37 Y/o and Two C Sections Going for Full Abdominoplasty - Encino, CA

My tummy's been stretched out since I was 24. I...

My tummy's been stretched out since I was 24. I had another baby at age 35, didn't get a single new stretch mark as I had so much extra skin hust waiting to re-fill. Now I'm older and can't seem to get below 130lbs, which is the magic number where my tummy is deflated. I'm heavier now and the fat clings to all that skin. I see other 5'5" women who weigh 150lb and they ALL look better than I do. I work out 4 hours a week, I'm decently toned... But that tummy.

Going in for Labs Today

I scheduled this July 2nd Abdominoplasty in early June, so I feel lucky that I've only had a month to feel nervous.

I go in for my labs today. I have to pay for these out of pocket, as my insurance group didn't have enough warning to fit me in and get my results (read: they're slow) so I went with a Dr my PS recommended. I've never had elective surgery before, I feel it's very disorienting to be my own point person. I'm so afraid there's something I'm ignoring or forgetting.

My whole physical self worth has been dependent on how poochy my stomach is at any given moment. Part of me believes that cosmically I'm not "allowed" to have a nice tummy - I've disliked my tummy since before I ever had babies. I hope I don't get screwed.

If I do end up with a nice stomach, it will be interesting to finally "see" the rest of my body, maybe concentrate on toning my thighs in a fun and challenging way, not the loathing I typically have for trying to flatten my stomach.

No Big Deal?

Just had my last consult with PS before surgery in 3 days! They're friendly, they answer all of my questions, but their underlying attitude is, it's not really a big deal!
Tomorrow I am taking my 13 year old daughter to a water park with her friends. So I get one last public viewing of my huge preggo looking tummy. All day, I get to show off my jiggly tummy (one piece of course). It's like my stomach just had to get the last word!
Also went out to a show last night with my husband and got a little dressed up, but did not even look in the full length mirror before we left -- I know what I look like. A five month pregnant woman.
My surgeon said my results will be drastic, because I have a lot of excess skin. He was very encouraging.

More before pics (3 days to go!)

Clear Before Photos.

One day post TT, side flank lipo, using pain pump

Dr said that my diastasis was even further apart than he'd guessed. I haven't been able to view my tummy standing up yet, but he said my results are extensive.

Two things I haven't mentioned so far: I had lipo on my flanks, and am using a pain pump.

I'd say that since the pain pump knocks out the abdominal pain so well, the pain I'm feeling today is similar to post c section, meaning the incision and general soreness. Not too bad really!

One very serious down note, when I woke up from the anesthesia I was incredibly nauseous and couldn't stop crying. This was from 9pm until 1pm when I was finally able to sleep. It's not something I'll ever forget. Like I said, the pain I feel today is a piece of cake.

Day 2 standing up

Getting ready to shower.

2 Days Post

Standing up to shower.

Not going to name my Dr in my reviews

I feel like I'm one of those people who gets to be the "fringe case". For example, I had a Mirena IUD that got lodged and had to be surgically removed, also I got pregnant on it. What are the odds, right?

So when it comes to my tummy tuck, I believe the Dr did his part well, but just about all of the other aspects were pretty shitty. I'm not going to name a laundry list of problems, but I could.

Some of it could be attributed to my pushing the surgery date. I can't blame his office and the hospital for everything. But I'd rather not recommend this surgeon. It could be that I had shitty coincidences, or maybe his setup is not that great. I'm grateful the ab work seems to be what I needed.

Left to my own thoughts

I find that in healing, my ideas and notions can actually make pain worse.

For my first c section, I was convinced that my guts were going to spill out of my incision and took a full month to go off Vicodan. Every little jostle terrified me.

The second c section, I recognized the feeling but knew my insides were safe and intact, and the recovery process was much faster.

So here I am post TT. My incision is actually ok, it's sensitive but... It's the tightness I feel in the muscles under my chest that bothers me. My mind keeps saying "It's your flap of skin! It wants to peel off your torso like a glove off of a hand!" I let this thought get in my mind and get me worried.

Well, it's muscle tightness from the muscle repair. Yes, it's tight. No, my skin's not trying to peel off. I need to just observe these discomforts, acknowledge that yes, they suck, but I'm healing and getting better everyday.

These kind of thoughts help. Wanted to share in case anyone else is going through this. A little better every day.

More Swollen Today

Second shower post op. I had my husband do my binder really tight after these pics were taken.

Detail on swollen side

My left side, and I'm lefthanded, is very swollen like a small balloon.

Ugh; Boxy

I don't know if it's just swelling, but my torso, viewed from the side, is as boxy as ever. For reference: no, I have not swallowed a box.

Not a lot of bruising, but not exactly a good look

Like everyone else, I read thru the lists of What to Buy to prepare for my TT and lipo.

