I'll be 65 in 2 months and I'm an African American...
I'll be 65 in 2 months and I'm an African American woman. When I told the board certified plastic surgeon at my first consultation that I wanted a "mommy makeover", his nurse/assistant (whatever!) who was in the examination room with us audibly snorted.
If you knew me you'd inevitably, at some point, be invited to my home. If you were to come visit me, I'd show you around our home and share with you the story behind how we found each of the neat pieces of art, cultural items, and interesting touchable things when we travel, then use to decorate our home. One of my brothers said of our home "Everywhere you look there's eye candy!" You and I would eventually explore the master suite with its spacious bathroom we recently redecorated, incorporating bamboo we harvested from our backyard and beautifully carved South American wood statuettes of women with long dreadlocks. Then we'd arrive at my walk - in closet, and you'd probably comment that its an oddly shaped, but big closet. Nice enough. Full of clothes. Clothes you've never seen me wear, you'd say! Why haven't you seen those clothes on me? Because my body has gotten away from me. I've been pregnant 5 times in my life and have given birth to 4 sons, all grown men now, but as a result, my body is truly out of control.
Why am I paying $60 for one bra...one that is "constructed", that can stand vertically on its own? Geez! When did my tummy start to melt down the front of me??? How did I get these deep grooves in my shoulders? Why have I lost the ability to hold a pen and write with my right hand though both a hand specialist and a neurologist can find nothing wrong with it? Could those deep shoulder grooves implicate a pinched nerve that extends down my right arm to my hand?
Because...my body has gotten away from me. I've lost control of it, and I plan to take the reins back!
You've heard young mothers talk of getting their pre-pregnancy figures back by visiting a plastic surgeon? The cosmetic industry has a very popular set of procedures called a "Mommy Makeover". Well. Look out! Because today's "granny" is concerned about her figure too. Granny has a Bucket List. Granny has beaches to comb, mountains to hike in spandex shorts, meetings to lead, and cruise ship swimming pool decks to walk across in front of hundreds of fellow cruisers. Nowadays "Granny" isn't synonymous with "invisible". And Granny CAN take charge of her figure again. With a little help.
No more bras constructed like padded armor. No more leggings topped with artistic and clever big shirts. And no more deleting pics my hubby takes of me unless I'm fully facing his camera (i.e. no side body-shots). I'm going to take charge of my figure again and wear the other 80% of my closet. I, and a very artistic board certified plastic surgeon, am going to conduct the first ever "Granny Takeover" - a breast reduction and a tummy tuck, with liposuction in both areas.
Awwwww! You Ladies Are Women Who Run With The Wolves!
OMGosh! As I click around and read stories, I'm so inspired! Women are just amazingly resilient, strong. Fierce, actually. Stories on this website open up a whole new world out there!
Well, I got in trouble with the admin of this website - you can see my replies below have been removed. I write about my journey on my blog for boomer and senior women and they don't want me to mention my blog's website address here. But, it's too time consuming to write here AND for my blog so I'll have to limit my posts here.
At this point, pre-op, I would say the biggest thing I've learned is this: yes, get at least 3 PS consults...shop around. BUT! I thought the most important criteria were "Is he/she board certified?" and "Are his/her initial consultations free?". But I learned that even though the consult may be free to me, several doctors billed my insurance for it. Another thing is - I plan to pay for my surgery with Care Credit using their "no interest" option. I plan to choose 24, 36 or 48 months with no interest. But each PS finance person has different options. Some only offer 6 months no interest! So if I had to do it again, I 'd first talk to the PS financing person and ask IF they accepted Care Credit, and if so, what's the longest period I can finance with no interest. THEN I would ask the insurance person in the PS's office, whether they will bill my insurance for the "free" consult. THEN I would ask to speak to the appointment desk.
Just my 2 cents worth. Hope this helps someone.
Searching for The One.....
I copied and pasted this from my blog to share with y'all here. Just talking about some of what I've gone through so far...
When looking for The One - the plastic surgeon you're going to trust (because you're entrusting your life to this person) and depend on (to help you reshape your body and to follow you for up to a year as your transformation evolves) - FIRST, I discovered through trial and error, I had to "qualify" him or her.
I picked surgeons from the list of Board Certified Plastic Surgeons on my health insurance website (which isn't always perfectly up to date). I spoke with the finance person in their office first - to see whether they accepted Care Credit and if so, could I finance for 24, 36 or 48 months? Then I asked the surgeon's insurance clerk whether they would bill my insurance for the initial consultation which was supposed to be "free"...I learned the common practice is its only "free" to me. Finally, I searched the internet for lawsuits in which the surgeon was involved and read the outcome. If all went well up to that point, I made an appointment for a consultation. So were free to me, some I paid for.
OMGosh. PS#1 (the first plastic surgeon I consulted) was witty, charismatic, a little cocky, and per what I read about him on the internet, VERY thorough, very supportive and had that right mix of surgeon and artist I was looking for (most surgeons have "before and after" pictures posted on their website). About that time, I attended a party, ran into a surgical nurse and I asked her about plastic surgeons in town, PS#1 included. She confirmed everything I'd heard and read about him. However, he was SO thorough he took 8 hours to perform a TT (tummy tuck) and applied THREE layers of stitches to bring the stomach muscles together. Other surgeons took 3-4 hours. Hmmm.
