Tummy Tuck with Lipo...FINALLY Bye Bye BELLY!!! Nebo, NC Complete Laser Clinic...Dr. John Hamel AWAKE

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I have waited almost 24 years for this procedure...

I have waited almost 24 years for this procedure and it seems soooo unreal to look down and my "inner tube" is gone! I am still healing and have a ways to go, but I am really happy thus far with the results. Me, the one who HATED showing my belling to anyone, can now lift my shirt and not cringe with embarrassment. My journey has made a difference in my self esteem and I am really pleased that I decided to do this!

I arrived at the clinic at 8 am. I was BEYOND nervous! I had my friend Nikki with me for support. She had to leave to run some errands so I was all alone. The receptionist was very patient and understanding. I was pacing back and forth like a rabbit in a cage! I was given two Ativan to help me relax before the procedure began. UHHHH, it didn't work....at all! When the nurse called me back, I was pretty much shaking from head to toe. She had this way about her that immediately put me at ease. She took my vitals and answered all my questions....they were endless! How patient she was! Within minutes, Dr. Hamel came in and greeted me with a "Hello Princess". I found that just the sweetest thing, and then I thought to myself, "OHHH HELL, this is going to be bad if he is calling me Princess!"

He took me into the next room and did the markings that he would use as a guide. He talked to me the entire time and asked me questions. I don't remember what they were, I was too scared. Once I was all marked up, I was taken to the procedure room. I got on the table and it was show time. I was given two squeezable breast to use in case I needed them. I told him I would have preferred balls but ohhhh well. Just before he started he said a prayer with me. That was very touching and soothing. I had been praying since my eyes opened that morning! He gave me a couple of shots near my hip bones where he would be making the incisions. It did sting, but nothing too bad. Next, he made a couple of small incisions. He told me he would be inserting the cannula and administering the numbing medication. Ok, this part was not FUN! It really hurt! Nothing that I couldn't tolerate but OUCHHHHHHH! I was given another Ativan....which still didn't calm me. I am just a big baby, admittedly. Anytime it hurt tooo much, I said stop and Dr. Hamel did immediately and gave me a break. It took about 15 minutes or so to get me numb. AND NUMB I was! It was like an outer body experience. I could see my abdomen but it was heavy and didn't feel like a part of me.

He then did lipo on my abdomen and then I stood up and he did it on my love handles....and if you notice the photos, I had some hefty handles! I could feel pressure but no pain. This is his signature... the Hamel Maneuver. You can Youtube it. Right after, I was taken to another room where the actually tummy tuck would be done. I walked! Now, granted it hurt like hell during the numbing, but to be able to walk was pretty darn cool. I got on the table and was draped as if I were having a C-section. My friend Nikki came back but she couldn't handle it (she peeked) and had to leave the room. I didn't feel anything but tugging and pulling. I asked questions every ten seconds it seemed. Dr. Hamel talked to me during the entire thing! He told me when he had removed the extra skin, when he had to cauterize a few little bleeders, and when he was pulling me together so he could stitch me up. I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful he was! I remember telling him to pull it as tight as he could! Lol. It kinda felt like my vagina was being relocated to the top of my pubic bone although of course it wasn't. I was thinking, "Give me a flat belly!" Before I knew it, it was over! I was being cleaned up and dressed. Somewhere around that time the Ativan finally kicked in and I was like a drunk. I don't remember getting to the car or getting home, only that I could see 2 of everything. My friend Nikki got me inside and situatuated on the couch. I had a couple of visitors and then everyone cleared out.

I spent the first night alone. I am a single mom so that was a big issue during my pre planning process. I had everything I needed next to me (I had made up a basket of everything I could possible need) and I was really numb from the medication still. I took my meds and went to sleep. Days 2,3, and 4 I had friends here to help me. They were soooo wonderful! They cooked, they cleaned, they helped with dressing me, you name it.....they did. I felt very fortunate to have such a close group of friends that took time out of their lives to take care of me.

Today is day 6 and I am getting stronger everyday. I am still sore and limited to what I can do but that is to be expected. I get the drain out in a few days. Its a pain, but not that big of a deal. I drove my son to school yesterday and am very mobile. During the first 3 days he was on his class trip so he didn't see the initial after effects of the surgery. That was planned as well. He is 11, almost 12 and has been a big help. Vacuuming, trash duty, cooking a bit, and other things for me. So, if you are reading this and you are a single mom, just know that with a few good friends, you CAN do this.

