Ok, let's see. Sometime around September 2014 I...
26 Mar 2015
3 months post
Ok, let's see. Sometime around September 2014 I realized despite having lost 60 lbs and grueling 2 hour daily workouts, my 2 tummies were not going away. Tired of camouflaging the rolls, I logged onto Real Self and started to read up on lipo and tummy tucks. I started out hoping (but knowing better) that I just needed lipo but as I read, the realization set in that I actually would be more likely to need a tummy tuck.
So, after investing significant time in research, I setup an appointment with Dr. Davoudi. To make a long story short, I am extremely critical - the type to change dentists if they leave me waiting more than 15 minutes - so I shocked myself when after just minutes with Dr. Davoudi I knew he would be my plastic surgeon. His demeanor, knowledge and confidence were comforting. Dr. Davoudi spent as much time as I needed explaining the procedure and walking me through why lipo alone was not a good option for me.
During the consultation, the staff took photos and after seeing the sausage rolls that had quietly settled on my back, I decided they too needed to be addressed. I made a deposit, set a date and planned to return in December for pre-op for a tummy tuck (with muscle repair) and lipo of the flanks and upper belly area.
Later that evening I stood stark naked in front of the mirror and realized my breasts which rested comfortably on belly #1 would have nowhere to lay once the bellies were gone. I then panicked thinking I'll have a beautiful, flat tummy and these deflated, 36 D LONG breasts hanging over that tummy.
Within a day or two I reached out to the lovely Latoya, had Dr Davoudi review my breasts and received an updated quote. I figured if I was going under the knife I may as well handle all the major trouble spots. So, rather than just a tummy tuck, I was not getting a Mommy Makeover.
Now to the stats I should have started off with...I am a 37-year old mother of 2 ages 15 and 20. At my highest I weighed 247 lbs (no I wasn't pregnant). I joined Weight Watchers at work, eliminated toxic people from my life and at the time of the consultation I was 191 lbs (5'6" tall).
I continued hitting the gym, taking vitamins and buying all sorts of supplies for my surgery. The week before the surgery Dr. Davoudi recommends a liquid diet. I was traveling for the holidays so I ended up doing liquid diet for just 4 days. I weighed myself on surgery day and weighed in at 184 lbs.
So- surgery day...I should start off by saying I had never had anesthesia. I have never even been cut..I gave birth naturally (no epidural) so I had no idea what to expect. Dr. Davoudi does his surgeries in a hospital (which was a must for me) so upon arrival, I checked in and shortly thereafter I was led to a room where my stats were taken, I changed and put on my lovely compression socks. My veins are rebels so they eventually had to bring in this cool machine called a vein finder to start my IV. The anesthesiologist came in to talk to me. She put me at ease after I informed her of my tendency get nauseous after most meds. Within 30 minutes I was wheeled into the OR and I remember nothing until I awakened.
There wasn't much pain when I woke up but I for some reason was very ready to go home. When approved for release, I stood up to get into the wheelchair and it started...oh did it...I was overcome with nausea. The nurse gave me a bag and I started heaving. Mind you it is around 5 pm and I have not eaten since the previous day. I felt so horrible I asked to just go home in the hospital gown. I could not stand long enough to dress myself in the clothes I had so carefully selected.
I reclined the car seat for the ride home. Once I arrived, I walked straight to my anti-gravity chair ...still heaving. I should add heaving is hell on earth after muscle repair. The pain was horrible. I was sweating from the nausea. That anesthesia worked a number on me despite the anti-nausea meds. I can't count the number of times I vomited over the next 12 hours. It was not fun. I feared I was popping stitches in my belly that night. Boy oh boy was it rough.
When my stomach finally settled I got into a routine of taking my pain meds and anti-nausea pills. I slept on and off in an anti-gravity chair with an egg crate pad and blankets on it. It was a yucky first few days. I had a drain in each armpit for the breasts and 2 at the top of my lady parts. My mother emptied the the drains and tracked how much I was putting out. In the meantime, my pain was little to nothing along the incision and breasts. The problem was the fact that I was like a rag doll...no abdominal muscles so getting up and down was no fun.
In light of this major surgery here are things I am thankful to have had (in no particular order):
1. Dr Davoudi - he checked up on me via phone and was available anytime I needed him before and after surgery.
2. My family - I was in need of TLC..They had to bring me food and drinks, get me to the bathroom etc.
3. The anti-gravity chair - I slept in that thing for 6 weeks...I had to force myself to try the bed
4. Raised toilet seat- In light of my non-existent ab muscles getting up and down was not easy. This seat was a must
5. Cane - I needed support getting around and did not want a walker
6. Milk of Magnesia - I have never been constipated until I took those pain meds. Your tummy is already tight add gas and compacted you know what and things get ugly. Colace did nothing MOM saved me...just don't take too much - I did
6. Pillows (lots of pillows) You need them for various reasons. You will use them
I may think or more later.
