Ready for Change - Dallas, TX
I'm 43yo, 5'2", and currently 149lbs. I never...
DIY ice packs
Just Over a Month Away
I had my mammogram last week, and have been nervously awaiting my results. I called a few days ago, and it hasn't been read yet because they are waiting for my previous mammo from my last doctor (another state). Called them, and the doc & his staff are out of town until Monday. So frustrating! I'm glad I had it done as soon as I did, but I didn't really need another thing to stress over. Otherwise, everything is going OK. My workouts have been strong, my food has been pretty good. Counting down the days!
4 Weeks and Counting
I finally received my Mammogram results yesterday & everything looks good. Dr. Rumalla's office has been really good about keeping in contact with me regarding the test results, and returning phone calls as needed. There's not much for me to do until the Pre-op visit on October 13. Just the usual of continuing to exercise, eat well, and visualize a successful surgery and healing process.
Worries, Fears, and a Milestone
Reading reviews here on RS has also helped me to feel better about working so hard in the gym (and the kitchen), and not being able to achieve better results. Genetics are unchangeable, and every woman's body is going to respond differently to pregnancy. I wish I could say that I had my kids & was still able to achieve a flat stomach, or that my boobs were just as perky as before kids, but that is not the case. Such is life! And there's nothing wrong with working hard but still needing a little surgical help to get to where you want to be. I feel grateful that my husband supports me in this, and that this is not going to place a strain on our finances. It feels selfish so spend so much money on myself, but really, it's less than a used car, and it will last a lot longer! My fears come into play when I worry about having a difficult recovery & placing a strain on my family. I feel horribly guilty that I will be out of commission for weeks. I do so much for my family, and with the holidays coming up I feel awful that I will be out of the loop for who-knows-how-long.
The milestone is that today is my 14th wedding anniversary. We decided on no gifts this year, but we are going out to dinner tonight. The plan for next year is Costa Rica in a tiny bikini! Again, I am grateful that my husband is supportive of this procedure, and extra grateful that I was able to schedule it when he has 5 days off in a row to help get me through the days immediately after. I just wish he would quit saying that he's going to ask Dr. Rumalla about adding another 100cc's to the implants!
Pre-Op Completed Today
I also paid the balance due, with the exception of the anesthesiologist fees. I will call next week & pay them separately. I split it between a credit card (paid off each month) and debit card, and did not know the charge exceeded my daily limit - it locked up my card for the rest of the day, so that was a not-so-fun surprise. Hopefully this will be resolved tomorrow.
Honesty: My husband came with me, and we fought for most of the day, beginning with the car ride to the doctor's office. Many issues surfaced, with the main one being that I am being selfish, and that "this surgery won't benefit anyone but me" (his words, not mine). I agree, it's totally selfish. There is no way around that. But I hope that this will also bring new confidence to me, and to our relationship. Sure, the final outcome is still TBD, but I honestly believe I am going to feel more comfortable, more confident, sexier, and stronger after I am done & healed.
Finally, on the way home we stopped and filled the prescriptions at Costco. I've never used their pharmacy before, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was pretty fast, and not as costly as I thought it would be considering we have terrible rx benefits. Total was $57 for 5 rx, including Vicodin, a nausea patch, Zofran for nausea, Valium for muscle spasms, and an antibiotic. Now I just need to decide what else I "need" for the first week or so after surgery. I did pick up a compression garment from TJ Maxx last week - it's very snug, and was only $16! Haven't found any good zip-front bra options yet.
1 Week to Go!
1. The Amazon items I purchased are: protein powder (I was out of it anyway, and assume I'll be on a light diet for the first 7-10 days after surgery), a sleep mask, a back scratcher, and a back massager. I read lots of "sore back" comments here on RS, so I hope that the back massager will help. I'll have a recliner in the bedroom, so hopefully I'll be able to nap comfortably.
