Preliminary Stats: * 142 lbs. (Lost 18 pounds in 3 months) * 5'2" * 26 years old * Problem areas: lower abdomen and back * Goal: to finally look passable in a bikini by my honeymoon January 2013
* History: Weight us usually in the 120s. I eat reasonably healthy. I need to re-adopt my exercise program and maybe look into other avenues. Ever since I was a small kid, I have had these stubborn bulges that have plagued me to TEARS. Even getting to dangerously low weights and exercising religiously, they never went away. This is my last resort. I gave birth to my first child a little under 2 years ago and I'm getting married September 2012 -- I now have a family and I don't feel liposuction is a risk I want to take.
Day One: I went in for my CoolSculpting session yesterday (day one). I was really scared after reading some terrible reviews here on realself.com and almost talked myself out of it. But, the intense hatred for a couple of my problem areas that have plagued me since birth and have never responded to extreme diet and exercise led me into confirming my appointment. So, yesterday, I admittedly popped a Xanax to quell the fear and went under the cold.
Here's what happened: 1. I told them what areas I wanted done (my lower abdomen and handles underneath my bra band on either side of my back). 2. They photographed me from all angles and took ultrasound measurements of the fatty areas. 3. They suggested I do my lower abdomen first. They claimed that, historically, it was the most tender area to treat (not that they needed to tell me that... I had read enough reviews here to figure that out on my own). 4. Doctor marked my areas off where the suction device would be placed. 5. I lied on a reclining-type chair and a cold pad was placed on the area to be treated. I was warned that this would be very very cold, but it only felt wet? 6. The suction device was eased onto the area. The sensation was a little strange, but not very painful at all. There was an obvious sucking sensation and there was a mild burning/tingling, but before 10 minutes, it was numb and it just felt like I was lying down with something heavy on my stomach. I was a little afraid to breathe too deeply when it was first placed, but that preoccupation was more psychological. I got used to it after time. A Boppy-like pillow was placed underneath and another pillow on top after it was determined the device was placed properly and that a sufficient amount of the area was sucked in. 7. I read a magazine. The Kardashians are at it again. 8. The machine starts "massaging" you approximately 7 minutes before the hour is up. I felt it, but it felt like a very very slight rippling sensation. Not painful at all - barely felt. 9. The machine announces to the operator that the cycle is complete. She came in and talked me through the next steps. These were the most uncomfortable of the entire session. Taking the suction device off was not painful. It came off rather easily and I was still numb. But then she had to massage, as she described it, the frozen fat crystals, back to room temperature and spread the treatment around. I didn't really feel it in my stomach area as much as I felt it through to the other side of my back. Maybe it was because I was numb? Or maybe I don't have a lot of nerve endings in my stomach. I didn't even feel when I got my belly button pierced. Rinse. Repeat.
Between each session, the doctor would come in and ensure that the machine was adequately placed and that the treatment looked to be going well from the previous cycle. All three times, both he and the nurse said many times they were very pleased at how much area was covered by the treatment -- that made me happy! Hopefully this will mean more bang for the buck!! Afterward, I was a little tender, but it tended to get better as more time had passed after the treatment. I had been nervous to have to lie on my side when they went through the cycles on my back because my stomach was touching the bed, but it didn't hurt at all. I went out to lunch with my mom afterward.
When I got home a couple hours later, I saw that my back had bruised up a lot on both sides -- into the shape of the suction device. It was uglier than it was painful. My stomach had not bruised at all. Redness had completely subsided. Area was a little firm. Both stomach and back were swollen, but not grotesquely.
First impression of office: Very happy with the experience, professionalism, and congeniality of the doctor, nurse and rest of the staff. Everything was explained to me as it was done, I was routinely checked up on, anything I wanted, they took care of - extra pillows, WiFi password, whatever. The thing that made me most comfortable was their answers to my concerned questions, generated from my experience reading the bad reviews here on Real Self. The nurse had read them, herself, and knew exactly what I was talking about. She also knew a lot of about the procedure because she had done it, herself, and had not had any issues other than mild aching.
The doctor, himself, had completed the procedure on himself during a lunch break, as CoolSculpting advertises you can do. Other girls in the office had done the same thing. The nurse told me they have had the machine for over a year and it's been running non-stop ever since, and, out of all those people, only 2 have had an experience like the horror stories that have appeared on Real Self -- one of which was an employee at the center. She said that people tend to be in the middle of really bad and avoiding any inconvenience. Most people fell toward the better side of things. It was, however, made clear to me that every person is unique, from treatment experience, to recovery speed and degree of pain, to final results. Another thing I thought made a lot of sense was when I had asked the doctor if I was an appropriate candidate for the procedure back in our initial consultation a month ago. He told me that if I could take the area I wanted treated and pull it away from my body, then it was a good area. He said that I wasn't obese, took care of myself, and seemed to be a good candidate. Now, I'm not, in any way, trying to judge some of the other reviewers on Real Self, but some people's photos make me question why a doctor would even agree to perform the procedure on them. I wonder if a person can't pull the problem area away from his/her body as my doctor described, if that contributes to nerve pain and scanty results? Regardless, I did it. No going back now. We'll see what happens!
Day 2: Sleeping was a little off last night, but I'm kind of an insomniac anyway. Xanax seems to relax my muscles. I could sleep on my side with a pillow under my tummy and leg and it wasn't painful at all. Lying on my back was painful for a few minutes, but the pain eventually subsided completely. I chose to work from home today because I wasn't sure what clothes I could wear. I wore my jeans down really low and tucked my tank top in to limit the brushing of the shirt against my belly. It was kind of annoying if I didn't. The seat belt in the car presented a slight problem. I had to slacken it and hold it away from my body. Carrying heavy things was no problem. I was concerned I wouldn't be able to get my daughter out of her crib or carry her, but I did. No problems, as long as I kept my belly off the edge of the crib. I went grocery shopping. No problems at all. Later on in the day, I recalled reading a few reviewers on Real Self say that compression garments helped. I had asked the clinic if I needed to bring one with me after our initial consultation, and they said it wasn't necessary. It isn't -- but it's helping me to wear one today. It cuts down on the sensitivity from my clothes brushing against my tummy and my back aching if I recline against something. The garment also keeps my swollen tummy from jiggling when I walk -- that got a little achy and annoying, too. Bruises are still pretty ugly on my back. My back hurts worse than my belly, probably because it's been bruised. (Will report more as recovery progresses! Photos coming shortly. Will update regularly. Feel free to ask any questions!)