My journey has been worth it. I have HATED my belly for soooo many years! Even going to the doctor for a physical, I cringed. I'm not even going to mention bathing suits or sex.....if you have a belly, you know what I'm talking about! I look down now, and even though I am swollen, I don't have the belly that has bothered me for 24 years! My self confidence has already improved. Vanity? Maybe, probably....but am I any less vain when I put on makeup or do my hair? Vanity is subjective....and to me if I can do anything to make me feel better about myself, I'm going to do it!

I would definitely recommend Complete Laser Clinic and Dr. Hamel. I cannot begin to express how wonderful they are! I can't imagine going anywhere else! And for those of you that are scared to be awake, take if from the biggest coward in the world, if I can do it....YOU CAN DO IT!

One Week Pics

Today is my one week mark post-op. I still have bruising and swelling, BUT NO BIG BELLY! I haven't eaten the best in the world this week but started back on my Weight Watchers diet. I seemed to crave greasy foods during this recovery process. I am off the pain meds now and only taking over the counter stuff as needed. I do still get very, very tired. I am walking every hour or so because my butt is getting sore from all this sitting!

The pics are from today except one of me. It was the a day or so ago. The one of my face looks like I am greasy....well I am! I had the CO2 Laser Treatment last month and am still applying the moisturizer to make sure I keep it fresh looking.

Day 8

I have a 2:30 appointment to have my drain removed! I am beyond excited! I am ready to go out and not try to hide this THING, lol.

I took a pick first thing this morning. Swelling is down some.

Drain is out!!! Yippppppeeeeeee

I got the drain out today. It wasn't too bad, just a sting for a few seconds. I feel FREEEEEEE! Lol. I was told I am healing very well and doing exceptionally well for just 8 days post op. I go back in a week just for a checkup.

I came home and showered....total Heaven!! I am feeling great tonight :-)

I took a pick before my shower and I am adding my pre op pic...just so I can see the changes!

Random entry on day 8

I decided to take a picture of myself lying down. I have ALWAYS hated them because my belly button disappeared into my roll of fat. I guess my emotions are out of wack.... but I started crying when I saw the picture! I have belly button and it doesn't sink into my flesh!

Day 9 Post Op.

Yesterday was day 9. I spent most of the day out with my friend. We went to Walmart and a few other places. I felt like I looked pregnant because the compression garment is not very flattering! Also, I still have swelling. As the day progressed, I did swell more and I had to slow down walking. I had eaten a healthy breakfast and also had some yogurt around 10. By 1, I was sooo hungry! I wanted something greasy! I told myself not to do it that I had 15 more pounds to go but the need for something high fat would NOT go away. I caved and got a cheeseburger and fries. The kind of burger that practically drips down your face!

I did have a few moments of emotional hell as well yesterday. I kept trying to find something to wear. NOTHING looks good on me! I miss my jeans terribly! Skirts are ok, but with the CG I look pregnant. I settled for yoga pants and a t shirt. I kept telling myself, "This too shall pass!"

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and I am going to visit my mom. She is an hour away. I HAVE NOT told her about my surgery. I don't think she would be very accepting of my "vanity" surgery, so I have kept it to myself. HOPING to find something that minimizes my CG and makes me look somewhat "normal".

Happy healings my friends. Hope you all are past the "swell hell". I am so ready to look like I had a tummy tuck! I did dream about it last night. I was in a house and was getting ready to shower. I had undressed and as I was ready to step in, I noticed a window open. Across the way, was a man in another house watching me. I was mortified! Then I noticed in the mirror my nice flat belly. I closed the blinds quickly and remember thinking, "At least my fat belly is gone!"

Day 10

Today has been filled with ups and downs. My emotions are still similar to pms. I cry at everything, even commercials! I'm hoping this will pass very soon.

I'm swollen still and tire easily. Tonight is Redbox and cozy blanket.

Happy healings!

Day 11

Today is day 11. Mother's Day! I am unable to attend my planned outing to my Mom's. My youngest has been up since 430 throwing up. I pray I don't get it! Probably won't feel good with stitches. Bless his heart! I am going to watch Netflix or the ID Channel today and relax. I have to work tomorrow and I have class tomorrow night.

My swelling is still driving me insane, although this morning it was much less than it has been. I know this is part of the healing process but I am anxious to see my final results.

MORNING....Day 12 Less Swelling

I just took these pics this morning because I am sooo much less swollen when I first get up. Do you ever look at the pics, and its hard to believe its really you? I carried that "roll" around for 24 years. I feel very blessed to have been able to do this for myself. I am already more confident!

I am sure I will swell like crazy today! I have to work and then I have class from 6 until 10. It's 30 minutes away so I am dreading the toll it will take on me. I am hoping with plenty of water and low salt in my diet today, that will help some. Any advice??

Happy healing girls!

