Ever since I had my last child in 2000 I knew that...
Ever since I had my last child in 2000 I knew that I wanted a tummy tuck due to separation of my abdominal muscles. After my first 2 children it wasn't too bad, but after the youngest I knew that it was not going to be the same. I gained 15 and 16 pounds with the older children and gained a whopping 90 with the youngest. Well, they are older now (15, 20 and 22) and I am ready to do something for myself. I visited one doctor in October about smart lipo and he was nice enough and answered my questions, but he was not a board certified plastic surgeon. I visited another doctor, who is a board certified plastic surgeon, and he was nice, answered all of questions and then some. He told me that he could do lipo or cool sculpting but it would be throwing my money away because I would not be happy with the results and neither would he. He confirmed the separation of abdominal muscles and that a TT was the best way for me to go to get a smooth stomach. His quote was almost $10k with included the TT with muscle repair and lipo at $5500, the surgery facility at $2700, the compression garment at $400 and the scar repair strips at $400. I don't have the exact numbers in front of me at the moment but they are very close. I really liked this doctor and friend had her breast augmentation performed by him. Also his quote is good for 90 days. However, I want to do my due diligence and speak to 1 or 2 more PS. There is a doctor that is closer to me in town and he has gotten some excellent reviews so I'm going to schedule a consultation with him. I kind of slowed down in my search just because I have applied for a promotion at work in another department and I don't want to take off too soon if I get the job. So, I will keep everyone posted on how my next consultation goes and when I foresee me having the procedure done.
Update on Surgeon Interviewing/Shopping
So I went to see another surgeon about a month ago and I really liked him because he has been doing this for many years and the staff was great. What I found surprising was that he was almost half the cost of the first doctor I saw and I liked him too. Until I set a date I'm just going to refer to my potential PS as Dr. R. Anyway, what really impressed me about Dr. R was that he looked at my complete medical history before making any recommendations. That is important because I had a thyroidectomy in 2013 and he wants to make sure that my replacement hormone is correct. He did not want me to lose too much weight down the road and waste my money. He also suggested that for optimal results that I lose 20 pounds and I gotta say that I was so with that because I wanted to anyway. He just provided some additional motivation and even suggested swimming to help the weight drop faster. Another plus for this PS is that he's only 15 minutes from my home. So long story short, once I drop the 20 and get my endocrinologist to sign off that my meds are stabilized it's a go. I'm deliberately reserving 2 weeks of my PTO for around the fall so I can get it done. The weight loss is going great and it really helps that there's a gym in the building where I work. And since my workplace is a good distance from home I have a membership at a gym near home that has a pool. Before I close this long post I just want to say really think about any procedure you want and do a lot of research. Word of mouth can be helpful but all of our bodies are different and you really have to go with what you feel is right for you. And although I may go with the less expensive PS it's because of his experience and bedside manner.
I have been continuing to research extensively while staying super busy with work. I found a doctor that's about 60 miles away and want to check him out. One reason is because he has excellent reviews on RS. The other is that he does the drainless technique and has great results. Because he is high demand I can't get in to see him until June, but it works for all of the meetings and training I have coming up. I am hoping that I get a good vibe from him because I know when I want to get the procedure done. Until my consult I will continue to stalk reviews of those already on the flat side. ????
I go see a PS in Denver on the 14th of June and hope that he will be final choice. I've read nothing but good things about him on RS and I guess he is pretty popular. I scheduled this appointment about 2 months ago. I'm hoping to get an October surgery date if he agrees to be my PS. My PCP is trying to ensure that I'm physically healthy for it and that there are no reason for him to decline me because they can do that. I will post an update after I consult with him and if we get a date set I will post more regularly for the community.
Long Consultation Wait: 10 days away
Ten days from today I will finally have my consultation with the a PS in Denver whom I will take me on as a patient. My PCP is aware of my decision and is helping me make sure that I am in good shape for this procedure. I realize this is a big procedure and want to make sure all leads to a trouble free surgery and stress free recovery. As I've stated before I will post more regularly once everything is a go. When I scheduled my consultation the patient appointment setter was able to tell me which days are the doctor's surgery days. I have already requested the time off from work and it has been approved. I didn't want to take the chance of team members getting my days. The good news is that I can take 2 weeks off completely and work a third week from home which is nice because I can actually break up my work hours during the day and rest if need be. I am prepared to place my deposit at the end of the consultation if I feel like he is the one. There is a doctor in town that I really like, but he doesn't offer the drainless tummy tuck. After my appointment is set I will provide n update and include photos.
