9 weeks Post Op! (ADDED PICS) ...in Columbus, OH

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After having my first son, my weight shot up to...

After having my first son, my weight shot up to 230 lbs. Two years later, and finally closing the chapter on a bad relationship with my son's dad, I lost over 80 lbs....but didn't lose the extra skin that so graciously decided to "hang" around. 14 years later I am in the best physical shape that I've ever been in my entire life. I still have further to go, but I am ready and financially capable (finally) to let go of the belly and become even more of the me that I want to be. My surgery is about 55 days away and I am pumped and ready!

Updated on 29 Sep 2011:
I wanted to add that I also have an 11 year old and a daughter who will be turning 5 years old 5 days after my surgery. Needless to say, we are having her birthday party the weekend before my surgery. :)

I also want to thank everyone on this site for blogging about their experience with TTs. I originally was going to schedule my TT for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and then go back to work the following Monday.... and then a beach vacation between Christmas and New Years HA! ~Rookie!

After reading through story after story, I feel I have a much better handle on what to expect before, after, and for quite some time after. I am prepared with 10 days off of work and flex time to take up to an additional 6 if necessary. Our vacation has been pushed back to spring break and it sounds like I will need that long to get back to (my new) normal.

Updated on 10 Oct 2011:
Six weeks pre-op and I am posting before pictures today. I am excited, then nervous, then scared, then obsessive, then excited again all over. So, today I am excited! I have been mentally preparing and trying to make sure that everything is in order. I want to make sure that things are ready at work and also at home. Since I am having surgery the week of Thanksgiving there is a lot to get ready for. I want to be able to stay in my bed for an entire week and let my family take over the day to day stuff of the house (ha). Hopefully this will lead to a quicker recovery.

Updated on 13 Oct 2011:
I had the most phenomenal news today!!!!! I had started a new job this year, which included 3 weeks of PTO. WELL, I found out today that paid days begin with each new calendar year and there is a "use it or lose it" policy. I've only taken a few days off this year, SO....I get to take a full week off the week after my surgery, and then the week between Christmas and New Years. This means that instead of having surgery Monday before Thanksgiving and staying off work that week and then working from home the following week, I get the following week to keep on recouping! Awesome! I was really worried about the emotional roller coaster that I might be riding the first couple of weeks after surgery and trying to juggle working from home as well. Only 40 days to go....

Updated on 18 Oct 2011:
33 days away from my tummy tuck.....today I called my doctor's office with a list of questions. I called in because I don't have a pre-op appointment - unless I want one. My doctor's nurse is the BOMB (fyi). She is quick to call back and patient to make sure she addresses everything. I was told to call in as much as I want to and no question is too small. I will say that my questions all came from researching experiences from RealSelf members.

~My follow up appointment after surgery is scheduled for the NEXT DAY after surgery. I hadn't read any reviews of other people going in that quickly. I was told it is so they can check my skin and make sure that everything took and no skin is dying.

~ I will have 2 drains. Depending on drainage, one will come out in a week and the other in 2 weeks.

~ I'll have to wait 2 weeks for a shower :*( Till drains are out.

~ My doctor told me at my original consultation that my stomach muscles are fine and don't need repaired. Muscle repair is part of a tummy tuck procedure. If he gets in there the day of surgery and finds out that they DO need fixed then he will absolutely do it.

~ I have a list of herbs to stay away from. I'm a pretty natural chick and don't eat a lot of preservatives or artificial anything. I had a hard time finding a natural multi-vitamin that didn't have a little of at least one or more of the herbs. This is ok since it will be a very moderate amount.

Excited and counting down the days....

Updated on 2 Nov 2011:
So last night I dreamed about my surgery for the first time. I dreamed that I forgot and I ate after midnight and then I was eating again the in the morning. My doctor told me that they can't let me have the surgery now because I wasn't prepared. I was so upset when I woke up.

I realized I had the dream because I was going over my surgery pre and post instructions (again for the 50th time) and my "to do" list and my "to buy" list right before bed. I realized that I have a lot to do along with my normal life and commitments as my surgery time gets closer. As the time gets closer I have to practice patience and walk through my days on the way to a beautiful new me!

Updated on 13 Nov 2011:
Thought I should add some details about me:

Weight: 146 lbs
Height: 5' 5.5"
Age :35

Next week at this time I will be waiting for morning to come so I can get 'er done! ;)

Updated on 19 Nov 2011:
So, One more full day for me, and then I go to surgery on Monday at 11:30 (surgery is at 12:30). I'm ready for Thanksgiving, my daughter's bday party is finally out of the way, and my house has been cleaned top to bottom. I have a bake sale at church tomorrow and a final dinner with the family after. Then....just wait. I've been running ragged for over a month getting things ready and I am almost looking forward to the down time during recovery.

