After much research on this site I decided to back...
After much research on this site I decided to back out of my scheduled tummy tuck surgery, I was scheduled here in Norman, Oklahoma with Dr. James Magnusson. My sister got her breasts done with him a couple months ago and is very pleased with her results. I was scheduled for 4/14/16 for the cost of $6,500 plus $500 extra for suggested lipo to the flanks and he agreed to get my back bra rolls as well. A couple concerns I had besides the price...felt as though they were going to take away my curves which they claimed were not hips, having to come back to the office morning after surgery for a follow-up, he said the stitching above my pubic area would not turn out well due to stretch marks in this area, and he did not have a RealSelf account which seems odd to me. Another local doctor seemed a little more reasonable, price was $6,000, he would take the extra 15 minutes to cut pubic area stretch marks off, first follow-up would be after one week, but would take longer to get a surgery date, and fat grafting would cost an additional $5,500.
I decided to go with Dr. Mallol, he has a great special to get the TT, Lipo, and BBL for $3,750. I sent him pictures and it felt good to have him keep the price and even included lipo of the armpits which I'm sure my body would have looked unproportioned without. I have everything set up with having my passport expedited with an extra $60 fee, I am pretty sure I am traveling alone and would be staying at Recovery Tropical Deluxe, I will be booking my flight sometime in the next couple of days. I did start taking my pre-op vitamins per the doctor's request...65mg Iron twice a day, 400mcg Folic Acid daily, and 250mg Vitamin C once a day (his email said 01 a day, if anyone knows the right mg please let me know). My boyfriend of 4 years and I are debating if he should come with, we would get a rental car and hotel, he is very good at nursing and taking care of loved ones. Its just hard to depend on someone 100% cause you never know what tomorrow brings, I also worry about what there is to eat out there and the costs. I am terrified to be there alone with nobody to be there when I wake up or in case of emergency.
Any advise would be much appreciated, I have to figure all of this out asap.
My body journey...
Well just thought I'd share some insight of how my body has come to be, I am also attaching some pictures from my recent consultation. I am currently 145 lbs and 5'3. My tubes were tied in 2006, so no more babies for this mama. I have 3 amazing children, a 16 year old daughter, and 2 sons ages 12 and 10.
I had my beautiful daughter when I was 19 years old, no one ever warned me that having a child could disfigure my body or I would have been more careful. I put on 50 lbs during this pregnancy and she weighed 10.6 lbs. The doctor had no idea she was so large, she was 4 days late. I'm sure she should have been taken C-section, the nurse yelled in my face telling me I wasn't even trying to push her out, she basically had to be ripped out of me, I had 23 stitches inside out. The look on that same nurse's face was priceless, my daughter was the size of a 3 month old. She was loud and strong, barely even had to support her neck the first week, 20 lbs came off my weight instantly. When I went to my 6 week follow-up is when I was told the news, my stomach would never return to normal. No exercise would help, I would have to get a tummy tuck.
Pregnancy #2 was about the same, he weighed 10.3 lbs and I gained 50 lbs. I did develop an unusual stretch mark/scar on my left stomach area, it appears to have a strange vein that shows through. In consultation I was told that this would not be able to be removed in surgery, I'm hoping Dr. Mallol can get it off.
Pregnancy #3 I gained a lot more, a whole 75 lbs! They allowed me to give birth a week early that time, he weighed 9.1 lbs. I'm sure this pregnancy put a toll over skin on other skin areas of my body.
My children are very supportive of my surgery and I know they will be fine while I am gone. My family doesn't want me leaving the country, they feel it is too medically risky or I may end up botched. My man doesn't want me doing it, he loves me the way I am and thinks that I am seeking attention from other men. I just want to be comfortable in my own skin, I don't want to feel judged and stared at by younger girls. I just want to look normal, I see so many others having babies and their bodies go back, I wish I wouldn't have to get cut into and put through so much pain. I think it will all be worth it and I can't wait to see the transformation!
