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After a lifetime of struggling with weight issues...

After a lifetime of struggling with weight issues I had Lapband Surgery in 2009. I feel like this is the last thing to bring the mirror and my head in to alignment. The extra belly skin is embarrassing (makes ALOT of noise when I jog) and I have to put underarm deodorant because this area sweats and seriously stinks - if I don't.

36 Hours Pre-Op

Here are a few pictures of me at my heaviest - the camera was NOT something I enjoyed back then. I had Lap-band surgery July 29, 2009. I was about 250 at my heaviest. I'm 5'4".

Day of surgery and 1 day post op

I'm giving this update 10 day post op and I'll break things down into updates that I have taken photos.

Let me start by saying my doctor uses a hospital that is 1.5 hours from his office. His entire team and choice of hospital is one of the MANY MANY benefits of making sure you are using a true professional who's passionate about what he does. They used a numbing compound to prep for my IV, had warming blankets in the prep room and immediately in the operationing room.

Here are the first pictures when I saw my new belly. I was actually in surgery for 12.5 hours. The entire process was as pain-free as possible. EVERY single person from the admittance, to the operating team, recovery and hospital room staff were caring, compassionate, professional and loving.

They helped me take these photos - my first view of my new tummy.

I had a catheter and 2 drains.

3 days Post op

After my surgery I stayed in the hospital overnight then I headed home. I am a single lady so I was very reliant on my adult children for the first couple days - they did the best they could but I would absolutely advise you to have 24 hour care for the first 4 days if possible.

Prepping for this - I purchased a lift chair and planned on staying on the main level or my home for the first couple days. It worked out wonderful. I also started taking a stool softener the week before surgery and took both a stool softener AND laxative once I returned home. I NEVER had any issues with going to the bathroom.

My walker was provided by my doctor - he said NO walking upright for 1 week. I purchased and would HIGHLY recommend purchasing a raised toilet seat from a local thrift store (make sure to thoroughly clean & try to find one with handles). Also purchase one of those grabber extended arms. I also purchased a TENS unit from Walgreens - knowing my lower back and neck were bound to get sore by walking hunched and laying on my back & side (I'm a belly sleeper).

The TENS unit I used is here: http://www.ptproductsonline.com/2016/10/omron-heat-pain-pro-device-offers-combination-tens-heat

Make sure to clear everything with your doctor first - mine just said NOT to use any heat when I used it.

Incision is all the way around - everything is pretty numb as far as the incision goes. I did have ALOT of liposuction (I don't bruise very easy - so it doesn't look as bad, but it's sore). And because I had so much extra skin my doctor had to make an incisions under my belly button to bring everything together nicely. (He had told me about this prior to surgery).

But a lanyard to hang any drains - I didn't like the idea of attaching them to my clothes.

Instead of paying ogles of money for sterile bandages my doctor suggested using the pads you'd use for your monthly period (much more affordable and absorbent) I also purchased paper tape to hold them together.

I believe disposable underwear is also nice the first week because everything is so swollen and you don't want anything to be tight.

I stayed on top of my pain control with a mixture of hydrocodone and Valium and I didn't have much issues with pain. He also provided an anti-nausea medicine - encourage fluids,
healthy eating and plenty of protein.

There were times I found myself stuck like a turtle laying on my back because I didn't have a person or hand rail near by but they taught me at the hospital to roll on my left side (I didn't have a drain there) and let my legs fall off the bed and use my arms to push up. I eventually put my walking stick next to my bed and a step stool to make it easier.

My doctor actually came to my house 2 days post op to see how I was doing and he actually did a wound cleaning and prep for me. He genuinely took his time to look everything over and even slowed down to educate & talk to my children about how everything went.

I can't say enough good things about him.

He since called daily to check on me and even did a video call to make sure everything is looking good. He keeps me about 2 steps ahead of what's going on and prepares me for surprises he's seen in the past. So so so happy with what I've seen so far.

5 days post op

Tubes still in place but I got to take a shower today! THAT felt amazing - my daughter commented if I was going to shave my legs - REALLY? Not a priority right now!

Here are some pictures I took in the bathroom while I was doing my wound prep and the first time I really got to see how small my waste is - I'm incredibly happy, still medicated and staying on top of the pain management.

I sent these photos to my doctor so he can see what everything looks like - so far, so good.

6 & 7 days Post Op - little bump in the road

Think I over did it yesterday with the shower and noticed I had an area on my abdominal that was starting to swell. I sent pictures to my doctor and he explained when he did the liposuction of that area he created a little tunnel and the fluids could be accumulating there.

