43 Year Old Mom of 2, Diabetic - Made It to the Flat Side. Columbus, GA

Hi Real Self friends! I've learned so much from...

Hi Real Self friends! I've learned so much from reading the reviews here and thought documenting my journey may be helpful to others as well as me. I am 43 years old, married, with 2 children ages 22 and 17. I'm 5' 2" and weigh 160 lbs. I was 21 when my daughter was born and my stomach has never been the same since. Both of my babies were 10 pounds. On a 5' 2" frame, I was literally as big around as I was tall! I've had Type 2 Diabetes for 10 years now. It's controlled with some medication, I eat well and exercise but no matter what I do I can't seem to lose weight in my belly area. After reading the stories and consulting with my own Dr., I now realize there's nothing I can ever do to fix it myself. My Dr. said I have approximately 6 inch gap between my stomach muscles that will need to be tightened/repaired. He checked me over and said I don't really have much fat on me and I would be an excellent candidate for a tummy tuck.
I've always wanted a TT, but never felt 'deserving' of one. I was always a yo-yo, lose it quick dieter and could never stick with anything for very long. Well now I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life - even with diabetes - and I have worked hard to keep my weight stable for the past 4 years (I was once up to 200 lbs!)
My husband knows how self-conscience I am about my belly. He's so sweet and tries to make me feel comfortable about it, but even after all these years I don't like him to run his hands over it if I'm lying on my side - you know, when it ALL hangs out! Anyway, he is supportive of my decision and even suggested it to me after seeing how hard I've worked on being healthy and keeping the weight off 'the right way'.
I've only consulted with one Dr. so far (Dr. Thomas Cochran, Jr. Columbus GA), but I really like him and he has GREAT reviews and followup pictures on here. I'm not sure yet if I'll consult with the other 2 doctors I was planning on seeing later or not. I don't plan to have my procedure done until after the first of the year so that my husband can take vacation and care for me, so I still have time to decide who I want to do the surgery.
I look forward to sharing my journey with you and will upload some before pics very soon.

2 C-Sections and 17 years later...

Before pics. I failed to mention before that I've had c-sections with both of my kids. I will be so happy if I can have a few curves added to the sides - I look like Sponge Bob! It's funny how well I can hide all this flab and skin under clothes and waist cinchers. My butt can fit into a size 8, but my waist requires me to buy a size 12, or at least have a really stretchy waist. I'm a natural size 36G cup, so I'm sure after the TT I'll look like I've had a boob job! I do own a bikini because I have a pool, but it only gets worn when I'm at home alone...

Only 2 Weeks From Today!!!

Things have really been exciting over the past couple of weeks! I've been to see my primary doc and had all my blood work and tests done. He says everything is a go :) The office sent my labs and info to my PS office - so they're happy. I've had my pre op consultation, paid my balance in full and received my prescription - still need to get that filled. My FMLA has been approved. I found a walker (looks brand new) at Goodwill for $3.99. It folds flat, so it's out of the way and I'll just donate it back to them when I'm done with it. I've been making lists of things to remember during recovery. I'll start cooking this weekend to make some meals to freeze for my guys and I'll cook some meals next weekend for myself and put them in serving size containers for easy grab convenience. Yep - getting excited!!! Any advice or suggestions is most welcome :)

Is This a Crazy Idea?

My surgery is scheduled for next Friday, so of course I'm nesting and feeling like I have to get everything ready. I have 2 recliners in my house and had all intentions of moving one of them into my bedroom for sleeping. Yesterday I was sitting out on the pool deck enjoying this beautiful weather and it occurred to me how simple it was to lean back in my gravity free chair. You only have to barely use your feet and head to recline back. It sits you up straight to make it easier to stand. You can lock it in place and the arm rest is the perfect length to wrap the end of my fingers around and pull myself up with my arms. Soooo, I'm seriously thinking about using my gravity chair as a recovery chair - does that sound crazy? It's very comfortable to sit in and it's the perfect position when reclining. I can throw a comforter over it for a little extra cushion. My sweet hubby says he'll come pull the handle on the big recliner every 10 minutes if I need him to. If I use the gravity chair and decide it isn't working for me, I can always get him and my son to move the recliner in. I posted a picture of one that looks just like mine to show you what I mean... Any thoughts or suggestions?