Updated on 23 Nov 2011:
Day 2 Post Op:
I am TIRED. Going to try to switch from Vicodin to Tylenol Extra Strength later today. I am tired of the groggy feeling....plus the soreness is beginning to subside.

Posting pics from my 1 day post op follow up appointment. Looks good and I can't wait to see how the results develop.

I will put details of surgery day and 1 and 2 days post op later today (hopefully). Gotta nap now. :)

Updated on 23 Nov 2011:
Day of surgery:
My surgery was moved back total of an hour and I think it was supposed to be. I needed that time to continue to gather myself together before going under. I went to sleep under anesthesia praying and woke up thanking Jesus. LOL!

I did get the pain TAP & boy was it the best decision I made. It really helped with the first 18 hours or so. When it started to wear off I could tell. I stayed up on my pain meds, 2 vicodin every 4 hours.

I arrived home from the surgery center around 5pm and stayed up until about 11pm. Slept through the night in my bed, using a bunch of pillows and only getting up for the bathroom and pain meds. Couldn't get up or back in bed by myself.

Day 1 Post Op
Began moving a little better. I still couldn't get out of bed by myself, and need some help getting back in....but better. Went to my 1 day follow up appt with PS. They cleaned out the incision and showed me how to "strip" my drain tubes so they don't get clogged.

Going to the doctor wiped me out!!! I came home and slept for 5 hours, woke up for 2 hours and then slept the rest of the night. Woke up of course for meds though.

Day 2 Post Op
Took only 1 vicoden instead of 2 overnight every 4 hours. Took one last one this morning at 7am and then switched to 2 extra strength tylenol at 11:30am to see how it works out. So far so good. I'll switch back to vicoden if needed.

My drains are putting out a little less and the right one is beginning to look more yellowish instead of bright red.

The binder - tight around my ribcage and leads to issues with digestion of food and pills.

Pills - taking my pain meds, antibiotic and nausea (as needed). Also taking VitaMedica pack, which has 4 different things to take - reduces swelling, builds tissue repair, and a morning and evening multivitamin. TIRED of all the pills, but believe that they each are playing a good part in my recovery.

Sleeping - want to stay awake for a period of time. BUT, listening to my body and making sure to sleep every time I feel tired.

Drain Bulbs - These little friends of mine are pinned to the front of my compression garmet & make me look like I have a nice 3-4 mo pregnant belly. Any suggestions for putting them somewhere else?

Updated on 24 Nov 2011:
After switching from Vicodin to Tylenol, my tummy got more sore throughout the day. Sure it was going to happen, but wasn't ready for that amount of soreness. I could tell the areas that muscle repair was done. I moved back to Vicodin at 9pm and then again in the middle of the night.

Figured I can stand to be groggy for awhile longer as the soreness has time to subside and we will be having Thanksgiving at my house so I want to be able to move around a little easier.

Updated on 24 Nov 2011:
Day 3 Post Op:
Today has been good. Took Vicodin overnight and then back to Tylenol this morning.

Got up and helped my mother in law with Thanksgiving dinner by doing a lot of "sit down" help in the kitchen. She has been cooking since Monday. lol I eat vegan, so there are basically 2 meals to cook (since others in my house like some of the vegan menu as well). I am making sure to watch sodium.

Took a morning nap and going to take another one now, before everyone comes over.

Updated on 27 Nov 2011:
Yesterday was Day 5 Post Op:
I felt great! My family was all gone for the entire day so two of my girlfriends came over and we had a girls day. We went to breakfast in the morning - to a local, natural restaurant with good-for-you food options.

Afterwards, we came back to my house for about 3 hours just sitting around my living room, talking. Then we went to a store, in which I sat around a LOT and eventually went to the car to wait for them. I sat in the parking lot with the door and sunroof open, and my eyes closed with a smile on my face. The weather was in the mid 60s and sunny and just felt great to be out.

Next we went to the mall and they got me a wheelchair and pushed me around. LOL We only went to three stores and then headed home.

One of my girlfriends stayed and we watched movies in my bed the rest of the evening. I didn't have a nap the entire day, which was new.

I have a PS follow up on Monday (tomorrow), he will check my incision and my drain amount to see if either or both can come out. They are draining very little. I haven't stood up with my binder off yet as I am a little nervous. Last night I loosened it some when laying down and then when I got up to go to the rr and empty my drains, I got really light headed. I tightened it back up.