PS#2 was old school. He came from a long line of physicians and his sons were physicians as well. He struck me as distant, regimented, a bit chauvinistic...ex. he reprimanded his female assistant who was in the examination room with us because she attempted to answer my question for him. He only warmed up when I let him know I had read his resume and asked him questions about his background. Hmmmm.
PS#3 was professional yet really easy to relate to - everyone I encountered in his office was as well. He came from a family of physicians and his primary focus was the kind of work I wanted done.
PS#4 was really polished, professional, smooth, thorough and wanted me to begin a natural herb regimen with an herbalist and lose 10 lbs before we go into surgery. I wondered whether he got a kickback from the herbalist... Then I learned he actually was not a preferred provider with my insurance. Hmmm.
The above part of my search took about 2 and one half months. I would have loved it if friends or relatives could refer me to surgeons but so few of my friends had used a plastic surgeon and no relatives live locally. So...I chose PS#3 as The One.
Next, we plan the surgery.
My Granny Takeover Date for the "Perkie and Flat Side"
Here's a new post from my blog:
My PS's assistant and I clear the insurance, I tell her my financial plan and we set the date for my surgery: September 27th. Next, is the pre-operation consultation.
Oh. Oh. I've seen soooo many before and after pictures on the internet of women of all shapes and sizes, many whose body looked exactly like mine. I prefer the "look" of women who've elected to have breast implants along with their breast reduction. But I don't think I want anything foreign in my body. So we decide upon a target size that will serve to alleviate my neck and back pain but not destroy my life long self-image as a "busty" woman.
Then my PS reviews the football shaped incision he'll make above and below my navel, which I'm well familiar with, having watched videos of the surgery on the internet performed by other surgeons. We discuss where I'd like him to perform liposuction and what I can expect immediately after surgery.
Next his assistant has me "sign my life away", gives me written instructions for the day before surgery as well as post-operation instructions, and sends me home.
Over the next week right up until today I notice the emotional roller coaster. Some days I'm fine. The next couple of days I feel anxious and I tell myself I can cancel at any time. The next few days I feel my decision to have cosmetic surgery is...frivolous. Vain. Reckless, even. Who do I think I am, wanting to look better at age 64? I answer my Self and calm down. Then anxiety creeps in again.
Thank goodness I have things to attend to which distract me...an Alaskan cruise with a longtime friend who is celebrating her 68th birthday...managing a festival I've been planning for almost a year...another trip to witness one of my sons Naval retirement ceremony. And prayer. Much prayer. My date with the "flat side" (as in flat tummy) and renewed perkiness approaches. I haven't canceled yet.
Only 3 more days.........EEEK!
I'm still fighting the anxiety and fear! Thank you all very much for your warm and supportive words. Also I see that practically everyone that has already gone through a granny takeover or a mommy makeover experienced the same emotional roller coaster. It helps to be reminded that I'm normal.
Sooo many women mentioned that they've already gethered all their supplies. I have Hibiclens to shower with starting tomrrow until sx day and I know I'm supposed to purchase some large shields to protect the sheets on my bed or recliner, but what else should I consider gathering?
2 Days Pre-op...it's 4:06am and I've Got That Throat Pain Again!
3 nights in a row I wake up about 3am with a dull ache, slight burning sensation at the base of my throat in that little indentation. It's kinda like when I eat some pizzas too late in the evening and get heartburn a few hours later. So I first chewed a Tums about 3am and wait. 25 min later the discomfort has increased. I wonder what it is exactly. So I decided to try a Naproxen and 6 oz 2% milk. That was 25 min ago. I've been propped up on pillows in bed listening to my hubby breathe with his C-PAP machine. I now notice the ache/burn is lessening. So maybe its an esophageal inflammation? I had turkey spaghetti last night around 7pm. Went to bed at 12:30 again because Im so anxious I don't wind down or get sleepy. Then I wake up with this.
I think I'll take that RS members advice and ask Dr to call in a Valium Rx in the morning. Perhaps anxiety is causing some reflux in my esophagus? And of course Im wide awake now, typing this into the tiny bright screen of my iPhone!
Geez! I wonder if the younger women have to deal with this, the MM (mommy makeover) women. Lol. Could be another reason why GT (granny takeover) journey is just a bit different!
The first ever Granny Takeover is tomrrow at 9am!
I took several people's advice and asked my PS for valium. One little 5mg pill really takes the anxiety edge off pre-op. Here's my latest blog post:
I'm ready. Well, I mean, I've taken a valium to take the edge off. I've carried on a running dialogue with God, and, yes, I've been careful to keep my ears open.
I've pulled weeds in my garden for 3 hours in 90 degree, sunny weather. I've cleaned my kitchen, dusted my living room, dust mopped my hard wood floors, feed my dogs a bowl of their favorite food, changed my bed sheets and repotted 3 plants together with my husband. I've showered twice with Hibiclens, paying particular attention to those areas of my body that will sustain wounds. And I've washed, oiled and braided my hair. So. I'm ready.
