I am finally ready to begin my mommy makeover...
I am finally ready to begin my mommy makeover journey. I have been reading reviews on this website for almost a year. You guys have been so helpful and informative. Thank you so much. So a little about me. I am a 49 year old mother of three children. I had two c-sections and breastfeed all three of my children. Gravity has definitely taken a toll on my breast. Before my children I was in a B cup, I am now a sagging DD. I also have that annoying skin that just hangs there from my c-section. All of my children are grown now. I have talked about getting a breast lift for years and tightening the skin on my abdomen. My husband and I feel like now is the time. I will be 50 next year and we will be celebrating 30 years of marriage. So happy birthday and anniversary to me (smiles). I'm finally getting a little of my body back. I have done so much research and I have narrowed my list of doctors down to a few. I really wanted someone who was well qualified, did good work, operated out of a good facility, and had great reviews. Well I found that doctor. I will be having a mommy makeover with Dr. Goico in January 2016. I will be having a Breast Lift/Reduction, Lipo, Tummy Tuck and BBL. I am a little concerned with having so many procedures at one time. I did think about dividing the procedures up because I plan on coming back later in the year for a Rhinoplasty. If i had to choose one procedure the most important to me is the breast reduction with a lift. I would like to be in a C cup bra (just thinking about that makes me so happy).
I will be staying at Arelis Recovery House. My husband insist on accompanying me through this entire process. I happy he is so supportive. I had to find a recovery house that allowed men and luckily this one did. So we will both be staying at Arelis. I know it’s a little more expensive than other recovery houses but I want the best care and her reviews have been great.
So, why Dr. Goico? I have been researching doctors for almost a year. I looked at all surgeons, no matter where they were located . I am willing to travel within the US or abroad for the best. So I was just focusing on qualified surgeons, good reviews and good after pictures. I found a few in the states, and in the Dominican Republic. Out of all the surgeons the one that stood out the most was Dr. Goico. His qualifications alone were great, but when you add the other things to it, he became my top choice. He requires that you stay in the DR at least 14 days, and you have many visits with him after surgery. His after care is awesome. I was not going to get that here in the states. He works out of one of the best facilities in the Dominican Republic and his after pictures are awesome. Mommy makeovers in the US just don’t look as good as the ones in the DR. I know what people say about going abroad for surgery, but good and bad can happen anywhere. When it came down to it, my husband and I decided that Dr. FG would have been our first choice if he were here in the states. So we are willing to travel to the DR if that’s what it takes. Also, an added bonus is the price. We would pay triple for the same procedures to be performed here in the US and they don’t even look as good.
So my journey begins….. I am so nervous, but so excited.
Height: 5’ 3”
Weight: 140-145 lbs.
Bra Size: 34dd
Quote and Recovery House
I just thought I would do a post about my experiences getting my quote and my recovery house. I know there are a lot of people trying to get a quote from Dr. Goico and are wondering how long it takes. I know when I was reading reviews from earlier this year it only took a few days but now it may take a few weeks. He receives a lot of request for quotes and between performing surgeries and taking care of his patients, it may take him some time to get back to you. But trust me it is worth the wait. He does take time to look at your pictures and gives you a detailed evaluation of what needs to be done. I first contacted him on whatsapp and he actually responded that same day saying he would get back to me soon. I waited a week then I decided to also send a request through Realself. After doing that I heard from Karel (his assistant) the next day, requesting that I send some personal information and my pictures. I did that and checked my emails everyday waiting for my evaluation and quote. It was taking so long that I actually started looking at a few other surgeons, because I knew I wanted to get it done in January and I was afraid the dates were filling up while I was waiting. It actually took three weeks to get my evaluation and quote. Dr. Goico explained how busy he is and how many request he gets and he still wants to give a personal evaluation so I takes him so time to get back to you. He could just throw a quote at you but I appreciate the time he takes to evaluate my pictures. So, it is worth the wait. Also, I should mention that after I booked my surgery I contacted him on whatsapp with a few questions and he got back to me and answered all my questions the next day. I was really pleased with that.
