41 Year Old Caterpillar Waiting to Become a Butterfly

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I've been reviewing and taking in postings on RS...

I've been reviewing and taking in postings on RS for months now. All the while gaining the confidence to post before pics and share my own story. My tummy tuck, muscle repair and umbilical hernia revision scheduled for 12/15/16 and I have so many mixed emotions, but this caterpillar is long overdue.

Dr. Amirlak Anyone???

Has anyone else had anything done with Dr. Amirlak?

Q&A consultation with doctor

So excited ... scheduled Q&A with doctor to clarify all questions and concerns before surgery. We'll talk scar placement and clarify expectations/results. I can't believe after 20yrs of hoping, longing and contemplating, my TT is actually gonna happen.

To tatt or not to tatt??

Thinking about getting a tatt about 6wks before surgery that will mask the incision. The trick is in placement m. Yes, I know that there is not sure fire way of knowing where the tatt will end up, but I know the site will be too sensitive for up to a year or more to do anything post op.

So excited

Looking through photos from last year. Can't wait til my stomach matches my body. I run and work out, but my stomach won't cooperate????

Look back over the last year. Pics from last Fall 2015 and early Spring 2016

45 days til the flat side

I am stoked!! Nervous n excited at the same time. Anyone else coming up on surgery?

Last Pre-Op Visit

Having my final pre-op visit today. Interesting information...he said that he may or may not be able to do the hernia repair (he'll know more when he goes in), but he did say that my procedure would be a 7 on a scale of 1-10 in regards to difficulty. He said it's because the fat that I do have is centered around abdominal area:( He said that I would be so happy with my results because he is a perfectionist. He promises that I won't be disappointed so, I guess we'll see. I also had my blood work completed today and should be receiving my surgery packet next week. I am still excited I think, but not sure what to expect with my results.

Feeling Bummed

Not sure what I should do or how I should feel after my second consult. My doc says I'll look amazing when he's done, but after he told me all that could happen because of the obstacles in my case, I just don't want to wake up disappointed:(

35 days til Surgery

I am sooooooo dreading the drains, but excited about my impending results.

30 more days til the flat side!!

Soooo many butterflies... so much to do (not really, but maybe, I'm not sure. Making my last payment Friday????

It's Really Happening!!

Made my finally payment on Friday. I got my supply list prepared and ready to shop for those odds and ends with 26 days to go. I have butterflies and have been stalking reviews more closely. I think I am ready. This will be the best Christmas present to myself ever (21 years in the making).

Hang Time

I saw a lot of ladies take pics from this angle so I decided to do the same so that I would have a point of reference when it all goes away???? My legs have killer muscle definition. It's my stomach that won't cooperate????

Shopping Anyone???

It's been sooooo hard to walk away from all of these holiday sales. I want to partake, but I don't know what size I will be when it's all over. The after Christmas sale it is.... if my body is willing;)

Sooooo Close....

12 days to go! It seems like I have som much to do. Trying to bite off a piece at a time. I have everything I think I need except for Bromelain ordering that today. I painted how I envision myself????

10days to go!!!

My docs office called today and wants to schedule a CT scan of my abdomen for this Thursday (1 wk preop). He says he want to look at my hernia from the inside so that he can have the best results. Of course! I am so excited!!!!!

One week to go!!!

Ok, I guess this is the point where I say whhooopie!!! I am more excited than anything else. Can't wait to see what this journey means for me. My mom called and said that she wants to be there for me and I felt bad because my reaction was... NOPE! Let me explain... 1. My mom doesn't know I am getting a tummy tuck. She thinks it's just hernia repair. Why you ask? Well, about 13 yrs ago I had abreast reduction and although it was the best thing for me, my mom was against it. Because I went ahead with it against her advice (mind you I was 28), she refused to be at the hospital with me and she didn't want to watch or pick up my daughters because it would be assisting with some she didn't believe in. So, I limit what I share with her and telling her everything will only steal my joy. I have my husband to care for me and take care of the kids (ages 17-2.5). I know I should be more sensitive, but her track record with being supportive isn't great.

