Excited to Move Forward. Fresno, CA

I've been researching, planning, and waiting on...

I've been researching, planning, and waiting on the opportunity to have a Mommy Makeover for about ten years now. Circumstances just wouldn't allow it before now, and even now I have to wait several more months.

I've set the date for several months from now because I plan to pay cash. If I can't save up cash for the whole thing, I will just have the tummy tuck at that time, and schedule the rest for a later date. For just the tummy tuck, I'll need to save up $8,450. My budget will be very tight for the next nine months, but I'm okay with that. I'm excited for the final outcome.

Changed to TT & Lipo

I couldn't swing the cost of the fully mommy makeover, so I opted for a tummy tuck and liposuction. New cost: $8000. I have credit issues, but I got a loan from Lending Club for $6500, and paid the rest myself. I also changed the date of the surgery, so now my procedure is a month away! I went to my regular doctor to get clearance for surgery, and have to go back for an ekg. Crossing my fingers that everything is good to go. I'm nervous and excited!

I've read through lots of reviews looking for...

I've read through lots of reviews looking for women with body types like mine, so I'll make it easy for others and start with that. I'm 5'4" tall, about 195-200 pounds (depending on the day and the alignment of the planets or something), and my measurements are 44, 43, 46. Not exactly a brick house; definitely a big ol' rectangle. I have droopy boobs, a flabby belly, and that hangy-over part I've come to learn is a pannus. When I'm feeling brave, I'll post a "before" picture. What none of that tells you is that I also have a happy spirit, a joy for living, a wonderful family, and all the blessings I could hope for. I don't think my life will change from this surgery. I'm not seeking out a new me, or trying to get back the old me. I rather like the current me. I've gone through a lot to get to this me. However, this me is sick and tired of clothes not fitting right and the occasional well-meaning person asking when my baby is due. I also consider myself sexy, but I sure don't feel that way when I look in the mirror.So, here I am, with four weeks to go before I go under the knife. I'm in the process of getting clearance from my regular doctor. I'm type 2 diabetic, so I have to do some additional tests. The final one is on Monday. I'm crossing my fingersIs there anybody out there whose story is similar to mine?

The $175 pound of fat - times ten

My surgery is next week, and I've put on a little weight. Ten pounds, in fact. I had another consult with the surgeon yesterday, and he suggested I wait and try to get some weight off, so I'll have better results. The problem- I can't. I travel about 26 weeks a year for work, and if I wait at all, it'll be this time next year before I have time to recover again. And I know me. A year from now, I'm not going to weigh any less.

So, my surgery is still next week. But the price went up. My new 10 pounds cost me $1750. They said it's going to take extra time in the OR, which means more time under anesthesia, and more staff time, etc.

So, I decided that's my personal fat tax. A penance, for not being careful. I paid it. But, I'll probably lose weight before my surgery, because now I can't afford any groceries.

Pictures - not of me though

I found these before and after pics on my surgeon's website. It's not me, but it's pretty close to my shape. I hope my results are as good. She looks beautiful!

Less than 12 hours to go!

My surgery is in the morning! (Yikes!!!). I'm already past the time when I can't have anything to eat or drink, and I'm sooooo thirsty! I wonder if it's all in my head. I'm never this thirsty.
I'm getting really nervous. In fact, I was a ball of nerves all day. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at myself in the mirror, today alone, and wondered what I'm going to look like. The doctor said I should wait and lose weight. Seriously, I know that's not going to happen. I'll just keep waiting to start my life - and never actually start. So, I told him that this is what I wanted.
I sure hope that was the right decision.

The Dreaded "Before" Pictures

Ok, so this is me. I hate the idea of this being out there, but I've looked though hundreds of pictures of other women. So, if this helps someone else who is making up her mind, then it's worth it. And, looking at these photos really puts my shape into perspective. It's so much worse than I thought! But tomorrow, things will change.