Since my drain out put were well under 30cc in 24 hour period he did another house call - removed my drains and fitted me for a corset. My pictures today are very revealing of the pubic area but I want you to see what to expect.

When he removed the drains there was no pain and he removed a few staples he had placed around - this also wasn't painful. He fitted me with pads and a corset to help mold the areas he's sculpted.

I have to say - I love it having to worry about the drains and I love this support I feel when I am wearing a corset. He said start by wearing it a few hours - now I really only remove it to shower and to eat. Because I'm trying to avoid sitting - I'm laying on my side when I eat - it makes it easier when don't have the corset on.

Can I say - I for the first time in my life have thigh gap and my girl parts are raised back up to where thy belong. These are ALL ADDED benefits to this surgery!

I'd also like to share for the first time in 10,years when I get out of the shower - I don't have to put deodorant on my belly flap. THIS makes me cry - I will never take my body for-granted again.

10 days post op

Still resting - I take an occasional field trip to pick up something little but then I'm wiped out for the day.

I'll do a little house work but allow myself plenty of rest. I have started removing the medical equipment (raised toilet seat and shower bench) I don't need them anymore.

12 days post op

Here are updated photos from wearing my corset. I am still using my TENS unit as a massage benefit and I have a u-shape neck vibrator I massage my thighs, belly and butt checks with daily. My doctors says any massage will help drain fluids through my lymphatic system. So make me spoil myself! ;)

I am still laying on my sides as much as possible . I like what I'm seeing going on with my behind. My doctor said this is one of the hardest areas to heal because there are so many stresses & pullers - I'm in a 36-38" corset and will work into a 32-34" in the next 6 weeks.

One more thing - have lots and lots and lots and lots of pillows - all different sizes. What is comfortable one day - won't be the next - so have options. Im pretty much on Tylenol during the day and will take a hydrocodone & Valium so I can make sure to get a good nights rest.

Spoil yourself - go easy on yourself and enjoy the down time. Catch up with friends - Allow friends to help - I've had some of the best meals in the past couple days because I asked a few friends if they make something, save me a serving. With it just really being me - if they bring more than a serving or two, it would go to waste.

I'll share more photos as I progress through this.

I can't say enough great things about my doctor and his entire staff. They are on call anytime I need them and have really raised the bar as to what I expect going forward - NOT that I would let anyone buy him touch my body for any plastic surgery.

One more update

Forgot to include these - I'm getting excited to buy a bikini! ????

2 weeks post op - this surgery needs to be called miracle make over!

My body looks better than it did 20 years ago. I NEVER had thigh gap and now I have this sexy little diamond shape from behind. I gave the doctor ALOT of work to do - and he turned me into a master piece.


OK Folks so when the doctor tells you to stay home and do bed rest - listen to him.

I was feeling NO pain (because of the pain med and Valium) and decided I'd return to work about 13 days post op and I've been paying for it ever since. I ended up opening the incision on my back side and have been on strict bed rest since. Tomorrow I will be getting a negative pressure wound therapy for my back side. Pictures are too gross to post - but I will post one once I have the therapy in place.

SO LESSON OF THE DAY - when they say bed rest. Do it. When they say use "this certain product" - DO it. When they say don't take a bath - DON'T - even if it's negative 50 degrees outside. I'm listening to whatever he says going forward!

3 weeks Post Op

I'm 3 weeks post op - Each day I am getting back to my normal self.

My doctor had told me to use a certain product for incision maintenance after surgery and I just learned I was using the wrong product. (Completely my fault here) because of that I ended up having part of the incision on my back side open up and start to spread.

Dr Franks & his nurse Erin quickly put a plan of action in place that included using a negative wound vac therapy. (NOTE: This is the holiday season & these folks are working!). Erin came to my house & applied the system.

I'm still not driving - When sleeping, I am laying on my side & avoid sitting for any long amounts of time. When sitting - I always tote a pillow to sit on. I can stand upright & walk for shirt distances. I can even lay on my stomach with several soft pillows underneath. (I'm a tummy sleeper).

Coughing, laughing & sneezing no longer hurt or ache. I am still taking a stool softener (started 1 week before surgery) and every other day or 2 I take a laxative. (I'm still taking some pain medication).

My corset - beautiful corset - it's a love/hate relationship. I line the inside with pads to help soften the feel & absorb my sweat. I'm currently in a 36-38" and will be moving down to 34-36" on my doctors visit scheduled in 4 days (also doing a wound vac change). I love what my body looks like when I wear this.