My challenge right now:
I have hips....when I am laying down, my binder cuts into my hip area, because my waist is so much smaller. By then end of the day the sides of my hips at the lower binder area are almost numb from the binder cutting into them. I try to almost A-Shape the binder and make it tighter at the top, and looser around the hips (it's a velcro closure), but it only does so much. Once my drains are out my PS said I he wants me to switch to spanks. This should help.

Updated on 28 Nov 2011:
7 Days Post Op:
Went to my 2nd follow up appt today. One drain came out! WooHoo. My Dr. clipped the stitches that were holding it in place and then pulled it out. It burned coming out. There was some dried blood around the hole, so he cleaned it out as well. After putting some neosporin on the hole, he put a bandaid on and said the hole would close up by tomorrow. Its been a relief. Next Monday I go into the office to see my PS again and hope for drain #2 to get gone. :)

Yesterday afternoon I noticed that I had broke out into a rash under my binder - from my binder. Today my PS told me I can burn that sucker if I wanna and go to spanks. Yes Sir! Actually, I won't burn the binder, but I'll save it for "in-case". He suggested if I continue to wear the binder that I wear a tank top under it to avoid the rash.

The nurse said that I am free to cut the binder and shape it as necessary. Also, washing and drying the binder will soften it up some. I asked her if I cut the top couple of inches off the binder if swelling will happen above it (I've heard mention of that on RealSelf). She said that normally gravity takes hold and most swelling occurs in the lower parts (yes it has been for me). She also assured me that swelling is a part of the tummy tuck process of healing and that it is going to happen where it happens, but will subside the further into recovery one gets.

SOOOOO....I came home and put my Flexee's garmet from Khol's on! What a WORLD of difference. I have the type that is like a band. This is similar to what my binder was. It begins under my bra area and comes down to my hips. No underwear area, my legs and lady parts are free and clear. I have two, one that opens with eye-let closures, almost like a corset, and one that is simply a single piece. I am wearing the eye-let one. It is easier since I still have one drain. I am LOVING it so far. It is holding things in tighter than my binder could - since I had so many issues with getting it tightened properly. The big difference is that it is flexible for me. I have more natural movement and still great support.

I'll post pics of the binder later tonight.

Updated on 29 Nov 2011:
Day 8 Post Op:
I took my daughter to daycare this morning (as a passenger, of course) because it's her official 5th birthday today. :) Next, we stopped by the grocery store. Once I came home I laid up in bed reading and then napped a little.

This afternoon I got up and took my binder off for about 20 minutes. My rash from the compression garment looks bad, but I think it is getting better. Therefore....I will not be posting day 8 post op pics. I don't want to scare anyone, lol. Depending on how things go, I will post updated pics in the next day or two. The other thing is that my remaining stretch marks are so compressed together that when I take my spanks off my belly doesn't look so fabulous. BUT, I LOVE it. So much smaller. No belly sitting on my lap when I'm sitting down. I can see my girl parts when I look down! I know the stretch marks will sooth out the longer I keep my binder off. And, I didn't do this for the stretch marks (there was little hope there), I did if for the fat and skin. Mission accomplished!

Tonight I am cooking dinner since it's my baby's BDay and then going to take it easy again in my bed.

Updated on 30 Nov 2011:
9 Days Post Op:
Welcome to swelling! I think I over did it yesterday. I am completely swollen. I went out of the house twice - once in the morning and once in the evening (not for long either time). I also sat around in my living room instead of laying in my bed. Lots of sitting up.

Makes me wonder how I will make it back to work. After today I only have 4 more days off. I guess I better sit my butt in this bed a lot more than I am out of it.

I did take my flexee's garmet off for about 45 minutes. My rash still looks bad, but seems to be clearing up with the exception of close to my incision where I have gauze pads covering so the incision doesn't have contact with my garmet. WELL. Maybe I am allergic to the gauze as well. I talked to my PS office and they told me that I don't have to have the gauze on my belly at this point, it would be a comfort decision on my part.

I also was told that the current garmet I have on now needs to be moved around periodically b/c it has small strips of metal running from top to bottom on the sides of the waist, in the front by each hip bone, and in back for support. I don't want my incision to heal with indentation marks from the garmet. I think I will switch to my other one and see how it does.