About 4 hours post op

One word: pain. I was not prepared for just how much this was going to hurt. I've had a few big surgeries in the past, so I thought I knew... but I didn't. Also I'm spending the next few days on the couch, and did not prepare as I should have. One of my drain sites leaked, and in pretty sure my couch cover will never be the same. So, remember that when you preparing.

Day 2 - Still a lot of pain

I know, of course, that there's going to be pain after any surgery - especially one this extensive. So, why am I surprised about how bad it is? When I'm lying still, there's almost no pain. But when I get up to go to the bathroom or something, it's terrible. It's a burning sensation almost, al along my lower abdominal area. I am walking really hunched over, and that's caused my lower back to really strain and hurt, too. On a positive note, I peaked under the binder and gauze and saw my new belly button. It looks fantastic! (From what I could see).

Can't wait to see what's under here

With the help of my mom, I was able to shower today. I used a shower chair and a hand-held shower head, and it went smoothly. I got to see myself without the binder for a few seconds. I was in too much pain and too tired to look for long. But, it looks promising! Later on, I managed to stand still for a minute while my sister snapped these pics for posterity's sake.

Hard day

I'm walking better today, but I have no appetite and I'm not feeling very well. I'm a little weepy today, and I'm wishing I could have some time alone. But, everyone loves me too much, and I'm never out from under the care of my team. So, I understand how crazy that sounds. I am very lucky to have such a great family. Outside of my weird emotions, my drains are problematic today. Very uncomfortable. I'm swelling more in my belly and pubic regions. I'm not sure I have my binder on right. It seems to shift every time I lay down. I'll be glad when this phase is over.

Moving right along

I'm doing better today, although I'm struggling with cabin fever. I'm not used to always having people in my space, and having to depend on other people. I'd like some breathing room. As for recovery, pain is less today. I'm down to one pill every four hours. Also managed to finally go to the bathroom today. That was an accomplishment - and a relief! I think I'm more swollen today, but I expected that, from reading other reviews.

Bonding

My 19-year-old daughter helped me shower and wash my hair today. I haven't washed my hair since last Wednesday, so it needed it. It was definitely a bonding experience for us. We're really close anyway, but it has been special for her to care for me as I recover. I am divorced and live alone. She has been staying with me, and coordinating with other women in the family for when she can't be here. She's shown a lot of maturity. As for my healing, I snuck another peek when I got out of the shower. I wasn't really happy with it. I hope I'm just swollen (I feel like I am!), because aside from the big scar and lack of loose skin, my shape doesn't look any different. I know we're not supposed to judge by how we look less than a week after, but it seems like everyone else's photos look so great, and my results are minimal. My daughter had told me to stop looking at photos. She's pretty wise for someone so young.

1 Wk Post Op

Saw the Dr today, and he says everything is looking good. I'm still very swollen, but that's to be expected. I can't stand up straight yet, and I still feel very tight. I had one of my drains removed, which is a blessing. I hate these darn drains. I'll probably have the other removed next week. I'm still draining quite a bit. I'm really happy with the dr and the people in his office. I've had lots of questions, and I never feel awkward calling and asking. They also call or text me to check in. I'm very pleased. Now, I just wish the swelling would go down, so I could get an idea of what my new tummy looks like!

Forgot to include

He told me they removed more than five pounds of skin, which apparently is quite a bit. So, he said, I'll certainly notice a difference. I certainly hope so!

Swollen belly

It's not great, but here is the first picture I could get of my "after" belly. As you can see, I am still very swollen, so I don't really know what my results will look like. However, it's already better than my "before". It's good for me to see that, because I'm getting very depressed over here, and every day I've felt like I regretted my decision. I know I won't feel that way a few months from now, but these first few weeks are much harder than I expected.

Comparison

2.5 weeks - swollen

Finally had the energy to take some photos. You can see how swollen I am still. It's painful. My skin hurts from the swelling. I sure hope there's more of a difference once the swelling goes away.