Pictures of chair

I can hide it pretty good

So I mentioned in an earlier post how well I've gotten about hiding all the belly and Sponge Bob waist line. I took this pic last week to send to my hubby to let him know I was ready for our date - of course I was posing :) Anyway, I'm wearing my Squeem and it holds me in and cinches my waist, but boy I'm glad when I get out of it! I'll be so happy when I can look like this without having to cinch in all the additional inches of skin on my belly! Only one more week!!!!

Is My Big Day Actually Here???!!!

OMG, I think I'm so excited today that it's making me crazy emotional! I almost feel weepy like I could start crying at the drop of hat. I'm not afraid or scared, just so excited and so grateful I'm able to do this. I was taking a nice soaking bath last night, spending some last minute alone time with my jelly belly -lol, and thinking about how perfect the timing is for this surgery. I'm able to take time off from my job, whereas that would have been a big deal in the past. I'm in a good place financially. My relationship with my husband has started a new season this past year and we are so much more in love than ever, and I didn't think a better relationship than what we already had was even possible (I know... sappy). Anyway, I'm at peace, but feel like I need to go outside and scream or something to get rid of all this built up excitement and tension -lol. My neighbors might not appreciate that :) I'm going to take a few more before pics to post, mainly because I realized I'm holding in my gut in my other pictures and I want it to be as 'real' as possible so I'll have something to look back on when I'm whining about pain or healing taking forever :) Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! At least I can scream to you all and you'll understand :D

And the Truth Shall Set You Free...

Or at least a TT will!!! Ok, of course over the past month every time I get in front of the bathroom mirror I'm sucking in, pushing my bell to the side, basically everything I can to try to imagine what I'll look like afterward. On one of these many occasions I was imagining how I'll look at the doctors office for my before pictures. It was then that I realize I am in a constant state of holding in my abdominal muscles - like it's on auto-pilot. I don't even realize I'm doing it. I literally had to think about relaxing my belly completely and exhaled several times before I was completely relaxed. It really shocked me to see myself so relaxed and my belly so round! I look like I'm 6 months pregnant!!! No one, not even my husband, has ever seen my belly like this except when I was actually pregnant. I think I only have the courage to post these pics because I want to document my journey for myself and I know it will be gone in less than 24 hours! YES!!! Don't judge... it is what it is :/

I'm on the flatside!

I made it. I've been sooo sleepy today. I'm finally coming around. I won't lie, it does hurt. I'm not in excruciating pain, but I do feel it. My sweet husband has been taking good care of me making sure I take my meds every 4 hours. My doc said he has never worked on anyone with such a width of separation and weak muscles. I thought my abs we're pretty strong... guess not. He said about 9 weeks I should be able to start working on them and I really need to make that a priority. I know I will because this is just a step to get me in a position to do more for my body. I already run and walk regularly so I plan to start strength training as soon as I'm able. I've been to the bathroom several times and omg it is so exhausting!!! I felt faint last time but hubby is there 'dancing' with me so he can support my weight. I used my walker there, but felt so week coming back he had to hold me. I know it should be easier in a couple days, but for now I'm struggling-lol. Happy healing to you all. I'll try to take some pics tomorrow when we change my dressings. I'm anxious to see what I look like too :D

No More Sponge Bob For Me :)

I feel pretty good this morning. I can still feel some pain, mostly soreness. It was pretty awful getting up first thing this morning, but after sitting on the commode a few minutes I was able to walk down the hallway. Well once I made it that far I made a beeline to the keurig. My husband was there the whole time to be sure I was steady. And I have my walker which is a HUGE help. I can rest my upper weight on it while I walk. I made my coffee and hubby carried it back with me. He's sleeping in the bed right next to me, but I felt like I could make it to the bathroom by myself and I did :) Its only 10 feet away, but yay me!!! He woke up and half scolded me, but I feel pretty good, just really sore. I took a couple of pics but you Cantrell much from them other than I look like I have some curves. My mom will be over later this morning and she and hubby will change out my dressings. Maybe I can get a pic without the binder then. Yesterday is kind of a blur, but everyone at Dr. Cochran's office was so sweet. I really like him. He seems so 'down to earth'. I do remember my eyelids being soooo heavy. I could hear everything and talk, but had such a hard time opening my eyes. And when I would open them I would see 3 of everything -lol. I hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday and happy healing! I'll try to post pics with binder off later. I'm anxious to see what's under there too!

Someone please tell me this is just swelling and will get better...

