36 Years Old Mom to 4: Complete Mommy Makeover (Surgery-August 2016); Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs Plastic Surgeon
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Hi all! I'm a 36 yr old mother of 4 and will be...

Hi all! I'm a 36 yr old mother of 4 and will be getting a MM on August 4th. I'll be getting a full TT, MR, Hernia repair, BL with BA (silicone...not sure what cc yet), Lipo of the hips and flanks, as well as Inner Thigh Lipo. It's going to be a doozy of a surgery and recovery!

I'm of short stature (4'11") so every little pound shows as double around my waist. I gained so much weight with my first baby due to my thyroid not being under control; Hypothyroidism (finding a proper med dosage is not easy especially if you're pregnant). Add in 3 more pregnancies and now I've got a huge gap in my abdominal muscles (DR) that cannot be fixed without surgery and a hernia. The DR and my hypothyroidism make it difficult to lose weight, but that doesn't stop me from working out. My workouts might be a good thing, might be a bad thing; not really sure. All I know is I have what I call a "Perma-Pregnant" look.

I've focused on my kids and family for over 13 years now and, in doing so, I have lost much of my self esteem. I want to look as good and feel as sexy as I felt before having kids. My body has broken down over the years and I haven't taken care of my health problems due to my husband's busy schedule and being the only one here to take on the care of the kids when he's gone (no family anywhere close to where we live; we move a lot ).

I'll be going to Dr. Aaron Smith in Colorado Springs. I have a friend of a friend who went to him just over two months ago and was very pleased with her TT, etc... He has rave reviews here on Real Self as well as Google/Yelp (wasn't sure I could trust those reviews until I got on Real Self). I am looking forward to taking this step to being whole again!

I have been following along a few ladies here on RS and have gotten a great deal of information from them all. I hope that my journey to the flat side and recovery will help someone as well.

Lift/Augmentation Look

I'm already a D, but a flat one. All of my breast tissue is at the bottom too. The plan is to lift the breasts, take some breast tissue out (so I don't look bigger than I already am), and do a sub muscular silicone implant.
I told Dr. Smith that I want to be a full C; but I'm thinking with my new and smaller tummy, I would be fine with staying a D (on the smaller side of D, though, as I tip between D and DD depending on the bra brand/style). I'll be discussing further at Pre-Op day on July 21. Until then, I'll just be confused as to what will really look good on me. I'm such a bad judgement on what size this or that one is.
My wish list is that I want to not have to wear a bra all the time, I want my breasts in front/not hanging to the side and high, my areolas to be much smaller than they are now, the nipple to look natural and not like bullets pointing straight ahead, and I don't want my breasts to have what I call a "swooping" look (like they are about to start sagging any minute).

4 weeks left!! And some wish pics.

I get overwhelmed when I look through pictures of bikini bodies to find the right "look" that I would like to end up with because so many of them are not at all realistic for me...and everything is so unknown with how my body will react to the TT and Lipo. So, tonight, I had my husband sit with me and help find some and we came up with these. Some are just for the body shape and some are body shape and breast shape in swimwear.

Left-Without Spanx, Right-With Spanx

So today I went to a ceremony and wore this dress. I love this dress because it fits my shape well. I look even better with the spanx. Here's a comparison of with and without the spanx. I'm not sure you can tell the difference but I sure can. I do have to tell you, though, that I wore a push up bra and that's why the girls look nice and high. I can't wait until I don't have to deal with these saggy breasts that can each literally hold 4 pencils underneath (I tested it today!).

Nerves off and on.

Holy crap, I got my email reminder for my Pre-Op appointment in 10 days! I'm in a slight panic today after seeing it because I haven't gotten my supplies ordered...and I think I'm suppose to take suppliments starting two weeks out from surgery. I got a walker off of Craigslist for super cheap this weekend, so that's a small start.
I've got a big list of things to get and need to just dive right in and start buying (and not freak out about "buying a car" with my PS's payment that's due next week), I guess. I had a freak-out moment with my husband this weekend and it didn't make me feel any better getting it out. Gotta keep my head up and remind myself that this is something I need to do to take care of my mind and body. To heck the busy schedule; be selfish and take this time for yourself!

3 weeks to go! Gathering, Planning, and Prepping.

I found a great zip up night gown that's really comfy from Wal-Mart today. And I picked up a few things that I have read about having from the pharmacy...bacitracin, bio-oil, and bactine. It's all returnable if I don't use it, so I'm good with having it just in case.