Updated on 1 Dec 2011:
Day 10 Post Op:
After wearing the black one piece flexee's yesterday, I had to take that death trap off this morning. I LITERALLY was walking around looking like Jessica Rabbit! My middle section was so sucked in and my hips were va-va-voom. Not good for a healing tummy. Everything was pushed to the lower half. I posted pics from this morning. I swear the shape lasted 20 minutes after taking the darn thing off.

(don't mind my rash in the picture, it's healing too).

I laid in my bed for about an hour this morning to let the rash air out. Felt great. I moved around for about 10 minutes before hand with no garmet on and did pretty good. I'm using a homeopathic cream on the rash.

I felt great today. Ran to Khol's to get a different spanx type. It's a tank top style, but comes down over the hips. Looks pretty challenging to get on, but I'm gonna try it tomorrow. I think the corset-type one I am wearing (see posted pic) is going to be too big here soon. Doesn't feel as tight as it did the past few days. Guess that's a good thing.

I rested all afternoon and then actually drove for the first time this evening. There was a great sale/holiday open house at the Aveda Salon I go to and I just had to make. ;) It wasn't so bad driving, but I took my time and was cautious. I am pooped now.

Updated on 3 Dec 2011:
Day 12 Post Op:
Feeling back to normal, with the exception of a s.l.o.w. your butt down restriction on the things I do. Driving, taking daughter to ballet, picking up son from work, etc...but walking slow and taking it easy with all I do. Kind of nice because I am usually a go,go,go getter and my kids struggle to keep up with me. lol.

Posted pics from this morning. Rash is looking and feeling better, the cream and airing it out every morning is helping. Swelling is going on, but to be expected. Note the difference between Day 10 photo which was taken in the afternoon and Day 12 photo which was taken first thing in the morning. With every single review on RealSelf addressing the issue of swelling I am not going to give my swelling a second thought since it is just a part of the process.

Updated on 5 Dec 2011:
Day 14 Post Op:
Went to my PS follow up today and left with my last drain still in. :( I am putting out 25ccs and he wants 20 or less. I have another appointment next Monday, but if it is doing less than 20 by Friday, I can come in and have one of the nurses take it out (my doc will be in surgery).

I am back to sleeping normal at night. I've been in my bed this whole time, with a fort of pillows under and around me. At this point I have one, flat throw pillow for in between my knees and two pillows under my head. I am a side sleeper and I am able to sleep on both sides. Last night I went to sleep on my side and woke up in the middle of the night on my back. This means I was moving around in my sleep with no problems. tonight I am removing the fort from around me. I think I'm fine now.

Tomorrow I go back to work. I'll give an update later this week about how that goes.Updated on 9 Dec 2011:2.5 Weeks Post Op (18 days):
DRAIN FREE!!!! as of this morning. I am SO glad. I feel human again. Can't wait to experience sleeping tonight w/o worrying about a drain.

I started back to work this week. Today is Friday. I went in on Tuesday at 7:45 am and left at 3pm. I was DONE! Wednesday was better, and Thursday even better. Since I went in to see the PS this morning and got my drain removed, I came home and am working from my bed with my feet kicked up. Ready to keep taking it easy as the opportunity arises. As mentioned earlier, I am a go-getter and have to make myself slow down for this healing time.

I'll post pics at 3 weeks. :)Updated on 14 Dec 2011:3 Weeks Post Op (and 1 day):
The last 2 days I've woke up flatter than ever before. I think that's a GREAT sign! My belly button actually had some elasticity to it, not flat as a board along with the rest of my stomach. I had a thought last night....my girlfriend sells body wraps and when you get a wrap, some people swell up instead of losing inches right away. The ones who swell up are the ones that generally lose way more inches in the end (after 72 hours). WELL. Since I've been so swollen since day 2, maybe my results will be way more dramatic. - I can hope, right?

Things are back to normal for me. I've done a little yoga - standing poses only. I am 100% back to pre-op sleeping (on my sides, no bathroom breaks overnight). My skin is super scaly and dry, which I've been told is from the antibiotic and will take about 2 weeks to get back to norm. I am wearing my spanx all day, with the exception of about 1/2 hr at night to let my incision air out. My scabs are about 95% off at this point.