Unfortunate Event

4 days pre-op and my dad had a stroke:( So many emotions happening at one time. Since I am his only source of support, I have to get everything situated with him b4 Thursday (talk about stress). He is talking, walking and had all of his faculties; his equilibrium is just off and he has to learn to balance all over again. He has to go to a rehab center and my hubs will help to coordinate things in the interim. Whew! I feel kinda selfish, but rescheduling has not crossed my mind. I set everything around this date and just have to figure out a way to make it work.

OMG!! Today is the day...

The last 7 days have really gone by fast! I haven't had any really emotions leading up to today this past week. I guess I have a "let's do it and see what happens" type of attitude. Waking up the morning was a little different and as I get dressed, I am having a moment. I have to be in by 5:30am and surgery is at 7. Say a little prayer for me... see u on the flatside:)

Woooooorth it!!!!

Today was the day!! Had a CT scan on Thursday and the results revealed.... I didn't have a hernia at all???? My diastasis recti severe that I needed a tummy tuck. The separation was pushing any fat I had the the middle. He said that I didn't
Have much fat just a serious situation. Regardless of what the pain level is or will be ( I had exparel), this is/was definitely worth it for me. Happy healing ladies!!!

First Look

Dr. Amirlak and his student Dr. Martinez did their thing???? The care here has been amazing!


Oh wow! This gas is enough to kill u!

First night home

First night home was great!! But last night I had to cough and I promise that the aftermath was the worse pain I've ever known ????????????

Day 3

Day 3 was the absolute worse!! It was supposed to be shower day, but the way that rolling gas was set up... I could barely move and all I wanted to do was cry. I couldn't eat or drink anything (not even water). After opting for an enema administered by myself (TMI I know) and a night spent glued the toilet, I am soooooo much better.

Who knew?????

Ok, so one must have item that no one has on their list... a mini fridge in your room. I didn't buy it for this procedure,it's been a must have for the last 15 yrs for adult beverages, baby bottles water etc., but the last 4 days it has been an unintended life saver LOL. For those DREADED coughs, my mini fridge is just the right height to add a pillow and to lay over and brace myself for a cough a survive. It's been the best things ever. It's also a good place for opened and un opened water and protein shakes, pineapples, pineapple juice etc.

Post Op Today

I had a post op visit today and guess what??? I'm down one drain and I get the next one out next Wednesday. I am glad I didn't go crazy with the supply list because the office gave me everything I needed to get through the dressing changes. The intern ripped my binder open and ran out the room when she did it LOL!! I made sure to bring it to their attention just in case I need a new one. Anywho, all is well and happy healing. Oh and he upped the level of difficulty from a 7 to a 10. He said he had never seen a case as severe as mine and he had pics that he is so excited to share with me and his colleagues:) My belly button is sooooo cute;)

One more thing....Rhoids:/

I know this is TMI, but somebody needs to hear (read) this... If you had (have they never go away) hemorrhoids, they will not leave u alone and let u go through this without making a guest appearance. Make sure to have your supplies on hand just like post pregnancy or a flare up. This procedure sets the perfect environment for "Rhoids" (when been together a long time so they let me give them a nickname LOL!) to kick it. Be ready and stay one step ahead of them.

Day of Surgery

In case I ever forget... before:)

My Own Worst Enemy

So the last few days I have been swelling like crazy. After my Dr appt, the nurse left me to put on my binder (I was swollen at that time too) and apparently I didn't put it on tight enough therefore contributing to more swelling. How do I know? Today, I found a garment I had (old Marena) and put it on and OMG!!!! I feel amazing n this thing feels crazy good. Let's just hope I am not unknowingly cutting off my blood supply LBVS!!

Venting....Swell Hell!!

