Tummy Tuck/Breast Lift Update: Took Me 40 Years to Find Peace with my Body - Dalton, GA

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Today is post-op day number 3. After a lifetime of...

Today is post-op day number 3. After a lifetime of struggling with body issues I finally decided to do something about it. I am 40 years old and I just had a full tummy tuck with muscle repair and a breast lift (without implants). I will post some before and after pics in the next few days when I feel a little better. I know how helpful the pics on this site were for me before my procedure. Now for the details:

I got married really young (age 18) and had both of my kids by the age of 21. Although I was not heavy as a teenager, I never really liked my body or had any self confidence when it came to showing my body. Having two kids did not help in that area. I got stretch marks and a wrinkled, poochy belly. I started hiding my body although I was only 21. Over the years I gained and lost a lot of weight. At my highest I weighed 237 pounds. The pregnancies and the weight loss caused my breast to deflate and sag. My stomach literally hung over my pantyline. After that I would only get fully naked when the lights were out. My husband was always great about it, telling me I looked fine but I knew the truth and hid my trouble areas as much as possible.

When I turned 40 I decided it was time to finally do something for myself. Our kids were grown and in college so I definitely had the time to devote to myself (now, in retrospect, I wish I wouldn't have waited so long). I found my plastic surgeon through a co-worker who had used him for her tummy tuck and was very happy. At the consult he told me that in his opinion I did not need implants to achieve what I wanted (perky, round breast.... Same size... On my chest instead of drooping on my stomach). We set a date for the FTT and BL and I made my down payment.

At first I was more excited than nervous but that changed when I had less than a week till my surgery. The last few days it was all I could think about. My stomach ached and to be honest I definitely had a few mini panic attacks! I have never had surgery before and was really nervous about being put to sleep. I prayed a lot and leaned on my family for reassurance. The night before my surgery I only got 3 hours of sleep. I tossed and turned nonstop.

The morning of my surgery I was actually a bit calmer. My PS has a beautiful facility and a wonderful staff! They do everything possible to make you feel comfortable. They were very reassuring and made sure to tell me everything that was going on. They even asked me what type of music I wanted in the operating room to fall asleep to! When they laid me on the operating table I began to feel nervous again. That didn't last long! I saw the anesthesiologist messing with my IV and wondered if he put something in it. That was my last thought... The room looked like it was flexing in and out (matrix style) and the next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room fully dressed! I remember being confused and feeling some pain. I also remember the nurse telling me that I made everyone's day by smiling really big when they woke me up in the OR! Of course I don't remember that but I guess even my subconscious was glad it was over and that droopy belly and droopy boobies were gone forever!

I don't remember too much of the rest of surgery day. I just remember a lot of pain and a lot of sleep. I do remember getting up to use the potty chair and literally seeing stars fom the pain. I am not telling you this to scare anyone, everyone's journey is different and unfortunately mine has been on the painful side so far. The next morning (po day 2) I went for my post surgery examination and I got to see my tummy and breasts for the first time. It was so surreal... I could not believe they were mine. My stomach is flat and I have a cute, non-wrinkled belly button. All of the stretch marks are gone except a few light ones right near the base of my stomach. My breasts are round and perky. I just stared and stared. The pain, the money, the whole journey was so worth it! I am no longer embarrassed about my body. Swollen and stitched up, I have still shown my daughter, my mother and yes.... My poor husband who has waited forever. I'm only 3 days post-op but I can already tell how life changing this will be for me.

As I have said earlier, these past 3 days have been a bit painful for me. It does get better each day but wow, pain pills will be your new best friend! I have that really good recliner that literally stands you up from a sitting position. I also have a raised potty chair and a walker. All of this has been really valuable. I'm taking loratab for pain and it makes me comfortable but all the pain never really goes away. Getting up hurts like hell but you have to do it. It takes almost an hour for my body to settle down afterwards. Reading these stories on this site it seems like I am having more pain than most but I am hoping to turn a corner in the next few days. The nurse said I could shower today but there is no way I could climb the stairs or sit in the shower that long. I can barely walk across the room to my potty chair without feeling like I'm dying! I really, really hope the pain lets up tomorrow. It's got me feeling a little down (yes.... I even shed a few tears). However, looking at my new body brings me so much joy... I just hope the pain will go away so I can really enjoy it! I will keep you updated and post some pics in a few days. Thanks for listening :)

It is post-op day 6 today. Happy 4th of July! Yes,...