2. Still need to buy basic underwear, body wipes (not sure how long until I can take a real shower), arnica pills, and possibly a shower stool. I'm going to look at the local thrift stores for the shower stool, but I'm not too worried if I don't find one. The basic underwear (boyshorts) will come in handy because Shark Week should start just a few days after surgery. Not sure if I should be buying compression garments or zip-front sports bras. I have an idea of what size I'll be after surgery, but nothing is final, right? I also bought 2 containers of coconut water with pineapple, and I'll pick up a few Bolthouse protein shakes just to have something easy to consume. I may make some chicken soup this weekend, too.
3. My To-Do list is mostly cleaning items. I'm chipping away at it, but my husband switches to nights on Friday, so I'm going to have to be strategic about what I can accomplish while he's sleeping during the day.
4. My pre-op instructions said that I shouldn't do any "strenuous exercise" for 10 days prior, so I decided that I'll do my last workout Friday, then do light yoga until Wednesday. Not exactly 10 days, but I feel like it's a reasonable compromise. I won't be totally sedentary, but I also won't have sore muscles or swollen tissue going into surgery.
5. No shaving for 2 weeks prior? Are we animals? I should have asked for specifics on this, but I'm going to play dumb & assume this means no shaving of the lady parts. It's bad enough that I am still unclear on when I can shower post-surgery.
4. I'm planning on spending time with each of my kids this weekend, and I'm so excited to do this but it feels bittersweet, too. They don't know about the surgery and I feel bad about hiding things from them, but I also think this is a little more "adult" than what a 12 and 8 year old need to know right now. It does feel awkward that we are making plans for Halloween & parties, etc., and I haven't let on that I won't be able to participate. They even have a church Halloween party the night of my surgery, and they don't know that my husband will be taking them, not both of us.
5. I don't know if I should tell my trainer about this or not. I'll be out for around 2 months, and I know I'll have exercise restrictions when I return. I just feel.... shy..... about talking about it in advance. My workouts have been really strong in the past months, and I'm sad at the prospect that I won't be able to be very physical for the next few months, but I am hoping that I'll be able to re-build quickly.
6. My husband has been very supportive. He had a little freak-out on the day of my Pre-Op, but since then he admitted he was just unhappy about the $$, and he is excited for me to do this. I know it's not REALLY the money - it's a lot, but it's just money - I think it was just the moment. I'm excited for the final outcome & to wear a teeny bikini during our trip next year! And I am pretty sure he's going to like that, too ;)
5 Days and Counting
Warm-up, then 12 minute rounds, attempt to finish 4 rounds.
12 OH squats
10 push-ups, OH triceps
10 half burpees
Travel: Weighted jumprope, 80, 60, 40, 20
12 OH lunges
10 rows, curls
10 switch burpees
Travel: Resistance band bearcrawl
12 Surrender squats
10 OH press, upright rows
10 C2G burpees
Travel: Resistance band sprints
Feeling good, praying daily, getting through my to-do list. Today I had to pick up my son early because he is running a fever, and I am freaking out that I will catch his bug and have to cancel surgery. We are going to lay low this weekend, disinfect the house, and hope that I stay well.
My plan is to do some light yoga each day until surgery, up my water, start Colace on Sunday, and try to keep my mind occupied. I really don't know how much I'll be able to do/ want to do for the first 7-10 days, but I bought some scrapbooking supplies and a cross-stitch kit. I have also loaded my Netflix queue & Kindle. I feel ready!
One Day to Go!
I've been in a good state of mind - no second guessing or worrying too much. Until I went grocery shopping yesterday, and found myself having a sudden anxiety attack. Although I have a lot of natural anxiety, I don't usually let it get to the point where I consider it an anxiety "attack". Fortunately I got over it pretty quickly. I also did some yoga before bedtime and that helped me to refocus my brain a little bit.
