12 years ago I had my first child..... And gained...
12 years ago I had my first child..... And gained 100 pounds during it. After giving birth to a sweet, handsome loving little boy, it took me 2 and a half years to lose the weight. Ironically, I found out I was pregnant just as I reached that pre-pregnancy weight too. With this pregnancy, I gained 50 pounds and it took me 3 years to lose the weight. That was 6 years ago. What I was left with, was a belly button that was a constant, literal frown, and saggy abdominal skin that I couldn't get rid of. My weight loss started with running, and eventual crossed over to CrossFit and Obstacle Course Racing. This gave me more muscle, but only emphasized the saggy, wrinkly skin. I knew I wanted a tummy tuck, but also wanted to try everything in my power to get rid of the look before I went through an expensive and major surgery. 3 Months ago, I finally went in for a consultation with Dr. Chance Kaplan and made the decision to finally go through with the surgery.
Dr. Kaplan was recommended by my doctor in the Army as his wife was also using him for her own tummy tuck. Dr. Kaplan is also a Colonel in the Army Reserves himself and thus I loved the idea of using him and keeping it "in the Army family".
Now that I have had the surgery, I will continue to make updates throughout my recovery.
Day 1 Post Op!
The first night of sleep was not bad at all! I went to be at around 10:30 and woke up about 6:30 and decided to stay up at that point. It was comfortable and I slept on the couch with pillows behind my back and under my knees. I didn't move at all and I am only taking 1 of the pain pills per 4 hours. It's mostly the stinging at this point that gets me. Being that everything down there is numb, I wonder if that is the nerves growing back already.
I went to my first post op appointment today and got to take off the binder! Thank god to because it was so tight I could not breath. I could only take shallow breaths or it hurt. It seemed like the binder was squashing my bladder and stomach as well, so eating was limited to smaller portions and I pee a lot more too. Which in turns means more getting up. This could be a good thing though to promote blood flow.
I tore a stitch in the drain on my right side as it's about an inch away from the skin. But Dr. Kaplan OKed it and said since it isn't moving, it's fine. He also said that once the drains put out 25cc or less in a 24 hour period, they can come out. My next appointment is in a week and he is hopeful that is when the drains will come out. Till then, I am to take it easy. He said I should start feeling a lot better after today. I don't feel all that bad other than the stinging so I hope that is what he means!
Once I got back from my appointment, I got to take off the binder again to cut it and jumped at the chance to take some photos! Dr. Kaplan said that the binder is to wide for me so I could cut a band off so it's not pushing against my drains and ribs. He also allowed for it to be looser and not so tight so I can breath fine now. I feel a million times better! Now take a look at the photos! I am still swollen in the lower abs, but OMG! My belly button!
You can see the old belly button scar right in the middle of the long line. I knew that that would be visible, and I do not really mind. My tattoo is also gone! No more tribal sun. I know the swelling will go down and I will love it even more, but honestly, I want to cry! It's not wrinkly or saggy and I can see my belly button for the first time in 6 years. I can't wait to see the final results and to get the drains out, or even just walk up right. Really, that is the worse part. The walking hunched over. I seriously wish they prescribed a walker! Haha!
Day 3 Post Op
Feeling a lot better today and the drains are not leaking so much at the end where they enter my body. However, there is dark red blood that is coming out of the right side one. It is also the one that was outputting the least. My movement is increasing throughout the day as well. I am making it a point to get up every hour and use the bathroom and then either sit up till I cannot and then lay down till I cannot. My appetite is still down which is good since I am not doing much of anything. I would hate for this to result in weight gain because my old appetite was in full swing! Still no coffee or alcohol. Mostly because I am still kinda taking my narcotics every 4 hours. I am down to just half a percocet every 4 hours during the day and a whole one at night. I am subbing in motrin inbetween that for inflammation and back pain. Other than that, I am SOOOOOO bored! I'm going through series after series of TV shows and now that it is the weekend, it's worse because my husband is home working around the house and I can't help. We also have a party on Sunday for the 4th of July so I am hoping that I will be a little more mobile then
I also decided to take my binder off for another peek today. It's been itching like crazy and I wanted a little air in there. So I got some day 3 photos! Obviously I'm still swollen, but It's coming along. You can see the lower abdominal swelling looks like it has gone down a little, but there is a bulge on my left (the right side of the photo) side. I am wondering if that is from the binder. When I put it back on, I tried to sit it so it would squash along that side and smooth that down. Other than that, it's going well!