Today we took off the binder and changed the bandages underneath. Surprisingly, I was only bleeding a little from the lip holes. The incision and belly button weren't bleeding at all. I was so ready to loosen the binder because all day I felt like it was too low and tight and the top of my belly was so swelled and hanging over and hurt so bad from the tightness. The top of the binder was only about an inch above my belly button, so i was spilling over the top. I was sitting on the edge of the bed at first but as soon as the tension from the binder was loosened I felt faint so I had to lay down in my reclining chair. After a few minutes of getting all the gauze and tape off and laying there to get my breath, I wanted my husband to take a few pics of me so I could see what I look like. The incision looks GREAT and is so low, but I am soooo swelled at the top. Has anyone seen anything like this on the first day afterward? I'm so worried about it. We changed the bandages and re-positioned the binder higher and I felt immediate relief. It feels so much better having that support. We tightened it as much as possible, but to where I can still breathe, so I'm hoping this will push the fluid and swelling out. It looks so abnormal :( I really don't want to post this pic, but maybe someone can shed some light on it for me and give me some advice. Other that that, I feel pretty good. As the night has come on I feel more sore and it's really hard when I first get up. My incision burns like fire for the first couple of minutes until I get going. I've been eating although it's just very small amounts to take with my meds. I had some oatmeal this morning and it was so good to me. Tonight I had a little bowl of homemade, no sodium chicken noodle soup and it was good too :) Please feel free to comment on my pics and let me know if you've experienced anything like this. I do hope it gets better. Btw, I've been drinking LOTS of water and have been so thirsty since my surgery. It makes me have to visit the bathroom, but I figure that's not a bad thing and gets me moving.

I'm still hanging on

I guess this is day 2 post op?? This is probably more interesting to the RS ladies getting ready to go see Dr. Cochran... Friday was such a blur and I really don't remember much, just bits and pieces. I arrived at Dr. Cochran's office at 7:10 am, the nurse had me go into the bathroom and strip down and she left me with a gown and some string bikini panties. I walked down the hall a few doors into a little room. She took all of my before photos- so embarrassing, but I guess she sees it everyday. She assured me my belly was only temporary :) She gave me a shot of demoral in the hip, it only hurt just a few seconds. Then I walked through the door into the surgery room and got up on the bed. She asked me to turn my head to the side and bear down and she inserted the IV into a vein in my neck. It didn't hurt, just a pinch like when it goes in your arm. After that all I remember is her asking me if I was awake and she kept coming in to ask me, but all I could tell her is I was awake and could here her, I just couldn't open my eyes. They were so heavy. Somehow they helped me into a wheelchair and wheeled me to the door where my mom was waiting with her van. I was so glad we brought it because it's a conversion van and rides so smooth. I slept most of the way home and my husband was there waiting to get me in and situated. He has been so wonderful.

Yesterday I felt so good and felt like I needed to move around to keep from getting so sore. BIG mistake! When we removed the binder, I was so swollen at the top, it really worried me. My binder had somehow moved downward or something, but it is so narrow it only goes about an inch above my belly button. My mom said I was really flat, I just looked swelled. So we put the binder back on and put my squeem on over it. It's not tighter than the binder, but I holds the upper part of my belly tight and feels so much better. I have a full post surgery garment that goes partly down the thighs. I think I'm going to ask the doc if I can try it.

Well since I overdid it yesterday, I'm paying for it today. My whole back hurts, especially where the lipo was done. When you don't use your ab muscles, you use your back and flank muscles more and they are so sore!!! So today I have been doing nothing but resting, going to the bathroom, walk down the hall after the bathroom and back to the chair. I'm finally feeling better this evening. Dr. Cochran said I could take a shower the day after surgery, but honestly it's so exhausting just going to the bathroom, I might die if I try to take a shower - lol. My mom is coming back tomorrow to help me get a shower, so that will be nice. I guess that's all for now. Everyone is different in their healing, but the one thing we all have in common is we need REST, so please get yours ;) I hope to have some better looking pics tomorrow after my shower.

Everyday Gets Better

Today was a much better day. I had to increase my meds last night even though I've been taking them every 4 hours by the alarm clock. I slept so much better and restful too.