Now, for Arelis Recovery House. I knew that it was my first choice. It is on the expensive side, but from the reviews I have read, was exactly what I would want in a recovery house. I wanted a house in a good area that would have private rooms and bathrooms. My husband is traveling with me so I needed a recovery house that allowed men. I wanted someone who would take good care of me. I like that she is a nurse and came highly recommended by Dr. Goico. From what I have read, she really does a good job caring for patients and also good drain care. They have individually remote controlled air in the rooms, good food, a nurse call button and good wifi reception. She also doesn’t nickel and dime you. She provides a lot that other recovery houses may charge for. Now, when I first tried to contact her on the phone it was a little weird. I would call and think I was talking to someone and it would actually be some kind of recording. That happened a few times. But while I was on the phone, my other line would beep. So I finally clicked over and it was Arelis. She said that she was having some phone issues. We discussed the charges and what she provided. It is $120 a day a day for me and $60 a day for my husband. I gave her my dates and she told me to call her with my flight information and so she can arrange my ride from the airport. Also, she said payment is due on the day I arrive. I wish she had a paypal or credit option, because I really don’t like traveling with a lot of cash. But I guess that’s what most people staying in the recovery houses have to do.
Anyway, I hope this helps manage the expectations of those who may be waiting on a evaluation and quote.
So, I decided to have my hemoglobin levels checked two weeks ago. I went to a place called AnyLabTestNow. It is a walk in lab testing place and you don’t have to have a doctors script. I got the results three days later. My hemo is 12.7 (urghhh) Dr. FG said it has to be 12 for one procedure and 13.5-14 for a whole mommy makeover. I am a little happy because it has risen since the last time I took it a year ago. And, I did take the test right after my menstrual cycle so that could have affected my numbers. Well at least I know I could have at least one procedure done. I started taking Iron and other supplements every since I found out I was going to have surgery over a month ago. Maybe they have been working, since my hemoglobin level did increase since last year. I posted a picture of the supplements I have been taking. Anyway, I wanted make sure I am doing the right things, so I went this weekend to have it tested again. I am waiting on my results now. Hopefully my numbers will increase, so I can get the whole mommy makeover.
Since I am about two weeks away, I will also start eating lots of Liver and Spinach this week (yummy...LOL).
My hemoglobin test results are in and…...drumroll…….No Change. My hemoglobin is still 12.7. I must admit I am a little surprised because I have been faithfully taking my supplements. I am going to tweak and change a few things to see if I can get it to go up. I am also eating liver, spinach, pomegranate, red meat and some other hemoglobin rich foods. I will also stop drinking my daily cup of coffee (sad face) because it could be interfering with absorption. So we will see what happens. Although I wasn’t planning on it, my husband thinks I should get one more test done before I leave. I am not sure but I am considering it. I still have some comfort in knowing I can have at least one procedure done. I just need to start prioritizing them, in case I have to choose. But for now, I am in that dreaded “raise the hemoglobin” battle.
Five Days to Makeover Time
Well, I am five days away from surgery time. I am scheduled to have surgery on January 6th. I think I have been through every emotion possible. Excited, scared, happy, worried, just about everything. It is so different when surgery is required (eg. childbirth) verses when you choose to have surgery. But I am at peace and I have decided that this is something that I really want to do for me.
I already paid my surgery bill through the Bank of America wire transfer. I decided that I really did not want to travel with all that money. Dr.Goico has been great so far. I sent him some questions and he responded very quickly and answered all of my questions by the next day. I called Arelis (my recovery house) and gave her my flight information and she said they will be waiting for us at the airport when we arrive. I sent Karel (his assistant) a message about something and she let me know that she had just been discussing me with Arelis. It was good to know that they were talking about me and preparing for my surgery and care. I also went online and purchased our tourist cards so we can avoid the line at the airport.
My husband has been so supportive, and I am so glad he will be with me during recovery. I was so concerned that he would be bored. We like to read and we are “binge watchers” so we plan on watching and rewatching some of our favorite series. His job has agreed to let him work remotely (which is a blessing) that’s why finding a recovery house with good wifi was important.
I have been doing everything I can do to raise my hemo levels. I have completely changed my diet. I have been eating lots of liver, red meat, oysters, spinach, lentils, and other hemo building foods. I also am continuing to take my iron and other supplements. My only concern now is that I am currently late with my menstrual cycle (ughhhh). I had timed everything so that I wouldn’t be on my cycle during surgery time and then it wants to come late. My husband thinks that I am a little stressed and that may be why. So, now I don’t want my cycle to start until after my surgery because if I start now (so close to surgery time) it will probably affect my hemoglobin level.