Surgery Is A Go For TT/Lipo/MR
My husband and I went for our consultation with Dr. Vath today. I am using "we" because this does effect him as he has to watch me put myself through this. I think after listening to Dr. Vath explain the procedure and and address possible complications put him at ease about me wanting a TT. I have consulted with other PS and know one ever mentioned my belly button. I say addressed my belly button is because when I was 2 years old I had an umbilical hernia repair and was not aware that there could be potential complications. Since I had it repaired over 40 years ago he does not foresee a problem but nonetheless have a plan in place. I am so glad that I chose him. My surgery is not scheduled until October 26, 2016 which I was hoping to get and am already approved off from work.
A Difference An Appointment Makes
It's so weird that yesterday I went from years of researching the TT to find that I am at a point of an actual point for one. I know it's 4 months away but that can come super fast. I'm sure it will since I'm scheduled the day after my daughter turns 21. She doesn't want to do anything, but I figured we'd have some mother-daughter time with manis and pedis. Besides she will be in clinicals that evening as she will be in her last year of nursing school. Glad there is RS to air all of the different emotions.
Wednesday, June 22 I received my pre-op packet from my PS office. I've a few other surgeries, non-elective, and I swear the paper work was nothing compared to this. My daughter and I had a good laugh going through although it's very serious business. She turns 21 the day before my surgery so when we got the dos and don'ts and drinking alcohol says, "So Mom we can go out drinking and have a good time before you're surgery." I said, "Yep that's the plan." We just burst out laughing because her plans for her 21st birthday does not involve leaving the house that day. Anyway, the day after receiving the packet I received the "lovely" news that our company is eliminating 8 positions in the next couple of months, but we don't know exactly when. Nonetheless, I still have my 2 weeks locked down if I am not selected. On the other hand if I get laid off that just means I have extended time to heal without any worries of returning to work right away. I'm 4 months pre-op and I don't want any negative feelings doing anything to jeopardize my journey. The Lord will provide as He always does. On another note I was trying to decide on what I need to buy to prepare and really I think my list won't be as extensive as others that I've seen. I think this is because I have chosen to have Exparel injected before he put me back together and I am having a drainless tummy tuck. The doctor that I have chosen, Steven Vath, has posted several videos speaking about various procedures and he discusses the drainless tummy tuck as well as the use of Exparel. Of course, it is his opinion but again I knew he was the one for me upon meeting him. Until next time, take care.
Two Months and Counting
So today is my 44th birthday and in 2 months from this day I will have a new tummy. I will actually be a day post op 2 days from today and it is coming fast. I live about an hour and fifteen minutes from the surgery center so I drove up over the weekend to see the location. The location where I had my consultation is different as my PS has 2 locations. I have my pre-op on October 6 so I wanted to make sure I knew where I was headed. Besides, Golden, Colorado was such a nice change than spending it in Colorado Springs.
I have been taking pictures in different clothes and realize how glad I will be for my shirts to lay flat across my abdomen. It will be nice to not look like I have a baby bump, especially since 2 out 3 of my babies are adults.
Well heading out to dinner with my family. Happy healing RS friends.
Well my time is getting nearer. One and half months and I will have a new body. My pre-op is on October 6th and the more I look at the calendar the more I realize that October is approaching fast. My youngest 16th birthday was today. My daughter's 21st birthday is the day before surgery and my 23 year old will be coming home for a week 2 days post op. I am a part of the layoff at the organization where I work. The pros of being laid off is that it doesn't have an impact on my household, I get to recover without worrying about if I will feel well enough to return, and God surely has better plans for me. I figure at the beginning of 2017 I start it off with a new body and new job. I also get a severance package so I'm good with it. The con is that my last day with the organization is the second week in October which leaves me too much time on my hands before surgery. I think I have everything I need, but I do need to make a list of final questions to ask at my pre-op. I'm not nervous, but very anxious.