Increase your healthy lean protein intake to 100-140 grams while you are healing. It's the fuel that feeds the healing process. I wasn't eating enough the first week after surgery to help my body heal.


i was 9 days post op and was feeling really good. I had just started wearing my corset and I was staying on top of my pain management. THEN a client called and wanted to see a house. (I'm a realtor). I mistakenly thought I'm fine - no problem. Well it was a 5 level split and after touring for over an hour I had to tell him I was about to pass out. My pain meds had worn off and I was in pain. Once I got to my car I had to lay in the drivers seat for almost 30 minutes before I could drive myself home. THIS WAS SO INCREDIBLY UNSAFE!!!!!

Looking back I was under the influence and this incident partnered with using the wrong product on my incision caused the incision on my back side to open up and delay my healing.

SO LESSON LEARNED - Listen to your doctor, even if you think you are good to go - this is MAJOR surgery and your body needs time to heal. NOT only did I risk hurting others, I also exposed myself to germs and conditions when my body isn't in it's top condition.

5 weeks Post Op

Here's an update on incision healing.
I would ABSOLUTELY PLAN being out of work a solid 4-6 weeks if at all possible. 2 weeks is definitely NOT enough time for your body to heal. I apply Vaseline to my closed incisions a couple times a day and I have a small area that's healing up nicely - I apply Medi-Honey Paste and cover with gauze. My wound vac therapy is coming along nicely. I call it my fart box because it makes farting noises all day.
Just this week - I returned to my office for half day. It's getting a lot easier the more I am active to get the rusty kinks of bending and moving worked out. I still sit on a pillow when sitting in hard chairs.
Remember - PROTEIN PROTEIN PROTEIN. I eat protein oatmeal (10 grams) with a 30 gram protein shake. I want to average 30-40 grams of protein 3 - 4 times a day. Walmart or Sam's Club has the shakes I preferred and they taste amazing!
Weight wise - I was 160 pounds the day of surgery. I believe they removed 6 pounds of skin. I stepped on the scale and I'm at 149. The bed rest mixed with all the healthy eating - is paying off! Can't wait to get into the gym. I've included some photos from last June to today - love how clothes are fitting me. I'm still a little swollen on my backside and waste - so time will tell where we end up.
I don't need my electric chair with lift, raised toilet seat or walker - haven't for about 2 weeks. I can now easily sleep on my tummy - sneezing, coughing and laughing don't hurt. I'm completely off any pain medication. An occasional ibuprofen if I feel achey.
I have started taking pictures of myself - my head and body aren't on the same page yet - I do like what I see!
Des Moines Plastic Surgeon

He aligns with a boutique style hospital for surgery outside the area that is customer services focused and helps ensure discretion and privacy. (It's about 1.5 hours from Des Moines). Dr. Franks has a very friendly, professional and timely team and I can not say enough good things about his bedside manner. I felt like I was their only patient. They never rushed through any of our appointments, answered ALL my questions and did house calls after surgery where he answered all of my families concerns. I ABSOLUTELY know you get what you pay for and from the moment I stepped inside Dr. Franks office, (who had come highly recommended from a very picky hard to please and affluent friend) he's the doctor for me. I believe if I am trusting a doctor with my life and to do work on my body price is NOT the first concern. Initially I wanted a lower body lift AND a breast lift and Dr. Franks explained while many doctors perform both surgeries - he has found because it requires pulling in opposite directions, it's best to choose one and let you body heal and do the other at a later time. He was the ONLY doctor who took the time to explain why this is so important and showed me the long term benefits of waiting. I also enjoyed feeling he took genuine concern and care (so did every person on his team) about making sure I was educated and well informed of the process. SIDE NOTE I learned they was help low income breast cancer survivors, children with cleft lips and cranial reconstruction. If I am aligning myself, trusting my life and care, I truly appreciate that we have similar values. Dr. Franks is the best so his schedule fills up months in advance, I had the ability to schedule my surgery (with a very minimal deposit) to secure the date of MY choice knowing I could easily change or cancel at any time. I didn't hesitate to schedule my surgery 3 months out. From pre-op to the post op visit (in my home no less) THIS DOCTOR and his team of professionals are the best - nothing less than a miracle maker if you get to see my before and afters! I have nothing but wonderful good things to say about his work, his dedication and I personally noted the long hours he commits once you're committed to him. The transformation he made possible on my body has been nothing short of miraculous! Please take a peek at my photos and follow my journey - I have more surgeries planned and I won't be going anywhere else!

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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