Ok, so recovery...This surgery requires real healing and recovery. It is not for the faint of heart. I had the armpit area drains removed within days of surgery. The other two were in for the longest 3 weeks of my life. The area was sore and I hated to stand up and sit down because the drain tubes would move. Then trying to put on pants...ugh. Every morning I would awaken and pray my drainage had decreased. I cannot express how much I hated those drains...
Then there was the back pain. You cannot stand up straight until your body is ready. My body wasn't 100% straight for close to a month. After the first week, my back began to ache...That ache intensified to such an extent that I resorted to using my son's old crutches around the house. It was HORRIBLE. I even had to ride in one of those little carts around the grocery store. I endured that back pain for 3 of the longest weeks of my life. I did find some relief when I found a good lymphatic massage place. I walked in there looking so pitiful. I had my cane and sad sweatsuit 2 sizes too big to accommodate those darn drains. After she worked on me I left standing a little straighter and feeling some relief. I started seeing her every other day! Note, I have never experienced pain in the incisions (breast or tummy).
Now the return to work, I worked from home starting 4 days after my surgery. After 18 days while still hunched and in excruciating back pain. I lasted a good 6 hours before I could barely move. I swelled up like a balloon causing me to hunch more and more each hour.I was not yet in a garment because of the drains. I had on a binder and shapewear shorts. By the time I returned home the leggings were so tight I had to cut myself out of them! My legs were extremely swollen since the day of the surgery. My butt...OMG..HUGE. Gravity pulls things down and all my swelling was in my lower extremities.
After my failed return to work, I began to increase my fluid intake, continued to avoid salt and started elevating my feet. The swelling subsided slowly and by the beginning of week 4, I returned to work. It wasn't easy. I was very uncomfortable and if I sat for too long, I would tighten up and start hunching over to a greater degree. On day 1 of my return to work, I went to the restroom. Lifted my shirt and realized my binder and tank top were all wet....I was leaking from my incision. I immediately called Dr. Davoudi's office and was seen the next day. I was NERVOUS. Long story short, Dr Davoudi open a small spot on my incision to allow fluid to drain. I was immediately able to stand straighter which gave my back relief. I had to stuff the opening with saline covered gave for about 2 weeks and voila, the fluid was gone and it closed.
Now my results...nothing short of AMAZING. I told Dr Davoudi I wanted curves and he delivered. My butt looks like I had a BBL even though he did not touch my butt. The amazing work he did on my back makes me looke more shapely and defined the area between my back and butt. My breasts, again, AMAZING. He did not cut the crease area I have one incision from the nipple. I initially thought he slipped an implant in because my super long breasts looked so perky. He somehow took my own breast tissue and despite having no volume at the top (severe ptosis) worked them into perky 36 Cs. I also had massive aereolas which he made proportional to my new perky boobies. Oh and I should add Dr. Davoudi threw in a little lipo of that weird little extra boobage under the armpits. Now for my tummy...OMG...this tummy is so flat and beautiful. My belly button is very natural, incision nice and low and these curves are everything I wanted and MORE. Dr. Davoudi delivered. I went from a L/XL in shirts to a medium. I have not worn a medium since maybe high school.
My results were so impressive, others have booked with Dr Davoudi. I can, without hesitation recommend him. As I mentioned before, this is MAJOR surgery. YOu must know what you are getting into. I worked 5 days a week kickboxing and bootcamp style. Despite all that, I needed substantial recovery time. Ultimately, the results were so worth it!!!
I'll be back with pictures.
Photos at 8 Weeks
27 Mar 2015
3 months post
A little before and after...
Garments, Garments, Garments
10 Apr 2015
4 months post
After my surgery, I was in an abdominal binder for several weeks. The binder is temporary but annoying. It tends to move and scrunch up as you sit and stand throughout the day and you definitely cannot wear a fitted top with that bulky contraption underneath.
Once my drains were FINALLY removed, Dr. Davoudi put me in a garment. The garment gave me a lot more support and helped the back pain. There was one problem...the style provided by the PS is Marena which is uber comfortable material BUT the style provided to me was a boyshort leg. Well...the problem is these thighs are not exactly petite under normal conditions and thanks to good old gravity, fluid /swelling had migrated to my legs. So, when I went home in my new garment, I sat down in my trusty chair and poof...the boyshort disappeared. The shorts rolled up and formed a tight ring at the top of my thighs/bottom of my butt. By 2 am I found myself in the mirror snipping away at my garment with scissors in an effort to give my poor legs some relief. By 5 am I looked like a pirate with shredded bottoms on because I had completely cut away the bottom of the garment.