This morning I was wide awake at 4:45am, so I scrubbed the bathroom, started laundry, and got everything ready for the day. I feel prepared, both mentally and physically, so I'm ready to do this! I do expect my anxiety to ramp up tonight so I probably won't get too much sleep.... but I'll be taking a nice long "nap" during the day tomorrow, so hopefully it won't bother me too much. The plan for tomorrow is get the kids off to school and head to Dallas at 8:30. Check-in at 11am. My husband will stay as long as he can (probably until around 2), then he will head back home to be with the kids for the night, and Dr. Rumalla will contact him by phone when the surgery is done. He will return to Dallas by 7:30am on Thursday to take me home. He suggested staying in Dallas for a night or two, but I know myself, and all I will want is to be home in my own environment instead of in a strange hotel room with my kids being bored out of their minds.
Day 1 post-op
I stayed the night at the surgery center. I did not sleep well, but I never do when I'm away from home. Pain has been manageable, but I am also keeping up with my pain meds. Getting out of bed for the first time was an adventure, but it's getting a little easier each time. I'm home now, and trying to rest before the kids get out of school. He did leave in the catheter for the 2 hour drive, but it came out easily once we arrived home.
I have no idea what I look like under these bindings, but I should get a full view when I see him on Saturday. Crossing fingers that I'll be happy with the results!
Post-Op Day 2
Dr. Rumalla returned at 9:30pm to check on me & personally get me out of bed & walking around. He also returned at 7am the next day to check on me, give last minute instructions, and walk me again.
Day 2 is going pretty well. I don't "hurt", I just feel uncomfortable. I am logging the times when I take pain meds so I have a good idea of how I'm progressing. I don't love emptying the drains, but I'd much rather have that fluid outside than in! I haven't had much appetite, but I'm trying to eat something each time I take the antibiotic pills (soup, greek yogurt, protein smoothie, etc.). I have also had no nausea yet. I'm still wearing the patch, and I expect I will need to take some of the anti-nausea pills when the patch comes off on Saturday. I'm also switching off between sleeping in the recliner, and sleeping on the couch. I can't seem to sleep for more than 3 hours, but I'm doing OK so far. Getting into & out of the recliner & couch is not fun, but if I take it very slow, I'm fine.
I'm walking hunched over, but I could probably stand straight fairly easily. Due to the On-Q pain pump I haven't really felt any discomfort in my torso. I have coughed twice, and that was HORRIBLE. My breasts are tender and very swollen, and I am grateful for the valium & ice packs. I've also had no problem using the toilet (although no BM yet). Overall, I feel much better than expected. I cannot shower until the drains come out, so I'm praying that happens no later than my Tuesday appointment.
PO Day 3 and a sneak peek
My drains are still in place & working well. I really hope they come out on Tuesday, but there's not much I can do to make that happen. The one thing he emphasized is that I have to poop before I see him again on Tuesday. I've been taking colace 3x a day since Sunday, but no results. Today I bought Magnesium Citrate & drank the whole bottle, with no results. Not sure what's going on, but I'm going to have to make this happen one way or another.
Otherwise, I'm feeling pretty good. Sleeping a little more at night, still napping a bit during the day. Pain is decreasing, and although I am still taking a Vicodin & Valium 2x a day, I'm working in Tylenol for pain. I expect to be using only Tylenol by Monday. I don't feel pain, mostly just discomfort. The only things that is painful is coughing. I have noticed a lot more swelling today, but I expected that. One day at a time! No regrets, and I can't wait to go bra & bathing suit shopping!!
PO Day 4
I guess there's not much to report. I'm getting bored, wish I could shower, and can't wait to be able to stand up completely straight. Pain is minimal - more of a discomfort than anything else. My posture is pretty good, and only feel a few twinges when I reach too far or lean back too quickly. I can pick things up if I use my legs to squat instead of bending at the waist. I am so grateful that I was in good physical condition prior to the surgery. I think this more than anything has helped me to make good progress in just a few days. For now I'm leaving my CG on for maximum compression, but I am so excited to see everything on Tuesday.
A Rough Day
Positives: One drain out, incisions are healing nicely, almost no belly pain. Mobility is pretty good, standing mostly straight. I finally took off everything at home to get a look at the “new me”, and I am so thrilled.