Well... if it wasn't for swelling I'd be good. My position in the recliner makes my feet swell, my stomach is swollen 95% of the time, and OMG avoiding coughing has been come a creative experience. For the most part, I've been resting, but when I do have to go out it's unplanned and lasts for hours at a time:( Tuesday, I had a post op visit and the doctor was running behind so, instead of an hour trip, it turned into 4hrs because of traffic and having to stop and pickup some dinner for the hubs and kids. Wednesday, I had to pick up my dad from the rehabilitation facility because he has been recovering from a stroke these past 10days (he is well), but my husband decided to take his car instead of mine and the starter went out. We called for a ride home, but then I had to go back to the facility and wait 3 flipping hours for a tow truck!!! ( the roadside assistance is tied to my phone, and today I left the house at 7:40am and didn't return until 7pm (last minute Christmas shopping). The hubs and I were supposed to do it together the weekend before last, but my dad's stroke prevented that (his care was more important). The swelling after today was not as bad as I expected. I really didn't lift anything, but I did cough at the store (couldn't get to the pillow section fast enough) and I almost fell out. There were tears, my stomach instantly puffed up and it was a wrap, but I had to suck it up and power through. I sat for about 35 mins on a bench staring into the abyss wondering was this all worth it. Right now I can't tell and that is frustrating. I look the same as before the surgery. I know it will get better, but right now I am in that dark place:(

Merry Christmas!!!

Today I woke up and was not swollen!! Well a smidge, but nothing compared to what it has been. I will be able to where clothes today yayyyyyy!!!!

I'm freeeeeee... free falling...

Went to see my doctor today, got the last drain removed and sutures from my belly button as well as the drape removed. He said I could start scar therapy (he said over the counter, but I am open to suggestions). I also asked what garment does he suggest instead of the binder and he said Spanx are enough. Coolest part... he has pics of me on the his phone. He said he was so intrigued and he has never seen a case like mine and was determined to take on the challenge and do his best work. He should me the pics and video. He was talking about the severe diastasis recti and I was happy about the fact that there was no yellow (fat) LOL. He said that normally there is no separation and if there is any it's minor. Mine literally pushed my muscles on opposite sides of my body. He also said that they don't normally repair such a severe case during a tummy tuck or outpatient surgery. You have to come back and be admitted. Literally, my insides were hanging out. My bowels were sticking out creating the bulge. The resident surgeon advised him not to close me up because pushing my insides back in would cause difficult my breathing (like wearing one helluva corset). My doc said he did it anyway because he felt that I was young(bless his heart) and fit enough (based on the rest of me) to handle it. Long story summed up.... Dr. Amirlak rocks!!!!!!!

Garments Questions

Is there a such thing as the compression garment being too tight?? I loooove the snugness of my Marena garment. I was too swollen in the beginning and the drain made it difficult to maneuver. Now it fits perfectly, but because I am numb, I don't want anything that maybe cutting off my circulation and I don't know it.

Surgery Must Haves....

I promised myself that I would post this because of my experience. Everyone has different lists and different must haves and with that said here's mine. First let me say that previously I have had a breast reduction and lipo of my flanks so, I was familiar with plastic surgery prior to this. However, because of the intensity of the TT, I thought that preparation would be a little different, but I was wrong. The absolute must haves on my list were/are the following... 1. shower chair (the first few days it's hard to stand unsupported and you will tire easily),
2. Dial soap (bar soap)
3. Lots of water,
4. Protein shakes (Boost is the bomb)/ protein bars
5. stool softners,
6. Gas X,
7. Enema (it worked better than the laxative option), chapstick of some sort (whatever your favorite brand is),
8.Bactrian or Neosporin (for drain site openings after removal)
9. Gauze (my doc gave them to me)
10. Tape (my doc gave it to me)
11. Cough drops are a must!!!!
12. Vitamins (multi-vitamin/ vitamin C/ bromelain)
13. Recliner
14. Cocoa butter or coconut oil or shea butter to put on your skin.
15. Magnesium citrate (I drank this 3days before surgery to clear everything out)
16. Pillows!!!!!
17. Lipton instant soup packets (just add water). I stayed overnight at the hospital and they gave me this because I really couldn't hold anything else down.
18. Yoga pants (lots)
19. Tank tops/t-shirts

I think that's everything. I bought other things i.e. MoM, training pads, heating pads, maxi pads (to pad the incision), etc.that were on lists that were shared, but these are the only items I actually used.

Gotta Get Back to Me...

My 2017 goal is to be the 2010 me????

Leftover Stitch Anyone???

Anyone have any experience with a stitch or two left in. I see a stitch sticking out where my last drain was. Nothing is infected, but it does itch like crazy. Wondering if I should call to have it removed?