I am in the process of packing my supplies. I don’t want to overpack so I am considering what I really need. My recovery house supplies a lot of the items, so I definitely don’t need some of the things I already purchased. I was able to find some back up Fajas at the thrift store for under five dollars and one still had the tags on it :0). I am a thrifter and used to sell items online so I had to check the thrift store first before I spent all that money. Those will be my back ups,I still plan on purchasing a stage 2 garment while I am in the DR. Dr.Goico recommends Marena and Fajitex brands. Well, that’s it for now. I am nervously excited about my new makeover. I fly out on Monday. I will keep you posted. Please keep me in your prayers. xoxo
I am at the clinic about to go in for surgery. I started my cycle on Saturday which caused my hemo to drop to 12.4. Dr. Goico has been awesome. I will update when I can.
Surgery Done !!! At Recovery House
I'm at the recovery house. I'm have a lot of back pain and I am very swollen. But other than that I am doing pretty good. I was able to get a tummy tuck, lipo, and bbl. Dr. Goico and Arelis are awesome. I am so glad I chose them. I wanted to give a quick update. I will definitely give a full review when I am better.
I made it back home yesterday (before the big snow storm that's coming). Everything went well. I am healing well but not quite walking straight yet. The biggest pain has been in my back. I am so happy to be back at home. The flight home was very good and the wheelchair service was great. I had a connecting flight and they were waiting for me at each stop. It made going through the checkpoints and customs a breeze. I will post my review and pictures once I get them downloaded and get settled in at home. Thanks to my realself family for your prayers and well wishes. I really appreciate you guys. TTYL :-)
Post Op Update
A few post op pictures. The scar picture is 3 days post op and I was very swollen..The faja picture is one week post op. I got my drains out on day 6 and was in my stage 2 garment on day 7. I had to get a vertical cut because Dr. Goico said my c-section scar was so low that in order to make my tummy tuck scar low, I would need a vertical cut (Fleur de lis Abdominoplasty). If I didn’t then the tummy tuck scar would have been a lot higher. He said once it completely heals you won’t be able to tell it was there. I love my belly button, it turned out great. I am wearing my faja and lipo foam all day except maybe a hour when I shower and change my bandages. My back pain is finally starting to ease up a little, but I am still experiencing a lot of swelling. The BBL hasn’t been that bad. Every now and then I have a little discomfort. The boppy pillow has been helpful.
I arrived in the DR on January 4th. I had a very stressful trip. I was supposed to arrive at 2:30pm and didn’t arrive until 11:00pm. My first flight was delayed which caused me to miss my second flight. So they flew us to Miami because they said it would be easier to try to get us a flight to the DR from there. After many hours in the Miami Airport we were finally put on a flight the the DR only to arrive and find out they lost my luggage. I was so upset. I finally received it 2 days later.
I was able to send Arelis (my recovery house) updates on my flight status through Whatsapp. She was great and very understanding. When we arrived she was there waiting for us outside of baggage claim holding a sign with my name on it.
We arrived at the recovery house about 30 minutes later. She offered us some food but we were so tired we just wanted to go to sleep. The recovery house was a penthouse located on the 6th floor of a secured building. I will do a review on the recovery house later, but Arelis was awesome. She took such good care of me and my husband.
I had my pre op appointment the next day. Plastimedic is a very nice, clean, modern facility. Karel his office assistant is one of the most sweetest persons I have ever meet. She made sure everything was scheduled and went well. The lab tech came to the office to do my bloodwork. Make sure you have some kind of ID with you because he requires it for the bloodwork. I then had my consultation with Dr. Goico were we went over what was to be done. We also did some before pictures. He took his time and went over everything and answered all of my questions and concerns. After talking to him I knew I had made the right decision and felt very comfortable that his first priority was my health and he would do what was right for me. I had to go to another place to get my chest xray done. Arelis took me to all my appointments and stayed with me.
The test results came back later that day. My hemo had dropped to 12.4. I was not too happy. Dr. Goico said that actually a 12.4 after a menstrual cycle isn’t that bad because that is usually a low point for your hemo levels. We discussed my options which was:
Tummy Tuck with full Lipo and BBL
Breast lift with Tummy tuck and very minimal lipo
I chose option 3 the Breast lift with tummy tuck and a little lipo. He said since my hemo was 12.4 it would depend on how much bleeding I had during the tummy tuck. That would determine if he could do the breast. But while in surgery he found out that my tummy tuck was going to be a lot more work. Apparently I had very little abdominal muscles and a lot of separation so he had to do a triple abdominal repair. This resulted in a very long surgery on my tummy tuck so he could not risk my life by doing the breast lift. He ended up doing the tummy tuck, full lipo and BBL. I really appreciate him doing what was best for me and not risking my life. He said a lot of other surgeons would have probably went ahead and done it and just given me a blood transfusion. He has never had to do that because he doesn’t put you in the position where it is needed.
