Ready for Change - Dallas, TX

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I'm 43yo, 5'2", and currently 149lbs. I never...

I'm 43yo, 5'2", and currently 149lbs. I never thought I would have a MM, but here I am! I've been reading RealSelf for several months, and it's been both informative and enlightening. I had my first consult a year ago, but wasn't ready to move forward. After reading many, many reviews I booked a consult with Dr. Vishnu Rumalla in Dallas. Before seeing him, I read his website thoroughly, watching most of the videos posted. I wanted to feel prepared, and also brought with me a list of questions and my husband. As soon as I met Dr. Rumalla, I knew was the right physician for the job. He was very through, honest, and personable. I'm relatively fit (I work out 4-5 days a week with Camp Gladiator, an outdoor bootcamp) but just can't seem to get my tummy to budge. After nursing 2 kids, the Girls are in a sad state, too. He recommended a breast lift with augmentation, and tummy tuck with flank lipo. I had to laugh a bit when he mentioned the appearance of my breasts. He said "Most of us think of them like sisters. In reality, they are usually more like cousins. Yours are like neighbors." A little shocking to hear, but sometimes the truth hurts! I've chosen to go with silicone under-the-muscle implants, in sizes 400 and 425. After leaving his office, and talking it over with my husband, I decided to book for the end of October. Now I'm just waiting, reading more reviews, and starting to gather the items I'll need for recovery. So far I've purchased 2 pairs of pajamas with button-front tops, and I found a set of 2 seamless tank tops at Marshall's ($9.99 for both!). I'm not going to buy too many things before the pre-op, but I'm so excited that I can't help but keep my eyes open for things I think I'll need.

Real photos

Ugh, it hurts to post these, but this is why we're here, right? These are post-workout photos. It looks like I sit on the couch & eat junk food, but in reality, I work out 5+ hours a week, and my eating is 75% clean. I don't expect miracles, but after 4 years of consistent workouts and a good diet, I was hoping for an actual visible difference in my abs. I did lose 30 lbs, and have kept off 20. I don't expect miracles, but am hoping for improvement!

Wish Pic

This is the wish pic I shared with Dr. Rumalla. Although I don't know her physical stats, I think this is realistic, and achievable. He seems to agree.

DIY ice packs

The know it's way too early to worry about minor details like ice packs for post-op swelling, but I strained my calf today, so I thought that because I need to ice it later I would share an easy way to make a re-useable ice pack. Mix 1 part rubbing alcohol with 3 parts water & freeze. That's it! I like to use a small ziploc freezer bag inside a larger freezer bag just to be sure there are no leaks. Freeze for a few hours and you've got a perfect slushy mixture for icing down injuries or swollen areas.

Just Over a Month Away

Bought a recliner today. Mostly because this MM is a good excuse for my husband to finally have one, but also because I know that there is no way I will be able to sleep in our queen bed after the surgery (my husband tosses & turns all night). Between those 2 things it seemed silly to rent a recliner when I knew we would be buying one sooner or later. It's a manual recliner, but I still think it will be steady enough to provide some relief while I'm recovering. We will put it in the living room for now, then move it into our bedroom just before my surgery. It's really hard not to buy "stuff" before my MM. I found a bunch of beautiful bras on sale, but I have no idea what size I will end up, so that's pointless. I'm trying not to buy any clothes right now because I know I will be swollen for a while, too.

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

As of yesterday, I am exactly 4 weeks away. I am excited, a little nervous, but feel confident that this is a good choice for me. I have family visiting for the next 2 weeks, so hopefully that will make the time go by more quickly. It's hard not to want to talk about it all the time, but we we are keeping this private from family & especially the kids. We WILL tell our kids, but not until just before the surgery. They can be worriers and I don't want them obsessing about it for too long. Leave that to me. ;). My plan is to tell them that I am having a hernia repair, and that I will need a few weeks to recover from that. I don't like not being fully honest with them, but my son is only 8 and does not need to know all the facts. He and I are very close, and I know he will be very worried about me. My daughter is 13.... I think she may notice I have larger breasts, but I don't think she will say anything. I worry about giving her full disclosure because I don't want her to think negatively about her body or having children. I thought about using the tactic that "for some women diet and exercise can only do so much after having children". But that doesn't feel right at this time. I'm sure that later on I will give her all the details but for now this is all she needs to know.