I'm really confused about buying comfy recovery bras. I'm not sure what to buy just yet so I'll wait on that until my Pre-op appointment in 1 week (eek!). I've been perusing Amazon for recovery suppliments and such and have a running list on there so when I've got it all set to go I can just press "check-out" and have it sent (love my Amazon Prime!). Hopefully I'll have the list completed this weekend.

I'm getting my hair cut/colored tomorrow afternoon and will be waxing later next week (legs, bikini, top of mons where scar will be). I've got a busy next few weeks with appointments and activities and prepping the house so I don't get too anxious about surgery. I'm really glad to have RS; don't know how I'd prepare for this life changing surgery without it and all the ladies here sharing their stories and advice.

Let's celebrate! Pre-op coming up!

It's my wedding anniversary! And tomorrow is my Pre-Op!!!

I'm slowly but surely getting supplies. I'm taking my list to the appointment tomorrow to see if the PS recommends having it. I've got a list of questions too. One of the biggest worries for me is the heavy medication. I get migraines when I take Percocet and Vicoden for more than a day or two...and I know I can't take excedrine because I'll already be on blood thinners. At my consultation, he said "no worries" and that he can give me something else; hoping it's not just Motrin 800!

Have to catch up on my newsfeed since I've been away from here for a few days; that stuff adds up quick! I'll update sometime tomorrow evening after my Pre-op.

Pre-Op complete!

2 weeks until surgery. I got all my details of surgery, Pre-surgery pictures taken, lots of medication prescribed, answers to a ton of my questions (may have forgot a few, but he's ok with me emailing/calling them in), and paid my remaining balance after spending half an hour on the phone with my bank trying to get clearance to make such a huuuuuuge transaction as the sweet nurse waited patiently (office was closed by then).

I went out today and got some Vitamin C, Hybiclense, gauze, and a zip up sports bra from Target. I still want to check out the Under Armour store this weekend and order a few things from Amazon. I also went by Victorias Secret to get a Bralette and Panty set and got a set from Aerie too (only because I won a free panty from a Quikly giveaway last week).

Most Important Deets:
Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair 2.5 hrs-ish
Breast Lift/Augmentation 2.5 hrs-ish
Herina Repair 15-ish minutes
Lipo 30-ish minutes

He doesn't use Exparel because the reports and patients he's seen use it show that it doesn't last as long as the manufacturers say it does and the drains may essentially drain it out fairly quickly after surgery; and it's super expensive for a tiny vile of it.

I will have one drain (yay!) and it will be at the end of the TT incision (double yay for not being in my Mons!). He hopes it will be taken out at my first post-op appointment on day 5 (four days after surgery) but I won't be holding my breath. I haven't seen many (if any) ladies get their drain out that early. Second post-op is two weeks after surgery. Oh...and no catheter, so I'll be having to get up to pee before I leave the surgery center and have to endure the shuffle to the bathroom at home right away.

He says the post-surgery supplement packages you can buy aren't necessary but some people like to use them; no opinion either way. Just make sure you are taking your Colace no matter if you think you need it or not; And start taking it two days before surgery. I'm going to order this tea off of Amazon I've read about on here. I'll hate the taste (tastes like licorice) but everyone says you take it before going to bed one night and everything is right as rain in the morning. A RS user suggested getting a toilet wand (I found one on Amazon: Bottom Buddy Toilet Tissue Aid) so you can wipe yourself. I'm thinking it might be a good investment because my husband, God bless him, has a quick gag reflex and I don't want him to have to wipe me.

He want's me standing straight at about 10-14 days post op

I'll be taking the blood thinners because of possible risk due to my varicose veins (Ultrasound done last week and will be seing a Vein Specialist a couple days before surgery).

No worries about taking Musinex for the "snot snake" I've been reading about. He doesn't put a tube down my throat; he puts something in my mouth to move my tongue aside and I'll have a breathing mask.

I'll have the anti-nausea patch behind my ear on the day of surgery and a script filled for Zofran because I get nausea super easily, which usually leads to migraines.

I got a script for Diflucan because I'm prone to yeast infections (Thank you RS users for the recommendation). I'll be on anti-biotics and that's a major factor for needing the Diflucan.

I can start Lyphatic massage at about 2 weeks out. Discussion about that will be had at post-op appointments.

Recommendation for bras are: Front or back clasp Sports bras that are just a bit bigger than you are pre-op because they are going to be SWOLLEN. I forgot to ask the PS so I asked the nurse and this is her recommendation. She said you are going to need something that isn't "cut off circulation" tight but is tight enough it gives you some compression because of the breasts being so swollen (insert gif of her gesturing with a handful of boobs postioned at the top of her chest!)