I'm ready to take back my body from the life changes it has withstood: from 5 pregnancies, 4 births and one abortion; from nursing my grinning, toothy, happy baby boys; from gaining 40 pounds in 30 years; from enjoying Nutter Butter Peanut Butter cookies with ice cold milk when my heart was broken or my pride was wounded.
I want to say "Thank You" to everyone who assured me that I "looked good for 64", because I really did appreciate being told that. I'm a size 14 misses, and, as I've said to many people, I'm satisfied with that because my goal was to not...let me just come out and say it...look like my mother did when she was 64. I learned a lot of wonderful, useful traits from my Mom, like resourcefulness, resiliency, and assertiveness. Mom was amazing. She'd get up in the morning and say to me and my 2 brothers, 'Let's go to New York." And we did. Drove there in her white Ford Falcon. We 4 had a blast. And she did it with less than $60 and a credit card. In fact, Mom gave herself a trip around the world with very, very little in her purse. But, she also taught me to keep up my appearance as long as I could, because she didn't. Mom grew round and matronly very quickly from overeating and being sedentary. Right after her last boyfriend, as a matter of fact.
So in the morning, my board certified plastic surgeon and I will help me alleviate the neck and back pain my heavy breasts gift me. Then we'll eliminate my no-longer-needed kangaroo pouch - you know, if you stand behind me and reach around to my front and grab my kangaroo pouch, it will fill up both your hands. And if you push the 2 sides together, it looks exactly like a baby's butt. I digress again. We'll pull my tummy muscles back together and sew them there so they won't separate again for years. The result? A firm, flat tummy, perky breasts and access to the other 80% of the wardrobe in my closet.
I'm ready to be, as women patients say in the plastic surgery world, on the perky and flat side. I'm excited. And I'm actually looking forward to joining the several senior women who have "come out" to me and shared their plastic surgery experiences since I started sharing my journey. Sometimes their journey began with weight loss surgery. Sometimes it began with corrective facial surgery. But, however they journey, I agree it feels really good to be strong enough and brave enough to take the steps to change ourselves for the better. As a wise plastic surgery patient from St. Louis recently said on her RealSelf.com blog post, "There is no shame in wanting to look as good as we feel."
And I'm ready.
God is merciful and good. All the time.
I made it through y'all. I'm here.
Post-op Day 3
I am sorry y'all. I don't knw how you younger women were at all able to remeber where your lap-top or iPad was, retreive it. climb into your recliner, open it up, try to stay awakge while it loads, click on the already open tab that says Real Self, then think of something to say????? I'm not spell checking this. I'm already feeling drained. I can't talk to ppl on the phone more than 3-5 minutes. I have no stamina. Period. Other than that, your and my prayers were answered. God is merciful and good. All the time. More when I can. hugs
Oh....My....God............oh God.....I have never...
...been so incapacitated in my entire life. I was not in "bad" shape. I mean no, I'm not an athletic person by no means. I *would* have been, perhaps, had I not been teased off the girl's HS track team in the 1960s. I LOVED to run. Especially relay races with the other girls on the team. But there were no sports bras then. And my breasts were large and bounced wildly. Now, I garden, walk our 3 rambunctious dogs, walk my subdivision, vacuum floors in our almost 4,000 sq ft home. I try to do physical work most days of the week. I weighed 188 at 5'6" at sx time. So though at 35-40 lbs above my "medical ideal weight", I was well under that 200 lb limit many surgeons prefer before they agree to operate.
So why have I had such a difficult time?! I'm not a wimp - its been, albeit, 23 years since my last surgery, but I *have* undergone both a c-section and a hysterectomy. But this!
My PS assistant told me the surgery and the 2-3 days of pain were nothing compared to the 4-6 weeks of...and she hesitated to find a word..."discomfort" after that. OMG. I don't know if I can even describe what I felt days 4, 5 and 6. I've never NOT had at least *some* stamina. Never. Post op days 4, 5 and 6 what little stamina I did have would dissolve instantly. 4 minutes into a phone conversation I'd have to say "I'm sorry, I have to go" and nearly hang up on ppl.
I had no appetite days 3 through 9. I KNEW I had to eat. My stomach growled but when I considered even my fav foods, I was revulsed. I could bare ly mash up one tablespoon of something in my mouth. I asked my hubby to buy me chocolate Ensure to sip.
Everything tasted and smelled metallic! Things that normally smelled and tasted fine were like metal. One night my hubby took a hot bath with one of his usual bath oils, our bedroom filled with this thick overpowering smell and I thought I was going to freak out! Already breathing very shallowly because of this cg around my midriff, I was clawing for air. I thought I need to calm myself down so I took a half a Valium, which relaxed me but made my breathing seem even more shallow. Thank goodness my hubby has skipped those oil baths since.
Days 5 and 6 I superficially regretted doing this. I wished I could snap my fingers and go back to pre surgery. Almost each day I heard from my PS assistant, Stacey. I reported all the things that were happening. She assured me they were all within the normal range: the swelling in odd places, low grade fever, no appetite, my drainage bulbs deflated on their own (she suggested we tape the lids on), weird dreams from the drugs, shallow breathing, all of it. I didn't want to go to my post op on day 7 for fear of simply whining the entire time.
But THEE worst part was trying to sleep, and trying to move.
