44, 4 Kids and I Want my Stomach "BB" Back! - Chicago, IL

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Hello, this is not a TT revision but I wrote...

Hello, this is not a TT revision but I wrote another review but I noticed that it is impossible to delete the previous Dr. and add a new one which sucks. I mean nobody wants the Dr that they were previously thinking of using to see the new review since it does fall under their name if you pull up Dr's.
Anyway, if needed you can find my previous review. So, this is a new TT review
Well I believe I have finally found a Dr to do my TT. I have had several consultations and either they were nice but didn't fit my criteria or I just didn't feel a good vibe with them.
The original Dr I had chosen was close to home and I really did like him. He has years of experience and excellent bedside manner. However, he wanted to break my procedure up into 2 separate and I knew that although the end result would be nice. I just couldn't see myself doing 2 procedures. I already do not care for surgery and I knew that I would probably fall into a little depression.
This is why:
I am 44yrs old and have 4 children (1 set of twins). I had to have a c-section with my last pregnancy (twins) which during the procedure the Dr cut right through my BB which left me with 2 pieces. Yes two BB's! Soon after I developed a hernia which had to be repaired. That procedure left me with 1 part of my BB on top and 1 on the bottom and my stomach was lopsided. I was horrified but I lived with it for 12yrs thus far. In 2014, my gyne Dr realized that I had another hernia (which turned out to be the original one). So, April 2015 I had another hernia repair. The surgeon I had was nice to where he even tighten up my lower muscles (which helped tremendously with my lower back pain) and cut off the top part of the BB so I would look a little better. He did an excellent job and I was very appreciative of that but in the end I still only have a small piece of BB. It really is just a piece of skin because it is no longer attached to the stump. I hate looking at my stomach. I am very active and no matter what I do I will never be able to show my stomach plus, now I have a lower pouch. I hate to feel like I am being vain (does anyone else feel that way? Like they are being vain and selfish? Like why take the risk!) but I must admit if I had a BB I really probably wouldn't be going through with this procedure. The original Dr I was going to use told me that he would have to do my TT into 2 parts. 1st do the TT, cut the BB and everything out (yes I would not have a BB). Then 6 to 9 months later he would be able to recreate a new BB. He said it was because of the lack of blood supply that my BB would have if he did it with the TT and it would fall off. I didn't like that idea. For one I didn't want to have two procedures and for 2, I didn't want to walk around looking like an alien for 6 to 9 months. I continued to look at PS in my area and although all of them said they could do the two at the same time I didn't like their demeanor. One Dr was 45mins late to the office. Then he quickly went through what he would do and that was it. I spoke with his secretary who told me the coordinator was out and she would get back to me the next day because I wanted to see photos of his work. Lets just say she got back with me 2 weeks later. That is a no no! I saw 2 other PS's that I just simply didn't like. Then I decided to see someone downtown Chicago since I am close to Chicago. I didn't like how he acted like he was afraid to touch me then when I looked up his credentials he wasn't a certified PS he was a general surgeon who just does cosmetic procedures and he wasn't up to date on his CME. Yes I know all about physicians since I have worked in credentialing and in several physician offices. Plus I truly believe in researching the physicians background. Although, he looked like he performs get work, I just want someone certified especially since my anatomy is a little different then the standard TT. I wanted someone who specializes in reconstruction surgery. So, someone actual on RS was kind and recommended a few Dr's to me at Northwestern hospital. I went to see a couple and I have finally narrowed it down to one. The only thing about Chicago PS is that the majority charges a consultation fee ($100-$140)but it was ok because I am very picky and already nervous so i knew that I had to find someone that I felt comfortable and confident with. Now, I have chosen my surgery date and I must admit I am a nervous wreck. I am always lurking the reviews on RS, some good and some not so good and like all I am just hoping for a great result. Any suggestions anyone?