BTW, the silly turtle tattoo will be gone during the procedure. Just in case you were wondering...this was professionally done at the age of 16 without parental consent, looking back not so sure how I pulled that off.
Reality setting in...one week till my departure
Well our passports came in today, our flight and hotel has been booked for nearly 2 weeks now. I'm getting very anxious and feeling a little overwhelmed. This will be the longest I'be ever been away from my kids and I worry about what if something were to happen to me, what about them. It's bringing tears to my eyes, is beauty really worth it? I've come so far to turn back, I have to trust in my lord because he leads my way.
I did find a pillow today that I think will work for my flight home, that was a big concern for me. I also got alot of packing done today and decided to book a Groupon for my first bikini/leg waxing, hoping to get in Thurs or Fri. The less I have to worry about after surgery the better and being hairy with no way to shave myself sounds not very fun.
Got alot to still prepare for including trying to keep my head together and not backing out of this. Goodnight Bella's!
Just some of my costs to date...
So me being my accountant self, thought it could be useful to share and have handy for my own recordkeeping reference.
* Cost of surgery is $3,750.
* Expedia flight for 2 with a 15 night hotel stay came to $1,700, this does include trip protection. We will be staying 4 nights before surgery to vacation and get pre op testing done, then 12 nights after in case of complications.
* Parking near Dallas Airport was $60, this is for 16 days and includes shuttle to and from the airport.
* Gas should run $60 to and from Dallas, 210 miles each way. We saved $600 off our flight than flying out of OKC.
* Expedited passport with overnight handling $430 for both.
* Passport pictures $22 for both with online coupon at CVS.
* Dominican Republic tourist cards $20 for 2.
* Vitamins for pre and post op were $60. This includes Vitamin A and C, Folic Acid, Iron, Pineapple Bromelaine, Probiotic Acidophilus, Arnica Montana pills and creme.
* New luggage set and travel pillow to sit on under my thighs, 30% off from Kohls for $110.
* Toiletries, pads, laxatives, Dramamine, compression socks $50.
* Will need Stage 2 faja on return...price and location unknown at this time. Suggestions would be appreciated, I believe I seen some at Kohls.
May 9th...my surgery date has changed!!
So here I am, safe in my hotel room. I will be picked up at 6:30am to be taken to the pulmonary doctor and surgery sometime after. I was a bad but honest girl, with all my stress with my preparation I have been smoking about 4 cigarettes a week and it ended up costing me an extra $120 of testing. Doctor said even if I would have smoked just one cigarette in the last month it would have had to to done.
My adventure here felt just like a movie. I made it to drop off my truck in TX 5 mins late of making my 4am shuttle to the airport, thankfully he came right back for us and we barely made our flight. We stayed up the whole night driving and this made things more difficult for us of course. We landed for our layover and grabbed a meal and had time to eat half as we were rushed to board the plane. We arrived with our tourist cards and passports as planned, didn't know we had to go through immigration. Didn't realize a quick trip to the restroom would land us in the back of this very long line. I never knew of this part, we had to take a photo, show or passports, and have full finger prints done. We then picked up our luggage and started searching for our driver the doctor set up for us. We did not find him inside and my bf needed a cigg, so I thought to look for the driver outside. So many people had approached up trying to force us to go with them in their taxis, I read about the crime here and how people can pretend to be taxi drivers to rob you. My bf was next to most of the luggage smoking, within 2 minutes I see a pistol gun hit the floor within 2 feet up where my bf was standing pointed straight at him. The man who dropped it grabbed it up as the airport worker laughed about it, I feel that he may have been going to try and rob us possibly and the gun slipped from his hand so he kept going. We went back inside in disbelief hoping this driver was there somewhere. This time I seen one man with the cardboard at his side not held up, I walked towards the sign just in case and sure enough there was my name. I told him that was me and he said to follow him. We went back outside, he said wait, he walked over to some kind of line not for sure what he was doing over there. I started panicking a little because one man had approached my bf a few minutes before looking at our luggage sticker and I thought maybe he could have gotten my name off of it and wrote it on a sign. The driver came back to me and I asked him what his name was and it was different than what was told to me in the doctors email, I looked at his sign again and did see the doctors name written as well so figured he was OK. He then called the person the doctor had emailed me about and he said to me the doctor was waiting for me and we were taken straight to his clinic.