And my boobs: He's going to take some breast tissue from each breast (more from the left than the right because my Lefty is bigger). Then he'll insert a Gummy Bear sizer and sit me up to see if they look good. I told him I'm good with a full C or a small D. I can bring pics in for him to see on surgery day but he says he's got a really good idea what I want (I've been very descriptive when I've talked to him about what I want!). He picked up my breast and pushed it up and says, "You'd have about a full C cup if they weren't sagging and were up here. So it's all about what's going to look natural on you, because you don't want to look like you are all breast; you're shorter than most so getting a balance is important." From what I have read, Dr. Smith is the person to go to for breasts around here, so I'm going to trust that he will do what he does best and do right by me.

And he told me to get a good night's rest before surgery...HA! Yeah right! He said I could take a Vallium to get to sleep if needed. I'll most likely save the Vallium for the next morning (for anxiety) and take some Melatonin instead.

I really don't want to be the RS person who never updates, so stay tuned; More ramblings to happen soon.

More shopping

I didn't realize how expensive the VitaMedica Recovery Supplements were! Geeze! They will be here tomorrow and I will start taking them right away. All that's really left to get is an assortment of specialty pillows (wedge, donut or chair pillow to prevent a sore tailbone, maybe a body pillow), toilet tissue wand-Hubs said FOR SURE to get this one; he didn't even think about having to wipe me :o , dial hand soap, Smooth Move Tea, a couple of front close comfy bras, and renting a recliner. All but the recliner is on my list on Amazon. I haven't pressed "check out" yet because I keep adding things!

I still have to take my prescriptions to the pharmacy. I was going to go today but I'm recovering from a horrible pain in the neck and shoulder that left me unable to sleep, move without crying, or do anything productive yesterday, so I ended up getting a massage today to help release it...doing a little better. I'd be doing much better if I could just take some Ibuprofen but it's a no-go because of surgery next week.

I'll work on getting groceries next weekend. I have only made a small list of things I'll be eating...low sodium soups, pineapple, veggies, no-salt crackers. Any other ideas?

I'm going have to report a list of things I bought vs what was useful after a couple of weeks. I tried to narrow the buying list down to what others thought was useful and maybe a few things extra that, if they don't get used now, they will get used by others in this house (more first aid type things).

Really, I'm just trying to keep myself busy so I don't freak out about the surgery/recovery. There's plenty to do around here with school and kids sports starting up soon. And I'm hoping to get this bedroom painted so I'm not stuck recovering in here staring at these ugly gold/orange walls (the paint was here when we bought the house). I'm going to let the entry way and living room stay the ugly green and yellow colors right now until I recover more, but watch out! when I get the go ahead to do things around here! I'll probably have to be reminded to not do this or that and to sit down/relax/recover after the surgery more than I think!

Deep breaths; One week to go.

I'm getting butterflies in my stomach today; it's a rest day so I haven't been keeping myself occupied. I spent yesterday priming my bedroom and am pretty sore, so today I've been relaxing (outside of picking up my prescriptions and some paint samples for my bedroom).

The prescriptions! I had to laugh at the pharmacy because the guy was so wide eyed at how much I was getting. The only one I'm iffy about is the Percocet. I told Dr Smith that Percocet and Vicoden give me migraines and he said "No problem, I can give you Oxycodone", but I got Percocet (has Tylenol in it). I'm not sure if this is what he intended or not. I might even be fine with just the Percocet without the usual combo of Vicoden with it...I've always had the combo of both with surgeries, and subsiquently gotten migraines after a day or two of taking them. My VitaMedica supplements came so I'm taking those now and will continue those for 3 weeks after surgery. The Bromelain with Quercetin, I start taking on Monday and only take them for 10 days (helps with bruising and swelling). I have to stop taking Melatonin while taking the supplements so I really hope I can get some sleep this week. I'm calling Dr. Smith tomorrow to verify the script of Percocet. Prescription list (Brand name listed/substitutions were given): Percocet, Valium, Keflex (antibiotic), Zofran, Diflucan, Colace, Lovenox (blood thinner; given by syringe).

I'm refraining from taking pictures right now because I'm on the last couple of days of my AF and I'm bloated; thank goodness I won't be dealing with that until I'm a couple weeks+ out from surgery! I'll take measurments and such the day before surgery. I'm feeling a bit behind as I'm trying to finalize preparations. I scheduled a massage for Monday, but I have yet to get a recliner rented, and I need to finish getting the kids stuff ready for school and registered for sports, and schedule bills to be paid because hubs doesn't usually deal with that. My head is spinning right now!

Imagine a chicken with it's head cut off....

That's me right now!

Lift chair is being delivered in the next hour. Unfortunately the heat and massage option on it are broken so it's just a regular lift chair. Fortunately it only cost me 50 bucks to rent it for two weeks.