Day 4 Post Op
Ok, so I was not planning on doing an update today. . . . but.... Best news so far....... I pooped today! Yes, ok, that's a bit TMI, but for someone who is pretty regular, that was something I have been waiting for. Yesterday, I drank half a large coconut water and this morning (as equally amazing!) had a cup of coffee. Mmmmmmm! Halfway through the cup, I had to go. I also attempted to sleep on my side for a couple of hours last night and it felt AMAZING! To not sit or lay on my tailbone was truly blissful. Well, till I got up and saw that it pulled on my drain and there was blood all over my shorts. SMH. But the ruined shorts were completely worth that relief. Just 3 more days till I go in to get these drains removed.
Also, I am doing a complete write up daily at my blog if you want to see what day to day recovery is like, as well as what I am eating and doing for recovery. Most is still a work in progress since I am undergoing everything now, but you can keep up to date weekly here: http://www.liveliftrun.com/search/label/tummy%20tuck
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Day 5 & 6 Post Op
Because the 4th of July is my 6th day Post Op, a lot of my friends were wanting to have a party. But the house they wanted to use was recently put up for sale and couldn't host a party due to showings and cleaning and such. My best friend Jen, being the bestie that she is, asked if she could host it at my house (where we normally have our parties) so that I would be able to be there the whole time in comfort! Of course I said yes and she promised to run the whole thing and I could just sit back and relax. I must say that this was the first day I was not laying down most of the day. But at about 6pm, I was really hurting from all the standing hunched over, sweating from the heat, humidity, and the binder, itching from the sweat, and tired from the increased activity. Me being me, I couldn't let everyone else work while I sat around so I was up more than I planned to be. Overall, I had a lot of fun. I made my famous jungle juice, everyone brought great food to share, and I got to people watch and have my first glass (or 2) of wine since the surgery. My doctor had said it would be OK to drink wine during recovery, but I was scared to since I was on my pain meds. For this day, I stayed off all the pain meds except for motrin that I had been alternating with my percocet just for the occasion since the pain has really not been bad at all. Let me just say, it was worth it! Wine was delicious and cold, the company was amazing, and the food was good. By 10:30pm though, I was exhausted! Who knew you could get so tired by a little work that was once a breeze. But overall, everything went well.
I am standing up a little straighter, but still trying to stay hunched over for the blood flow. getting up and down from sitting and laying are the only real issues right now. Other than that, I feel great. People were doing pull ups at the party (yea, I have one installed on my tiki bar because I love them!) and I really just wanted to get up there and do it! But recovery is essential. But I am really bored just sitting at home seeing everyone posting numbers and workouts of the gym. 3 more days till the drains hopefully come out! I am pretty sure the right one will come out, but that left one is still pumping out twice the limit. Hopefully after I rest the next 2 days, it will calm down.
1 Week Post Op!
Well, I made it one week! I don't know how people can sit around all day like this because I'm going nuts. The itching is getting worse too. The Dermabond that was used to close the incision may be starting to break down and that could be the cause, but I am not sure. I have an appointment in the morning with my surgeon for a checkup so hopefully the drains are coming out.
I also had my first sneeze today. . . . O. . . M. . . G. . . Never ever sneeze! It hurt so much it brought me to tears. I wasn't even thinking when I did it either. There has also been a lot of feeling full in my stomach today too. And itching. Did I mention the itching? LOL Seriously, the healing of nerves is getting on my nerves. I seem to feel tighter today too. Like I can't stand up as much as yesterday.