The doctor is very nice and speaks good English in my opinion, he apologized for it, I saw nothing wrong with it. He talked to me about my medical history and answered all my question thoroughly, he examined me and told me about the procedure and what would be done. He recommended that we go ahead and do the surgery May 9th rather than the scheduled date of May 11th which I agreed was a good idea. He did also advise that it would be better for me to stay in a recovery house which I will be trying to do. He did say I will need to also pay $150 for some special medicine to prevent blood clots that the cardiologist most always requires for surgery, has anyone heard of this? Another disappointment was he offered additional lipo for the arms or thighs for just an extra $250 for both thighs and/or same price for arms, I would've tried to find a way to save up or bring the extra money if I had known. He did approve my antibiotics and my pain pills that the US pharmacist said would be to weak for post op. He then brought in his assistant, cardiologist, and another woman to do the bloodwork. I was pretty dehydrated and my veins are always troublesome to get at. She stuck me four different places with no luck, then I couldn't take anymore and started feeling faint and told them I needed a break and asked for some water. The cardiologist then took me straight to the little bed area to do the EKG which she said turned out perfect. They then had water for me and without thinking about it I drank the water, then I thought to myself omg I just drank the water without knowing if it had come out of a bottle, it was cold so I hoped it was safe and didn't ask since it was too late anyways. They stuck me 2 more times and finally got enough blood, they all were helping and his assistant was the one to get it from the top of my hand, I was just relieved to be done. It was pouring rain at this point and we left to the hotel.
The hotel is pretty nice and they provide us breakfast, the two receptionists have spoken fairly good English. The Internet did not work until over 24 hours of getting here, I thought it would be out our entire stay so I was so happy it came on finally. We had not been able to let our families know he had made it safe and didn't think we could tell our mom's happy mothers day. WiFi calliing is an amazing wonderful surprise, I thought I would have to only Skype and email. Food was more expensive than expected here but overall so far everything has been good.
Well I need to get to sleep for my big day, try to update when I can. I will leave a couple more before pics, I hope to take somemore afters in the same dress.
Some after pictures.
The first is day after surgery and the rest from 2 days after.
Day 5 is here.
Thank you everyone who has been thinking or or praying for me. I'm hanging in, just a little uncomfortable to say the least. I seem to always wake up in the middle of the night and can't wait to be able to sleep on my sides. Not feeling too well, so much swelling but Im sure this is all normal. I am going to keep this short and try to get back to sleep. I will leave a couple pictures taken yesterday (day 4). Anyone over here, be safe with the presidential elections going on this weekend, guess I picked not the best time to come, the country is currently on high alert.
Dreaming of the days I didn't wake up during the night, I wake up every night around 1-3am and then again around 6. My body also feels terrible through the night, I think this faja kills my circulation. Other than that, I believe I'm making a pretty good recovery. I get around well, I do need to be pulled upright most always, I think this is cause the fluid that gathers in my lower back. Feeling good, the massages hurt but help smooth out the lumps in my back and my bruising is starting to fade. I will be here until next Monday, this will be 2 weeks post op for me. I think by that time I will be good to go! Miss my kids like crazy, but they seem to be content and finishing school tomorrow. I asked my youngest if he wanted me to come home early, he asked if I still have things hooked up to me and said for me to stay since I have the drain, lol he doesn't want to see me this way.