My massage yesterday was awesome. She released the knots and tension in my shoulders and neck that had been there for over a week.

I got a shower chair from Walgreens, cold/heat gel soothers, some comfy no-wire bras (Hanes), some waterproof bed pads, and even a Squatty Potty (a stool that helps align the colon for fast/complete elimination) from Target....whatever might help in that department, I'm trying! I'm going to wait for a few days until I can tell what size to order and get a Brilliant Contours Bra; it seems to be a favorite recommendation on here, but it's expensive so I want to get the sizing right the first time.

I have deliveries coming tomorrow from Amazon that will have my toilet wand, smooth move tea, chair/butt cushion, travel bidet, and new tv for the bedroom where I will spend most of my recovery. The bedroom painting project has been completed for a few days now and I love it! I could not imagine being stuck in the bedroom recovering all day long with those ugly colored walls and now I don't have to :) I've got a ton more things on my list to do around the house but those will have to wait until I feel normal again.

Found out about the Percocet confusion. I actually was prescribed Percocet but also Oxycontin. Guess what the pharmacy failed to give me? The Oxycontin! Thank goodness I called the doctors office to verify my prescriptions or I would have found out too late. Husband is picking up the meds tomorrow to save me a trip all the way up there.

Speaking of meds...I had my appointment with the vein specialist today about my vericose veins. I do have vericose veins and my valves are not opperating properly. I do not have deep vein thrombosis, which is a relief! She said that just because that one was negative, I'm not completely out of the woods for developing it later on. Per insurance rules, I have to wear compression stockings for 3 months before the recommendation of surgery. The doc realizes this is nonsense because she told me that the stockings will help with the pain but will not fix my veins and that she'll see me in 3 months to schedule treatment of them. As for the blood thinners I got for after my MM, I do not need to take them. So no shots into the butt every day!! Yay!

Tomorrow is going to be a busy one as well. I want to get a pedicure. Then I have a dentist appointment, and a date with the hubs to see Range 15 (Look it up!! NSFW!!! It's completely inappropriate but hilarious at the same time. Made by Veterans for the Veteran community and was passed up by Hollywood-then Hollywood regretted that decision!)

I'll post last minute pics and measurements tomorrow. I'm sure I'll need that Vallium to get to sleep because it's taking a lot of effort just to sit down and focus on writing this out. I super excited and nervous and anxious and going nuts thinking about everything!

This is hard.

I've been fighting off the anxiety all day and broke down in the restroom at my dentist appointment today. I can't sleep because I feel sick to my stomach and my chest is in knots. I'm not scared of the surgery itself, but the recovery pain or the pain pills making me ill and not being able to feel like myself for so long.

I took some more pictures of myself just so I can look back and compare. I have my measurements as well, but didn't weigh myself because my scale is old and wonky and I can't tell if it's telling the true weight anymore.

Around my floppy boobs: 38"
Bust line under floppy boobs: 33"
Hips under the belly flab: 38"
Waist at belly button: 40"
Thighs: each are 22.5"

I have to be there at 8am. Wish me luck and, if it's your thing, please say a prayer for me <3

This is not a typical thing, but I did say I don't want to not update you...

When I finally get my computer and maybe feel better I will update the whole story...or rather have my husband re tell me so I can keep it accurate.
I went in for my MM on the 4th..,don't remember the day before, day of, or much of anything after that until waking up in the ICU a few days later. I was septic and had pneumonia; ended up on a ventilator in the ICU. Doctors think my body couldn't handle all the meds and as I threw up when my husband got me to the ER, I had aspirated who knows what info my lungs.
I have been released from ICU and the recovery ward but now am at a different hospital for physical therapy, where I'll be working on gaining strength and balance as well as my short term memory (can't even remember the day/date without looking at the daily nurse board). I have memorized the year, so I'm good there now (thought it was 2011 and didn't know the president...I was devastated after being told I was wrong)..I'll get there.
But...I would ever blame this on Dr. Smith. After he reintroduced himself, the first thing I said was that I'm still going to refer people to him and he laughed! The next time he visited I was out of the ICU and he expressed his apologies. I told him he could never have anticipated this fluke thing to happen. He's still my doc and I'm absolutely not afraid to see him for my aftercare.
Thank you all for checking in on me. If it helps, my husband says the work I had looks awesome:)

Kicking butt in Rehab!

I get released on Thursday morning! I'm kicking butt in rehab that I only had to spend one day on the walker before being able to move on to using a cane! Now, the cane is definitely much harder to use because my balance is still not so good. I can use the restroom all by myself (although I still have to have a nurse chaperone standing by)...but getting up and down and wiping have been no problem. I get another shower today and get to wash my own hair. Then it's off to more PT for another hour-ish.