I logged onto the Marena website and looked for a garment style that would not be annihilated by my thighs. I settled on the knee length and placed an order for a new garment. In the meantime...back to that darn binder.
Within a few days I received the new garment...much better for my body type. I started out in a size large...moved to a medium within a few weeks. I also ordered the same cut garment but with hooks.. I didn't like that garment because the straps pressed into my armpits. I even tried a garment from Rainey Wear but I found the Marena material is much softer.
I wore my garment faithfully for 2.5 months. Interestingly enough, I am uncomfortable and feel as if some vital organ may fall out without some type of support. In advance of the scorching hot Georgia summer, I have transitioned to wearing the Ann Chery 2025 latex waist trainer. I started out in a size XXL followed by XL and am not in a large. I could probably move to a medium but luckily this garment has 3 rows of hooks and I just wear it on the tightest setting. If I am wearing a loose shirt, I wear the waist trainer with an abdominal board underneath. I have one trainer dedicated to the gym because support while working out is a MUST.
I do not sleep in the waist trainer. I sleep in my Marena garment with the ab board underneath.
I've found this combination of support/compression works for me. While I do still swell, I find my swelling is very manageable and my stomach is very flat. I hope this helps someone because I've invested quite a bit in all these garments and support wear to find the right mix.
Supplies - Some were used ...others not so much
13 Apr 2015
4 months post
Ok , here goes...
Dial anti-bacterial liquid soap - purchased from CVS - used religiously post-surgery until incision closed
Hibaclens - purchased from Amazon but didn't need to since the hospital provided during pre-op - used a few days prior and while incisions were open post surgery
Plastic lawn chair - ~$7.00 from Lowes - washed with a bleach and water solution prior to placing in my shower. Cheap alternative to a shower chair with great back support. I also used this same chair in front of my vanity to comb my hair, brush teeth etc when my back pain was at its worst.
Handheld showerhead - used everyday - still use because there's no reason to take it down. I used the shower head while sitting in my chair. Purchased from Amazon for $22.99
Lysol wipes - used to wipe surfaces like my vanity down and avoid potential infection
Gauze - used to stuff my belly button - I considered the marble and even purchased some that I never used because it felt too large to place in my belly button. I also occasionally used to cover weeping spots along my incision. The PS provided sterile gauze which I used when I developed a seroma which he opened up. The hospital also provided a starting supply of gauze post-surgery
Bandaids- used quite a few for random spots along my incision, drainage sites, lipo site and even on my bum where I developed irritation from the post surgery mummy wrap on my back. Purchased from wal-mart and Kroger
Surgical tape - I taped pantiliners in a chain around my incision while it was healing. I taped the "chain" down. I had to purchase the good tape. I purchased from both Walmart and Amazon
Cough drops - purchased and never used
Cotton swabs - used to clean incisions and drain sites after dipping in peroxide
Latex gloves- used daily to clean incisions, apply neosporin and bandages, - I had a box at home. The hospital also provided a starting supply post-op
Suppositories - purchased and never used
Cocoa butter stick - purchased and used after incision closed
Lubriderm, Almond oil, cocoa butter oil, Aquaphor and all things that could moisturize - I was extremely ashy for at least a month post- op. I read this could be an effect from the anesthesia. I had to moisturize heavily with lotion mixed with an oil
Gowns - I wore nothing but gowns while indoors the first few weeks. I wore my hospital gown home post surgery because I could not stand long enough to put on clothes post-op. I was wheeled out in a blanket and the gown. I was so nauseous I would have gone home naked to avoid standing. I also had a hospital gown at home from a previous visit. I also purchased a zip- up terry gown on clearance at wal-mart. I rotated those for weeks.
Peroxide and alcohol - purchased a large bottle of each and used both. Lots of cleaning of incision sites
A-neck t's/wife beaters - Purchased and did not use. I did not like the lines they left on my skin under the garment/binder. I found the tanks from Forever 21 ($1.90 each) were much better because they are not ribbed and the price is right
Arnica gel - purchased from Wal-Mart. I used it to massage my body. I bruise very easily so I looked terrible post-op. I massaged bruised areas, and my swollen lower back. I don't know if it did anything but it felt nice.
Lanyard - I found a Star Wars lanyard on clearance at Wal-Mart ($.97). It was a must-have. I used the lanyard to hold the drains while I showered and changed clothes. I had the drains for what felt like centuries so that lanyard was a staple for a while.