I heard there may be some people out there putting down my doctors tummy tucks. I am very happy with my results so far and am recovering much better than I thought I would. Will be getting my drain out tomorrow. Don't mind the bandages and keep in mind I did not do my breasts and my bra is a lil big after the lipo. My body's still looking a little roughed up, but I think he worked that "magic wand", for what he had to work with. My swellings gone done, planning to buy my stage 2 faja tomorrow for more support. I really thought I would be in desperate need of new panties seeing as they were size small, but they surprisingly kinda still fit. I'm broke and I own over 15 pairs of Victoria's Secrets and I don't want to be the same as my daughter for convenience of telling hers apart which are large. She had the natural big butt, maybe from all the years of ballet I had her in.
Final Doctor Follow-up
Well I went to see Mallol today and he took out my drain, I was worried but he was as gentle as he could be and it didn't hurt at all. I told him after that I hadn't seen my incision yet, he offered to take the tape off and took picture for me since it was difficult for me to see. I know there were some wanting to see, so here you go. I leave Monday and I am feeling well and recovering better than I would have ever imagined.
Well as of tomorrow it will be 4 weeks since surgery.
Thankfully I get better and stronger by the day. The faja gets annoying, it's just an everyday all day not so cute fashion accessory. Trying to make the best of it, but hoping to find one that's not on my thighs or upper back, especially before I start interviewing for jobs. I've checked around some in the stores but seems like small 4-6 is the smallest there is and that's what I was given after surgery, I did have it altered while I was in the Dominican Republic so it's still holding me down. I feel like all I've done since surgery is eat, I feel constantly squished in this thing and all my brain can think to do is eat some more as though that would help. I was experiencing some fluids in my back, possibly seroma but it seems to be absorbing on its own the last few days. I have not had any massages since ive been home and I may have been more active than I should have been, both of which can worsen the risk on top of the aggressive lipo that was performed. I seen a primary doctor Friday and he was going to do nothing but I convinced him to refer me to a general surgeon then, he was trying to pull the plastic surgeon card. I do feel like my lower abdomen to be hard and I hope this to be just some normal swelling, the stitches are healed up but I still have been keeping them taped up to try and help lessen any tension that can cause the scar to stretch. The bandaid is where my drain hole was and it's closing up, I keep it covered with some neosporin. I will take a pic soon without the tape, im sure it would be more helpful to see how my incision is looking and I will start some scar therapy tomorrow. I think its looking really good and thinner than I expected. The white areas above my belly button are some kind of burns that I normally keep covered as well with the belly button, maybe faja burn. I still seem to have some bruising and discomfort over my hips. As for my butt, it has softened and hopefully is settled with the fat that remains, I wasn't wanting it too big and I'm pleased with the results. I'm happy with my results so far, Dr. Mallol, and I thank God for blessing me with a smooth surgery and recovery. I continue to take my vitamins in addition to Vitamin A and I am thinking to keep taking till I run out which is another 2 weeks or so, don't see the harm in it and why waste them. Wishing everyone safe surgeries and recoveries, this stuff has known risks and make sure to do what you can to take the best before and after care of yourselves.
Scar therapy, weight, faja, and results.
So at 30 days after surgery I started some scar gel, after a week and a half I noticed the scar appeared to be stretching on the right side. I checked online and seen that many doctors recommend keeping the sutures taped for the first 6-8 weeks, I have been back in some waterproof tape for about the past 5 days and haven't seen if it's helping. My advise is to keep taping for the first 8 weeks, I know they say u can start the therapy after a month but just wait. I hope I didn't ruin my scar, any little thing can impact so much. I will hopefully take some new pics in the next day or too, wish me luck.
Also, I'm scared to weigh myself. I did a couple times at doctor appts but I had much fluid in my back, I had gained about 6 lbs in the first month. Obviously my activity level has been pretty low and I have not watched what I eat but I really need to start. I do fit in my pre-surgery clothing this far, maybe not jeans though. I only tried 1 pair so far, I can still get in my panties, shorts, shirts, and I tried my work slacks and they fit too. So that's a good thing, I was scared I would need a new wardrobe and I have no money left to my name.