Challenges for me right now:
By the late afternoon I can tell I need to sit back and elevate my feet, taking it easy. My belly gets tight and my scar gets sore from time to time. As the day wears on I begin feeling twitches inside my stomach. It is like I can feel the different stitches areas on my tummy muscles. They are quick twitches, but feel funny. Since I don't want the feeling to graduate beyond twitches, I always take it as a sign to stop - while I'm ahead, and shut activity down for the night. This means crawling in bed with pillows under my knees and reading or something.Updated on 16 Dec 2011:3.5 weeks Post Op....and I wore jeans to work today. It's the first time I've worn jeans since before surgery. First, due to swelling, but especially due to the fact that my incision was still too sore. The jeans I have on today are stretchy, jegging-type. They are kind of high waisted, which is good. The funny thing is...it feels so WEIRD wearing them. My belly is numb and I don't feel the waistline of where my jeans sit, but I feel a little pressure on the incision line. This means it feels like my jeans are actually sitting where my incision line is (they are way higher though), so it feels like they are falling down. How awkward!

5 Weeks Post Op: Today is friday...Monday I went...

5 Weeks Post Op:
Today is friday...Monday I went to my 5 week post op appointment and was told that all is well and I don' t need to come back unless I feel the need to, or if anything should happen concerning healing. I wasn't expecting that, but I know how to reach them if the need arises.

Thought I was going to go back to yoga this week, but my doc said to wait another week and then take it s.l.o.w. He also told me I can take the spanx off by going down to wearing it 4 times per week and then 3 times per week and so on. The longer it stays on and the longer I wait to go back to yoga, the better my results will be. I will have less fluid build up and more ample healing time. Truth is, I am enjoying no gym time right now. I've been taking my down time to the fullest and just going with the flow of it all. The gym will be there when its time to get back to the grind.

I have been going without spanx for the last few nights and yesterday I went all day without it for the first time. By the end of the day my entire belly was really sore, I believe from lack of support. Got to think, the nerves probably aren't all re-connected under that skin yet. Putting the spanx back on today didn't stop the soreness. Hopefully when I wake up in the morning, all will be well!

I am back to my normal self All of my pre-op jeans FINALLY fit again, with some of them fitting big. I will say that I am having a wonderful time with form fitting, sexy clothes. My husband and I went on a date Wednesday. I wore a high-waist pencil skirt and heels and he had no idea what to even do with me. Can't wait for summer to get here.

For all those wondering if a tummy tuck is worth it, I will put it like this....if you are tired of laying in bed and your belly laying beside you....if you are tired of trying to cover your stomach with a long or baggy shirt....if you are tired of being uncomfortable in your own skin....it is ABSOLUTELY worth it. Yes, the recovery time is long...Yes, there will be swelling and wondering if you will ever get back to normal again...but realize that normal will be a NEW normal. A NEW you! Glad I did it and thankful for RealSelf and the community I've been able to learn from.

6 weeks (tomorrow) Happy New Year & it is going...

6 weeks (tomorrow)
Happy New Year & it is going to be a NEW year. I've had 2 people tell me in the last 24 hours that I have a banging body. lol. Only one knows about surgery & the other was a VERY handsome man. (blushing)

Tomorrow I will be 6 weeks & I took pics & posted from this morning. There is still a dent in my left side. PS said wait a year & he will correct if needed. Still swollen, all though I am sure Christmas diet has much to do with the hips circumference as well. I will be starting back to the g.y.m. this week and ready for it!

9 Weeks Post Op I am feeling back to normal again...

9 Weeks Post Op
I am feeling back to normal again. In the last week, I've only worn the spanx garmet one day during the week and then during work out times. I still swell, and my belly gets a little tender, but nothing like I was swelling before. I have really noticed a difference in my waistline in the past few weeks. My lower hips and my thighs seem thick, but I like them like that. Just need to tone them up now. :)

I'm still building up on my core workout. There have been ab exercises where I have felt my muscles like I've never felt them before. It is definitely a good thing. That muscle repair is a blessing! The day after ab work my stomach muscles tend to tingle and pulse some...just building that middle aged woman 6-pack. HaHa (I'm 35)

I am 5' 5.5" and currently weigh 148. That is 2 lbs up from surgery. Its due to the holidays and eating sweets. I am down a pant size though. I was a 10 and am now wearing mostly 8s. I also went from a medium shirt to a small.

This week we kicked off a biggest loser contest at work and my goal is 8 lbs in the next 8 weeks. Stay tuned! I need to get 9 week post op/before biggest loser pics posted this week. :)

...put up some 9 week pics. Same weight as pre-op...

...put up some 9 week pics. Same weight as pre-op...BUT way different body!
Columbus Plastic Surgeon

I am impressed with this whole experience. Dr. Heck is a compassionate surgeon and his staff is wonderful. I came to him through a referral and didn't really shop around for other doctors, but I am completely glad with my choice. Only 2 days post-op, so still waiting to see how the results will turn out, but at my day 1 follow up all was good so far!

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
3 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 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
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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