I will be seeing Dr Smith on Friday for a follow up and will have the details of sizes, measurements, and such from the surgery....hopefully will get a few pics too.

Check up with my Surgeon and Medical Update

I saw my surgeon for the first time outside of my hospital room on Friday. My husband actually helped me convince the Rehab doctor and my PT and OT that I was ready to go home on Wednesday instead of Thursday. I was on my last inch of patience with being in a hospital bed and room half an hour away from my girls and husband.

Back to the check-up: Everything is healing fine. I found out that I have moderate profile silicone 300cc implants in each side...yay for being symmetrical now! He took off the surgical tape that was still hanging on around the TT and the breasts; it kind of made the nipples and areolas more sensitive, though, without having the protection/pressure against them. I have some scar cream he gave me to start using, but haven't tried it yet. I also got a binder from him because I haven't been wearing one at all. He said I can wear spanx as well since he took out the drain. I was really nervous to see him because I didn't want him to feel bad about what happened; I'm THAT patient no surgeon ever wants :( It's not like we could have 100% predicted this happening (or even at all). It happened, and thank the Lord I lived!
As for what exactly happened, the consensus from a couple of docs at the hospital is that the meds I was on for recovery relaxed my muscles too much and I could have refluxed. My oxygen levels tanked, as well as my blood pressure. After a blood transfusion and being sedated and put on a ventilator for 6 days, I woke up and had no recollection of the past week. Seriously, I lost about a week of memories. Husband says it was because they told him the sedation also had an amnesiac in it so I would not remember anything that was happening. They tried to wake me several times from sedation, but it didn't go very well. On day 6, I guess it went well enough that I was trying to pull the tube from my throat because I was breathing over it.

My husband has been filling me in with bits and pieces of things but hearing it upsets me and gives me anxiety, so I have to be "ready" for it and I have been changing the subject a lot because I'm not there yet. Every once in a while I'll remember something small and then realize that I don't remember the whole day and get upset; like this morning in the car I heard Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop The Feeling" (love that song!) and remember that it was the last song I heard in the car on my way to my surgery...then realize that I don't remember anything else for forever after that. I've been remembering the date more since I've been back to writing mine and the girls' schedule in my calendar. I walk with a cane (special ordered a cute one!) right now because my balance is off, but my legs are getting stronger every day. I get exhausted after being on my feet for more than 20-30 minutes but I push through because "no pain, no gain"...gotta work on endurance, but not over do it. I hope to be walking without the cane assistance in 2-4 weeks. My throat is still in a little pain and my voice is not completely back yet, but I've read it could take 2 weeks-several months to heal from being on a ventilator.

Here are a few updated pictures that I took on Saturday morning as well as a before from the morning of the surgery after he marked me up. I'm still swollen because I haven't been wearing a binder, but I am liking the results (so did a lot of my nurses who asked about it!) I have a few more pics from right after the surgery but I haven't really looked through them.

Check-up, Health, and Pictures

I had a quick check up yesterday at Dr Smith's office. I thought I messed some stitches up after rubbing under my breast because it was very itchy and some fluid started coming out. It turns out that it could be just a small pocket of fluid due to swelling and the hole it came out of is somewhere around the size of a needle point, so no worries; just put bacitracin ointment on it and it will heal back up just fine. I saw the nurse and Dr Smith walked in to get something for another patient, so it was nice to have him be able to take a look at the healing scars and tell me everything looks fine. I'll have a regular check up in 2.5 weeks-ish. Whew! I walked out of there with a sigh of relief that I did not mess things up! Because of the time in the hospital, I am completely clueless as to what's normal and if I'm doing things right to heal properly. I read everyone's blogs and it's sometimes hard to relate because my story is so complicated. I am constantly reminding myself "slow and steady".

