46 Year Old, 2 Kids, 4 Abdominal Surgeries and Previous BR - Fayetteville, NY

This isn't about vanity. Yet how do you convince...

This isn't about vanity. Yet how do you convince others of that. And why should you have to. In the end, it is a decision you make for yourself.
Guilt...yes. Over money (other things are always more necessary); over recovery time (someone else will have to handle daily tasks for the family); over vanity (how do you teach healthy body image to your preteen).
I had endured 2 CSections with vertical incisions, 9 years apart; a umbilical laposcoptic tubal ligation; and a recent hysterectomy via davinci robot. I had a breast reduction 18 years ago. They are bigger now than before the first reduction!! I continue to have neck, back and shoulder pain with nerve impingement.
In 2010, I had a consult for TT with a local medical spa. However, I didn't feel comfortable or confident with the doctor or facility. Glad I went with my gut because they closed a short time later.
Last summer I saw a local board certified plastic surgeon. I left his office feeling awful about myself. He made comments about not doing the 2nd BR and how I didn't have enough to remove for insurance purposes and while manipulating my abdomen, commenting to the nurse about visceral fat like I wasn't there listening. Never once did he consider that I would be a self pay for whatever insurance didn't cover. I felt dismissed.
I finally went to another doctor who specializes in BR and TT (mommy makeovers) and felt completely comfortable after my consult. Surgery is scheduled for September 10, 2014.
I'm fighting the feelings of guilt on a daily basis. But I know it's not about vanity, my overall health will benefit, and my self confidence will increase.

Obstacle overcome....phew

I had a recent mammogram and breast ultrasound as a regular checkup just before my surgery consult. My consult went great, I am very comfortable with my PS and the office. Surgery scheduled.
Then I get a letter from radiology stating they are monitoring a finding on my mammogram/ultrasound. So I immediately get an appointment with my breast care specialist. He reassured me today that he feels it is just some cysts and that all tissue removed during BR are checked by pathologist anyway.
Geez, that was close....

One must be strong enough on your own....

One thing about being self employed is that you are so busy that time just passes before you know it. In the days/week since my last update, my husband has dropped the other shoe in his support. Now I get " do you have to get both the breasts and the tummy done ?" Really?! You have to ask. Say what you mean. Yes it's a lot of money. Some tears and emotion on my part of feeling like the only one I thought was in my corner fully, really isn't. This is for me. I will not back down because of someone else's reasonings. So I have to be strong for myself. I believe the end result will be well worth it.
On another note, I received my hospital surgical paperwork today. This is really happening . I have preop appointment with surgeon on 25th. Surgery on Sept 10th with a calendar packed agenda until then.

I think this is happening

I actually registered by phone with the hospital. I made final payment clarifications. My preop appointments with PS & hospital are 1 week from tomorrow!! I told the only other 2 girls in my office that I was having a breast reduction and getting my csection scars removed. I just don't feel comfortable letting others know its a tummy tuck. They understand the breast reduction part so I'll leave it at that. Everyone else is at a need to know basis. I have 2 trips planned with my husband...one in October, only 5 weeks postop to Key West and another in November on a cruise with friends, which will be about 8 weeks postop. So I have been shopping online for bikinis and such. That's when I started to think that this is really happening. I hope everything goes well and I recover without complications. Here's to getting our groove back girls!!


Tomorrow morning is my preop appointment with PS, then preadmission testing at hospital. I keep trying to remember to write down any questions I think I should ask. I'm having breast lift with breast reduction...so I need to determine the best size. Flank lipo and TT. I'm concerned about mons pubis area. Lipo for that as well?? What kind of compression garment should I have? How long will I have drains? I hope I don't leave out anything important!!
Final payments will be made. I'm hoping any lingering guilt over using the money for elective surgery will be alleviated once I just pay it.
At this point I just want it done so I can recover and resume my life. But September 10th will be here soon enough I guess.

Pre op done....pre admission testing done....payment made

I will be having a breast reduction with lift, lipo of flanks, Tummy Tuck.
I had my preop appointment today and I went over my list of questions. I was surprised to learn that I will not have a surgical bra (as I did with my 1st BR 18 years ago). He said I would be wrapped in bandage and that a sports bra would be all I need. I asked about the binder and he said I would have one but that I would only need to wear it for 3 weeks. This surprised me because I have read on this site about everyone talking about ordering fajas and compression garments. I had my pre admission testing at the hospital done today as well. Now it's a waiting game til 9/10.
PS said that he wants me to stay overnight in hospital. But I learned that the insurance won't cover it and it may be an additional expense to what I already paid. If that's the case, I'll just ask to go home that night. Waiting for clarification from hospital on where that stands. Also learned that husbands issue is that he's worried about the results and if something isn't right, then we wasted all that money. I told him to trust the process.

