Can't Believe I'm Actually Doing This! - Edison, NJ

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Surgery is Tuesday; I booked only 10 days in...

Surgery is Tuesday; I booked only 10 days in advance, really on a whim. Nervous and excited at the same time. This is something I have had in the back of my mind for a few years now but always a "someday" thing (which really means I'd probably never do it). It's already paid for, so no turning back now! I will post some before and after pics as time and healing allow. On a happy note, doctor said I don't need any lipo because there's no fat, it's really just skin on my stomach. That makes me feel good in a weird way. :)

A Few "Before" Pics

I took some "before" pics - 1 day pre-op. I really can't believe at this time tomorrow I'll be in surgery!

I also can't believe I am about to share these pics!

I am working from home today trying to prepare for surgery tomorrow. I have one more prescription to get, laundry to do, cleaning and whatnot. Did a big grocery shop yesterday so that there's enough food in the house for the next couple of weeks. Feeling a bit of anxiety but I know this is the right thing to do for myself, and I can't wait to see the results!

Today is the Day!

Leaving any minute now, a bit nervous. I feel rather "backed up" despite the liquid diet, milk of magnesia and enema yesterday - I didn't really "go" that much even with all that. Wish me luck! I will update when I can.

Doing OK...So Far! :)

Hi Everyone! I got home around 4pm today. Everything went well. One especially nice thing, the doctor said (while he was marking me up and taking before pics) once again that he almost always has to do lipo at the same time and I had no need for it. Made me smile, which I needed before going under!

So let me recap the day. All in all, it took a bit longer than I thought. Got there at 7:15, got home around 4. I guess I was expecting to be home around lunchtime, knowing it's a 3.5-4 hour surgery. I wasn't factoring in prep, recovery, etc. Not a problem, just commentary. Did the pregnancy test, after-care info, the pictures, the markups, talked to Dr. Cuber as well as the anesthesiologist. Lots of nice chat with the nurses (who were really great to talk to). I was a littler nervous but talking to them helped, actually - because it was "normal" chit chat and not only about surgery. I went under without issue, woke up in recovery, cried for a while (that's normal for me after being under general) and was on my way home. The ride home was OK, I was just really out of it, in a fog.

Got home and walking to the door was awful. Getting onto the couch, more awful. Once I was laying down, it was better. I popped the vicodin and muscle relaxer and in about 20 minutes I was good to go. Pain since then has been off and on, only severe when: 1) coughing... OMG OUCH; 2) getting up or getting back onto the couch, and getting on and off the toilet... definitely need help being hoisted; 3) the muscle relaxer starts to wear off and ab muscles are spasming/contracting... that is a very uncomfortable occurence. Slight nausea here and there, huge appetite tonight but feel mildly ill after eating. Finally starting to get really sleepy (just took second dose of pain meds and muscle relaxer).

On an interesting note, my V area (if you catch my drift) looks way different, like more perky or something. In a good way, from this angle ;) we shall see how that turns out once everything isn't so pulled and compressed with the bandages and binder! Dr. Cuber did say the pubic skin would be lifted, but this is definitely more than I expected... I wonder if that's a good sign for the rest, I am excited!

All in all, I think I am doing really, really well. Shower on Thursday, I will hear from doctor office tomorrow to schedule my follow-up and hopeful drain removal.

I will check in tomorrow!


Sneak Peek...The First Post Pics!

Well, I am doing pretty well. My recovery has been WAY better than expected so far. Granted it's not even been two full days, but I've been able to be up on my feet and walking around plenty (hunched of course). There are two kinds of pain - the burning incision pain and the muscle spasms/contractions. The muscle relaxers do much more good for me than the vicodin. So this morning I took only Tylenol and muscle relaxers to see if I could do without the pain pills. So far so good with that. I am sitting up right now to type, in fact. I know that I am not getting enough rest - I tend to think, hey I feel OK why not roam around a bit...I need to stop that so I get adequate rest.

I am allowed to shower today so I started taking off bandages and I got the first look at myself. Looking pretty good! My skin is really taut in some spots and swollen in several areas, so I am feeling quite puffy, but I know this is just part of healing, not concerned. My waist is actually bigger than pre-op at the moment, but that's because there is a hard swollen spot right at the top of my tummy. You can see swelling and tightness more from the side view pics, I think. I also haven't had any luck in the poop department so I am sure once that happens I'll feel less "full" and fluffy.

Going to kick my feet up for a while now and relax. :)

5 Days Post Op - The Good & The Bad!

Still doing pretty well! I haven't taken any pain meds or muscle relaxers today and I am getting by just fine. I had my first BM yesterday after lots and lots of colace, milk of magnesia and some senekot (hope that was OK). I still feel backed up but happy to get some out of me. The pain has been tolerable overall, but it kills when I cough! I had a couple times I swallowed water and it went down the wrong pipe and the coughing fit almost killed me - it felt like my abs were ripping apart. Otherwise, I am getting pretty good and sitting down and getting up. I am just trying not to overdo it since I've been feeling well enough to be roaming about the house. My upper stomach is very tight, I am standing straighter but still not upright - and that part of my tummy sticks out right now, I think due to the tightness. I can almost suck it in a little if I try, haha.

Standing up straight everything looks pretty flat aside from the swelling, which comes and goes in severity. The drain areas are pretty swollen, my lower tummy by incision is pretty swollen, but it's all tolerable.

A few minor concerns, which are probably premature but going to mention anyway...