Stamina gone. More later.
Slept better last night, but fought urge to problem solve
I haven't had to be concerned about blood staining my underwear since I had my hyster in 1990. So I no longer have "period panties" or even I-feel-slovenly-fat-today bloomers. But the position of my TT incision and it being still open places (stitches were removed4 days ago), I'm getting little blood stains on my panties and track suit pants. I still need that layer of protection between my skin and my clothing. I thought "Well buy some plaid men's boxer shorts". Has this concerned anyone? How did you solve it? Looks like my open places won't heal for another week or so. I'm putting Neosporin on them per Dr orders...adds to the mess.
I decided to purchase a walker today at WalMart. My lower back feels as though it's going to explode outward each day. I want one with an included seat so I'll always have a seat handy when I go shopping - which I did for the first time yesterday! Yay!! Any body else cave in to a walker because of back pain from bending over when walking around?
I'm so sick of wearing this...what do you call it? A CG? G is for garment? What's the C for? Anyway. I understand the need to wear it - it gives stability to my tummy when I cough or sneeze (I swear I busted an internal stitch on day 5), shapes my torso, helps further flatten my tummy. But I'm short waisted by 3 inches - my legs are longer by about 3 inches. So the top of the cg presses into my new tits, kinda right at the incision underneath if I pull it down. But it rises right back up because the cg bottom hits right where my leg bends at the hip so it rubs on my incision. My solution for that this morning? We cut an inch and a half off the garment where it rests just under my boobs. Fits much better, isn't unraveling as my husband predicted, and is still doing the job. Yay! Yay!
I'm so proud. I took a shower all by myself yesterday. Still a little scary though. When I take off this surgical bra, which really looks like it does nothing, I begin to feel a sensation in my breasts that feels just like they're about to lactate plus they begin to feel heavy. My PS employed something he calls an internal bra within the BR he did for me. I gotta tell you, ladies. They are obscenely perky. I feel guilty because in the exam room during my post op...did I tell you this already?....Stacey was snipping and pulling out stitches, my hubby was sitting watching her, I was sitting mostly upright on the exam table angled toward a mirror to my left, and Dr comes into the room for the first time. He sits to wait for Stacey to finish and he says "Yep, nice 'n perky." I said "But they get in the way when I lower my chin. Stacey says "But just wait 'till they finish rounding out and get their final beautiful shape." PS says "But aren't they great that way instead of droopy?". And I said
"They're kinda embarrassingly perky." with a sheepish, kinda bewildered slight smile. Hubby says "Looks like she's 18." I said " I didn't look like this at 18. I looked like this at 12. We all laughed. I said "By the time I was 18, I could already get 3 pencils under each breast!". Hahahaha. Y'all remember when women were condemned if 3 pencils could be held in place by your tata back in the 60s? Oh yeah, women were supposed to tuck in booties then too. Oh! How far we've come!
We had a great time with my "reveal" in my PS office. But I just couldn't bring myself to compliment my PS because that was PO day 7, remember, and I had just suffered through days 4, 5 and 6 and I was just so uncomfortable I couldn't be generous to him. I think he knew though, because he patted me on my arm in an understanding way as we left. I'll be better to him next time.
Okay Ladies - Im still very very swollen but here goes
Today Im PO day 12. You'll recall, I'll be 65 next month and I had the first ever Granny Takeover which, in my case, consisted of a BR w lipo of armpits and bra back area. A tummy tuck with muscle repair. And lipo of my flanks. My pannus was 4.8 lbs. Dr Godat took 1.2 lbs from one breast and slightly more from other plus he lipo'd about 5 lbs altogether. My skin tone isn't like a younger woman's. I've had HBP half my life plus high cholesterol and triglycerides for decades.
I did this because Im a newly-wed 4 yrs, an empty nester and have a full life ahead of me. I weighed 188 Pre-op, 180 this morning and Im 5'6", unless I've begun to shrink as I've aged.
Dr David Godat in Dallas is the perfect combination for me of medical competency and artistry. He and his staff are professional but very down to earth, approachable. I have no reservations about recommending him, especially for us more mature women with special needs.
My hips are still very swollen, as you can see. So keeping all that in mind, "here I is y'all!"
Oh, I forgot to add....
...that a couple of the PS I consulted on my journey to selecting Dr Godat told me they'd get me into a bikini. I'm 64. I've been to nude and topless beaches in my life but have NE-ver worn a bikini. But you know what, since I'm not a perfectionist, plus I've seen a LOT worse on beaches around the world, I just might do it! We only live how many times? Yep. That we know of, anyway. :q
...swollen bulge over hips. They've shrunk a little and Stacey assures me they'll go down. I messed around and slept in a compressing panty girdle last night. Woke up to an ugly, oozing at site where my one remaining drain extends from my body. So wont try that again. I'll just have to find patience and trust the healing process.
I AM SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!
No, I'm not high on Valium! I'm 15 days post op and I'm now drain free and cg free (gosh I hated that thing) and have not even taken ES Tylenol today so far and it's 2:09pm
I pulled on an old Flexees high waisted panty girdle (no legs). It's too long from crotch to bottom of my surgical bra, but it sure beats that cg!