Health wise, I'm doing great. Today marks day 2 of walking without a cane. I have moments where I have to catch myself by holding onto the nearest secure object; like when I turn quickly or if I've been standing for a while. The cane goes with me when I plan to be walking around in stores, just in case. I'm walking forward quicker too! Stairs are still a challenge . If it's just a couple of stairs on the porch, I can take each step going sideways easier because my foot can stay flat on the stair. But when I have to go downstairs here at home to help get my girls dressed for school in the morning, I feel like gravity is just taking me down each step, hard, and I have to grip the railing tightly so my legs/knees have less weight to bear. Going upstairs is slow, but not too bad. It's weird that I can hear my knees crackling when going up the stairs. It's all going to take more practice. My chest is clearing up much more too. Less coughing going on and I haven't used my inhaler since over a week ago. My voice is still not back to normal; I sound like I am recovering from laryngitis. And my throat gets sore after having even a short conversation, so I try to not talk a lot. My husband has commented that the house has been much quieter because I can't yell. The girls' rooms are downstairs and we seriously need an intercom because they can't hear anything down there! The main thing right now that I'm struggling with is my memory. I have bouts of anxiety over the whole losing a week+ of my memory. And then there's the every day short term memory I struggle with as well. I can't remember anything if I don't write it down. I can walk into a room and forget what I went in there for. And it's not like when you're scatterbrained or thinking of something else and get distracted or anything; it's a constant all day thing. It weird how I can see an item around the house and still be able to tell the kids where I saw this or that when they ask "have you seen..." but I can't remember things people tell me or stuff I tell myself that I need to do unless I write it down. I'm not sure if something like this resolves itself with time or if need some kind of memory therapy. Thankfully, we have a good routine down with the kids for school so that's not something I have to be worried about forgetting.

Today's pictures: I have a close up of my breast where you can see the spot that was leaking. My breasts have been itchy off and on, but they broke out in a rash yesterday so I've been using hydrocortisone to help keep the itch at bay. They have started settling into place more and look a bit different than even a week ago. I still have some swelling going on because I don't wear a binder or spanx 24/7; I get too annoyed with having them on so long, so I'll take the swelling for a bit longer as my reward for my stubbornness I guess. I wore regular clothes (jeans!) for the first time today. I chose to wear ones that were higher waisted than my normal ones because I didn't want them sitting on my incision scar. Let me just say, I'm not ready to wear jeans just yet, at least not for an entire day! I swelled up like crazy; so for some of the day I sat on the couch with the jeans on "Thanksgiving Day style" (but still had spanx on, so I had some support)!

4.5 weeks out from Surgery

I was going to update last night but I was flipping through my notebook (always have to have one with me for random lists/notes) and found some notes that my husband took after my surgery. I read them then flipped the pages to find a letter. It was a letter from my husband while I was laying in the hospital bed almost lifeless. I couldn't contain my thoughts and emotions so I pressed the pause button for updating and moved on to getting some important emails taken care of.

A couple of notes from my surgery:
168 grams of tissue taken from my Left breast (had to get the girls evened out!)
126 grams of tissue taken from my Right breast
300 cc implant in both breasts
1 Liter removed by Lipo
Muscles were 5cm apart
7-8 pounds GONE!

Health: I've been walking without a cane for a while now. My knees ache and calves get tired throughout the day as I am not using any walking support unless I am going to be heading to a place I know will challenge my balance (stairs are my biggest weakness). My voice is still not back to normal but I can get it to a higher range if needed most times I have to get one of my loud kiddos' attention; my throat usually pays a price for a loud voice or conversation with someone. Memory and quick thinking still sucks.

I will have a check up with Dr Smith on the 16th. My scars are looking good except for where my drain was on my incision and a few "stress points" towards the middle of the TT; it's still scabbed up. My breast scars are healing up great. Both breasts have a little firm spot on the underside so I'll have to check at my appointment if it's normal, but I'm not too worried. My muscle repair has gotten to a point where I'm not in pain sitting or standing straight up and can stretch out in bed. I do, however, make sure I take 3 Motrin tablets in the morning and then again at night to help with any inflammation. Swelling comes and goes throught the day but it's not horrible. I try to sit down and drink a bunch of water to help if it gets to the point that it feels like it's stretching my TT incision/scar.

Pictures: I tried on some size 6 jeans and they fit awesomely! I still have a little room in the waist too but they are super comfy now. Second pic is a great sight to see! Before the surgery, my belly would flop out when I unzipped my pants...the flop is no more! I've got some before/after pics of me with jeans on. I can wear a bralette now and feel like it's supporting me instead of, in the past, always having to have that underwire/full coverage bra. The last pic shows my TT scar. You can see the scabbing on my side towards the end of the incision and the scabbing in the middle on the stress points of the incision.

Thank you all who are following my journey and commenting. It makes me feel like I might actually help someone who is contemplating this surgery and give them a good look at the good and the bad of it all.

This doesn't look normal to me

Thinking I have a seroma. I'm going to try and get into see Dr Smith today. My belly feels full and heavy and I have some soreness and redness down by the incision. At first when I pressed on my belly the thick pink tinged fluid would come out of the big opening...a lot of it...and where the small hole is was just skin with a feeling of a hole (or dip) in my incision line. Overnight, though, the little hole opened up and now the thick fluid is more yellow and it takes turn with blood coming out of it.