More Day 12

I'm feeling pretty good today. Swelling is still down and I wanted to try on some yoga pants. Gotta say I'm pretty happy right now. No muffin top, no roll! I'm more motivated than ever to get fit and healthy!!!

2 Weeks Post Op

Today is the 2 week anniversary of my surgery. I am swollen again today. This morning was too bad, but stillllllllll there. I am trying to be patient but I'm ready now. I have to work later and the drive is hard for me. The clients I am seeing today are an hour away. I should probably stop half way and get out and move around some. Also, NOTHING looks good on me in my opinion. This CG is not flattering and with the swelling, I feel I look like a 45 year old pregnant woman! I hate going out in public. I keep telling myself, "This too shall pass!" Come on, hurry up and PASSSS already! Additionally, I have PMS. Swollen and moody is not fun!

I am still sleeping on my back and sleep fairly well. Winding down at night is pretty difficult but I don't want to use any sleep aids. With work, school and being a single mom....its stressful! BUT, I know I will be happier once I get my energy completely back and achieve the final result of my surgery.

Tomorrow I have check-up and they are removing the Steri-Strips and replacing them with new ones. Also, next Monday I have my first Laser Accent Treatment on the Lipo'd area. Anyone else have this?

Happy healing RS friends :-)

Day 15 Morning

I have my doctor's appointment at 11:30. Excited, but dreading when they take these strips off and replace them. Yeah, I know, I'm a wuss. The pics are from this morning...I swell less then! I am ready for the swelling to just gooooooooo away!

Day 15---Checkup

I went to the doctor for my checkup. He looked at my incision which he said looks good. BUT, where I am bruised below my belly button on the left side was very sensitive and sore. So, he sent me for Accent Laser treatment in his other office. He said it would relieve swelling and bruising.

The lady who did my treatment, Mary Beth is an angel! She took off my strips and was very gentle. It didn't hurt much at all...just near the hairline. She said my incision looked so good for 15 days. Yay me. The actual Accent Laser was amazing! It was a bit uncomfortable at first on the bruise but as it warmed up it felt soooooooooooooooo good! She also did my flanks where I had lipo. That was more uncomfortable at first than the bruised area. Again, it started feeling so good. I didn't want her to stop! Travis the nurse (love him too!) came in and he also looked at my incision. He was very impressed at my healing thus far. He said he was amazed that I was only 15 days out! I have done whatever they told me!

I was given permission, due to my healing, to begin walking around the track at the gym. I can only do that for now and only if it doesn't hurt me. BUT, I am so happy! I am down on my scales 6 pounds since the surgery. Still swollen so I don't know what actual number is, but at least it is going down!

Day 18

It's been a couple of days since I posted. I have spent the weekend relaxing and not doing much of anything. My son went home with a friend, so it was just me. I am feeling good most of the time. The swelling is still a pain in the evenings and my energy level isn't all that great. This too shall pass! The pics are from this afternoon. I think the swelling is definitely less than before. My emotions are all over the place once again and I find myself crying a lot. I feel bad because I have so much to be thankful for!

More Day 18....Just got excited!

Ok, so this is probably lame to you girls. BUT, I have for the past 24 years hated looking down at my tummy in the bathtub. It was like my inner tube. So, just now I decided I wanted to take a bath...my first since the surgery. I have only showered. I was careful not to get my incision wet. BUT I decided to snap a couple pics. The depression I have felt all day......just went POOOOOOOF! My belly is not an inner tube anymore. I look like a normal woman! I am still swollen especially since its 7pm here but not terribly so. Ok, I need bigger boobs that are higher but right now I don't care! I don't have the INNER TUBE. Yay!

24 Days post

Starting to feel more like myself. I did have a scare on Wednesday. I developed hematomas on each flank where I had Lipo. I went to my doctor and he said I would be fine. I had another laser accent treatment. Ohhh it was wonderful. Swelling is down. I'm going to start going to the gym on Monday to walk. I'm down 7 pounds since surgery. Yay! Pics are from today.

5 Weeks and 1 Day Post Op

Most days my energy level is great. I'm back to work and school. Cleaning house everyday, and basically returning to a normal routine. I can't exercise yet except for walking so I am anxious to start doing more. I haven't lost anymore weight yet. Still at 7 pounds. In the mornings, I have NO swelling but by afternoon, I am still looking pregnant. I am going to the pool tomorrow to start working on my tan. I am going on a cruise in October with a friend so I want to be ready. The pics are of my bathing suits. I haven't been able to wear one and be comfortable since I was 20. I have had always tried to cover up my belly with the right bathing suit. I was soooo happy when I could wear these!

5 weeks Pics

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Dr. John Hamel

Dr. John Hamel. Complete Laser Clinic, Nebo, NC. Love this man!

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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