Nervous Wreck

I haven't updated in a while because I am a over thinker. The only thing on my mind daily is this surgery. I am a nervous wreck. I obsess about a great outcome but then I think about the bad and is it worth the risk. Then I get upset because I should have followed my 1st mind and when I had my hernia surgery back in April of last year I should have had my TT as well. I personally do not like the thought or process of surgery. I read some post where people are so excited and I truly wish I could be like that. Anyway, I have started planning. I made my pre-op appt for late Feb because I didn't want any issues trying to get an appt date. I also, went to pick up my surgical notes so my PS can see what was all done during my hernia repair. I have been taking iron supplements and drinking spinach smoothies daily. I am anemic so I have to make sure my hemp levels are up. Last year my hemo was 11 so I know it at least has to be a 12. I am exercising regularly. I love running but now I am including more abdominal exercises and weights. I want to build up my core muscles so when the extra skin is removed you can see a 2 or 4 pack LOL. I'm not going to buy a lot of supplies. I may buy a body pillow for comfort. I already have a chaise lounger in my bedroom so, I may camp out on that for a while because I don't want to invest in a chair. When I had my hernia repair the surgeon had to cut my muscle to put the mesh under it then he did a MR on my lower muscles and that was painful but with a lot of meditation I was off my pain pills after 2 days so, I am hoping the pain of the TT won't be more intense. I have a high tolerance for pain and has had over 5 abdominal surgeries. I am praying that this one will be my last and a great success.

Pain Relief

I have been reading a lot of different post about exparel. I assumed that it was used standard on every TT with MR but after reading post I noticed that it is not. I went into a slight panic and immediately emailed my Dr office. Luckily the Dr can use it if that's what I want and it is only $300. I say only because I have read where some places charges much more. I'm normally not one for medication but I had a minor MR on my lower muscles during my hernia repair and can we say painful. So, I can only imagine my rectus muscles. I want them nice and tight because I exercise a lot and would like to keep building them so I can have a cute 4 pack.

Let the countdown begin

Yesterday I went to another consultation with my PS to talk more about the procedure. I truly hate the thought of surgery so, before I embark on such a serious procedure I have to make sure that he is confident that he can improve my abdomen. I have decided to go ahead with the lipo. Ugh I have watched the procedure many times on youtube and it just seems like such an aggressive procedure. I am finally paid in full so, let the countdown begin. I am not going to buy a bunch of supplies. I'm just going to stock up on my smoothies because I know I won't have much of an appetite (I have had several ab surgeries and never have an appetite for at least a week), a couple of body pillows. Since I am getting lipo and I heard it leaks, I am going to buy a plastic mattress cover to put under my seat. I have a chaise lounge in my bed so I will lay on that until I can get into the bed and that's probably it. My fiancé is an ER physician so I am sure he will know what else I will need. He isn't too happy about me having the procedure but he understands why I am doing it. Truthfully if it wasn't for the scar and lack of BB I wouldn't be doing it but no amount of exercise will fit that. So, I am just going to stay playful that everything will work out. If anyone have any suggestions please feel free to share.

Working off the stress

I try to work out at least 4 days a week but lately since I gave been so stressed thinking about the procedure I have been putting in 5/6 days a week. I enjoy running so now I am trying to push myself to go faster and longer. Plus, after the procedure I won't be able to work out for at least 2/3 months like I want to. And, it doesn't hurt to tone up a little more before the procedure. Hopefully there is a 4 pack hidden under this mess. LOL