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

With 3 weeks to go, and not much to do, it's hard not to think of the possible downsides or complications to major surgery. I worry most about less than optimal results, and yet that is mostly out of my hands! My surgeon is primarily responsible for that part, and that's why it's so critical to do the research before a procedure like this. I certainly don't expect to come out with the "perfect" body, but I desperately want to wear a bikini next summer! I really want my boobs to be EVEN, full, and lifted without looking too large. I hope to have a flat stomach, too, but having never had one, it's hard to imagine that will be the case. I hope hope hope it is!

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

Headed to the doctor's office bright and early this morning. Pre-op went smoothly, and other than leaving with more nerves, all is well. First thing, I signed all the consents, then disrobed & they took pictures. Dr. Rumalla came in, we spoke about the TT, then did a final try-on of sizers. Looks like it will be 325 L and 400 R, Mentor moderate profile silicone, under the muscle. I felt fairly well-informed going in, but now have a few things to mull over. On day of surgery, I will go in at 11am for a 12pm surgery. Will be in recovery that evening, and he will return that night to check me and walk me. Discharge is at 7:30 am the next day! Decided that I will be driven home that day, then return Saturday to be checked, and again on Tuesday. Received all my prescriptions (5). The only item that I wasn't expecting is that at discharge I need to wear a gown of some sort - no pants. The nurse said I will have a "fanny pack" with the drains in it, and they don't want pants of any sort to be pressing on them. I don't know why that surprised me, but it did, and I'm trying to decide on the best garment for this.... caftan I will wear once? Double hospital gown? Zip front short nightgown? I know this is very minor, but I also know that I will be feeling like I was run over by a truck & having to put on an ugly gown is not going to help my mood at that time. Trivial, but focusing on the trivial helps me to not freak out about the major surgery I'll be recovering from in less than 2 weeks. Oh, and I can't shower until the drains are out - YUCK!

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!

I've made a To-Do list to complete before next Wednesday, placed an Amazon order, and have just a few more items to pick up. I feel like this week is going very slowly, but nothing I can do about that, right?

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

I did my last workout today, and I killed it. I currently use 10lb. weights Here it is:

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!

Tomorrow is the big day! I'm still chipping away at my To-Do list, with a few errands and minor cleaning to do. My husband has been on night shift this week, so I haven't been as productive as I'd like (I try to keep quiet or leave the house while he sleeps during the day). I spent last night finishing my son's Halloween costume - 3 1/2 hours of cutting and gluing, but he is so happy!

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

Surgery lasted 4 1/2 hours. Dr. Rumalla said everything went well. I had a 2" split in abs from sternum to groin - no wonder my tummy hasn't budged despite intense workouts & a good diet! He also said he spent extra time on my right breast - he had to enlarge the pocket, change the position of the crease, etc.

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

First, a few more details about surgery day. We arrived an hour early, and it worked out great because they were ahead of schedule. I met the anesthesiologist and he was very friendly, assured me he would be personally monitoring me throughout surgery. The nurse couldn't get the IV in my left hand so the Anesthesiologist got it in my right hand. Dr. Rumalla marked me, and we were ready to go. The anesthesia kicked in quickly, and the next thing I knew I was in recovery. The night nurse was really great. Very attentive without being pushy or too talkative.

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

Saw Dr. Rumalla today to have my dressings changed and drains checked. I only got a quick peek at his work, but I loved what I saw. My belly has never been so flat! Here's a glimpse of the girls in all their swollen glory. They don't look as big as I was expecting, but I know they will change a lot over the next month.

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

My husband went back to work today, so it was just the kids and I. Which was fine. I slept from 10pm until 5:30, and woke up feeling pretty good. Drains have slowed considerably, and I only took Tylenol for pain. After ALL the Miralax, colace, and magnesium citrate I took yesterday it finally worked, so I can check that off the list. I definitely feel swollen by the end of the day.