One of those was arnica and bromelain to help with the bruising.

Now I'm sitting here laughing at myself.

It's like "Oh goody my bruising's not so bad!"

*Bruising?*

"Yeah, see that area above the dark Frankenstein scar?"

*Yeah?*

"Above where those tubes come out carrying blood and pus?"

*Yeah?*

"Well there's hardly any bruising!"

*shaking my head*

Oh well I guess there's nothing wrong with being prepared!

I visit my Dr tomorrow and hopefully the drains come out. Less than 5 a piece for the last two days.

Standing Straighter

One week Dr. visit was yesterday. He removed a drain and told me I could stand straighter. I was worried about creating tension, but no. I'm good, and have been standing almost straight at times.
I'm wearing less of a girdle and more of an "ultra tight spanx" sort of garment. It's less digging on my ribs, which was starting to drive me nuts.
I haven't kept up with the stool softener as much and I'm paying for it. One week post TT is not enough time to get your tummy pushing muscles back, so be warned.
Anyone else get your TT during life turmoil? We were in marriage counseling last night, and among the other issues that came up, husband says I should have been fully healed at 3 to 5 days since it was an outpatient procedure. Thank God the therapist chirped right up "Oh, it's six week's recovery."
Here's to healing faster than six weeks!

A Lot of Skin was Removed

As far as Before/After pics go, they aren't great. My pic app wasnt letting me combine photos and keep perspective. boo!
However, you can really see how much rippled skin was removed. The new tummy is made of some pretty decent skin! Cheers to marsupial pouch removal!

Healing Progress Pics

I have a "shelf" on the left side, may be swelling, maybe not. Dr says, if it's not just swelling, he can take care of it in the office and not charge me for it. As nice as that sounds, I'm thinking WTF does that entail! Just a little quick scalpel work? Shudder. My progress in healing is coming along well, I still have one drain, because Dr wants to be conservative, and that's cool with me.

Sitting with an EMPTY Lap

For the first time in 13 years, I can sit and not have my lap be filled with skin.

Before After Bending Over

Just the amount of skin. Wow.

Proof to myself that I got a tummy tuck :)

Well I got that last drain out and went straight to the mall. Just tried on all kinds of clothes To see what I can wear. Apparently, everythings different, and when something doesnt fit it's for completely different reasons, and not a big deal. It was a fun time. I didn't wear a binder, so I could see how I really fit into things.

Benefits of Tummy "reconstruction"

So I've chatted with my Dr about my diastasis. He said it was one of the worst he'd ever seen, and that by the time he'd repaired the muscles, things looked much different. He said my core should be much more stable.

Well, it already is! I've had a problem with my core for years and have asked my chiropractor, a personal trainer, and my acupuncturist for tips and therapy for this problem.

Here were my "symptoms":

* Intense lower back pain after workouts,
* Insanely tight and fatigued obliques after workouts,
* Lunges were impossible to do, I couldn't hold my balance,
* Squats were scary, I often had to catch myself from falling,
* Unable to really work my butt/thighs during gym fitness classes because of this,
* Many side balance yoga poses were just baffling.

I'd dealt with these problems for the last nine years.

I've had so many things told to me: my back has nothing wrong with it, maybe my hamstrings or hip flexors are tight, maybe the band of upper butt muscles isn't firing...

My tummy was never addressed. It never occurred to me! I am dying to get back into the gym to see how different it all feels.

I love how my TT started out as a quest for aesthetics but has ended up with real, necessary muscle repair and I'll reap the benefits for years to come. Just thought I'd mention it!

General anesthesia & weird behavior

When I awoke from my surgery, I was as nauseous as someone drink on J├Ągermeister & Goldschlager combined. It was *nasty* and it lasted about three days (diminishing bit by bit).
That happens to some people, I get it. Here's the weird part: I was murderously angry too. I wanted to kill just about everyone. I was only exposed to my husband, and I ranted to him constantly every time he was in the room.
I even posted a review about how I hated my Dr's office - I was holding back *a lot* when I wrote that.
Ok, some people get angry when they're in pain or whatever... However when this kill'em'all phase passed, I looked back and thought HUH?!
Like I have no idea what came over me. I can't even connect with the thoughts and feelings I was having. It's like I was infected with an anger bug, and then it was gone!
Has anyone else experienced this? I just find it really strange.

Dressing Room Before & After

I took this "Before" pic at Target. I was shopping for Spanx, and snapped a tummy pic so I could compare how well each Spanx compressed my tummy. I had no idea I would be getting a tummy tuck! I'm surprised I still had this pic on my phone.
Needless to say, that Spanx shopping trip was a sad one. I just wanted to look normal.
I made a comparison picture using a pic from my latest dressing room experience. What a difference in my stomach as well as my mood!

