and 5th week scar photos

Hi everyone. My bloating has gone down a bit since my cycle is winding down. My belly button is alright--not exactly my ideal result, but honestly I had a hanging belly button that was over an inch long drooping out. So he did a pretty good job getting it back into a somewhat normal spot.

Here's some scar photos. I'm in the middle of my 5th week of recovery. I eat well, I do not smoke, and I took time to rest properly. My scar is healing nicely. I was worried the entirety of week 4 since I felt like my stomach was very close to pre-surgery size and shape. That photo is posted here. I was really freaking out. I've been communicating with Dr. Mustoe and we are keeping an eye on it. It did significantly improve after my period started, so I am relieved. My scar photos are from the front (I look best this way). The profile is a bit swollen/bloated still.

Week 5, profile scar shot

Last one. Bloating down significantly. What a relief!!

Week 5 completed!

Feeling great. My jeans are starting to feel a bit too big (I'm pulling them up through the day). No overhang and my shirts are all even bigger on me now. Really happy today :)

Finished week 6....guys I feel awesome

Guys....seriously...I feel amazing. I'm in love with myself again! Every time I see the before photos I KNOW I made the ONlY decision.

See my progress?!

I've been working out as well. No core work yet. Period bloat will start in a week, but when I get super down remind me it is temporary. So very very happy.

My belly button isn't exactly what I would pick in a perfect world, but my pre surgery one was hanging an inch OuTSIDE of my stomach. My surgeon said in 6 months he could redo it if I wanted, but I'm not even sure it's worth it as I like it as it is ????

Two months post surgery update

I've been working out and enjoying my almost fully recovered body. I can't do ab work for another 2-3 weeks.

I am starting to feel a little more sensation along the incision area, but it is still quite numb. Just below the incision I can feel much more and just under my belly button I can feel everything.

I'm looking so much better in my clothes. I have not lost any weight. I'm still wearing the same size pants 28/29 Paige denim, but they look great on me. My butt looks better now, too, since the proportions are back to normal.

Period is here. Swelling and bloat not as bad as my first period post op but it still wasn't pretty leading up to the cycle. Honestly, I'm still pretty bloated in these photos (cycle day 3).

I'm iffy on my belly button. It was hanging out of my body by an inch before surgery...and it was horrific. Now it is a ball flush-ish with my skin. My doctor said he would be open to revising as I had said previously, but it may not be worth it.

Enjoy the photos!!

And to anyone on an earlier part of this journey hang in there!! It's worth it :)

3 months post

Working out! Started ab work this week. Feeling great. There's no denying my results. My weight is still 128/9. Look totally transformed.

Thrilled. Best decision of my life. And these are taken while On my cycle!!!!

4+ months photo update

I'm working out at the gym and I feel great. My scar is a bit red but I'm pretty thrilled! See new photos. Compare before and after--wow!

7 months later!

Here I am 7 months later. Plenty of gym time as well. There's hope for everyone of you that looks like my before photo. Beautiful new me.

Other half

Photos
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

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