Things just got real

Well I see I don't have many responses or suggestions on my post but that's ok I am still going to continue to write my experience. Maybe it will help someone in the future. Ever since Sunday I have been a nervous wreck. It's like it really just hit me that I will be having surgery in a few days. Well actually tomorrow. TMI: I even came on my period because I have been stressing so hard. I'm like Ugh this is embarrassing and gross. Luckily my flow isn't heavy but my hemo is a 12.6 so since it's not that high I hope my period doesn't bring the levels low. I'm still taking iron so I hope that count. I am literally sick to my stomach. I won't lie I am scared sh*tless! I wish I had that fearless exciting feeling that I read on some post but I don't. I keep wondering is it worth it. Will I heal ok. Will I get the result I am looking for. Will the dr really be able to fix my BB (since that is my biggest concern). Now insomnia has set in. I didn't sleep any last night. I am going to go get my toes done (if course no polish) so I can relax some and then come back and finish straightening up a little and try to relax and fill my head with positive thoughts. I was told to be at the center at 7:30. Surgery is at 8:30. I'm still waiting on anestiologist to call etc. I will definity post pics once I feel a little tomorrow or the day after. Any advice please feel free to post. Thanks

Finally made it to the flat side

On my where to begin. I arrived yesterday at the center at 6sm. They took final payment for the surgical center fees and proceeded to take me back for pregnancy test and to check hemo level again. Right before surgery is was 12.6 but due to me coming on my period it went back down to 11.6 which the Dr said was ok. The anesthesiologist came in and hooked me up to my IV and explained everything. He was really really nice. Finally my Dr came in. He apologized for running late. I just kept asking him was he wide awake. He told me the procedure will take around 3hrs. WHEW that seems like such a long time. They wheeled me into the OR and all I remember was waking up in my room. The pain was the worse I have ever felt in my life. Mine you I had experal to. I didn't sleep any last night. Everything I took something for pain I threw up. Muscles were burning. I wanted to cry but the tears wouldn't come out. :-( I must have vomit like 6x's. I just kept saying why did I do this to myself. Around 5am in the morning the pain finally stated going away and I was able to go to sleep. I have my 1st post op today at 1pm. The Dr did explain that he numb me all over but he double stitch me because my stomach was so distended and that's why I was in so much pain. He just took a quick look and said everything was ok and to see him in another week. I took a quick peek at my stomach and I was very much impressed. I was so amazed that he was able to do something with this messed up belly of mines. Ok well I'm getting sleepy with check back in tomorrow. Happy healing everyone.

One day at a time

I can contest that things get better day by day. I feel a lot better then I did on day 1. I'm not a fan of meds so I am glad that my pain is basically gone. I only take 2 Advils once a day for inflammation because my back feels like someone used it as a punching bag. It's not really bruised but the pain is definitely there. Other than that I get up every few hours and do at least 500 steps then I lay back down. They say the insides take the longest to heal so I don't want to over exert myself.
The kids are on spring break so there isn't much to do and they are teenagers so they are free to fend for themselves LOL until my fiancé gets home from work. My fiancé is an ER physician so I let him change (drain) my drain and stuff. He calls to check on me every hour which is sweet. My daughter took 3 days off work but she is back at work as well. She lives in Champaign, IL so I miss her being here but today she sent me flowers which was very sweet.
I have been wearing a binder 24/7 but I did take another quick peek and I must say Dr Lee did a great job especially considering the condition my stomach was in. Of course I am still swollen but I am flat. My left side is a little more swollen then my right side but so far I like what I see. Hopefully this drain comes out Friday and I will be a lot more comfortable. Happy healing ladies.

Things get better with time

Ok well today marks 1 week/ 2 days since I had surgery. Things have been fine thus far so, I'm just trying to take it easy and no over exert myself. I'm still not standing completely straight yet. I'm like at 80% which keeps my back hurting after standing up to long. I had my one week follow up on Thursday. The Dr took the drain out and I was so relived. It had only been draining like .5 for the prior 3 days so I was more than ready for it to go. It's like every time it moved it hurt like hell. It's funny because my whole lower abdomen is numb but in that one spot my nerves are more than alive. Anyway he gave me like an ace bandage to wrap around my incision for a few days to keep fluid from accumulating in that area. He said I'm doing great so far. He was amazed when I told me by Saturday, 2 days after surgery I was totally off pain meds. So basically just 2 days of Advil for back discomfort and that was it. Im guessing it was the exparel. For those that haven't had their TT yet, ask your Dr about it. I have my next follow up on Wednesday and I'm hoping that I will be standing 100% upright. I know he cut out a lot of my scar so he had to pull me tight but, I'm not complaining. I honestly cannot believe he was able to do as awesome of a job he did. Every other Dr told me there was no way they could get that big of a scar out. Ok back to resting. I know that although the outside may be healing fine the inside will take some time to heal. So back to the couch and feet up I go. Oh yeah last night I was able to finally sleep in the bed comfortable. It was the best night sleep ever.