Castor Oil Packs, Vibration... Things that are helping me

I had a "relapse" of sorts, instead of walking almost upright, I was back to about a 30 degree angle, and feeling really sore.

So I took some actions, which really helped and I thought I might share them.

I'm NOT giving medical advice, what works for me may not work for you, but if anything sounds interesting to you, cool!

I had read about castor oil packs years ago. I bought hexane free castor oil and wool flannel (ingredients of a castor oil pack) before my last c section, but never used it. Duh!

I finally put a castor oil pack on my abdomen for 45 minutes yesterday and the results were damn good! I read that studies were done that show topical application of castor oil can help the lymphatic system - and that's exactly what my Dr says is healing right now and causing a lot of my discomfort! (but hey, if this is placebo effect, I'll take it!)

Second, I found a vibrating face scrubber I'd buried in a junk drawer, and used it on my swollen "pocket" - a part of my incision that swells weirdly. It seemed to lessen the swelling, it definitely feels deflated a bit. I will keep doing this! I just swiped it back and forth, gentle pressure on that area, over my clothes. Oh, and let me clarify, I used the smooth handle as a vibrating surface, not the face scrubby part. I read about Post TT patients benefiting from endermologie, which is just fancy vibration, right? ;)

Anyway, I'm standing up SO much straighter. I'll be doing both of these things daily.

Belly button said Hi to me.

Finally seeing the belly button. It healed enough to show it's basic form.
I gotta say I'm so relieved! I had this pessimistic feeling I was going to get a crappy belly button. My stomach figuratively gave me the middle finger for the past 13 years, so I didn't expect it to give up, ever.
I've seen better, but I'll accept this one gladly.
Once the pink circle scar matches my other skin, it should look allllllllmost natural.

Becoming sure I'll need a revision (but not upset?)

I've been doing things to lessen the swelling on my swollen side. It's working! However the lack of swelling has revealed what I suspected: it's extra skin. I'm betting we're in "revision" territory now.
I'm not too bummed about it; my Dr noticed it and addressed it on my 1 week visit and we've talked about it every visit since. No charge for it, he says.
When I wear clothes it gets compressed, so it's not noticeable.
If this were a nosejob and one side was noticeably more bulbous, I'd be inconsolable - but this is hidden from public view. I'm loving the results I have so far and already feel like a new person.
The fears and concerns I had going in have turned out fine (I wanted a decent belly button and a vag/mons lift). LoL
So, looks like everything's not perfect but it's hard to get upset - I'm still going to clothing stores in my spare time to try on cute outfits and snap pictures! I do that to keep from buying everything in sight ;) Pics are all I need.
I'm posting pictures of my likely to-be-revised dog ear or whatever it's called.

Scabby Incision at 3+ weeks

My incision was closed with dissolvable sutures. I am still scabbed up.
I'm just being nosy, not worried... But why does it seem other realself posters dont have scabs by week 2?
What are y'all doing?

25 Days Post

I was standing up completely straight two days ago. No shoudler hunch or anything. I realized why - my stomach was completely empty. I'd eaten so little that day.
Well, I'm not gonna starve myself, but I'm trying to eat small portions to lessen the internal pressure from my actual stomach.
Standing up straight is kind of da bomb.

Back in the Gym and it's Actually OK

Went to the gym, worked out for a full hour! I'm wonderfully sore today, and not in my abs! I managed not to exercise them.

I spent 30 minutes on a cycling machine, my gym has a row of them that resemble plastic armchairs with pedals (not the traditional bicycle seat). Sitting there, pedaling, I let my abs stay lax. Still worked up a sweat.

Then I went to the nautilus machines. I looked at the diagrams for each, where they indicate which muscles get worked. If it seemed like the abs were necessary, I steered clear. I ended up doing low weight, sloooow reps of chest presses, hip adductors, and some glute fly thing I'd never seen before. That was another 30 min.

I think I've found a winning combo of cardio and muscle work that keeps me from working my abs. I feel like a human again! I was shaking so much yesterday, and sore today.

I thought I'd share this because if any of you have a gym like I described (it's just LA Fitness), and are wondering where to start (there's no way I could make it through my favorite hour-long bodyworks class right now), maybe look around and see what seems ok, it may be something you've never tried before :)

Obligatory Bikini pics

I remember my first consult with my Dr. His assistant said "imagine, you'll be able to wear a bikini."

I said "Nah, I just want to be able to wear a tight shirt and yoga pants, I can't even imagine *that*."

Personally I've preferred one-piece swimsuits since I was a teen; I like to swim freely, not constantly adjust my tiny clothes in public.

I was very skeptical when I tried on the dregs of Victoria Secret's swim section. Just to see for myself what a bikini might look like on me.