Last night I was taking pics from various angles and I cringed when I did a crunch and my belly button sunk between my huge muscle gap. It feels disgusting and trying to get in shape and deal with that feeling of my body turning in on itself made my finally get to the point to have my tummy tuck. As the day get closer I will post an ample amount of photos. I think a description alone make it difficult for others get to get a true sense of ones journey. While this is mostly an outlet for myself I hope that at some point if someone come across my review it can be helpful with pics. It's amazing how many of our bodies look similar before we have sx.
Take care of yourselves!
34 days and Counting
I'm uploading some new photos. I'm in a Tummy Tuck group on FACEBOOK and I've been captivated by some wonderful women that really keep the journey real. However, I still wanted to document my personal journey here because I think it would helpful for anyone thinking about taking the leap to the flat side. I may upload some pics closer to my surgery date for a point of reference of how my clothes fit before and after.
A Little Anxiety
Well ladies I am less than 2 weeks away. Pre-op was completed October 6 and received my prescriptions. They have already been filled and is sitting alongside all of my post-op supplies. My pre-op nurse Jen was great. She was patient and answered all of my questions and concerns. We confirmed me getting exparel and I made sure she was aware that general anesthesia make me extremely nauseous unless I have the patch. The days are passing fast and I find that I have a mixed bag of emotions. Anxiousness, excitement and anxiety about the outcome. I know I'm in good hands, but I think it's just because I can't believe I'm going to have a flat tummy.
I'm in a couple of tummy tuck groups on FACEBOOK but find that I sometimes have to not dwell on posts. It's nice seeing the results of women and truly getting an understanding of their journey. Some have had issues afterwards and some have had none, but it's like getting a real time update. RealSelf is awesome to provide a chronological journey for others who are trying to make a decision. I hope that my posts help just one person.
I will add some more photos when I get to my laptop that I took a couple of weeks ago.
Time Is Flying By
Well next Wednesday at 9:50 am I will be reporting to the Apex Surgical Center in Golden, CO for my tummy tuck. I'm scheduled for 11:20 am and I have been counting down to the minute. I am still anxious, but think that I have been struggling with a little anxiety too. I think that I am more worried about recovery than the actual procedure. I do know that I am ready for this. I've been busy "nesting" to make sure that everything is in order. Everyone in my household is independent so I'm not too worried. I made some homemade chicken soup and froze it the other day so someone can just put in the microwave for me because there is no way I'm reaching to put it in the microwave. My microwave is over the stove. I bought a couple of cases of water so I can just grab a bottle when needed. I prefer room temperature bottled water so this will work out fine. My recliner and pillows are in order. My surgical day clothes are hanging and ready. I'm wearing a front zip sports bra, button down long sleeve shirt and some very comfy men's lounge pants. My medications are in a bag that I'm taking with me along with a pillow for the car ride that is going to be probably 2 hours instead of 1 since we should be heading home around rush hour. I won't go crazy the day before surgery because I will be making my daughters birthday cake for her. I'll probably prep a sweet potato pie too because my oldest will be coming home on the 29th from training before he heads back to Alaska. He most likely won't be home for the holidays so I will make his favorite pie for him while he is here.
I know I'm rambling, but the time is really approaching and it seems like the day start then it's over. Maybe that's a good thing. Anyway I'm going to post some pictures that I recently took just as a way of a reminder of my journey an for someone who may have a similar profile as mine. I know a lot of women ask for other women's height and weight because they think they will have a similar outcome. I totally disagree with that approach. I am 5'4" and 165 lbs and people who see me in person don't believe that I weigh that much. Even my doctors can't believe it, but the scales don't lie. Many, many, many years ago when I weighed in at 125 people refused to believe that I weighed over 100 lbs. I would also like to mention that I no longer have a thyroid and that strongly plays a part in my weight now. My goal weight range according to my endocrinologist is between 160-165 and that's where I try to stay. IF I happen to lose weight after surgery it's best if I lose no more than 20 lbs otherwise I will have to go through trying to find the correct dose of synthroid again. Believe me it is a pain. I'm saying all that to say don't let the number on the scale fool you into thinking what your results are going to be like. Your body frame and surgeon is going to play a large role in that. Personally for me, I really just want my stomach muscles repaired and the bulge gone. I would like to do a sit up or crunch without my abdominal region feeling like it's collapsing between my muscles and looking like it too! I say the aesthetic appeal is a side effect. :)
One Day and 15 hours
Today flew by hanging out with my daughter. It was really nice weather today, but unfortunately my allergies were in high gear. I'm ready to get this done and work on recovering. I've read my post op instructions 100 times, well it seem that way. Heading to Whole Foods Market tomorrow for a few things and then I will be set. I've giving my husband instructions on photos for me after I get marked up and after I'm in recovery. I know I will be medicated but I hope the traffic between the surgery center and heading out of the Denver area is not too bad. Well, I don't know if I will post anything at least for the next 2 days. Hopefully I will be able to by Thursday and will be able to share my experience. Till next time.