It is post-op day 6 today. Happy 4th of July! Yes, it's 4am and yes I am wide awake! The good news is it is not from any pain. The first few days were rough for me, I'm not gonna lie. I got really tired of sitting in the recliner all day, uncomfortable... Not being able to do anything for myself. Then to top it all off I went through the constipation nightmare everyone talks about and my first coughing fit on post-op day 4. In a nut shell: coughing? No! Do everything short of punching yourself in the throat to avoid it. My brilliant self choked on a glass of water twice and literally felt like my guts were being ripped out. Sneezing? No. I figured out how to grab that grisel between the nostrils and shake it to disrupt a sneeze. Vomiting? Let's give that one a Hell No! I only got nauseated once but it was bad. My husband had already given me the puke bucket and my mouth was watering like crazy. I havent prayed like that in a long time! It was literally a mind over matter moment but I won it. I can only imagine what that would have felt like. And finally.... Laughing... Unfortunately another big "No". Do NOT try to watch a comedy like "Shallow Hal". Avatar or something more serious is a much safer bet. Unfortunately, my family is really funny by nature so I have had a lot of "gut-wrenching" moments. And a final word of advice on the constipation issue: if you do not want to feel like you have just given birth naturally while your entire stomach is on fire then I highly recommend taking something early and often. Enough said.

Now for the good news! I have felt better every day and now after almost a week I swear I am almost human again. I stopped taking the pain pills after post-op day 4 since it really just became discomfort at that point. I still walk like I am 90 years old but I am able to stand straighter and stay up longer each day. I was very lucky to be able to share my grandma's medical stuff including her small, fold up wheel chair and it really has helped when my back hurts from being hunched over. I am amazed at my body. I have never really liked my body and have hidden it well for the last 20 years. No matter how fit I got or how thin, my stomach was poochy and saggy.... And covered with stretch marks. Then my breast eventually headed south too, looking deflated and sad. Now my stomach is smooth and flat, even though it is swollen. I have shown it to more people (family.... Not random strangers... Ha ha) in the past week than I have ever shown it in my entire life. Everyone is amazed. It is strange not to care about pulling my shirt up. I would have avoided that at all cost just a week ago! My breasts look great too. I was a little worried about what they were gonna look like since I had chosen not to get implants. My PS had assured me he felt like he could get a really good shape and lift with the breast tissue I had but had also said "they probably won't look like your 18." Well in my opinion they do... Lol. My daughter said they looked very "young", my sister said they reminded her of hers when she was 17 and my husband said they looked like the front of an airplane (he assured me this was a compliment.... Um.... Okay.....) but the point is I'm not embarrassed and finally feel attractive. I might eventually feel sexy when I am not stitched up like a rag doll or hunched over like the hunchback. :)

I promise I will post pics in the next couple of days. I had not really felt like taking after shots till recently. I will take some today although I still can't really straighten up and still have my drainage tubes (think they are coming out tomorrow... Yay!). My advice if you are thinking about it or have it scheduled is to go for it! Do everything your doc recommends, prepare well, buckle down for that first week after surgery and best of all.... Enjoy the new you!

Post-op day 10! I have made it over the mountain...

Post-op day 10! I have made it over the mountain and am coming down the other side. Everyday seems to get better, finally! I still can't stand up totally straight yet but am not complaining since everything else has gotten a lot better. I asked the nurse if this was normal on my last doc visit (pre-op day 6) and she said yes, that everyone heals differently and that tall, long-waisted people typically stay hunched over longer. Dang.....Hip, hip hooray for being tall.