So my mom came today to help me get a shower. This was something I really wanted because I was feeling so grungy, but I surely wasn't looking forward to it because I already know how exhausted I get just going to the bathroom. I took my pain meds about 45 minutes before so I would be good and relaxed. I have a very large walk-in shower in my guest bathroom, so we decided to use it. She got my basket of bath supplies I already had ready, my fresh clean clothes, bandages and dressings and even brought my reclining gravity chair in there 'just in case' I needed to lay down. OMG, I love my mama! I sat on the commode to release my binder and just as I did the first time we released it, all the blood rushed from my head and I was about to pass out! I leaned over on my walker and tried to take deep breaths, but it wasn't working, so she and my husband sat me down in my chair and as soon as I leaned back I immediately felt better. So, my advice to anyone releasing their binder for the first time, do it while reclining and let all the blood equalize throughout your body before proceeding. It may affect you differently, but it made me light headed both times - lesson learned :) So after a minute to catch my breath I was fine and was able to get right in the shower. The removable shower head was a great suggestion, I'm so glad I got one! I pretty much washed myself and my mom washed my back. I was able to wash my own hair and mom helped rinse everything off. At that point I was so exhausted I could barely talk! I was even slurring my words! So mom and hubby wrapped me in towels and let me lay in the chair again and it was immediate relief. I just lay there a while and relaxed with towels over me :) Then they bandaged and binded and dressed me. Everyone is different, but there is NO WAY I could have done that on my own! Be prepared to have a support system in place.

BTW, I decided to have my husband and son move one of my big recliners into the bedroom today too. The gravity chair is fine and is a perfect height for getting up and down, but I think it would have been more comfortable if I put an egg crate foam mattress or something thicker on it. The recliner is only about 6 months old, so it's still thick and plush and very comfy. I have to get help getting in and out of it, but the pain management is much better and doesn't hurt as much. I have to say the gravity chair was a life saver today being right next to the bathroom door!

My swelling is soooo much better today and I look better, but by the time we got finished with the shower I just wanted to rest, so no pics today - sorry :( I think having the compression on the full torso helped a lot, but I also remember that every time I've ever had any kind of surgery and had to be put under, for some reason I swell up like a bull frog! I still don't have a big appetite, but I've been eating small amounts with my meds every 4 hours - of course no sodium.

I guess that's all for now. Best wishes to you all that had your surgery today and those coming up. Everyone is different, so don't beat yourself up if you're not progressing as quickly as someone else on here - I had to remind myself of this! I'm doing just fine, even if I feel like it's a little slower than some. And I also had to talk myself off the ledge when I saw the pics of myself looking like a bull frog before! OMG I was freaked out! It's so much better today and will be even better tomorrow. I can't wait to show pics, but I'll have to wait until I can get help with my binder. I can't get it on tight enough by myself. Maybe I'll try to take some in the morning with it on, so y'all can get an idea of how it looks :) Happy healing!!

Day 4 Pics and Update

I am trying to stay positive, but my gosh I'm over this surgery already!!! I think if I could lay on my side I would feel 100% better! My back is so sore from laying & leaning on it and over using it when getting around. I was determined to get some pictures today just to see for myself how I am looking, so I released my binder while laying down and took a minute to get my breathing regulated. It feels so weird when I release the binder - like I don't ever want it off. I like the secure feeling it gives me and I feel like everything is going to fall out without it on. I could immediately feel the swelling and I guess fluid and blood filling my torso. I could tell I was already starting to swell even that quickly! So after getting up, I got some pictures. I'm so hunched over, but I can see that I'm not nearly as swelled as I was a few days ago. My binder was just placed wrong on that first day and caused all the swelling to fill up in my upper abdomen. I'm not bleeding anywhere at all. That was surprising to me. My drain is putting out quite a bit daily and has to be changed regularly, so I guess that's a good thing... It's starting to look more like fluid than bloody now. I was so ready to get my binder back on and could tell it was tighter because of the swelling. I'm going to leave it on from now on unless it's just necessary to remove it for a shower or to be checked. I like the roundness of my belly button but it is kind of flat, with a slight indention, so hopefully it will end up being an 'inny' - I've always had an inny :)

I'm attaching some photos, I know everyone likes photos :) I always do. I guess I wasn't expecting to be dealing with so much swelling from the beginning, but I'm hopeful it will continue to improve. And I'm very happy with my incision :) Some pics kind of make my BB look a little off center, but I'm slightly turned, so it's misleading. Everything is right where I want it :) Happy healing everyone!