Day of Surgery
26 Oct 2016
Day of treatment
Hello RealSelfers. I wasn't sure if I would be able to write today, but I don't feel too bad. Yesterday Nurse Joyce from Dr. Vath's office called to confront. Y appointment, but also let me know that the first patient he had may cancel. Well he/she did and I got moved up from. 11:20 am to 7:50 am. My husband had us leave the house at about 4:45 am so we were quite early. Nurse Shawna and a Student nurse (I hate I can't remember her name) set me up becore surgery. They were super sweet and made me totally at ease. While they were getting vitals and making sure I was warm enough enter Dr. Vath. We went I over my procedure and made sure I didn't want my ass lipod. Also we both understood that there was nothing he can do about a part of my hips due to the curvature in my back. Some women use back boards after a BBL to get the curve that I naturally have and I don't have a large ass. we discussed my belly button again and I totally trust him. Honestly I don't think I will be showing my tummy in public anyway. This was about muscle repair for me. After the Ladies got my IV in they brought my hubby back and the anesthesiologist came in to go over some things with me and sign consents. Everyone left for about 10 minutes and when they came back. The anesthesiologist put some sleepy time juice in my IV and the next thing I know I was back I recovery and could look down and see my pubic region without a bulging belly I.
The abdominal wall is tight, but manageable. Now the lipo is totally different. It doesn't hurt but more of like a burning sensation from a scrape. My husband has been absolutely wonderful. I can't even tell you how grateful and blessed I am to have him. He is making sure I'm taking my meds properly. Walking me around the house every 2 hours, which is helping get that anesthesia out. And he makes sure I'm using the spirometer and flexing my toes and ankles for circulation. Right now I'm living on saltine crackers and drinking lots of water.
I'm getting kind of drowsy so I will continue this tomorrow...hopefully.
I've been really resting today and I took a picture of my no bulge belly. Nurse Joyce and Dr. Vath called to check on me. He said my separation wasn't as bad as the uncles the self. He said the were really curved and lax so he had to do extra sutures. I've started walking up upright. It's tight but doesn't hurt. Like most people say it's liposuction that is the most painful.
Three Days Post Op
Today I finally got my appetite back. Don't be mistaken I fill up more quizzes now so I'm eating kids sized portions unless it's liquid. Boost Shakes have been my friend to make sure I get all of nutrients. Still no pain just tightness. I mean so tight when I stand I feel like I'm going to tear in two, but no pain. Liposuction areas have less stinging. I find that if I lift my arms in a light stretch while in my recliner helps. Just raise one arm for about 5 secs and then the other it makes it easier when I have to do that dreaded walking. Let me just clarify something. I do not have pain until I have to walk an it's tolerable, but is caused by the lipo areas.
It will take time for you to find your setups for being comfy. My daughter happen to be the one that found it for me. The best sleep I had gotten since surgery. That tuition for nursing school is paying off lol. It's the one time she gets to boss her mom around and give me the eye when I don't do something. I'm really swollen, it seriously don't care because the bulge is gone. I apologize if I'm repeating anything I've already written because time is another concept after this procedure.