So what do you post op TT and BR ladies suggest I use? What's worked for you? I still need to use a Spanx type level of compression, but I'm short waisted. I love the idea of this Flexees high waisted waist nipper but I need one that's about 3 inches shorter from crotch to top.
I also have 2 full body Spanx thingies - they're like swimsuits, but I don't know if I should where that type garment over my new BR....?
I also thought of a plain waist nipper (kinda like the cg but shorter from bottom to top).
Oh! I just remembered I also have 2 of those Spanx that have a cut-out for your bra, and it goes down to 2-3 inches below your waist. You know, those are comfy but they always roll up from the bottom if I'm not wearing them over full cotton panties!
Grrrrr!!!! Somebody need to create shape wear for short waisted ppl. Wait! Maybe that translates to petite shape wear. I used to wear a PXL size blouse pre sx because they're made for shorter waisted women. I'll do an Internet search for petite shape wear! Yeah! Dat's da ticket!
Gosh I'm so happy! I love this website because y'all who have gone before me just keep reminding me to be patient and things get better with time, and it does. There were many times I needed to hear that, you know. I mean I new it intellectually but I still needed to be told.
Another week or two and I'll be able to walk standing straight up. I'm sooooo looking forward to that milestone now.
Lightening bolts in my tits are driving me CRAZY!!!!!
Started 2 weeks ago. Have increased in frequency and intensity since then. I'm using ice packs for 20 minutes. Took Naproxen earlier today...kinda dulled them again but not really. Woke me up in pain at 4am this morning!!! Could not get back to sleep. I KNOW its my nerve endings reconnecting, which is a blessing but OMG!
4 weeks post op and decided to go back to a little Norco
Actually what I have are a few hydrocodone/acetaminophen tablets, given to me as a generic for Norco (i.e. Vicodin) prescribed by my PS. Post op I took 2 325 mg tablets every 3-4 hours. Stopped needing them 2nd week post op. But the zingers in my new boobs have wakened me at 3am when I'd already taken half a Valium tab. So I was looking for something more potent. One Norco every 12 hours seems to help right now. Hope it keeps up. Ice packs help for a little while too but need to be repeated every couple hours.
All the lipo spots are still just as sore as 3 weeks ago. I read here that some ppl massage them and relief comes over time. I'll ask my PS about that Tuesday. I also still have 3 burning spots in my tummy. Thought the drains caused them but they're long gone so don't know.
Have 5 spots that are slow to heal on my TT incision. they are, as some women here have advised me, slooooowwwwly getting better. I won't use peroxide on them anymore - an RN RS member here told me its too harsh. So we went back to just a little Neosporin then covered them with these wound care products hubby found at Walgreens that seem to work pretty well - protects the wound from my clothing rubbing it, yet allows a little air to get to the wound.
My breast healed up quite nicely, thank God. I saw some women who's breast had slow to heal spots like my TT incision - that would be scary.
Oh! I am shedding dead skin like a snake! My breats, arms, legs, midriff, butt. I mean big flakes of dead skin. I usually shed each fall when the weather changes but this is much more. Somebody said its due to the anesthesia...? Another part of the process, huh?
Well, let's see, what else. Oh. Still swollen across my lower tummy and at each end of my TT incision. Has gone down considerably and the humps are no longer warm to the touch but are tender. I'm still very numb across the surface of my belly too. Feels weird. My bb is a scab still. I expect to find a huge scab laying in my panties any day now - hope I remember it's from my bb.
Have 2 old school Spanx that I love wearing as my compression garment. Went out shopping today to buy 2 more but apparently this style isn't available anymore. They're like bathing suit. The current bathing suit version is very different in the bust area. Mine are 100% Lycra including the bust. These new ones are not Lycra in the bust area. Seems they'd flatten the bust out so I didn't buy any.
Here are some pics I took this week. All in all I'm feeling much better than 2 weeks ago...more stamina, appetite is back (oh ooo
Oops! Posted before I intended to!
I was saying my appetite is back (oh oooo). I was 188 pre op, 174 is the lowest I've gotten to post op. was 175.5 this am, but then I haven't pooped in 3-4 days. Eating fruit. Drinking water and EcoDrink from Costco. Took one herbal pill. Only produced gas. So will prob take 2 pills tonight. Could be that I'm concerned about a friend who had bariactric sleeve surgery Tuesday but is still in the hospital with complications. Worried for her. She's the friend I cruised to Alaska with last month just before my surgery.
Well, I think that's my update. I'll add those pics now....if I can. Tapped Add Photo but nothing happened....
"Add Photo" isn't responding
Ill add current photos as soon as I get this website to let me...
It's 504 am and PAIN woke me and
It's 504am and PAIN woke me an hour ago. Engorged, achiness and sharp bolts inside my breasts. Comes in waves. I cup my breasts with my hands until the pain subsides - 4-5 minutes. 3-4 min later I feel the engorged feeling coming again.
I feel a burning sensation in 3 places on my belly, deep inside. Sometimes it builds to a sharp crescendo then slowly fades away. Sometimes comes right back. Sometimes comes back in a couple hours.
I feel a general achiness and itching in my flanks, across my back and love handles areas, all the liposuction areas.