My fat is dying! LOL!

I saw Dr. Smith a little bit ago and figured out what's going on in those pics up there. He said some fat was dying off in there and causing the big one to not heal, and the little one has a pocket of fluid under it. He opened up the little hole some more so it can drain out the little sack of stuff in there. I'll be packing them with gauze and saline twice a day. I have some pictures from the last couple of weeks I'll have to post from my phone soon.

The holes are still there.

The holes on my incision are still open, but at least the bigger one looks to be getting better; it's also the one that's been open the longest. I pack them with saline soaked gauze twice a day and hope for the best. When they finally heal up, I will most definitely need scar revision. I see the doctor in about a week and a half and I'll be able to tell if the holes are doing what they are suppose to be doing. This morning, when removing the gauze stuffing, the small hole filled with blood, so I'm iffy about that being at the 'getting better' point. It could be from the pocket of fluid behind the hole on my incision line because the knot I felt seems a bit smaller.

Pictures are from a week ago (Monday) when I went to the doctor to see what was going on, Wednesday, and one from last night (Sunday) before going to bed (looks the same this morning)...I think they loaded in the wrong order. Don't mind the squigly red lines all on my belly, I had my binder on.

Can this just get better soon, please?

I'm frustrated today about the swelling going on and having to deal with the holes in my incision. I've been a ball of up and down emotions today about so many things. The weather here is back and forth and making my allergies go nuts and I think my period is lurking around the corner.

I, however, finally found something that shows and explains the progression of healing that's suppose to happen with these holes. It's so much better than the "pack them until they look like they are healing" advice that I got from the nurse. I'm not sure if the web address is clickable, but if you copy and paste the address listed below in your browser window, it should take you directly to the page I am talking about.


Getting better.

I have graduated PT and OT! My holes on my TT incision are starting to finally heal. I'll do some comparison pics of the holes tomorrow..kids wore me out with Trick or Treating tonight.

I'm having a lot of swelling in the upper abdomen. Thinking I'm doing too much without wearing a binder and the Dr Pepper doesn't help either :/ I really need to stop eating french fries too and also drink more water.

I have a meeting with a trainer at the gym on Wednesday where we'll discuss my background and goals, then get myself acquainted with the machines I'm not familiar with (in the weight room). After that, I'll schedule a training session to get me started and I guess I'll take it from there myself (don't really want to spend the extra cash on a trainer right now with Christmas coming up).

I'm down from 147 to 135 after the surgery. Id like to stick around there or lose a little bit more if I can . I just have to get in a rhythm with going to the gym...so hard after having 2 months of so much busyness with the kids needing to go here and there all of the time. This week I finally got some time back and all I want to do is take a few days to recover...then it's back to the gym on Wednesday I guess.

Went and got a VS bra (no underwire) yesterday. It was comfy when I tried it on so I bought it. It was not comfy to wear all day today. Sucks that I spent $30 on it. I measure at a 34 DD. I asked for a full C or small D at surgery time. I did, however, tell the doc to make sure I'm proportionate so I guess that's what happened. I'm fine with the size, just frustrated with bra shopping. I detest having to bra shop in VS..have never liked their bras or their service. Underwear, sure; that's a quick and easy purchase. But the moment you need to figure out if this or that fits you (and a 34DD in one bra is never a 34DD in another style of bra), it's like you can't find a damn person who can help you. And when they do help, they help for that moment and then disappear. I'm going back to my Dillards and Nordstrom stores instead.

Just thought I'd update since I've been so busy. Wish I were less swelled up so I would feel more confident with body picture updates. Maybe next week.

Progress pics of my incision holes

The holes are getting smaller and the tissue inside the larger one is healing up well....is now less deep as it is "healing from the inside out". I haven't been using the saline soaked gauze stuffed in there for a couple of days now, just bacitracin ointment on a small gauze pad taped over the holes. Looking forward to the holes closing up completely so I can take a dip in the hot tub or get in the pool with my kiddos.