So before I had the tummy tuck I was contemplating a breast augmentation. I've always been small in the chest. After my 3rd child I went to a B cup. In my teen years it didn't bother me because I was a sprinter in track so less boobs was a plus. Anyway my binder was irritating me skin so I wanted to put on a tank top. My daughter help me in and out of everything then we put the tank top on, before the binder, I said oh y God your Mom has boobs! She just shook her head at me. But seriously, no tummy bulge made my boobs stand out.
Suggestion women, if you can find a long button or zip up dress wear it the day of surgery and no underwear. Sure they will dress you before you leave. I wore a button down shirt and some men lounge pants. I told the nurses not to put underwear back on and haven't worn any since. I have some zip up lounge dresses and they are easy peasy. When I have to go the restroom just lift dress and sit (toilet seat riser). No sleep socks and shoes easy enough to just slide your feet in and. House slippers are fine.
Just a reminder that everyone's journey is different. My tummy tuck was drainless so I dont have to worry about those. I opted for exparel to minimize abdominal pain for as much as
possible for 3 days. I can say it worked because no pain only tightness. I'm only taking Tylenol for the annoyance of 1 section that was lipod. I still take 1-2 Valium a day. That's to help my muscles relax so I can get some sleep. I still have a lot of stretch marks and I'm fine with that. So far I have no surprises because Dr. Vath has been open with me about what he can and can't do.
One more thing, for now, is the muscle repair. I don't know if I addressed it in my last post but I asked Dr. Vath about how much muscle separation an he said it wear my abdominal wall muscle curvature that was my biggest culprit so he had to do some extra suturing. I go in Thursday to have my bandaging changed and I'm looking forward to seeing my belly button.
Please feel free to ask any questions. Have a blessed day!
Let's see where to start. I feel pretty good today. I walked upstairs by myself. My husband watched from the bottom and my oldest son from the top, but I did it. Swelling has gone down and I can tell because my binder pulled tighter. I'll take a picture later. It's a little icky where my bb is because of how that area was bandage. Just a lot of blood coagulated behind the clear bandage. I go to my 1 week post op Thursday and I'm not worried. It doesn't hurt and there is no odor. My abdominal muscles are still tight but they no longer feel as if they are being shredded. The lipo areas feel 110% better, especially the right flank. Only Tylenol for pain and Valium at bed time. I can't recall in my other posts if I said this but I'm going to say it again. I had absolutely no abdominal pain or incision pain until I coughed. My only pain was the areas where he liposuctioned. I paid extra for exparel and that could've played a major role in my pain management. You know how gas can be painful too, nope that didn't even bother me. I just got to moving around a little to help it along.
I dressed myself briefly because we want to celebrate my 21 and 23 year olds birthday tonight since my son is home on leave. I took the clothes back off and will redress before it's time to make our reservation. I figure I can handle 2 hours, but after that Mom is done for and back to resting.
Take care and I'll keep you posted.
Day 5 PO continued.
I went out to dinner with the kids and boy that was tiring. I swear I felt myself swelling while we we were out. Anyway all went well I got home and got back into comfy clothes. I'm uploading a couple of pictures. One you can see where I added gauze and paper tape because I had a leak through the plastic dressing from my bb. Then on day 5 you can see where the blood has coagulated but I have a po appt in a few days for a dressing change. The other is just a random of my toesies since they've been covered since surgery.
Feeling More Like Myself (10 DPO Drainless Tummy Tuck)
I had my first post op on November 3. I was still very swollen, but e en more so because of the hour drive to the doctor's office. The nurse cleaned up my belly button and gave me some tips on how to keep my swelling to a minimum. I tummy was very hard from swelling and when she cleaned my belly button area after removing the tegaderm dressing and gauze from my abdomen. She respositioned my binder and pulled that sucker tight. After a deep breath it felt fantastic. My mon pubis was very swollen too. Before I went to bed later that night I put on some high waisted compression panties and then my binder and the difference the next day was totally different. Of course I went out for about 3 hours and when I returned my tummy was super swollen and hard. Felt like I would pop. No discouragement because I know this is a process.