-I will still have stretch marks. Right in the middle of my tummy on the sides on my belly button. They are light but very noticable to me.
-My waist is almost 2 inches bigger than pre-op (was 25, now 27 inches). I suppose this could change after the top of my tummy relaxes and I am more upright, since the really tight area is right at my natural waistline.
-When I bend over/sit down, I still have a little bit of wrinkly, loose-looking skin. Does this mean I have fat there, or is it just possibly swollen tissue? I only noticed this today while I had the binder off but it certainly didn't make me happy. I hope this is something that will change with more time.

Maybe I should not be worrying about anything yet being only 5 days post op?

I go for my first post-op visit tomorrow. I think overall I am healing really well, so I expect a good visit. Not sure if he'll take the drains out though - I have emptied twice already today and each side totals 30cc. I wonder if this is too much still to get the drains out. I will certainly be happy once those come out!

Originally I was planning to work from home tomorrow but decided to take off since it would be hard to sit up at the computer all day with the drains still in. I am hoping to work from home Tuesday-Friday, but will play by ear.

Posting some pics of overall and the couple little concerns I mentioned above!

7 Days Post Op - First Appointment Delayed

Thought I'd get the drains out yesterday, but my first post-op appointment got postponed by two days due to a snowstorm. I am so sick of the snow! I think we're supposed to get more tonight, too. Great!

Yesterday I had just a general down day. I was swollen, lots of aches and pains, just couldn't get comfortable. I even took a pain pill and muscle relaxer to get to sleep. I haven't taken anything in a couple days, but I was having so much discomfort. The drain areas are swollen and tender, I swelled up like a balloon after dinner (my own fault, I made chicken teriyaki), I have a bit of head congestion, a weird pulling feeling (like a stitch when I breathe deep) near my right armpit, and I just had a case of the blues. But, today is a new day and I am feeling better!

So, tomorrow at 4:45pm I hope to get these drains out! After they're out and the swelling goes down, I will take some more progress pics. Interestingly, early yesterday before I got swollen, I couldn't get my tummy to look wrinkly/loose bending over. So I am pretty sure the appearance will vary with swelling and recovery. My mind is eased a bit.

First Post Ops Appointment - 8 Days - Love My Incision Placement!

I had my first post operative appoinment today and I am happy to report that the drains are out, thank goodness! What a gross and creepy feeling having them pulled out. I had no idea they were so far inside of me.... ewwwww, that's all I can say. Not really all that painful, just creepy. I am still pretty tender where they were, so I have some gauze on the holes for a day so they can heal a bit. Just so so so happy to have those gone.

Doctor said I am healing wonderfully and look great. Aside from being swollen (mostly after eating and in the evenings), I am feeling really good. I have been overdoing it and my body has been telling me so. I sat upright working from home all day yesterday, and that was a bad idea. I definitely wish I'd taken more than a week off work. Today I modified my couch "office" a bit, laid my laptop on my lap, and worked in a reclined position most of the day. I feel much better than I did last night, though still awfully swollen.

I asked the doc about the little spot of skin at the top of my tummy, the area that has some coming-and-going laxity when sitting/bending. He said it should smooth out as I continue to heal and swelling goes down. He did not seem to be concerned at all. OK, cool. I won't worry about it unless it bothers me after a few months, if it hasn't smoothed out by then. And, I am totally flat standing up... almost too tight most of the time, can't wait til I have some more flexibility and can stand up 100% (I am pretty close, but my tummy is so tight still, it pulls).

My incision is healing perfectly and looks awesome. I am so impressed with the placement! The butterfly bandages came off today, too, so I got the first look at it. Seems pretty thin to me and I am just so happy with how low it is. I tried on 3 different panties when I got home and the incision didn't really show in any of them! That makes me so excited for the thought of shopping for my first ever in my adult life bikini! I am adding a few pics to show you. The red marks and stuff are not my incision - I got some skin pulled off from some bandages and have lots of bandage residue and skin irritation you can see in the pics.

I go back in a week for the new follow-up. I am to continue wearing the binder (or I can get a compression garment instead) for at least 3 more weeks. It was nice to leave the house for the first time since surgery today, and I am actually going to drive tomorrow.

One Month Post Op

Today is one month post op! Things have been all-around ok. I've had some fluid issues (seroma had to be drained three times but it seems to be resolving now), went back to work in the office this week and ended up in terrible pain and exhausted. I've been super swollen this week, I assume because I overdid it on Tuesday and Wednesday. So my one month pics today include my swelly-belly as I like to call it! My scar looks good and low, very happy with that. Will write more later this weekend.

One Month Post Op Continued

So yeah, I need to stop overdoing it. Cannot wait to workout (because of the couple little issues, I am not going to be allowed to for at least another month, I can only walk around a little bit for the time being). I am often wearing a compression garment underneath my binder to keep the swelling down. I have tried on my first bikinis in my adult life and must say I look pretty decent! Though, sitting around for the past month has taken its toll... I feel soft and smooshy all over and definitely want to get to toning! All in all, I am very happy with my decision and can't wait to see how I look in a couple of months after everything settles down! Now that my tummy looks so good, I have to do something about my boobs! ;)
Edison Plastic Surgeon

Shain A. Cuber, MD I have been very, very pleased with Dr. Cuber. He is calm, patient and friendly. I like that he does not come off cavalier or condescending at all. You can just tell that he knows what he is doing. I felt comfortable with him from the first visit on. I have absolutely nothing but good things to say about him. I wish I could say wait times have been good, but I have been to the office a total of 6 times now, and 2 of those times I had a wait of more than one hour. The average for me has been 30 minutes, but the first time I had to ask after an hour waiting (it was my pre-op, not with Dr. Cuber) and I think I was forgotten. The second time I waited two hours before seeing him. Overall the staff has been great. I loved my nurses the day of surgery. Some of the women at the front desk could use some customer service lessons, though.

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
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
3 out of 5 stars Wait times
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