On surgery day I arrived early at the clinic. I meet with Dr. Goico. He marked me up. If you're getting a BBL make sure you bring a thong. He uses it as a guide for your BBL. I then meet with the anesthesiologist. She hooked up my IV. They gave me the blue bill. The anesthesiologist injected something into my IV and said it’s time to go to sleep. When I woke up I was in recovery. My husband said I was in surgery like six to seven hours. But I don’t remember anything. I hear stories about women waking up during surgery. Dr. Goico said if you have a good anesthesiologist that it should never happen. He has never had it happen to him.
My recovery room at Plastimedic was nice. I had a nurse who took care of me all night. They had a twin bed in the room that my husband slept on. They had automatic compression sleeves on my legs that helped with circulation so I wouldn’t develop clots. They also had blankets, and chux so there is no need to bring one from home. The next morning I was given breakfast and Dr.FG came and talked to me and gave me my meds. Dr.Goico’s massage therapist Edu came in and gave me my first massage and her and Arelis put me in my first Faja. They used a Marena Stage 1 garment. They also put 2 lipo foam pieces inside for compression. The massage hurt a little but I felt better afterwards. Your stomach has this very numb feeling. It feels weird when someone touches you. After that I was wheeled down to the car and taken back to the recovery house.
My first few days were very uncomfortable. My back hurt so bad. I had to find the right sleeping position for my back and to somewhat protect my BBL. I drank lots of water and made sure I got up and walked around every couple of hours. I think that's why I drained so fast. Arelis also gave me fresh pineapple juice everyday. That helped a lot with my bruising. Arelis likes to feed you. The first few days I wasn’t able to eat a lot. I had to let her know I had to take it slow with the eating. I get a little nausea after anesthesia and I didn’t want to throw up. Can you imagine throwing up and the stomach pain after having a tummy tuck. I was not going to go through that. So I took things slow. But, the food she serves is very good. My husband and I loved it.
Massages: I had a massage everyday at the doctor's office with Edu. (except Sundays). They have a package if you get 10 massages it’s $25 per visit instead of $30. Edu did a lymphatic drainage massage. One time she was doing my massage we could see the fluid start flowing through the drainage tubes. She also took care of my tummy tuck scar and changed my bandages at every visit.
Drains and Garments: Dr. Goico shows you how to take care of your drains. He likes for you to be draining 50 ml or less in a 24 hour period. The good thing is that Arelis took care of my drains. She recorded my drainage amount each day. Ladies get to know those drains because you need to know what it looks like when they get clogged. That really slows the process. When you see long bloody gel like stuff that fills the tube then check it out because it may be clogged. When ever I saw this I would ask Arelis to check it. She was amazing. The way she cleared the clogs and the drain tube was amazing. If she didn’t do that I know those drains would have been in a lot longer. She cleared my clogged drains about 4 times. My drains were removed on day 6. The next day they put me in a stage 2 garment. It was a Marie E brand garment. It is $140 if you buy it from them, so if you can figure out your size then buy it on Amazon and bring it with you. It will be a lot cheaper and save you a lot of money. I definitely felt more compression after switching to the stage 2 garment. I also continued using the lipo foam. Also make sure you bring the white beater shirts to wear under your garment, it prevents rubbing and burning.
Dr. Goico was always available to see me and answer any questions. Being there I noticed just how busy he is everyday. He usually does two surgeries a day, but I always felt like I was a priority. When going to my visits, I also got to see a lot of the other doctors that I have read about on this site. It was so nice to see them in person and I even knew their names because of realself. Dr. Goico’s reputation is very good in the DR and he is known as one of the best. I am so glad I made the decision to go with him. I will post more later. XOXO
1 Month Post-Op
Well, I am a little over one month post op and I am finally feeling better. Recovery has been good except for that back pain. Even though it's still there it is not as intense as it was before. I noticed that I was having some swelling in my lower back where I was having pain. So, I decided to put a piece of my lipo foam under my faja on my back area and the swelling has started to go down.
The tummy tuck has been mostly painless. I still have numbness on my lower back and abdomen. I also still have some swelling in my lower abdominal area. I did have a little dehiscence (wound seperation) at the "T" scar. I caught myself stretching out (which I am used to doing) while I was sleeping and I think it caused some separation. That's the downside to the vertical scar, you have to be very careful. Its easy to put pressure on that area and cause separation. Also, remember to keep your legs bent and not straight while laying down to do your massages. Anyway, Dr. Goico assured me that it was not infected and would heal fine, and it is doing well. My horizontal scar looks good. I am applying rosehip oil and after it dries I apply Medipore tape over it. The tape has helped the scar heal flat.