All paid

Well every penny has been paid. Including the additional $450 for the overnight hospital stay, which the dr feels I need. I also learned I will have the OnQ Painbuster Pump installed for 3 days.
I'm still pretty nonchalant on things with surprisingly no guilt upon making the final payment. It's like it's not real and I'm just going through the motions!

Update on procedures

Breast reduction and lift....DDD to a C
tummy tuck with muscle repair
Lipo of flanks

I'm am skiddishly uploading these before pics...

This is real hard for me to see and post, but I know it's all part of the process, so here goes.... 13 days til surgery!

Random thoughts

So I find myself thinking of various things at random times.
Is anyone else with upcoming surgeries constantly holding in the belly and propping up their boobs to get a glimpse of what they might look like after surgery?! I find myself doing this often these days!!
I had so much guilt in making this decision, then when the biggest guilt (money) was paid in full, I seemed to come to terms with all the guilt and now just want to move forward. This IS for me and I deserve it.
I've been a little concerned over the length of the surgery. It will be my longest one ever. I have high blood pressure and when I had my hysterectomy which was only 2 hrs, I had an issue with my blood pressure going too low after surgery. So I'm concerned about being under anesthesia longer and how it will affect things.
So the last couple days I have spent at my camp in the Adirondacks. We hiked Blue Mountain and spent another day kayaking. And I couldn't help but wonder how these activities would be once I recovered. I wouldn't sit in the kayak with my protruding belly. I could hike without my boobs weighing me down and causing my neck and shoulders to ache.
I've also been thinking about the scars and the best way to heal and fade them. I'm going to Key West just 5 weeks after surgery.
I also have a side tattoo, which is in partial coverup mode. I'm wondering if it will move with the procedure. I don't mind if it does as I will only have it corrected later on.
These are my recent crazy random thoughts. My days are full and it keeps me busy as the days count down. My daughter starts field hockey and school this week. Next week I go under.

Belly button

And how about the belly button...it's been a part of me for 46 years...going to be strange to have a new fake one. And will I still be able to have a belly piercing....first world problems I swear!!!! Lol

Sept 1

As of tomorrow I'm drinking more water and eating lower sodium foods to help aid in my recovery. Any other dietary suggestions??

Told family

So all along it's been a private decision with selective persons being told about my surgery. However, they are only being told that I'm having a breast reduction and some abdominal muscle repair. The only people thus far that knew were the 2 girls in my office, one of which is my husbands daughter. Yesterday I told my inlaws . Everyone else is on a need to know basis. I'm staying on the down low from here on out til recovery.

Below the one week mark

Next Wednesday it is!!

This must really be happening as I was "nesting" all day

Remember just before you gave birth and you had the urge to clean everything and make sure all things were taken care of (aka "nesting")....well that was me today. Knowing that the house wasn't going to clean itself while I was laid up recovering, I did a complete spring clean overhaul today, got all the laundry caught up. Heck I even made homemade sauce. The next 2 days at the office are going to be hectic with trying to get as much done as possible. I plan on eating whatever I want tomorrow and then eating light on Tuesday and drinking lots of water. I bought supplies today as well: gauze, paper medical tape, Milk of Magnesia, neosporin, BioOil, SmartWater, ginger ale, Gatorade, saltines, jello, puddings, comfy cotton underwear, filled my prescription painkiller... My son is away at college and his room has been made into a guest room, which I will be living during my recovery. My bed is way to high to get in or out and my sons room Is directly across from bathroom, which is convenient. So I arranged everything in the room to accommodate my needs...heating pad, tv remote , fan, Kleenex, etc. I know once today is over, the time is going to fly and it will be Wednesday morning and I will be checking in at the hospital. I'm slightly nervous, very anxious and just ready to be a better me!!