End of Day 9 - Still Getting Better

So much has happened since day 4! Day 5 was my turning point and I was feeling so much stronger and better that day. I was still using my walker, and it was a huge help for my back, but my back was KILLING me! It was right between my shoulder blades in the center and also down each side on those muscles in your lower back. I had to get rubbed on my upper back with Ben Gay and I also have a full size body massaging mat that has a built in heating pad. It was very useful and the vibration could be set to low or high. It was very soothing.
Hubby has been great, but there have been times when I felt neglected and would get weepy. I don't know if it was partly my hormones and self-pity party, but I'm sure my condition contributed. Overall he has been very helpful, but he's also a 'suck it up' kind of guy. That has somewhat made me try harder and have to do for myself, so I guess I should be glad it has made me get moving and try to be more independent. He goes back to work tomorrow, so I'll be home by myself most of the day until my mom stops by to check in on me. I should be fine :)

Day 6 - 8 just got easier than the day before it. I'm still hunched over a little, but mostly look like I walk pretty upright. Tip - on day 6 I stopped using my walker and helped take the pressure off my back by walking with my knees staying bent and my pelvis and butt tucked in and forward. It doesn't look too bad and I can walk much faster and my back feels so much better.

I think I mentioned earlier that I had my husband and son move my full size recliner into my bedroom - I think day 4. I have to admit, it is more comfy than the gravity chair. But, I still keep the gravity chair folded up next to the wall because it has been a lifesaver for when I take a shower. The shower has been the MOST exhausting thing to do for me. Hubby opens the gravity chair right beside the the bathroom door so I can lie back in the chair, release my binder and let things kind of level out a minute or so, then get up and get into the shower. Then it's right by the door again so I just wrap in a towel and collapse into the chair and lay there until I can catch my breath. I lay there and dry off and then get bound back up and dressed right there. It has been a huge help.

I absolutely hate taking off my binder. I know, some say they can't wait to get rid of theirs, but I feel so weird and vulnerable when I take it off. And when I stand up, I get that feeling like after having a baby and standing for the first time, like everything might fall out! About my binder... I feel like it's too short for me. On day 2 when we took it off to rearrange it ( I was hurting really bad at the top of my belly) I was so swollen because it was only covering the bottom part of my torso and all my swelling was spilling out over the top. You can see from previous pictures how I looked like a toad frog swelled up right after taking off the binder. After rearranging it, I wanted something to compress the top part of my belly, so since day 2 I've been wearing my Squeem over my binder and it holds me in from top to bottom. I was immediately relieved from the pain whenever I was able to compress that swelling. Before the TT, I had to squeeze into the Squeem and couldn't wait to get it off because it was so tight and uncomfortable - the fat and skin had to go Somewhere... Anyway, since the TT it fits just right without being uncomfortable. The Squeem is made with rubber and gives very little so it's nice and snug to me.

This morning I had to release my binder and move it down a little - I felt like it was pressing on my incision a little. When I did, it was the first time since day 1 that I could actually see the swelling had left from my skin, so it gave me a little boost and some hope that this swelling will actually go away one day :) I'm just trying to be patient.

My drains are mostly clear with a tinge of blood. Still putting out around 80cc's per day, but today was a little less so maybe my drain can be removed this week. My drain has been NO problem at all! I was so worried about it before surgery but turns out there was no need to. I only have one drain that comes out of the right side of my incision, lays against my leg and is held in place by my binder. No tape needed.

I haven't needed any bandages, although the nurses sent home a bag full. I like the big, thick full size bandages they sent because I lay it over my incision just to keep the binder from rubbing or irritating it. They work great.

I don't know if anyone else is dealing with this, but I am... I can't bear to look at myself in the mirror. It's not that I think I look horrible, it just make me nauseous when I look and can't feel it because of the numbness and weird feelings and the feelings that it's going to fall out. I don't know why, but it gives me the heebie-jeebies! I can look at pictures of myself fine, it just weirds me out to look at it in the mirror. I hope that changes - soon! Another thing I'm dealing with is how different I look. I've lived with the hangover belly for over 22 years. Now it just goes straight down. Plus I don't really have much of a waist yet, although I feel like I will when it's all healed. I think the swelling is making my results very deceiving right now, so I'm not letting myself get upset with every little thing that isn't just right to me. That being said, funny story... this morning I wanted to move my binder down some because I felt it was pressing on my incision, so I was having my husband help me. He was looking away, in a way like he could bare to look at my belly, while I was commenting how much the swelling had gone down. Well he was only teasing me when he was acting like he couldn't look, but of course I fell apart and started crying. He was so freaked out and felt so bad. I was upset because I don't ever want to look bad to him. He has always made me feel good about my body and said before the surgery he would have to get used to something new too because the way it was is all he's ever known for the past 20 years (my first child was from a previous marriage). Anyway, he talked me off the ledge and said he was just teasing me and I don't think he'll be teasing me like that again anytime soon - lol.