I am standing about 90% straight now, but I notice by the end of the day I am bent over a little more. I had lipo on my flanks, back, and under my arms (bra fat area). I am having a little annoying pain in those areas from time to time. I have my husband massage those areas with oil and arnica cream and it usually helps.
I am really pleased with my butt lift. It was so swollen in the beginning that I thought it was going to be too big. I wanted it to be very natural looking. As the swelling is going down I am really happy with what I am seeing. Dr. FG did a great job. I was concerned about losing fat by laying on my butt after surgery, but it has been fine. Dr. FG said he puts extra fat in to compensate for some fat loss.
I am still wearing my faja 24/7 and plan to do that for the first two months. Some nights I sleep in a binder. I am currently in a Maria E stage 2 faja. I always put the lipo foam under my faja to help with compression. I have moved down one row of hooks weekly on my faja. I know they like to move it faster but I refuse to be in pain from a faja. I think it should be tight enough to apply compression but you should be able to breathe and it should not cut off your circulation. So I am now ready to move to the next smaller size.
Dr. Goico has been available and responds quickly to any of my questions or concerns. I am really pleased with my results so far. Everyday I look in the mirror I see my body changing and becoming more shapely :-)
Arelis Recovery House Review
Initial Contact : I first contacted Arelis in November. My surgery was scheduled in January. I contacted her by phone and through Whatsapp. She speaks english pretty good. Her daughter who helps her, speaks english very well. She usually helps her with her whatsapp communication. They actually lived in the states for a while. I told her I was having surgery with Dr. Goico and gave her my expected date of arrival and departure. She doesn’t require a deposit. She said to pay her after I arrive. To make sure she had my name and dates I sent her a whatsapp message confirming the information. She contacted me through whatsapp about a month before I left, requesting that I send her my flight information once I had it.
Cost: Arelis charged $120 a day for me and $60 a day for my husband. This included transportation, meals, snacks, supplies, and daily care. I know it’s expensive but my first time doing this I wanted someone who would handle everything. I also wanted someone to take care of me and be with me through this process. I also didn’t want to worry about being nickeled and dimed for everything. I wanted all inclusive care.
Airport: After a long delay I arrived at the airport in the DR very late. I was able to contact Arelis through whatsapp letting her know that my flight was delayed and gave her my new arrival time and information. She replied immediately letting me know it was okay, just keep her updated. When I left the baggage claim area at the airport Arelis and her assistant were there holding a sign with my name on it. She greeted me and my husband with hugs and we were on our way to the recovery house.
Recovery House: The recovery house is on the 6th floor of a gated condo building. It is located in what is considered one of the best neighborhoods in Santo Domingo (Piantini). There are also onsite security/property keepers. The recovery house was very nice. The building is not the newer condo type buildings, but it is nice. Arelis house is a two story condo with modern decor. There are three recovery bedrooms on the first floor of the house, so you don’t have to climb any stairs. All of the bedrooms have private bathrooms and individually remote controlled air conditioning. There are flat screen tv’s in all the rooms with cable. There are some english stations but we brought our own HDMI cord and attached our laptop to the tv and watched netflix. The Wifi was pretty good.
Food: The food was really good. She loves to cook and feed you. She has an assistant who stays there and helps with your care and the cooking. Some of the things we ate were salmon, steaks, tacos, fish, pork and chicken. She always served lots of vegetables. My husband and I loved the food. I was eating like crazy before my surgery, but after surgery my appetite wasn’t the same. I had to tell her to feed me a little less food, because I didn’t want to waste it. She made sure I ate healthy nutritious meals. She does ask you what you like to eat and she tries to accommodate. We had three meals a day and two snacks. The snacks were usually fresh cut fruits. After my surgery I had fresh pineapple juice everyday. This really helped with my bruising during recovery. The last week we were there she ordered us some fast food a few nights. We ordered pizza (which was so good) and chinese food. You can bring some snacks if you want. I know how I am after surgery so I brought some protein bars and almonds just in case I didn’t want to eat. Some of my meals were served in my room but most of the time we ate at the table, family style. I didn’t mind cause it was nice to get out of the room for a while.