Muscle Spasms

Oh my had anyone experienced muscle spasms yet? I was laying down in bed (flatter than I have been) attempted to roll to my side so I could get up without using much of my abs and my muscles got really tight and like I had no control over them. It lasted a few seconds and then my abs were hurting for a few minutes. It didn't feel like anything such as stitches popped or anything but it was not a happy experience.

Officially 10 days PO

This is definitely a journey. I knew what I wanted but I never fully understood the healing process. I'm so use to getting up early and running 5/8 miles and just moving around. But now I have to take it easy, I get tired easily and can't do much and it definitely takes a toll on your mental state. However, I try to keep thinking about how much I truly wanted this and how happy I am to finally look at my stomach and not cry or feel self conscious. So, if anyone else is going back and forth mentally through their healing process just know that it's not going to last forever. Stat positive, follow dr orders, do not try to over exert yourself early and know that the end result will be worth it.

Minor scare

OAN: my right side of my incision were my drain was placed was getting painful. Nothing else hurt but that one stop so, I went into a panic and called my fiancé crying in a panic telling him I was think I am going to have healing issues? He calmed me down and told me he will be home soon and look at it. When he got home he looked at it and notice how the very end was still open so he cleaned the area and placed steri strips on it. He told me it doesn't look infected but it shouldn't be that painful to touch so, to be on the safe side he placed me on antibiotics until my dr appt Wednesday. This afternoon I have to admit that it feels much better. I am so glad my fiancé is an ER Dr because I am a person that worries about EVERYTHING!

Still Extremely Tight

My core is still extremely tight. When I take my CG off I feel like I can't breath. After my procedure the nurse did inform me that he pulled me very tight and I probably won't be walking upright for a while and he was right. I will say that with the binder on I am probably 75%/80% upright but without I am more like 60%. I took it off to get a few pics but I rushed to put it back on. I'm not complaining because I had a very big section of scar/skin to cut out. My TT wasn't like the typical TT. Yes I had extra skin but I mainly because of the ugly scar and lack of BB. I mean I had no BB but a piece of BB left over from my hernia repair that wasn't attached underneath so, he had to create a new one with my skin. So, I have no complaints and will deal the tightness until my body adjust to its new form. I am including pics of what my stomach look like after my 1st hernia repair. You can tell they didn't care what they did. Cut right through my BB. The 2nd hernia repair the surgeon felt bad so in the process of trying to fight the blotched up job of the 1st hernia repair he attempted to do a scar revision with I appreciated because it mad it look much better but it also left me with no BB. Now that I have finally had a full TT, I just can't believe that this is my stomach. I haven't seen this stomach in 20yrs.

Trying to minimize swelling


Today I went for my 2 week check up. I still can't stand up so my bestie came to take me. I love Dr Lee follow up care because he sees you the day after the procedure. Then 2/1 week appts and now I see him in 2 weeks. He really likes to make sure everything is going ok. He took all the bandages off so, it was the 1st time I saw my incision. I was horrified. Don't get me wrong he made a nice incision and his suturing is great but I just can't believe that I had an operation where I got cut hip to hip. It looks like someone tried to cut me in half LOL He still told me to take it easy and continue to wear the ace bandage across my incision to help with swelling. I ask him how long would I have to wait for another procedure and he said why? I told him I wish I would have gotten my boobies done to. He just laughed. I hate to go under again but looking at my new stomach some new boobs would have went nicely with it. Hell who knows my bday is in August :-)
After appt we stopped grabbed salads, came home I fixed dinner for the kiddies and I must admit I am exhausted. My back feels like it is on fire and my stomach is so swollen it fills like it is about to burst. Luckily my kids are teenagers so, i just let them know that mommy needs to rest.
I took 2 Advils (I hate meds) but my back feels inflamed and now I am comfortably resting in bed with my legs elevated. I will take more pics later of my progress. Ladies if you just had your procedure please get as much rest as you can. Our bodies just went through a major experience and it needs to heal.