It's late and I've rambled on enough. I'll try to take some updated pictures tomorrow to post. It's still a work in progress, but I am very happy I had this done. I love my incision placement. The BB is still undecided, but I'm not really worried about it because I know revisions can be done if I end up not happy with it. Like I said, it's way too early to conclude anything with all the swelling I've had and it's only been 9 days. Happy healing to all!

Day 10 Photos

I'm attaching some photos from this morning. I can't stand to take off my binder, but you can see even with the binder on how much the swelling has decreased and I'm even getting some curves on the sides. It's only been 10 days, so I'm looking forward to more changes :) I'm still thick from the side, but I've always been a thick girl, so even if that stays the same I'm ok with it. I'm just glad to be rid of the belly. AND I don't look six months pregnant from the side - and I don't have to suck it in :D

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

This week feels like I'm going backward rather than forward. Monday I got up feeling great! I thought wow, it's just getting better everyday! For the past 3 days I haven't felt bad, but I don't feel like there's been any improvement to brag about and on top of it I feel like I'm having to walk more hunched over each day. Last week I was able to walk pretty upright, but Tues, Wed and today I have noticed I've gradually had to bend forward a little more each day, otherwise I feel like my ab muscles are stretching and it hurts. Just wondering if I should slowly force them to stretch a little or keep 'babying' them until I'm healed a little more. Has anyone else encountered this at the 2 week mark? Tomorrow will be 2 weeks since my surgery. I don't see my doc until next Thursday but I'm supposed to go back to work Monday. I don't want to go all hunched over! Maybe I'm sitting in my recliner cradled too much???

2 Weeks Post-op and Feeling Great!

Gooood morning everyone! I'm feeling wonderful this morning :) I was feeling pretty good yesterday, and this morning even better. I was able to get right up this morning without gruntin' and groanin'. I took a shower yesterday and for the first time I didn't need a stool to sit on, I was able to stand the whole time. I still don't like to be without my binder, but at least I wasn't completely exhausted afterward. It was still tiring, but so much better than it has been. I also took some pictures yesterday. I'm getting more curves, so that makes me smile :) I'm still thick from the side and you can tell I'm still swollen, but I'm not concerned about it. I've gradually gotten better and better, so I expect it will continue to get better. I'm only 2 weeks, so I still have a while to deal with it! Even though I'm thick, I'm still very flat :) I love how low and even my scar is.

I was planning on removing my drain today, but I think I'm going to wait another day. My PS said it was okay to leave it in and the longer I do, the less fluid I'll have to deal with. I've been putting out 25cc's for the past 3 days. Can any of you share with me how low your output was when you had your drain removed? My drain hasn't bothered me at all, so I feel like if I wait until it almost stops draining, that's less swelling I'll have to deal with. And I've already had to deal with enough swelling!!

Also, I'm kinda concerned about my belly button. It looks healthy and healing fine, but it's FLAT! Have any of you had to deal with this? Should I try the marble trick? I see my doctor next Thursday, so I'll ask him about it. I was just wondering if anyone else has dealt with this issue and what you've done about it. See the attached pic. Will it correct itself? Could it just be flat because I'm still swollen? IDK, but I really don't want it flat...

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's day! Today will be my first time out of the house (other than to ride in the car to drop off some bills) and my husband is taking me out for sushi and to see a movie :) I'm sooooo looking forward to it!

I'm attaching some photos so you can see I'm making a little progress :D

Removed MY OWN Drain!

Well, actually my husband removed it. I was so nervous about us doing it, but my doctor insisted that we could do it ourselves and save a 2 1/2 hour trip to see him. We gathered all of our supplies: scissors to cut the stitch, tweezers, gauze, cotton balls, alcohol and a flashlight for direct lighting. Oh yeah, and my husbands readers so he could see it up close - lol. He sterilized everything with the alcohol. I lay back on the bed and he snipped the stitch, pulled it away with the tweezers, I took a deep breath and he pulled in one swoop. Ugh... I told him it was a good thing I was laying down because I felt like I was going to pass out! It didn't hurt at all, it was just the thought of it and the weird feeling of it pulling across my belly. Anyway it's done!