Lastly, I was able to painstakingly make dinner tonight. My back was on fire by the end, but I was able to cook a decent simple dinner and mostly clean up my mess. It took a lot of leaning on the counters but I did it. Thank goodness too since my husband didn't even come home till 9:30. Had I waited for him, I would have starved.
Pictures tomorrow when I go in for my appointment, and hopefully drainless!
1 Week Post Op
Had my appointment today! But the drains are still both in. They are becoming not so bothersome so I don't really mind as much. Honestly, I am kinda glad since now they can continue to drain the excess fluid and I won't have to worry about a seroma for another week. My next appointment is on Monday and I am pretty confident by then, at the rate we are draining now, I will get them both out then. Dr. Kaplan also said that if I see them draining less before then, I can call for an earlier appointment. But, I would rather just wait till Monday.
He did clear me for showering and standing upright! No more back aches! And I can finally wash my hair. I have read others recommended using a chair in the shower so I am going to try this as a back up in case I need it. I also went out with my girls who took me to my appointment. I haven't been out of the house in a while so we hit up FitLife Foods for more meals for me since I won't be going back to work on Monday as planned, and we went to Whole Foods to get this new ice cream I found from Halo Top. It packs 6g of protein and 70 calories per serving, or 24g of protein and 280 calories per pint. Your typical pint of strawberry ice cream (the flavor I bought) has 2g of protein and 127 calories per serving or 8g of protein and 508 calories per pint. That's half the calories and 3 times the protein! Score! But more on that lately. I was a bit self conscious about going out with my drains hanging from me, so I threw on a jacket and sucked it up, It felt great to walk mostly upright again. But it was really tight feeling. I know this will go away more and more. My swelling seems to still be the same as it was on day 3 post op. This too, should get better though. I can still feel the bloating and my drains are still out putting a red tinted liquid. This means that it's still flushing out in the unhealed area so I can only wait. I didn't do this surgery to get smaller so I am guessing that is why it's not as noticeable in that sense. I can see the sagginess gone, but the swelling might just take a little longer.
In either case, I am SOOOOOO happy with my results so far and I know they can only get better. Dr. Kaplan said I can start using mineral oil to remove the dermabond over the scars and get those washed too. Yay!
Day 9 & 10 Post Op
Wow, ok, today was a big day of firsts! I did not get my drains out as planned as you know, but I have my kids this weekend. Since the divorce, I keep my kids full time during the school year and they see their dad every other weekend. In the summer, we reverse. He has them full time and I get them every other weekend. I planned the surgery so I would have 2 weeks off without them so I didn't have to stress with them in the house and no one to watch after them. But at the same time, my husband works during the day and I needed to pick them up at 11 a.m. Since I haven't taken pain meds in a day or 2, I figured I would give driving a try. Boy was that horrible! I felt lightheaded, the belt would only lay right over my drain site, and I never realize how much you twist and turn in the seat. I had to rely a lot on my mirrors. I made it there to pick them up, and off to home we went. Except we have zero food in the house because my husband has not went to the grocery store in 3 weeks...... I'm living off of FitLife Food meals. Thank goodness I opted to get a bunch of those before the surgery and just restocked. But now that the kids are here, they needed lunch. So we stopped at target to pick up somethings. We hobbled (ok I hobbled!) around the store picking out a few things and then me being me, figured if I am already out and close to the jewelry store, why not stop and pick up my ring that was being serviced and re-plated. After that, we actually went home. . . . I have never been so exhausted in my life! I was seriously yawning and ready for bed at 4pm. But I couldn't sleep since the kids were there and I had work coming up on Reebok (I work as a product expert on Reebok through the online chat system so if you are ever needing gear and get on between 9 and 11pm most week days, ask for me!). I've also become quite emotional. I just want to cry at random moments. Had I not just had my period and not had sex in 2 weeks, I'd swear it's pregnancy hormones! Ha!