Supplies: Arelis supplies a lot of items. She had baby wipes, button down gowns with pockets, hand soap, chux, wedge bed pillows, gauze, tape, gloves, blankets, and lots of bed pillows. There is a pharmacy next door to the condo and a convenience store a few blocks away that sells everything. So if it's something you forgot or don’t want to pack you can purchase it there. The Plastimedic clinic provides compression socks, 2 lipo foam pads, and one stage 1 Faja .
Transportation: Arelis or her daughter took me to all my appointments and waited until I was finished. Let me tell you, the people in the DR drive like crazy. Every trip was an adventure. They are used to it and I didn’t see any accidents, but it's nothing like driving in the states. Arelis was very accommodating. They even took us back to the airport the day after we arrived because the airline had lost my luggage. She also took us to the store a few times. I was happy that they don’t charge for every trip.
Husband: I am so glad that my husband was with me during this process. It was more of a comfort thing. Just knowing he was there. He really didn’t have to do much because Arelis wanted to take care of me. Even though Arelis had a 24 hour call button, I usually had my husband help me overnight. We were the only ones staying at the recovery house during my surgery so my husband was able to use another room to do his work and make his calls. He worked remotely during our time in the DR. He also likes to workout, so he found a gym that was a 15 minute walk from the recovery house. They gave him a two week membership. That worked out great, because he was able to get out of the house for a while. Arelis made my husband feel welcome and like family, she even fixed some of his favorite meals.
Other Important Stuff: Arelis is so sweet. She is like a mother figure. She took such good care of me. On surgery day she took me and my husband to the clinic and when I woke up she was back at the clinic with my husband. She even went to Subway Subs and brought him something to eat for his dinner when he stayed overnight with me at the clinic. The next morning she came back and helped the massage therapist put me in my first faja. She then helped me get discharged and taken to the car where she very carefully drove me back to the house. The first few days were tough. It was hard to do anything by myself. She helped me in and out of bed, go to the bathroom, wash up and get dressed. My button down dresses really came in handy for my doctor's/massage visits. I also had a fanny pack that I used to place my drains inside of or I wore a marena bra that has closures on it to hold the drains. She is a drain expert. She kept my drains clear of clogs and recorded my output everyday. She also was in contact with Karel (Dr.FG’s assistant) everyday about my care. She made sure all of my massage appointments were scheduled and let me know daily what time I would be going. Arelis also administered the Heparin shots every night. These are the blood thinner shots Dr.Goico wants you to have for the first 7 days. He also gave me antibiotics and some pain medicine to take daily. Arelis made sure I took my medicine on time daily. My faja, t-shirts, compression socks etc. were washed every couple of days, as needed.
Arelis is a excellent care giver. If you want someone who is hands on and will handle everything from the time you get off the plane to the time you leave, then she is the best. I understand why Dr. Goico recommends her.
5 Month Post Op
I am 5 months post op. I am so pleased with my results. Dr. Goico did a wonderful job. My recovery has been pretty good. I experienced different things at certain times. For example during the second and third months I had a lot of itching. I just used anti itch cream and had my husband give me massages and scratched my back for me. My butt was also sore around that same time and still is a little. It felt like I had been doing a lot of squats. I actually did not think my butt was any different at first but it just seemed to take shape and get fluffier and better every month. As a matter of fact my husband makes a comment everyday about how good my butt looks. I definitely notice the difference now. I looks very good with my body. I started using a compression vest for my tummy tuck. I just felt like the compression suit was compressing my butt too much. My husband also appreciated that :-) Now I switch up between the vest, compression suit or the Spanx higher power compression garment. If I go a few days without enough compression I start to swell. For my belly button,I used cotton balls shaped into my belly button then taped it. I did this for about 3 months. My belly button looks great. I still tape my tummy tuck scar with medipore tape. I find that this helps it heal flat. I also switch up and use silicone tape sometimes. My vertical scar (wound opening) took a couple of months to completely close. I started using Medihoney (Manuka honey) on the wound and that stuff was awesome. I just applied it to a bandage daily and everyday my wound would heal and close more and more. I started feeling the lipo pain during the second month. It was just a burning sensation on my sides. I especially felt it at night and when I would first get out of the bed in the morning. Right now at the 5 month mark my lower belly is still kind of numb and I feel a tightness in that area and around my belly button. I had extensive muscle repair so I know it is going to take time to completely heal. I also found that I can’t over eat. If I do then my stomach hurts and gets really tight. I lost 10 pounds while I was recovering in the DR and I have gained back 5 pounds. I am really happy with my results so far.