Today was my first day back to work. I won't lie, it was a little difficult. I wanted to take a nap so bad! Then as the day went on I could tell I was more tired and tight. I could tell I was swelling too. I noticed I am really swollen in my legs and ankles. I should have left around 3 pm, but I only work until 4:30 so I figured I could tough it out... I should have went home. I came home, made a pot of chili in about 15 minutes and lay in the recliner and was asleep in just a few minutes. I'm feeling a little better now, but ready for a good night's rest. Oh and it was exciting to show off my new flat figure and curves to the few people I've told at work. They were very excited for me. I only pulled my shirt tight to show them, but it's really noticeable. I wore a baggy shirt (that I always thought looked good on me and made me look slimmer) but now it just looks like a shirt that is too big for me - lol. That's a good thing :)

Happy healing everyone and good luck to you ladies getting ready for yours - it's so worth it!

Ugh the Swelling... Plus My 3 Week Appointment

I started back to work this past Monday and had to adjust my schedule and leave early because I was feeling tired, tight and having some pain. On top of that I started swelling really bad in my legs and ankles.

Yesterday was the first time I've seen my PS since the day of surgery. I'm 3 weeks PO today. He removed my stitches from my BB. I asked him about it being flat. He said it will probably end up with a little indention, but he was concerned about it too when he relocated it. He said although it recessed quite a bit before, it had fat and skin around it and my belly extended so much too. When he relocated it, he even tacked it down some to try to give it more indention. So, I just have to wait and see how it ends up. It doesn't look BAD and it does have a little indention, I was just used to it being really pulled inward. I think I'm going to try putting a small marble in there and see if it makes a little difference... I'll keep ya posted on the results of the marble :)

Dr. Cochran said everything looked excellent. After looking back at my file and seeing my before pictures his exact comment was "You make me proud of my work!" WHAT!!?? LOL - I'm going to take it as a compliment that I look so great now, but if you really think about it he is referring to how bad I looked before compared to now - hahahaha! It's funny to me and it does make me feel good that he thinks I'm looking so good now. He said my curves are coming in really good - and I think so too. He said as long as I don't have any problems arise he'd like to see me at my 3 month mark so I go back April 27th.

Oh yeah, I can take a bath now if I want, so I'm looking forward to a nice soak :) He also said the swelling is normal and will come and go for quite a while and made some suggestions about what I can do to help it. Of course getting plenty of water but he also said walking will help it. Not so much that I tire myself out, but regular walking around the yard or down the street will help the fluid move on. I'm going to try it and hopefully it will help. I was concerned it was because I started back to work, but he said more activity (not prolonged standing or sitting) actually helps with the swelling as well as the soreness and stiffness.

I thought of all kinds of questions I should have asked, but I'll call the office back and Jenny can answer them for me. Most of it is common sense stuff and I'm sure they'll tell me to do what feels comfortable and if it doesn't feel comfortable... don't do it - duh! Just wondering when I can start exercising, sex, change from my binder etc. I just know I don't need to wait until 3 months (12 weeks) for all of this - at least my husband hopes not - lol!! I'll start back walking and gradually add more time to that until I feel strong enough to try some strength/weight training. I'll post some updated pics soon.

5 Weeks Post-Op

Yesterday was my 5 week mark. Time flies, except when you're going through a 'stage' of recovery you wish would hurry up and move on! I've felt pretty good this week. I went through a MAJOR swelling period between week 3-4 and had so much lower body swelling for about 10 days. I had to get my PS to prescribe a water pill for me and it helped tremendously and now my legs and ankles look normal again. I had gained 10 lbs from the water weight! I lost the 10 lbs after the swelling went down and I've even lost a few more pounds since the day of surgery :) I still have swelling in the torso, mostly later in the day. The mons is terribly puffed out! OMG it needs a diet! I keep the compression on my torso real tight, so the mons gets pushed on from the top and there's nothing compressing it so all the swelling goes straight to it. I'm hoping it will go back to being cute and tight like it was the day of surgery after all this swelling moves on :)
So, each week has it's own little challenges... This past week I've been dealing with my skin feeling like it's on fire. I can't stand for anything to touch it, but I can't stand to walk around without my binder or some kind of compression. I know it's the nerves reconnecting, but whew... I'll be glad when they finally find each other! I also get little sharp pains for no reason, and it's usually in the same places. I had a very mild case of these same feelings after my c-sections, but nothing this extreme. My c-sections were so long ago, I can't remember how long the pains lasted, so I'm just waiting it out.
I took some pictures to show my progress. It was late in the evening, so I definitely have lots of swelling, especially in the lower belly and the mons. My belly button is somewhat flat, but it does go in just a little. It actually looks really good and you can't see the scar. It's still healing, so it still has some scabs. I also noticed when I suck my abs in, it pulls in tighter. I look forward to working out and tightening my abs. I've never had an incentive to work on my abs because they were spread so far apart it never benefit me - but now it will!! My incision is looking good. I'm such a slow healer - probably because of my diabetes - so I still have a few places with scabs. My right side looks better than the left and is almost completely healed. I notice my right side seems to be lipoed more than the left and curves in more. Also I have just a little dog ear on the left side. I'm not worried about it right now. I'll wait until 6 months and see how it looks. The way my skin feels right now, I don't know if I can talk myself into getting more lipo on the left side to match the right - lol! I may just have to be lopsided!!
That's about it for now. I hope everyone is healing nicely! Let me know if you have any questions :)