I took photos today! I'm still swollen in the lower abdomen and in the pubic mound. But I am standing straighter. The worse part of standing straight up now is the pulling on the stitches from the drains. I feel them pinch with each step. Today was a more laid back day as opposed to yesterday too so I don't feel as tired. My drainage was up after yesterday too. I'm hoping with rest, I can get it down low enough to come out on Monday. I can't miss anymore work and I don't really want to come back with drains. I ordered some garments from Design Veronique in 2 sizes today as well. A medium and a large in the side zippered bikini cut version for tummy tucks. I want to use these once I get the drains out and hope that the extra coverage will give me goo support. I'll let you know how that goes!
Drains out? DRAINS OUT!! Yes! Ok, so the drains came out today! My appointment was at 10am this morning and I was nervous. My left side drain was still at or just below 25 cc's in a 24 hour period, but the entry site for the drain was also starting to get a little red around it. So basically it was risk infection or just take them out. My doctor opted to take them out. So without much adieu, with Dr. Kaplan on my left, his intern on the right, and my BFF Erin at my feet scoping out the situation, I felt 2 tugs as the stitches were clipped, then a small amount of pressure as the drains were pulled all the way out. It was weird feeling! There was about a foot of tube in each side. And here I was worrying about them falling out since they were pulling away from the stitch site. Needless to say, they would not have come out at all. But now they are gone and it's odd to be free of them.
I was cleared to go back to work and drive too. I am taking tomorrow off though so I can wait for my new compression binder since this one is really bulky under my clothes. I tried putting on pants today and it was a TIGHT squeeze! Work was really understanding about this.
I also managed a real shower last night and washed my hair. Get the full write up on my blog tomorrow evening at: http://www.liveliftrun.com/search/label/tummy%20tuck
Week 3 Post Op!
Things are going great, still not working out though. UGH! But the scar is healing amazingly and I have got all of the dermabond off. My belly button. OMG! I am SOOOOOOOO happy about it. It's not frowning and it's healing perfectly! Still swelling though which is to be expected but hey, all in due time right? I'm still having weekly appointments with my PS but nothing much else. I did start coaching again at the gym. It's interesting because I can't demonstrate the movements so I have to rely on someone in the class to do it. But the walking around is not bothering me. I think my energy is starting to pump back up. My hunger is stabilizing too which is good. I jumped on the scale tonight and weighted in at 141 pounds. the day before surgery, I was 145 so that was awesome to see and I'm swelling!
To find out more day by day, check out my blog here. http://www.liveliftrun.com/search/label/tummy%20tuck
Coulda Shoulda Woulda!
As I approach 3 weeks post op, there are a few things I am reflecting on that I wish I would have done differently these past few weeks. I wanted to share them with you guys so that maybe you can have a heads up for your own recovery.
If you are pretty slim or at your goal weight prior to surgery, you will swell more and nothing will fit after unless it's stretchy or a little to big on you before. Suggestions for clothes?
Maternity bottoms! Seriously, think about it. They have a stretchy wide waist and bonus if your friend has some or you kept some around from your own pregnancy. You can always shop ThredUp, my go to online consignment shop. Then just sell them back to them after you are done!
Loose dresses to hide the drains
Drawstring waist pants
Forget underwear while you have drains in. They irritate the site way to much.
Buy a second binder so when you bleed/ooze fluids all over the original you have a back up to wash the first. Also, don't be afraid to cut that thing to fit you. Everyone is different and I was not comfortable till I cut it to fit my shape.
If you can meal prep before, do it. Start with much smaller meals, keep protein shakes handy, and wash it all down with water. I used a local meal prep service to get my breakfast and lunches in since my husband was at work. It made a HUGE difference! And it controls your portions and calories while getting in a balanced diet.