I've been able to get out more but have to admit I am a little embarrassed to ride in the motorized cart or walk around hunched over. People like to stare at the stupidest stuff! Doesn't help that my husband thinks its funny to tell random people in the store that I'm faking. Oh well... it is just good to get out!

The thing I noticed about this surgery is the different stages you go through. At first, all you care about is being comfortable and pain-free. Then its all about obsessing over bodily functions (sneezing, coughing, pooping, etc). Then, when all that is under control you start obsessing about the drainage tubes, showering and figuring out what the hell is pinching (seemed like I was always having the phantom pinch.... here a pinch... there a pinch.... everywhere a pinch pinch). It is true that when those drainage tubes come out you feel like a new person. That happened post-op day 6 for me. Now I am in the itchy stage and the "tired of looking at the floor" stage. I want to stand up straight so bad I can taste it! Everyday I am able to stretch out a little more and today I noticed it really is only the shoulder areas that are still hunched. The itching thing is crazy. I am sure it is a sign that I am healing but when everything that has been sliced, stitched, swollen, scabbed-over or binded begins itching all at once it can be a bit much. Especially at 2:30 am. *sigh*

To end on a positive note, I am finally posting pics. I love, love, love the results. It is so strange to go from hiding your body (trust me, I had it down to an art form) to feeling confident to show it. Every time I look in the mirror I am surprised at the body I see. It time I have really liked my body. I think I had to go through the rough saggy baggy body times to really appreciate what I have now. My body probably still isn't perfect by some standards but I don't care! Its perfect to me :) I tried to pick before and after shots that show how dramatic the results have been. The breast pics are in a bra or partially covered...... sorry.... but its just not me to put up totally nude ones (even though they look really good now... ha ha). I think you can still see the shape change, especially the roundness. The bra is a simple underwire in both, not a push up. I am so glad my doc was able to get such a great shape without an implant. I will try to post a few more after pics when (if) I am ever able to stand upright and when the swelling has gone down and the surgical tape has come off. The surgery has been pretty major for me, both in recovery and results. I am really happy about doing it and can't wait to be fully recovered so I can truly enjoy it! Hope everyone has a relatively happy,fulfilling journey like mine.

Two weeks today since my surgery (post-op day 13)....

Two weeks today since my surgery (post-op day 13). I am almost standing straight now, I am just slightly hunched over. Can't wait to be totally vertical! Went to the doc today and they released me from any restrictions. Said I was healing great and gave me the go ahead to diet, exercise (in moderation.... starting slow) and to drink wine! I have missed my occasional glass with dinner sooooooo blackberry muscadine wine and I will be getting reacquainted again tonight :)

I plan to start a diet tomorrow to try and get the last 10-15 pounds off. I asked the nurse if it would affect the results of my surgery and she assured me it would only make it look better. Great! Next week they are going to remove the surgical tape and the stitches from my belly button. I was hoping the tape would come off today since I am tired of blow drying it after showering (and the tummy tape is starting to flap) but they told me it really helps with scarring so I guess I can remain taped up for another week. I also plan to try and sleep on my side if possible, I am so tired of sleeping on my back! Also, if I could stand straight enough to button my jeans it would be a happy day indeed. You just can't feel attractive rotating jogging pants and pajama bottoms. Normal clothes here I hopefully come....

Hope everyone is having a good week whether you are waiting for your surgery or recovering like me. I will post more pics to show the scar and my progress when the surgical tape is off and stitches come out (if I can figure out where the add pic button went.....)
Dalton Plastic Surgeon

I am so glad a co-worker referred this doctor to me. My experience was fabulous in every way. His staff is so professional, friendly and knowledgable. The office is beautiful and everything is done there including the surgery. The staff/doctor answered all my questions and spent a lot of time with me. I never felt rushed or unimportant. They made me feel comfortable, especially the day of my surgery and took really good care of me. The doctor called me the evening of my surgery to personally check on me. My results were more than i had hoped for... I look great! I would highly recommend this doctor and his fabulous staff.

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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