Comparison photos

Pretty big difference when you compare like this.

Hives?

For some reason, I've broken out in hives all over my legs and arms. I called the nurse, and we went through all the questions.. I haven't been exposed to anything new. She seemed nearly as baffled as I was, but suggested I stop my pain killers, and take Benadryl. The Benadryl worked wonderfully, but stopping the pain killers was terrible. I'm still in a great deal of pain. Twelve hours with only Tylenol was all I could do. I was in tears and unable to move. I think it's unusual to be in this much pain at almost 3 weeks after, but I know that I feel pain more than others. My body is just very sensitive to it. I see the doctor again in two days, so we'll see what he says.

Still healing

I really need to post new pictures. I feel like my stomach has changed a lot just in the last couple days. But first, the hives are gone! They lasted five days, and I still don't really know what they were from. But, they're gone now and that's all I care about. I'm still draining a bit from my left side where the drain was. I use a lot of gauze and even a washcloth over the gauze. I have a slight separation in my incision, but my doctor has seen it and I have read enough RS reviews to not be freaked out by it. Dr says I'm healing well, and since he's the one who spent a lot of years and money on medical training, I trust his opinion. :) I've had some struggles with depression and I feel isolated a lot, but I'm learning to reach out and admit that I need people. That's been hard for me. All-in-all, every day gets a little bit better. Pictures coming soon.

New pics

A little less swollen today than when I took pics a week ago. Still a bit of bleeding and draining, hence the gauze in some of the pictures. Pain has been better today, but I'm not able to sit at my desk for more than a few minutes at a time. The changes have made me anxious to get up and move and take better care of myself.

Some progress, some problems

About three days ago, I had a sudden improvement overall. I no longer feel like I'm dying, and I think I may actually get through this. I can walk pretty much like normal - I walked three miles a day before surgery. I'm not quite up to that, but I'm able to do a little more every day. I don't have any pain in my stomach muscles any more. It's amazing!! At the same time, my incision is getting worse. It's about half opened up, and I'm "spitting" sutures. Or at least, it appears to me that I am. Again, I'm not a doctor, and I rarely self-diagnose, but it's kind of obvious that sutures are making their way to the surface. I'm not going to post pics, because I hate looking through RS and stumbling on someone's gross wound/infection/whatever picture. I don't have the stomach for it. I see my PS in two days and I'm sure he'll take care of it. But, in the meantime.. watch out world - I'm styling my hair today. Haven't done that in over a month!

So happy!

It's been a couple weeks since I posted pics. I woke up this morning with very little swelling, so it felt like a good time to take some. However, something is screwy with my RS app, and it won't let me add photos. I'll try again later. I still have about half my incision open, and my doctor says it's going to be a few more weeks like this. I have a feeling he was being delicate with me, and it's going to be longer than that. My favorite thing right now is to try on clothes. Not at a store or anything, but from my own closet. My size hasn't changed too much, but my clothes look amazing on me! I am thrilled. I'm no Barbie doll, but I love how I look. I feel beautiful.

Photos

Here are the photos that should have gone in the last post. The website is letting me post, just not the app.

Forgot one

Here's a comparison pic.
Fresno Plastic Surgeon

I had my first consultation with Dr. Knoetgen of Beautologie Surgery Center a few days ago, and liked him quite a bit. The staff at Beautologie is pretty amazing. I had a few phone calls before the consultation and a lot of questions. They've been very helpful and never got put out by me asking so many questions. I hate when you ask someone a question on the phone and the only answer you get is "we'll go over that at your appointment." Instead, they answered my questions the best they could, found the information for me, and then said "you'll talk more with so-and-so at your appointment and she'll have more information, too." I was so pleased with the service, the before and after pictures of other patients, and other aspects of the doctor and center that I decided to cancel my scheduled consultation with another doctor, paid a down payment, and scheduled a surgery date.

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