As for my faja, I stopped wearing it full time. I take off for a few hours a day and it's great cause I can go out in public without it. I been shopping around for a new one but I think I'm going to try to shed a few pounds first.
Still happy with my results, feeling better by the day. Kinda hit me off-guard that it has always been my back with the most discomfort rather than my stomach. I'm not 100% I better, but at least 90%. It's worth it and I'm glad I got this done while I was unemployed, Im not interviewing for jobs and know that I won't have to worry about not being able to have taken enough time off. My possible seroma in my back seems to have reabsorbed on its own, it took some time but I'm so relieved, also I am feeling my skin reattaching back there. I am pleased with my doctor and my results. I feel that I got much work done for less than the tummy tuck alone would have cost, that includes my lodging and flight. It was also great to be away through the roughest part of recovery, it would have been much harder to have the kids around during that time.
6 1/2 weeks...
This will prob be my last picture, the negativity is just too much for me. I needed a tummy tuck, I got that and then some for less than I wouldve gotten here in the US. I did not expect perfection, to become a doll, or to be snatched. I have gotten what I believe to be a great tummy tuck and got my back and butt thrown in as bonuses. I just wanted to look normal, I felt very deformed and insecure everyday with my stomach. It feels so good to not have to hide with an extra shirt or sweater over my clothes. I love my new body and noone will ever take that away from me. Comfortable in my skin after 16+ years.
Couldn't take very good pics of the back area, but just in case anyone has been wanting to see final results.
Wore my faja ragged.
15 Jul 2016
2 months post
Finally ordered my stage 2 faja and started wearing it the other night. It's a Vedette size xs, just one I had found on clearance. My bf said it looks much better than the first one and I only wear overnight at this point. It doesn't have hooks which is pretty disappointing, other than the crotch. It is extremely hard to pull up over my legs and hips but it's working pretty well. I hated the original one the entire time due to the length on the legs as well as the extremely high back with bulky straps. Got to admit though that I kinda miss it, one hook did break up the last time I washed it and luckily this came just in time.
Not perfect, but so much better.
16 Jul 2016
2 months post
Never forget where you came from in order to be greatful for where you are.
22 Jul 2016
2 months post
Scar is still looking pretty purple...not sure if this is due to the scar gel I use or if this is normal healing process, thankfully it doesn't appear to be stretching. I'm at about 10 1/2 weeks now and I will continue taping until at least 12 weeks, I think it has helped slot. Unfortunately I do have some light stretch marks on my lower stomach that used to be on my upper stomach, could be worse and I think they are less noticeable when standing up rather than laying. Any advice on how to treat these as well as scar knowledge is welcome. I'm not sure how it should be looking a this point.
22 Jul 2016
2 months post
Btw, I ran out of this about 4 days ago. I noticed my back to be getting the swollen, burning feel back and then I realized the connection. Thought I would share, cause it's hard to know what is working when taking so many vitamins and I think this one really does alot of help with discomfort due to swelling. Was at Walmart and did not seem to find there, may have to order this one online, I didn't look for this one in store before surgery.
3 Months Post-op
Still loving my results, thanks to my amazing doctor.
4 months later...
10 Sep 2016
4 months post
Put on 10 lbs since surgery but still fitting my clothes. Weigh 154 lbs which = 14 lbs overweight. I don't think it looks too bad but I need to start trying to get it off.
21 Oct 2016
5 months post
Well I'm at 5 1/2 months and feeling good. I do still the 10 lb weight gain that I'm going to start trying to tackle and some swelling still in my stomach. My back is doing great, that was the most painful during recovery and my but is looking and doing good. My current measurements are 29 waist and 41 hips, they were about nearly 2 inches less before the weight gain. This waist trainer arrived today and I'm hoping it will help define my waist and bring my ribcage in some, so far it's pretty uncomfortable but it also is said to help with scoliosis which I do have. It is a size 34 Ann Chery, which Kim Kardashian claims to have used. I will update my progress and tell if it was a wise investment or not. Wish me luck. <3