I may have stated this in previous updates, but Arnica Cream is fabulous for liposuction areas. I'm still tender but my movement and reach is a lot better. Again, you paid the money for your surgeon so trust his/her judgment on your care. My ps office use suggests Arnica for their facelift patients and I've used Arnica prior to this surgery so I know how it affect me. This is my personal experience and I can say what has worked for me because I know my medical history. Also I ultimately want a flat tummy. I have NEVER had anything close to an hour glass shape in my life even with being athletic. I was an A cup until my third child and until I turned 30 I was always 130 lbs or less. I'm saying all of that to say that we all have different expectations for our outcomes so don't compare your results to others, but what you are willing to be happy with.
Alright Angels take care.
Itching, Sneezing and Coughing Oh My
So 19 DPO and the itching has begun. I've read some reviews where patients get itchiness and the pins and needles feelings closer to 4 to 5 weeks post op. My itching actually started much earlier but has heightened in the last 2 days. I wonder if because my procedure was drainless where the surgeon uses the quilting technique if my nerve ends are responding fast to healing. I almost feel as if I would prefer pain. I know crazy. I've really had no pain except my right and left flanks that were liposuctioned but good old Arnica cream helped with that. I have more swelling on the right side of my abdomen than my left, but that's to be expected. When my surgeon called to check on me he said the muscles on my right side was really bad. I vaguely remember him saying something about how extremely curved my abdominal wall was there so he had "extra work".
Overall I still have no complaints about having this procedure. Last night was the first time that I slept comfortably in my bed. For my height our bed is rather high for after a tummy tuck. Again the only pain issue were my flanks and having the right kind of compression garment for yourself is key. I purchased a faja and it was a little to small. I purchased another 1 size larger and now I'm in business. The biggest problem with the first one was the gusset was just too tight around my vaginal area, but I will keep it until more swelling goes down and I change up. If I'm going out for a couple of hours I put on high waisted compression panties. Oh and I've had other surgeries before but this is the first time that my skin got irritated for it. All except for a small area above my pubic area the surgical tape has been removed. When I remove the rest I will post a pic.
My allergies have been crazy so every now and again a sneeze sneaks in and I had some words that would've embarrassed a sailor. The same goes for the cough. Using a pillow on the abdomen may help support it, but that cough still hurts like hell. My husband came in from work and I was bending over the bed with the pillow on my stomach. I was dropping a whole lot of f-bombs and some other expletives into the bed. He rushed over and thought I had a real emergency. I said no just another motherf***** cough. And for whatever reason he wants to be a comedian since I had surgery and I told him not to make me laugh.
Once I locate the picture I took the other day I will upload it. It's one of me in the black dress pre-op. I am impressed already. I have no interest in a bbl but my thought was that a women with a mommy makeover and bbl could really rock this dress. Funny thing is the dress is a Nicki Minaj brand.
Alright RSers take it easy.
It Get Better
I'm approaching 1 month post op fast. It's unreal how you wait and wait then you have a new figure. Please forgive me if I repeat anything that I may have already posted. Many post how their emotions are up and down as to why they put themselves through this surgery. Honestly, I never felt that way. I feel like I did it at the perfect time in my life. I've had amazing support from my husband and children before and during recovery. My husband just keep making me laugh and that hurts a little still. I get emotional when I put on a piece of clothing and am wowed by how beautifully different the clothes look. Even when I swell my clothes still look good on me I just feel like if stuck with a sharp object I will pop.
I am still pretty swollen on the right side of my body because I think that side had to be treated more aggressively. I have a post-op with the doc on Dec 9th so we'll see what he says. I'm not discouraged or worried because it's still early. I did find that there is one part of my incision line where the nerves run up a long side my bb so it's super weird. My left side has 90% of its sensation back whereas the right side is about 50%.
I'm going to finally post some new pics. My scar look worse than it is because the tape irritated my skin. This was NOT recommended by my doctor but I put 100% pure castor oil along my scar to help with the irritated skin. Some skin actually came off and castor oil has healing properties. This is not the same kind that you just walk into the pharmacy that you buy and can ingest. I suggest getting lipofoam because even having a tank on underneath the binder would leave lines especially if you have lipo. My incisions are taken back pretty far but I was expecting It due to my body shape. Oh and I highly suggest cotton clothing because your skin will be highly sensitive. Also plenty of skin moisturizer and an antihistamine to help with dryness and itching.
I suppose this has been long enough. Take care and have Happy Thanksgiving!