A Progress Picture Says It All :)

I decided to make a collage of my progress and it actually makes me feel so good about my progress. Everyone should do this! It's amazing to see the difference!

First Family Gathering

This was the first big family gathering I've had since my surgery, so it was the first time most of my family has seen me with the changes. My family can't keep secrets, so everyone already knew I'd had a TT. They were all amazed at the change and gave me compliments, but it wasn't until I saw a picture of myself (clothed) that I realized just how different I really look to others :) I have to admit, I didn't shy away from the cameras like I usually do. I was glad to be in the pictures!
I was 6 weeks PO yesterday. I weighed today and I'm down to 155 - yay! I haven't seen 155 in 18 years! I think I was 164 day of surgery.
I'm still swollen in the belly as the day goes on and I'm still really sensitive around the waist. I think it's directly related to the lipo because that seems to be the areas that bother me. I was wearing my Squeem daily, but now that I'm so sensitive I haven't been able to wear it in a week! I tried to put it on yesterday after my bath and i just can't stand it. I got a new one in the mail this week, but it's too tight :/ I need to stretch it out or lose a few more pounds! I hope everyone is healing well! Good luck to those coming up!

Finally Updating... 10 Weeks PO

I've finally had a Saturday morning that I could sleep in and not have to jump and run, so I took some time to take a few pics :) I've been doing well and from what I've read from others my symptoms are completely normal. I started back exercising (walking and some running) at week 8. The main thing I notice with that is on days I exercise I SWELL up. My skin is still sensitive, but I only notice it when I'm swelled and tight. Just the slightest bit of swelling is uncomfortable :/ Like others, I have good days and bad where the swelling is concerned, but overall it's mostly good because I feel so good about myself :) I've only lost a few pounds, but I'm hoping once I get back to exercising I'll start seeing better results. I saw my primary doc yesterday and he was very proud of me and my A1C (glucose level) was still perfect (even without my exercising over the past 2 months).
Oh yeah, one other great side effect of my surgery - I have a little bit of a booty now! I haven't seen a butt like this since my teens LOL. I look like he added a little bit, but I promise I didn't get the BBL. I guess it's just the curves he gave me.
My right side is still noticeably more contoured than the left, but he'll fix that. I still have a tiny little dog-ear on the left side too, so I'm sure he'll fix it all at the same time. Right now I'm happy and looking forward to summer :) I'll probably wait until then end of summer before doing the revisions, but we'll see what the doc says at my 3 month appt at the end of April. Oh and my BB is looking better to me - it has some indentation now, but not quite as much as I had hoped. Happy healing to everyone and good luck to those coming up!
Columbus Plastic Surgeon

Revised: Dr. Cochran was so sweet the morning he came in to mark me up. He answered all my questions and assured me I would see a significant difference. Everyone in his office has been nothing but helpful and sweet. I would recommend him to anyone. Initial review: I met with Dr. Cochran for a consultation and he was very nice and seemed to know exactly what needed to be done for my benefit. He didn't try to sell me on anything and was patient while I asked my questions. He stayed and listened until I said that was all I needed for now. I was concerned about having my surgery there because it's 2 1/2 hours from my home, but he explained everything I should expect and eased my concerns. He quizzed me on my medical status (diabetes) and what I'm doing to control it etc., so I felt he was taking that into consideration and how the surgery and recovery may affect me as a diabetic. The staff was really nice too and has been very helpful with answering my questions.

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
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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