This has been going on for 5 weeks but worse the last two. Today Im 5 weeks post op. intellectually I know tissue is connecting and healing in my breasts. Nerve endings are reconnecting in them. I know liposuction leaves tunnels that the CG collapses and the areas must heal. I know the MR in my tummy takes several months to heal and flatten.
But knowing all that doesn't stop the pain.
Ibuprofen 800 mg tabs, 500 mg Alleve, 650 mg Tylenol. Nothing works. I only have 3 Vicodin left. I have to save them for trying days. Like yesterday. I took one so I could record a radio voice over then do a film audition in relative comfort. When breast pain broke through the Vicodin relief, I find a way to cradle my breasts inconspicuously in the studio.
In time this will all subside and I can enjoy my new breasts and greatly reduced tummy. But right now.... I have to lay here in my recliner and listen to my husband snore (since he's chosen to not use his C-pap machine tonight). Oh great. He farted. Now is a good time for me to move to another bedroom so I can whimper aloud, hold my breasts and feel sorry for my gorgeous new bodied self. OMG.
Post shower and all greased up!
Some days are up. Some days down. Today is UP! I FEEL ENCOURAGED! Tummy may flatten YET!
New swimsuit and vaca will cheer me up!
And now that I can SEE my thighs I see I need to do some pliers and side leg lifts, hahaha!
I remember reading posts here where some women say their husband didn't support their decisions to have surgery. Some women withhold telling their men until it's over. My man complimented me at the first post op reveal. Since then I hear he's said to other ppl "She looks like she's 18." However what he says to me is "Diet and exercise and you'll get down to 155." I had come down to 188 from 192 by sx date on my 5'5" frame. PS cut 11 lbs off me and I've lost 11 more since. Not doing anything to lose other than staying away from carbs and sugar and moving, not just being sedentary. But honestly...my fear is leveling off then gaining weight. So I said to my husband "You diet and exercise. I'm happy with myself as I am. I think I look great for my age." (I'll be 65 November 30th.) Anyway, it sure looks like he's pointing his finger at me to draw attention away from his big belly, soft, melting chest and extra pounds at age 66. Men. Why do they play these games, behave this way? Women ROCK!
3 months/13 weeks post op - Tramadol is STILL my Friend!!!
Ladies - its been 3 months or 13 weeks since September 27th and I have to say I cannot get through a day yet without 50 mg of Tramadol. This brought me down at first but I had to remind myself not to compare myself with others. I AM very pleased that I've lost 11lbs (cut off me during surgery) plus another 16.5lbs since then. I don't know why I'm losing, other than I can only eat "like a bird" because my tummy is so tight (like a drum) if I overeat I am miserable. I mean I know my stomach is kinda above the navel and to the center left, but if I eat more than a certain amount the area below my navel and across the center feels like its overly full and pulling on my muscles and its very very uncomfortable for about an hour to an hour and a half. Laying down helps when I make a mistake. But I rarely do. I use this phenomena as a failsafe and obey it. So I focus on getting nutrient dense and protein dense foods down first, and only sip a little water when I eat a meal, leaving the carbs at a bare minimum. I stay full-feeling/satisfied for the usual period so I don't need to eat "several smaller meals". I eat breakfast (e.g. 1 egg, 2 strips bacon, decaf coffee) around 8 to 10am to get my metabolism going then dinner around 5 or 6pm. In between I might have a 5 or 6 almonds or fruit or 4oz juice or water or 1 strip microwaved turkey bacon with pepper...you get the picture...every 2 hours or so. And of course I cheat. For example, I love Jay's Limon potato chips or salt and vinegar potato chips. So if I by a 99 cent bag (once each month), that's 3 treats over 3 days. My Thanksgiving turkey dinner from Luby's has lasted 4 dinners, will finish it tonight even though I've run out of the cranberry sauce. The slice of pecan pie was 3 treats over 3 days. I sweeten my measly 1 cup of decaf coffee in the morning with a little Equal and sugar free French Vanilla powdered creamer. So I'm 166.5 now, down from 194. Looks great, but I still have swollen incision ends on my TT - PS says that might be fat and we can it lipo later if I like. I take the Tramadol (1 ea 12 hours) because standing up, leaning to the side or center, turning in bed, trying to sleep on my side, etc. all brings burning/stinging to BR incisions and the ends of TT incision. I still experience burning to the right of and above the bb. Plus I still experience abnormal feeling surges in nipples (strong, painful erections) about 1-2 times every hour. Tramadol dampens all that. The lightening bolts or zingers I used to feel have lessened in intensity and frequency. Now I did experience one strange isolated symptom for 2 weeks while on our cruise to Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico where the weather was humid and hot. My tits itched like CRAZY!!! At one point I had to remove my bra on the sly while walking through the street market in Puntarenas MX!!! Then my nipps touched the cotton in my dress and decided to continue to itch plus painfully surge forward. So when the pathway got narrow and crowded you should have seen me turning sideways so I could brush my tits with my nails or against the arms of whoever was passing by me. I have no shame when I'm being tortured by my own body, girl!!!!