It was pretty jaw-dropping. I *could* if I wanted to. It was - hell, it IS a foreign concept. Not needing to be ashamed or hide.

It's really here. The time is now. What the heck??

Resisting the Urge to Buy Ridiculous Clothing

My body shape has changed so much.

When I go shopping and see a clothing style that used to accentuate my old tummy, I go ahead and try it on to see how it looks now.

So, you know those rompers they're selling now, a one-piece shirt and pants deal? They're kind of ridiculous. And they used to make me look like I was a D-list WWF Wrestlemania contender.

So I tried one on when I was school shopping with my teen. She was horrified. She would not let me buy it. I texted pics to my husband who kind of agreed. It was an all around ridiculous garment. Thank goodness my family stopped me.

I love my new flat belly but I have to stay strong and not fall prey to these silly clothes!

Six Week Progress

Six weeks post tummy tuck.

Dr says a revision is needed, and it is. That's fine, he's doing it for free. But I noticed, on the "bad" side, the incision is shorter than on the good side! It does not extend as far. I will discuss this with him in September when we schedule the revision.

Now that the swelling is almost gone, I see my real skin. Pre-TT, I had stretch marks that extended well above my belly button. In a full TT, lots of skin is removed but they can't go up too much further than your old belly button.

So when I bend down, yes, it's still kinda gross. Honestly my new flat belly lifestyle was not going to include bikinis, so I'm ok. It's my own skin. What can I do? I wanted to share this in case anyone is contemplating a TT and has stretch marks well above their belly button - this may happen to you too.


I flew with my family to IL for a reunion. Didn't wear a binder at all, and all the activity was a great distraction to get me away from my TT healing thought processes. I'm basically fine, and I needed to stop walking like a crone. No one knows about the TT, they just said how good I was looking. That was nice! So here's some pics of my six week incision and of me bending over in various degrees.

Swell Hell and Franken Vag

I was so scared of swell hell, I read about it here and I retained tons of water after my last C section. I thought I was a prime candidate for this special hell.

I did swell, but it wasn't hell. I think I might be done swelling at 6 weeks now. Anytime I think I'm swelling, I look at a pic of myself pre-TT and I realize that ANY "swollen" post-TT day, I look amazing compared to my old self! There's just no comparison.

So Franken Vag. You know those bolts that Frankenstein has on either side of his neck? That's what my drain sites look like to me. Two dark "bolts". I had no idea this would happen. They are dark purple and dimpled. What the huh? They kind of weird me out. Hair grows there so I don't feel ok using scar strips on them. Any stories/suggestions?

10 Weeks Of Healing

It's been ten weeks!

Here are some pics, there's not much to report, so I thought I'd just post some belly shots for anyone browsing realself who's doing their research.
I know I used to do that!

Maniacal Laughter!!

When I see a before and after... BWA HAHA HAHA HAHA!!! Tummy, you got OWNED.
I never get tired of this stuff.
I go out with my family now, I dont worry about how I'm sitting or what I'm wearing, I'm just free to be me.
I think TTs are awesome. It's pretty obvious when you need one.
Ive seen some other plastic surgery procedures where its arguable, (but really people can do whatever they wish, not trying to judge).
You know, someone gets fillers and it's like... You looked OK before.
Well my tummy did not look OK before! :-)

I had my in-office revision!

Well okay... Man this was the weirdest thing ever. I still cant believe this actually happened.

Yes, the only anesthetic used was lidocaine, much like the dentist.

At first, there were two shallow shots to numb the area, then he really got in there deep and numbed it even more to prepare for the cutting. I always thought getting a shot in the tummy would be horrendous, but it was so similar to getting a shot in your gums pre-dental drill. An uncomfortable, cold, dull sting.

Then, he started cutting. There was no pain at all. Oh okay, this is fine, I thought.

But then! After he removed the chunk, he had to close it up. This felt like I was a fish being reeled in. I was paranoid, it felt like his "hook" was going to rip through my "mouth". Sometimes it felt like g-force, like my side was on a rollercoaster but the rest of me was not.

By the end, one of my nerves woke up a bit. When he sewed up certain areas, this one painful "ping" would happen, located above the whole incision. One time, I felt the needle, thread, and tightening action and told him about it. He was like "we're almost done, there'll only be two more of those."

I was like ( !!! ) but I didn't feel the rest at all. I realized if I'd truly felt all of that, I'd be crying, so it still wasn't worse than getting a cavity filled.

All in all, I would say this was like a David Lynch/Twin Peaks dental appointment. I can totally imagine Agent Cooper having a dream like this. Go in for a root canal, leave with a 3 inch incision on your side.

I can't believe this just happened to me in my own plane of existence.

The area is still swollen so I cant see the results yet, but hey, I'm ok! I was cut into last night, and I'm ok! Crazy.
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