Back to Work

Today was my first full day back to work. I went in for a few hours yesterday while the office was closed to test it out. In my "test run" I discovered that I needed a pillow and some way to prop my feet. So today I brought in the necessary items and today went very well. No more swelling than usual, I walked around a little and got a lot done. My garment did run a little all day, but I have a desk job so, there wasn't too much involved. I've been off pain meds for quite sometime now. My biggest issue is still the hemorrhoids (tmi I know) aggravated by the sleeping situation (recliner). I will be sooooo happy to get back some of my normal activities. I am still moving like a turtle which is progress because I was a snail LOL. Anywwho, hope things are well with everyone else.

Whhhyy Am I Different???

It's been 3 week and yes I can tell that I am healing and for the most part all is well. I get swollen by the end of the day and hunched over a bit, but for the most part I am doing well. But whhhyyyyy is it that my clothes that fit fine before are too small. I know... I know... it's swelling and yeah, I know everyone is different, but everyone else is trying on bikinis and old/new clothes that fit differently. I am soooo bummed today because now I have to go shopping for more pullover pants for work:(

Sleeping Arrangements Make All the Difference!!!

I made 3wks post op yesterday (1/6/17) and I had been sleeping in the recliner. I would wake up fine, but would swell after about an hour of waking up and moving around and the swelling would be off and on throughout the day. One of the ladies suggested that I try getting back in bed and since my frequent guest (our 2yr old) was out for the night I decided to try it. OMG!! I felt great when I woke up and there had been minimum swelling:) Now Idk if it's because I sleep lying flat and circulation was my friend or if being 3wks into the healing process changed the game, but I do know this... today was a good day:)) Happy healing ladies??

1 Month Update

Well, it's been a month and I don't regret a thing. I haven't posted photos (i will) because in the morning when my stomach is most flat, I forget. That has only been the case for the past week. I was completely swollen until a week ago. From the top to my belly button looks amazing and there is still significant swelling below my belly button. There is a spot near the bottom of my belly button that needs to heal and the doc left a stitch in(see pic). I have a follow-up appt. tomorrow so we will see what he says. I still move around slow especially if I have been sitting for awhile or when I wake up first thing, but once I get going I am good. It's weird because I definitely notice which parts of me are healed and which part needs a little more time. My scar looks amazing!!!! You can barely see it so scar therapy should fade it out really nicely. Anywho, that's my update.


I had to share... last night I was feeling so tight and bent over. I was so uncomfortable that I didn't know what to do. I guess all the tightness is due to the extensive muscle repair. Anywho, I had purchase a hand held massager to use, but had been to afraid to use it. However last night was a desperate time and called for desperate measures. After about 15 mins of massaging my stomach and sides, I was a new woman literally. I got up and was moving around like I was before surgery. I couldn't believe it!! I thought surely it would wear off and I would be stiff again in the morning, but I woke up feeling great! I will check with the doc at my follow-up today to make sure everything is good, but I recommend it (massager) for anyone who is feeling a little stiff. It also helped with the swelling.


So today was my last visit until July. I had to take post op pics today and I just don't see a difference (maybe it will help to do a side by side). Anywho, I'm posting current pics. My surgeon is a beast... you can't see the scar unless you look really close (my scar goes from hip to hip and wraps around), but I am going to use scar therapy to fade it out as much as possible. Please excuse the socks:)))


Sylvia here it is

Scar Therapy

Just wanted to share what I will be using for scar therapy. First, my doc said NO to gels and creams. He said silicone is the way to go. He said I could use over the counter silicone sheets or he recommended NewGel. I am going with the NewGel option for the best results.

Scar Therapy

New Gel arrived yesterday so, I started scar Therapy and I will let you guys know how it goes.

Not Sure What Happened

Well.... 58 days in and I can't say that I've seen results. My before and after pics (taken at the 5/6 week mark) make me want to cry. There is no significant difference and I am still noticeably swollen. Idk what else I can do. The arnica gel works, but for a moment. I hope next few weeks will be different:(
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Amirlak was very professional/informative. He answered all my questions and made me feel at ease. His staff was very helpful and friendly.

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