Live in flip flops or other slip on shoes. Tying and wrestling on a pair of tennis shoes is to much work and you have to bend which is something you shouldn't do during this time anyways!
If you have surgical glue instead of stitches/tape, buy mineral oil and cotton balls to help take it off once your doctor clears you. I did this laying in bed before my shower over the course of a week. It hurt a little with the all the rubbing so I spread it out to reduce irritation.
To get the blood and such out of your belly button, have cotton swabs on hand. Dip it in the mineral oil and swab it around. After a shower, this is a great tool to dry it out in there before the binder goes back on too.
** Find out more tips and tricks on my blog! http://www.liveliftrun.com/2016/07/tummytuckweek3shoulda.html **
Day 26 Post Op!
So here we are! Almost a month post op. I still have swelling, but from all the reviews I've stalked, err, read! This is all normal. Apparently 2 more weeks till it subsides. I'm still not cleared to exercise though and I go in tomorrow afternoon for my check up. I am hoping for some good news then. I'm feeling great, just the dreaded swell hell. My abs are poking through too! I am starting to see my lines again. Yay! You can see my incision, drain sites, and full views for me at 26
Day 28 and last night was a BANG! Literally ;o)
SEX! We did it! I got the all clear for easy, no frills sex at my appointment yesterday so we dove straight in last night. But, I was terrified! Being that I am still not allowed to lay flat, I propped my back up and kept my knees flexed. After that, it was just little movements and worked out pretty well. Until the end. I was scared to just, umm, let go? You have no idea how much you actually use your abs for the finale until they have been reset and bound. Needless to say, I was a bit sore that evening and first part of today, but nothing unbearable.
5 weeks 2 Days Post Op
Ugh, this swelling though! Just go away. Is there a swelling dance you can do? Similar to the rain dance? Probably not, and if there was it would probably just make me swell anyways. Still here and still putzing along. No exercise, no big changes. I'm tired, bored and cranky. It's hard being in the gym coaching because I can't demo movements, I have to resist jumping on things like I use to, and I'm seeing those people that were close to me creeping up on my numbers. I'm really starting to feel like this wasn't worth it. Maybe I made a huge mistake. Will I ever feel normal? Will I ever lift again? I can just feel my fat days creeping back up on me.
6 Weeks Post Op! Get your workout on!
10 Aug 2016
2 months post
Hello again from the flat side! It's been 2 weeks since an update and while recovery is starting to slow down, amazing things have happened. This journey is testing physically, mentally, and spiritually to say the least. It has been such a roller coaster of emotions. From the "What have I done!?" to "Dang I look hot! Or at least I will once this fluid pushes out." and everything in between. I've been irritated from lack of being able to do anything and have at times contemplated the demise of this binder and it's uncomfortableness. But I have to keep telling myself, this is just the here and now. It will get better and I will be "normal" again.
So! What has changed? Well, in reality, everything has been quite slow up till the end of this last week. I can say that the swelling is not as bad anymore. 6 weeks really is the turning point and it seemed to happen overnight. By the end of the day, I am not looking like I am 4 months prego.
I was also given full workout clearance on Monday and did my first workout that same evening! While nothing is off limits, I was told that if it hurts, pulls, or pinches, to back off or stop. This was very hard to hear as I was waiting for limitations. I do better when I know what is off limits as opposed to "Just do anything you want". . . . . Really?! So I started off on my own, not back in class, with some rowing then a short workout of 5 rounds of wall balls and kettlebell swings. As we go forward, I will record what I do in working up to give you an idea of what felt good and when. I attempted a pull up, but it pulled about a quarter of the way up so I let go. I feel so weak!!
1st Workout Back!
10 rounds for Meters
30 secs on / 30 secs off
** got 1300 meters**
5 Rounds for Time
10 Wall Balls at 10 pounds to a 10' target
10 Russian KB Swings at 26 pounds
** Finished in 4:00 **
Till next time! I will be 2 months post op then. Follow me on IG @liveliftrun to see my daily workouts.