Ate some dinner, took some Tylenol and am feeling OK now. Tomorrow will be better!
One Week Post
Today was a much better day. I'm still not sleeping great, but I did a few chores this morning, had my husband wash my hair in the kitchen sink (always an adventure), and then we went to lunch & to the mall to buy our annual Christmas ornament. After that I was ready to come home and rest, but skipped my nap in the hope that I will sleep better tonight. I've been taking only Extra Strength Tylenol for pain during day, and that helps a lot.
Still feeling my chest much more than my belly at this point. My breasts feel tender and sore - a bit like after an intense chest workout. Drain is not bothering me. Coughing is better, but not pain free. It has been a tender mercy that my seasonal allergies seemed to disappear over the past week, so no sneezing fits in the morning like I was experiencing prior to surgery! I'm mostly upright, but trying to stay a bit bent on doctor's orders. I've driven a few times, but only short distances. I'm guessing it will be another week until I feel close to back to "normal". Overall, I have no regrets, and I am excited to feel a little better each day.
11 Days and Not Much To Report
1. Everyone has a different pain tolerance, and I feel incredibly fortunate that I did not ever feel that this was intolerable. The first night was the worst, but because I stayed at the surgery center, the nurse was totally on top of my pain meds, and even gave me a tiny bump via IV so that I was comfortable while waiting for each oral dose to kick in. I backed off the pain meds after the first few days, but still have plenty left in case I have an uncomfortable day.
2. I was really worried about post-anesthesia nausea. I had a bad experience after an ankle reconstruction a few years ago. Dr. R prescribed a scopalamine patch that I wore for 3 days, plus I had additional anti-nausea meds. Everything worked perfectly, and I had NO nausea at all.
3. I had no need for a walker, a toilet chair, and even though I haven't showered yet, I don't foresee needing a shower chair. I also never had a problem using the toilet (thank you squats!). I'm glad I didn't spend the $ on those items.
4. I AM glad I bought a back massager. I did not have the extreme back pain that some other reviewers described, but the back massager I bought was still awesome to have. Everyone in my family has enjoyed it, too!
5. Take it one day at a time. You'll feel a little different every day. Some days I wake up feeling great, other days (today), I wake up at 3:30am itching and annoyed. Give yourself some grace, and know that healing is a process that takes time. Rest, take meds as needed, stay hydrated, and keep your mind busy.
6. I am SO GLAD I was in good shape prior to surgery. I honestly think this has contributed tremendously to feeling good as quickly as I have. I won't lie - I totally got a boost when my husband mentioned that Dr. R commented on how toned my abs are on the inside. I'm pretty pumped that my waist will actually look as good on the outside, too!
Day 12/ 13
1. All drains out.
2. I showered last night. It was glorious. I was so relaxed afterwards that I went to bed at 9:30!
3. I got the go-ahead to switch to a soft, zipfront sports bra. I bought 2 from Walmart & they are super comfortable without being too binding.
4. He told me the binder was riding too high, so now I'm wearing it pulled down from my ribcage, and covering my hips.
5. He also said I should be wearing a cami between the binder and my skin, to help smooth everything out.
He pulled the drain and taped some gauze over the hole, but after a few hours I discovered that the hole was still draining. After my appointment we went to the mall to walk around for a bit & had lunch. I stopped to use the restroom, and realized the hole had leaked through the gauze, my underwear, and the binder. Thankfully it hadn't soaked to my clothes, but it was a little startling. Same thing happened after the shower. I put a Tegaderm patch over the hole while I showered, then an adhesive gauze pad over that when I was done, and this morning it was leaking again. I cleaned it, put a larger patch over it & it seems to be fine. I'm not worried. Honestly, it's kinda gross, but I'd rather have the fluid out than accumulating in my belly.
Having that drain out feels like I don't have a leash anymore! I can wear pull-on pants now, and don't have to worry about the drain/ fanny pack being seen. Life is good!