Gym Trainer

I saw the trainer this morning. I know I said I wasn't into spending the cash on one but she was pretty convincing. She's new to the gym but has worked for years at another high end place in the area, but because she's newer I get the Teir 1 pricing if I stay with her. She's practically perfect for me! She too had a tummy tuck and breast augmentation and had some complications (body rejected internal stitches) so she knows the limitations with my surgeries and still having an open incision. She said a lot of her previous clients were coming to her fresh out of PT as well, so she's well versed in what type of workouts I need.
I stood on this machine that sends an electric shock through the body (can't feel it) to get measurements. My BMI is still a little high and my water levels are on the low end of normal. I have to start getting some electrolytes in..Gatorade or SmartWater. My weight went down just over half a pound but I'm hoping it's not muscle loss since I didn't do PT last week. My knees turn inward when doing squats as well as my ankles, which means my hips are still too loose; and my lower back is took tight and not arching like it should.
The plan she wants to start me on is 2 days a week for 30 minutes with her and 3 days on my own (homework)..$142 for the month. She thinks I will be ready for hour long sessions in a month. I told her I used to do p90x3 before all of this and she was adamant about waiting at least 6 more months to even think about going back to that, or some moderate version of it (same thing my PT said). I know I don't want to go crazy and do the p90x3 workout now, but I also don't want a pansy workout..I want to see results in about a month with 2 days training and at least 2, maybe 3, days on my own.

I have my weeknights back now that kid sports are winding down for the season so cooking dinner is happening more now than it did in September and October. If I'm out on errands during the day and get hungry, I think to myself that I could just pick up this or that really quick but then slowly back away from the thought because I'm so tired of take out..my gut doesn't need it either! I am still drinking my Shakeology every morning, so that's a plus. Dr Pepper is a huge weakness of mine; I'm working on it.

6.5 month update

It's been quite a while!

I left off with that ugly hole in my incision....It has since healed, thankfully! It took a long time because it heals from the inside out, but I just kept stuffing it with saline soaked gauze until it started to get pink inside and get smaller from the inside out. And then a month ago I thought I saw a "double bubble" forming but it turned out that I just had some extra skin.

I will have a scar revision for my tummy tuck scar and have the augmentation revision (remove the extra skin and sew it back up) in the next couple of months when my husband has time to take a few days to watch after me...no way am I going to be left at home alone to heal even for a minor thing! Along with that, I am also getting my veins taken care of. The valves are leaking and allowing blood to pool in my veins so I have to have minor surgery on them soon. Thankfully, I do not have varicose veins...just a bunch of spider veins caused by the leaky valves (also can be taken care of but aren't covered by insurance, so they may have to wait).

I will be moving out of state this summer and I am hoping that I will have some mental healing from what happened. It's gotten better but I am no where near not having panic attacks when talking about it or getting upset when driving past the hospital (which is across the street from shopping and grocery stores I shop at).

I try not to talk about it anymore, even with my husband. I don't ask him for details anymore unless I have prepared myself. It's difficult for both of us. We ran into one of my ICU nurses (I guess she was the one who stayed in my room with me) when shopping at Target one day in late December. I didn't remember her but my husband did. She told me her name but I can't remember it. She said I was a miracle. She said it was absolutely amazing that I was up and walking and talking like nothing happened ("Fake it till you make it" has been on repeat in my head since waking up from all of this). I gave her a hug or two and said thank you for keeping me alive. Afterwards, I had to stop my husband in an isle and calm him from the encounter.

I still can't recall my memories from that time I doubt they will ever resurface. My working and short term memory are still a struggle. I try write everything down all the time...so many notebooks floating around the house! My strength is probably at a 90% now. I'm working with a trainer at the gym twice a week and go once a week by myself outside of my training sessions. My balance and walking up and down stairs is what's holding me back, I think, from getting to 100%. It's mainly when my muscles are tired that those two skills are a challenge.

I haven't had any recent pictures taken to update with. I will have to take them before having the revisions, for sure. I doubt my doctor wants to do official "after" pics until I'm completely healed but I will be excited to finally get healed and have them done...even if I have to fly back here to get them taken!

7 month post-op update pictures

I haven't scheduled my scar revision appointment because household schedules aren't lining up well. I was told that I would be walking out like normal afterwards and can be alone at home with no worries but I prefer to have someone with me at home for a few days due to my previous situation. I hope to have the appointment within the next couple of weeks...we'll see.

Onto the photos: The scar...it's not so pretty. I had 3 holes that opened up (4 if you count the one at the end of the incision that was from the drain tube); Front view...doing well; Side views: still battling some swelling but mostly after workouts and the obligatory menstrual cycle swelling (which is what these pics show); Belly button...not liking it. He gave me a steroid shot to help with the scar tissue in there and it helped (the opening was much smaller a couple of months ago) but I really hate the puckering and how small the opening is still. Will be addressed at appointment for incision scar revision; Right breast..I thought it was a "double bubble" forming but thank goodness it's just extra skin that can be cut and re-stitched. He plans to take care of it when I have my incision scar fixed.

I'll admit, I'm scared out of my mind to get the revision done, but I completely trust Dr. Smith to get things just right. I'm really worried about when I have to move in a few months. I don't know how check-ups and such are done if you move away.
Colorado Springs Plastic Surgeon

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