Coming up on 4 mos post op Jan 27th. UPDATE
I now know that THIS body of mine, MY body, knows what she needs and no matter what, she will see to it that she gets it. So based upon what I've experienced so far, it will take another 4 to 6 months minimum to feel pain, tenderness and zinger free. Yes. It will be a slow process.
But that makes sense. It took me a year to recover from each birth. I remember that late in my pregnancies I felt what seemed like my pelvis expanding and stretching. And post birth, at around 10 or 11 months, I felt my pelvis contracting, tightening up. I came to realize that was the sign I was healed from childbirth. So looking back on this experience, being "sliced, diced and sucked" as in a TT, BR and lipo, and studying the progress of my pain subsiding, It's safe to say the downward spiral of discomfort will take several more months.
I recall the hospital physician coming into my room, looking down at me and saying You had quite a bit of work done, young lady. In pain, waiting for the nurse to bring morphine, I thought No s#*t Sherlock, but I said aloud Yes, I did, while smiling sweetly and sheepishly. I knew I was taking on a lot at 64 years of age. But I knew my body and I had faith. And my PS vetted my medical history really well.
When I visited my PS last week I shared with him what I was still experiencing that required me to take 50mg of tramadol each morning and 25mg at night: zingers in my breasts, very painful nipple surges, pain in my BR incisions when I changed my position relative to the ground in any direction, pain and burning in the ends of my TT incision when I tried to shift or turn in bed. Only the lipo'd areas in my back and sides were less tender. He said That's nerve regeneration. Tramadol won't help with that. I'll prescribe neurontin (I think I spelled that right) a generic for a drug that starts with a G. You can try 2 Alleve, he said, but the neurontin will help with the pain from nerve regeneration. He then said But you that's a good sign... He was referring to the nipple surges and pain. I said Yeah, I know... We both blushed. Yes, African American women blush.
And it has helped some. What my PS can't help me with is the discomfort any bra I've purchased so far causes...Genie-type bras of several brands, wired and wireless bras. Nothing is comfortable so far. Wired bras underwire presses against my BR incisions in the middle even when I try larger sizes (I.e. a 40 or 42 rather than a 36 or 38). Wireless bras give me a uniboob that really makes my breasts ache (even when I try a 2X or 3X). I walk around tugging at the middle of whatever bra I'm wearing every 3 minutes. What I need is a bra that keeps the 2 breasts separate without an underwire.
You see, when nude my breasts hang astoundingly beautifully. OMG, they're...somebody else's. But when harnessed by a bra, my right breast turns slightly leftward to the extent that the nipple doesn't rest into the point of the bra. I don't consider that a fault of the surgeon - he/she reshapes the breast to meet visual aesthetics on a plane. Perhaps someone reading this will be familiar with this phenomenon.
Aside from all that, I just cannot believe my new body, still!!! I can now wear all of the wardrobe in my closet and it all fits a helluva lot better. I was a Misses 14, a PXL, or a 1X at 194 lbs. Now at 164 lbs I'm a Misses12 and sometimes a 10, and a PL. Some things in my closet are just too big now. :)
And my new red bikini!!! I bought 2 identical tops, one is a 36DD and other a 38DDD. The 38 gives me a prettier back - yes I was lipo'd but at 65 the muscles just aren't tight. I bought 2 different red bottoms in sizes 12 and 14. I'm wearing the 12 in the picture above - I like it's little skirt effect.
As I strut around (hahaha) no one knows I'm still experiencing some discomfort. And I know that sometime this summer I'll stop and say...Gee! I don't feel any pain anymore! That is...IF I solve this bra problem!
GUESS WHAT MY HUSBAND DID!!!!
Remember my post above entitled "Men"?
Well. My husband went to my PS, Dr. David M. Godat, and got himself a TT !!! Yeah, girl, and he looks aMAzing! I mean, he IS 66 going on 67 in April, but you know what I mean...he looks goooood to ME!
Before my sx, I took hubby with me to my 2nd consult with Dr. Godat to see if he liked him too. We all just chatted away swimmingly and Dr. was explaining how he uses Strattice, also called porcine, an altered pig skin product, to make a pocket to hold a breast implant for women with flat chests or for mastectomy patients. Hubby says Oh...well could you use that to repair a child's football-sized hernia? I got it from "seat belt syndrome" 30 years ago. I'm the sole survivor of a small aircraft crash. The seat belt severed my torso and pushed my innards through my stomach muscles and over to the right. Lately when I lift things I feel it tear a little more. Plus my back is starting to be pulled into an S curve. I don't want to have it repaired with mesh - I've read too many negative things about it on the Internet.
And with that, everybody's attention shifted from ME to my husband and his wonderfully intriguing and challenging medical issue for which an innovative surgical technique would HAVE to be applied, using an expensive but very effective solution...Strattice. (Can you FEEL my sarcasm?)
So Dr. says Let me see.... Then he says Yeah. Yeah! We can repair that. I'll need some x-rays, maybe a CAT scan... I'm going Whatever....
December 23rd my hubby had his hernia repaired and OF COURSE Dr. had to continue across his stomach and remove his round belly fat, pull the flap down and move his navel up. Et voila! A tummy tuck! No muscle repair. Men.