3 weeks and 1 day
* No pain meds, but I will still take Tylenol once in a while. Still wearing the binder-style compression 24/7.
* Sleeping in my own bed, but find that I will sometimes wake up breathless in the middle of the night - I think this is the swelling I was talking about. It's much better if I sleep with 3 pillows propping up my head and torso.
* Been standing up straight for weeks - I barely feel the tummy tuck (until I lifted too much stuff yesterday).
* Glue is slowly peeling off. Scars are looking very thin! I am using coconut oil twice a day for dry skin, and to help the scars a bit.
* I feel my boobs all day, every day. I totally expected that by now they would be mostly healed, and I am completely surprised that they continue to feel like "milk boobs" every day. It is getting better though!
* I like how low the TT scar is.
* I am surprised that I can still "suck it in". Of course it's 1,000 times better than before surgery, and I know my body will continue to change over the next few months, but.... yeah. For now, I'm telling myself that this just means that when I am ready to do ab work, I'll actually be able to have visible results instead of the nothing that happened before.
* Getting really bored with no activity. I am hopeful that after next week's follow-up, he will release me for some light walking. I can't imagine doing any chest or ab exercises yet.
PS - clothes
4 Weeks PO
Recap of this week's visit: sutures in the breast crease came out, most of the glue is gone, healing nicely with just one or two small spots to keep an eye on. I can wear an underwire bra now, but no pushup style. I need to keep wearing the high-waisted compression panty, with the elastic binder over it (I am so sick of that binder!!). I can start scar therapy with the Biocorneum serum. One small bottle per week for the next 2 weeks, then move on to the large bottle after that. I can also exercise, but low impact only (no running). No massage, he says they are falling into place on their own, and the right one will catch up to the left. He asked what my husband thought so far, and I told him honestly that he thought they would be bigger. He reminded me that given the width of my breast, he would not have gone bigger because it would have resulted in more side boob, not greater projection. I appreciate the honesty. I'm happy with the size, especially given my height and how physically active I am. I am wearing a 38DD, just Dr. Rumalla predicted.
How I'm feeling: Overall, good. I still feel my breasts more than the TT. I only feel the TT when I twist (looking over my shoulder while driving) or sneeze. I find that if I "stretch" my chest a bit (low arm circles, etc.,) that my chest feels much better. I am laying flatter at night to sleep. Swelling goes up and down and I don't worry too much about it. I took my first 40 minute walk this morning, finishing with some squats and lunges. It feels like I'm starting over, but I know it will get easier again soon. I am really over wearing that binder, but I'm a good patient, and will keep it on until he says I can be done. I'm very happy with my results so far, and know they will continue to get better as I heal more & get back to my regular exercise. I don't think the pictures look as good as the in-person results.
5 Week Update
I have taken some long walks, and feel good about that. No major exercise yet, but lots of chores & running up and down ladders trying to get the house ready for Christmas. Overall I am feeling good with the exception of one day last week. In the afternoon my back started to get sore, then I was having some left side belly pain (probably digestive). I was uncomfortable & nothing was helping. I finally took 1/2 a valium, slept for 8 hours solid and woke up feeling great. The wonders of modern meds! Next appointment is Monday & I am praying (for real praying!) that I can lose the binder & move to a bodysuit compression garment.
6 Weeks Post-Op
Before the surgery I was stressed about the cost, and about spending so much money on myself. Now I feel like it was 1000% worth it, and I wish I'd been able to do this sooner.
I could not be more satisfied with my experience with Dr. Rumalla, his staff, and Tarrant Plastic Surgery. I had a tummy tuck with muscle repair, mastopexy, and silicone augmentation. Dr. Rumalla is not only an experienced, talented surgeon, but he is also pleasant, honest, and easy to talk to. Prior to surgery, he told me that this procedure would be transformative for me. At the time I didn't really believe him, but my results speak for themselves. I am not even done healing yet, and I am already 1,000% happy. I highly recommend him.