Neosporin - Used 3 whole tubes on my incisions and drain sites. Purchased from Wal-mart and Kroger
Maxi-Pads -Purchased a ton and used a few. I used a few to pad the area under my binder then used lipo foam for a few weeks
Baby wipes - used a few. Could have purchase a travel size. I started showering pretty soon after
Compression socks - provided by hospital but I purchased a second pair from Amazon because my legs were so swollen I wore them daily for a while
Dermoplast itch spray- I did not use a lot but I used it to relieve the pain at the drain sites
Milk of Magnesia - Boy oh boy did this help. I used it twice but it was essential
Cold compresses - I used them on random parts of my body. The hospital provided 2 really cool ones that you can refill with ice which meant I didn't have to wait for them to re-freeze. I had also purchased a few from Walgreens on a BOGO sale
Pillows - I purchased 6 and used them all. Now I have to figure out what to do with them since I no longer use them
Cane - would not have made it without it. I was hunched over for quite some time and it really helped. Purchase from Amazon for #9.00
Anti-gravity chair - another must have. I placed a foam mattress topper on it and some blankets. This was my bed for 6 weeks. Purchased from Amazon
Ab-board - wearing it as a I type. Helps with compression and keeping the belly flat. Used well after my incision was healed
Pantiliners - purchased a pack of 95 from Walmart. Used 2/3 to form a chain around my incision each day at it healed. I also cut the ends off one and used it to cover the drain sites which tended to ooze a bit each day while the drains were in.
Toilet extender - must have for me. The lower you have to stoop - the better
Muscle Milk light - great to have when you need to take meds and can't immediately prep a meal and no worry about sodium which will swell you up like a balloon
Large safety pins - used to pin drains to binder - You do not want them to just hang.
Phew...I think that's all folks!
28 Apr 2015
4 months post
So, I had the bright idea to forgo a garment/waist trainer because I was wearing a cute fitted shirt and frankly just didn't feel like it...What in the world was I thinking??? While I can go a few hours with slight swelling, I went an entire day which included walking around the outlet mall.
I was so incredibly uncomfortable by the end of the day. I checked myself in each mirror as I passed thinking everyone could see my distended belly but nope - while I could feel the bloat, it wasn't obvious.
My back and tummy felt so swollen and uncomfortable by the time I got home to my bestie aka my waist trainer. That was a lesson learned.
Oh, I forgot to mention I tried a few shapewear camis from Walmart this weekend. They were Flexees and CUpid brands. Ultimately, I am not in love with either. The Flexees rolled up when I sat down and felt like it was cutting off circulation to my butt. The Cupid had silicone around the bottom which helped it stay in place but the straps were a bit uncomfortable and the smallest size was a medium so there wasn't enough compression. I felt like I was going to dislocate a shoulder getting both garments over my head and boobies. I wanted to try something for the looming Georgia summer but the search continues.
Dr D told me swelling lasts up to a year so I need to keep that in mind. Looking forward to swell free days!
1 Oct 2015
10 months post
I've been lazy about getting new photos up...here goes!
A few before pictures for reference...
1 Oct 2015
10 months post
These were taken in December before surgery.
I got the pictures out of the way and now a written update...
1 Oct 2015
10 months post
I am now 9 months post-op and feeling much better each day. I found that somewhere around month 6 I was starting to gain weight. While the weight did not go to those areas on which I had work done. My legs were getting pretty hefty and they were not exactly sticks to begin with...I had to stop and realize that I had to continue living a healthy lifestyle and eating whatever, whenever will never work for my turtle metabolism.
So, I pulled it back and focused on cutting processed foods, meal prep on Sundays and regular workouts. The legs have gone from huge to just big now.
I still wear a waist trainer every day. It gives me a sense of comfort and helps control the swelling. I minimize my salt intake but swelling just happens. The doctor told me to expect it and he was right. Oh and I sleep in my faja most of the time.
I spent quite a bit of time at beaches and pools this summer and it was the most comfortable I have ever been in those settings. I have drawers full of bikinis now. A family member I have not seen since last year was amazed when she saw me in the bikini and argued with me as she insisted I had a BBL. I did not have a BBL but I think she believes I did to this very day. :)
Despite enjoying my new body I have found that I have become more critical of other parts of my body. I have to tell myself no one is perfect. My arms for instance, I feel like they are HUGE now. I think not having my belly and saggy boobies to focus on leaves too much time to nitpick other areas. I had a talk with myself and have decided to focus on the positive!
Oopsie, I forgot to mention my boobies. They are healing quite well. I had feeling in one nipple weeks after surgery while feeling returned to the other side after 4-5 months. I still have some numbness along the crease (under the boob).
I have been applying a product called Epitrel to my scars in order to lighten them. I purchased in Mexico but it's basically generic Retinol A. It is working as my scars are lighter. The reality is the scar will always be there and visible while naked. I am simply trying to minimize the appearance.
I think that's all. Thanks for reading!