But seriously girls, he looks amazing. Near flatness where that round genie belly I used to rub used to be. Hmmmm. So how do I get my presents now?! Lol. Jk
15 months post-op update
Hi Ladies - I thought I'd post a quick update to my "Granny Takeover" surgery September 27th of 2013.
I'm still absolutely loving my new look - I've transitioned to a size 12 from a size 14-16 and sometimes 2x-3x. I moved from a 38G bra to a 38D-38DD which is MUCH better for my neck and back - no pain now whatsoever. The downside is the breast reduction scars under each breast. The scars are completely healed but they are still intermittently very tender and itchy. I say intermittently because sometimes they feel quite comfy. But most of the time ANY bra proves to be uncomfortable where the bottom of the bra touches my scars, whether its an underwired bra are no. Also very often I walk around holding my breasts with my forearm so that they don't feel tugged on when I'm bra-less (because I've removed an uncomfy bra). Other times I don't feel that tugging sensation at all, like right now. When My husband holds my breasts, most times I have to stop him from touching the scar underneath. Last summer when we were in hot, humid weather, my entire breasts itched like crazy.
So I consulted my dermatologist. She said all the above was normal for some people, and unfortunately I'm one of those people. She said talcum powder will help with the itching in the summertime. And she prescribed triamcinolone acetonide cream 0.1% for use on my scars under my breasts. The cream helps a little - I applied it only in the am. It contains a steroid so I didn't want to apply it too often.
I think this discomfort is just something I'm going to have to live with. Small price to pay for my new look.
I mentioned above that I weighed about 194 pre-op. Post op I lost weight without trying over several weeks down to 164. After that I gradually inched up to 168.5 and seemed to settle there. Then October 1st my hubby and I moved to a different state and greatly downsized our home. Traumatic for me. It took us 6 weeks to unpack most of the boxes...just in time for Thanksgiving! Now its almost New Years and I see my weight is creeping up - I was 171.5 the other day...! Could be too much delicious holiday food even though I watched what I ate pretty well.
So I'm increasing my physical activity - riding my mountain bike around the neighborhood for about 40 minutes 3 times a week. I may look into a pilates or yoga set of classes or (ugh!!!) a gym. I'm 66 years old now and weight gain is a constant threat. I'm happy though. I have a new book out that I'm marketing. And I'm looking into producing my tv talk show for senior women again in my new geographic area. So I'm staying busy...just evidently not busy enough to keep the pounds from trying to creep back on me. At least, though, they can't stick to the areas I had reduced or lipo'd...yay! So that means my tummy is still flat but now I'm getting some much needed hips and ass! Yaaaayyy! Yes, its true, some Black women have flat asses. I'm one of them. lol
Almost 2 years Post Op
Hi Ladies - I'm about 2 months shy of my 2 year surgery date. I thought I 'd share what my current status is.
I'm now 66 yrs old. If you recall post op I lost weight without trying...down from 196 to 164. Then my appetite came back! Haha. I've slowly crept up to 178. Its interesting though. I was in the "apple shape" category before surgery, with slim thighs, flat butt, belly fat and big boobs. I had back lipo, so I knew I wouldn't gain fat there again. But guess where I HAVE gained!? My thighs, butt and midriff. So I'm morphing into a "pear shape" now - which is okay because I always envied fit pear shapes. Dr can't lipo the midriff area...something about the nerves there in the solar plexus area. So I'm not too fond of the gain in my midriff area. But overall, I'M STILL LOVIN' MY NEW SHAPE!!!
I wear a size 12 now, bra size 38DD, and I struggle with a little guilt 'cause I still buy youthful clothes - I like to show off my waistline. Many of my size 14 and larger vlothes look even better on me now, while others I had to give away.
My hubby and I have been getting to the gym twice a week for a couple months now, working up to three times per week next. He's looking at knee replacement in September and we both want to slow the roll on our weight gain now that we're more retired, less active.
I still have some physical challenges. I'm not sure if they're due to my age or not. My nipples atill haven't regained the erotic sensitivity they had before surgery. To be candid ladies, I used to reach orgasm just nipple manipulation! Not now, and I miss that luxury. But they fit in my husband's hands now. Lol
In hot humid weather, my breasts still itch. Talcum powder helps, if I happen to have it with me.
My br scars hurt much less but are still tender and are also itchy in hot, humid weather. And though I've purchased all kinds of bras, NONE are comfortable! I'm always pulling, tugging them away from my br scars.
My tt scar is NOT tender, however. No itching either. Its still fairly dark and thick but that doesn't concern me. My navel is dark too. Most of my tt scar and navel area has a numb sensation.
No residual anything from the extensive back lipo area.
Oddly...I'm experiencing a kind of effect similar to the "phantom limb" that amputees experience. When my nipples and navel are touched, it feels as though the touch is WAY off the mark! Very odd sensation.
Okay. I will post some pics I took this morning. As you can see, we've moved to a much smaller house, a beach house on the water in another state. LOVE IT here! I've become a published author and I've done some book signings; I'm still pitching my tv talk show hoping to produce a 2nd season; and I've been auditioning for film and tv far more often than I did back in Dallas - have even booked a few roles. So life is very good!
AND I'M SO GLAD I DID MY GRANNY TAKEOVER!!!!!
pics from this morning
Here's the pics I promised.