2 1/2 weeks

I haven't been on here for a few days so just wanted to do a quick update. There hasn't been much change. I am 2 1/2 weeks post op. As you can see from my pics my lower area is still very swollen. I am still taking it easy. I went for a walk around the neighborhood last Sat and it was hard because I am still not standing completely straight up. I am watching my calorie intake until I can get back in the gym. Every morning upon waking up I take 2 multi vitamins and drink a bottle of water. Eating lots of fruit, salads and fish. Luckily haven't gained any weight. Pre op I was 140 I am now 135 so I'm assuming once I lose all of this fluid I will be a little smaller. I will start back at the gym 4 weeks post op. So far I love my results and have absolutely no complaints. Looking back at my stomach I feel Dr Lee did an awesome job. Ok ladies happy healing.

Official One Month

Today marks 1 month post op. I can't believe time has passed like that. Yesterday I had my 1 month follow up and everything is going well except for the fact that my bb is starting to close up. That can be revised so, I'm not to worried about that. Other than that I am quite pleased with my results. I was given the ok to start scar therapy which is great and I can start lite cardio at the gym. Hooray! Stair master here I come! Yesterday after running around all day I was so swollen I thought I was going to pop and my back was on fire. I couldn't do anything but go to bed and call it a night. This morning I feel a little better so I'm going for a long walk around my neighborhood and will resume at the gym on Saturday. My gym is 24/7 so I will go late see how I manage 1st before I start going when it's crowded. I hope and pray that everyone is healing well. Happy healing ladies.

Swell Hell

HI RS Dolls, I haven't been on here lately because not much has changed. I am currently experiencing "swell hell" morning, noon and night. Sometimes it's painful; I feel like I'm going to pop. And, let's not talk about the back pain at the end of the day. So, far my experience has been ok except for one thing and that is since I no longer had my belly button stock one had to be created out of my own skin but I guess since I was wearing my cg 24/7 it has healed closed basically so I would need to have it redone. Just looking at my stomach it looks like a bb but up close you will see that it looks like a scar from a cut. I'm still happy because it can be revised and I still overall love my results. I am officially back in the gym. I work out everyday now. I want to get the best results possible. Other than that I just cannot wait until I am no longer swollen. Happy healing dolls. I will attach a few pics. I'm still swollen but I can tell that once all swelling is gone I will be a happy camper LOL

4 months and still swelling

Hello dolls, I haven't been on here in a while because I have been so busy. Anyway, I hope everyone is healing well and happy with their results. Me I am doing ok. I still have a lot of swelling and tightness. Sometimes it feels like if I take to deep of a breath my stomach would bust. My belly button (my recreated bb without a stump) has come a loose from being tracked down to my abdominal wall so that I do not like and will eventually get revised so it has more depth and can look like a regular bb to most at first glance. However, seeming where I can from I am still happy with my decision to have this done. I am hoping by 6 months my tightness and swelling is finally gone but, I have heard that it can take up to 1 yr. now I am contemplating on have my breast done. I wish I would have gotten them done all at 1 time. I am not a fan of going under. Anyway, I will keep you dolls updated.
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Dr Lee was very down to earth, excellent bed side manner and very informative. Dr. Lee has a great staff as well and his follow up and aftercare is excellent. I would definitely recommend Dr Lee for all of your PS needs.

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
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