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

Slept really poorly, and woke up feeling nauseated, with a sore, tender chest. This is the worst I've felt so far. I took my last 2 Tylenol and choked down my antibiotic with a banana (this could be partly responsible for the nausea). I felt sick enough that I also took an anti-nausea pill before leaving the house. Had to rush to get ready so I could get the kids to school & head to Dallas for a follow-up appointment. Drains have been slowing way down & I was so hopeful that I would get them both pulled, but only one came out today. Dr. Rumalla was efficient as ever, and quickly checked everything, changed dressings, pulled the drain, and had me finished in 20 minutes. I thought I'd want to do a little shopping/ walking around after the appointment, but that only lasted about 10 minutes before I was ready to go home again. I dozed in the car on the way home, and napped as soon as we arrived back home. Feeling a little better, but still not great. I know this is temporary - just a down day. Overall, I'm so happy with my progress & healing. I'm NOT happy about having to keep one drain for another week because that means no showering STILL. Despite wiping myself down every day I feel disgusting, and can't wait for a nice warm shower.

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

Hard to believe it's been a full week since my surgery!

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

I feel like I should be posting more, but not much to report. I suppose that's good, right? I finished my antibiotics last night, and am only using Tylenol for pain. And really, there's no "pain" to speak of, just some mild discomfort in my chest and periodic itching from my sutures. At this point I still have one drain, and output is minimal - less than 25ml total per day. I pray that Dr. R will pull it tomorrow and I can shower! Yesterday I washed my bra and spent about 90 minutes braless while it washed and dried. It felt great! I also took my CG off for a little bit, just to wipe myself down and breathe a bit. I'm very pleased with everything I see, and I can't wait to get some of the tape off my sutures, and hopefully have some removed tomorrow. A few thoughts from the past 11 days:

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

Saw my PS yesterday, and the 2nd drain was removed. YAHOO! He said I'm healing really well. The sutures and steri-strips will stay in place for another week, and then next week I will begin breast massage and Biocorneum Oil for the scars. I'm standing mostly straight, but oddly enough I find myself hunching over out of habit. I have to retrain myself to stand tall again!

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

I was hoping for more progress at Monday's follow-up appointment, but was disappointed. He did remove all the steri-strips, and stitches were removed from my TT incision, but that was it. No massage yet, no scar management, no new CG. And I had to purchase a high waisted pair of compression panties to wear under everything now. Although I wish there had been more change, I know that in the end, patience will hopefully produce the best results. When I showered Monday night, I was surprisingly swollen. Until now, I don't think I have had issues with swelling, but am starting feel that I swell at night while I'm sleeping. Maybe it's the result of doing too much during the day.

To recap:
* 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

I also wanted to say that I have been able to wear a few pairs of my regular jeans, just have to belt them so they don't slide down the binder. Some reviews I read say that months after the TT they still aren't able to get into regular pants, but I have not had that problem. I've worn jeans, and a pair of capris that are now much too big. Have not weighed myself yet - no time to do it before the morning craziness begins!

4 Weeks PO

Had my 4 week visit on Monday, and these pics are from that day. Today I am exactly 4 weeks PO! Hard to believe that a month ago I was finishing my shower, about to jump in the car & head to the surgery center.

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

These pics were taken exactly 5 weeks after surgery. Poor lighting, but I also feel that everything looks better in person than on screen. I've noticed that my left has dropped more than my right, but I feel like they are starting to even out. My scars are healing well. I have one spot on my L areola that is slow to close & heal, but it's much improved now. On my R areola there is a stitch protruding. It doesn't hurt, isn't infected, and isn't budging. Patience! My chest is feeling tremendously better - little to no soreness. I can flex my chest muscles, and while it feels weird, it's a good sign of healing. My torso is looking & feeling good. It's flattening even more. The scar seems dark to me, but I'm using the scar cream 2x a day as prescribed. I'm still wearing the high waisted underwear, plus the binder 24/7. I will admit that there have been a few times when I couldn't take it anymore, and I switched to a one-piece bodysuit similar to Spanx. It was such a relief to get out of that binder for a few hours! Sleeping is pretty good - mostly flat, with just a little chest discomfort when sleeping on my side.

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

Not a lot to report. I saw Dr. Rumalla last week, and he told me to keep up with the Bio-Corneum, and keep wearing the binder at night (ugh!). I can also increase my exercise a bit, and start using 5lb. weights (and wear the binder any time I am lifting anything). Next visit is in 8 weeks. I am feeling really good, and so so happy with my results. I still get some twinges in my torso, so I don't plan on getting back to bootcamp until January.

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.
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

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.

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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