Milk of Magnesia

So I've never taken the stuff....but I read on here by so many women that they use it after surgery. Now having had a hysterectomy last February, I am all too familiar with anesthesias effects on bowels. So i thought before I got to point of no return after surgery that I'd test it. So after eating heavy (pasta) all weekend, I tried the MOM....and at first I'm like nope it doesn't work....until I got up this morning!!! And well, let's just say I have a clean start for this surgery!!! :-)

Eve of surgery

Today was more hectic than usual. Tried to get everything time sensitive taken care of at the office, plus the house and my daughters schedule for school and field hockey. I'm am exhausted! I'm looking forward to the medically induced nap tomorrow !
Today was a roller coaster of emotions. A tiff with the hubby, random nervous thoughts of possible complications, mental checklist to call my son at college in the morning...my biggest concerns are the 5 hour length of the surgery and dealing with the drains. I made the mistake of reading a profile on here where the woman posted pics of the operation!!! Some things can not be unseen!
I removed my belly ring, which I have had since 1999! Will be odd with a new BB...pierce it later maybe???
My head is heavy. Time for bed.

The longest hour ever...

So we dropped my daughter off to school and came to the office to finalize a few things. Need to head to Syracuse in an hour. THIS IS THE LONGEST HOUR EVER! I'm trying mentally to let go of all the guilt and other emotions and just let this morning be of excitement and possibilities to come. I'm so thirsty and hungry from the fast after midnite though!! I'm picturing myself in a bathing suit in just 5 weeks in Key West....I'm imagining the release of tension in my neck and shoulders...
Thanks everyone for sharing your stories and for the encouragement.
To the flat side!!!

Hey girls

sorry it's taken so long to update. I'm on day 5 post op. and it's been very very rough. I thought since I had several previous abdominal surgeries and a previous breast reduction that I knew what to expect. this is nothing like I've ever had to deal with. recovery is slow but steady and every day is a little bit better. I remember coming to after surgery and the only thing I thought was holy crap I really did it. sleeping is rough only one to two hours at a time. what I would give to be able to sleep on my side. walking and standing are the worst for me because it causes a strain in my back in the area which also has trauma and severe bruising from lipo. Milk of magnesia is a miracle cure. Boyshort cotton undies work best for function and comfort. Must stay hydrated and rest. I'll try to post pics later.

Holy swelly belly

Day 6 post op. Drains still in for 10 more days. But even with drains I have the swelly belly. Anyone got any tried and true tricks for relief?

Day 3 Post Op pics

Day 5 post op

A bit swollen.

Day 8 post op

Swelly belly!!! Omg I can't find any relief from it!! Bruising is healing. Left nipple bleeding and oozing from incision that's why it's covered. Boobs are still rock hard. Can't wait for them to settle and soften. But yea, my real concern is the swelling.

2 weeks post op

Cannot wait to get these drains out Friday. 16 days with drains is so uncomfortable!! A lot of dried blood, scabbing, fallen away from incisions finally. Can't wait to use scar therapy as some areas are "bumpy ". Still a lot of swelling, haven't seen the flat side yet. Belly button creeps me out. The size of a quarter and almost looks like a bulgy part herniated one!! I hope it shrinks a little and blends in. Right now I feel like a freak. Boobs are rock hard and do not move at all. Hoping they will start to soften and feel normal soon. Husband not used to the drastic change and jokingly calls me a boy now!! Every day is a little better in different ways. Not used to such a slow recovery. I go to key west in 3 weeks. Hope I feel more normal by then!!!

Drain free

16 days post op and the drains came out. Hallelujah! I was worried it would hurt but didn't at all. To be able to move a little more freely was so nice.
I'm still very sore and very swollen. Still numb at center area of belly and lower incision. Skin remains tight between BR underneath scar and TT scar. So I'm still moving slightly hunched over. My boobs are still rock hard and bruised. Cant wait for them to soften and settle. I feel so boxy with the swollen torso. Not used to such a slow process of healing. But one day at a time.

4 weeks post op tomorrow

Not a very significant change in status...still swollen and sore. Still some bruising on my breasts. An area on the hip to hip incision doesn't seem to want to close and heal and is draining quite a bit. The belly button is still creepy to me and not healed. There's some hardness on the flanks from lipo---wonder if that's normal?? Left nipple is still healing. But I'm walking straighter and only slightly hunched still. Tightness and pulling when I try to straighten. Mid area still numb with nerve healing tingling on occasion. I still cannot wear jeans, thankfully leggings are the fashion right now!! I move gingerly still and have the hardest time with reaching (the incisions below the underarm area pull). I was hoping to be further along in healing as I go to key west in 10 days....I may not be able to dance I guess. But it's still key west and I can't wait to go.
Recovery is so slow that I haven't really embraced this new me.
Syracuse Plastic Surgeon

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