For 29 years now, I've lived with the mess of a...
For 29 years now, I've lived with the mess of a tummy that I was left with after an emergency vertical c-section. Although I cared about my appearance, I think deep down I knew that no matter how thin or fit I was, I still had the terrible pudgy tummy and ugly scar. I'm not fit, nor am I near my "ideal weight" and honestly, since my PS feels like I'm a good candidate for surgery, I'm going for it. I've put off getting a PS consultation for years because of my weight. In fact, I have felt body and weight shame for years. Now that I've turned 50, I've decided that life is too short to not do something about it!
I truly have no idea what to expect about how I will look post-TT. Right now, I have a droopy apron of skin and fat that just kinds of hangs down from under my boobs to my hips. After looking at numerous pictures, I should have a smooth and flat profile in that area. I would love to be able to look great in a two piece swimsuit! And, I'd love to feel sexy again. I'm expecting severe pain for 3-5 days post-surgery, and manageable pain and soreness for several weeks after. Along with lots of swelling. I'm planning on staying home and doing nothing for at least 2-3 weeks after surgery. I am really lucky that I don't have to worry about returning to work because I'm a full-time college student. I just have to be able to sit through a 4 hour class once a week, starting 3 weeks after surgery.
I chose Dr. Arbabzadeh (aka Dr. Stefanacci) because of a personal recommendation by my sister. She performed a BR/lift on my sister 12 years ago, and I was able to see her work and how pleased my sister is with it all these years later. Shortly after I moved to this area, my sister introduced me to Dr. A, who made me feel very comfortable and did not "fat shame" me about seeking a TT. She said I was a good candidate for a TT with lipo. She showed me pictures of other patients and we discussed how I might look after a TT. I appreciated her honesty, and felt she wanted me to have realistic expectations.
After my consultation, I waited almost 2 months before I booked my surgery date. I wanted to have time to digest the information and to choose a time that worked best for my family and I. So, here I am about 8 weeks out from surgery! I am nervous and excited, and a little scared. I look forward to making some surgery pals here on RS to share my journey with!
It's almost showtime!
I just posted my before pics. Oh gosh they look worse than I thought they would. I'm three days out from sx, and I've had a really busy week. Earlier this month we met with a interior designer and general contractor for our kitchen remodel (we bought this home last summer). I've been running around this week finalizing appliances, granite, and cabinets, so we can get moving on the project. I've also been getting ready for my recovery. I'll be sleeping on our reclining sofa in the living room, so I moved what I'll need the first week into our guest bathroom and guest bedroom dresser. It 's closer to the living room and I've put everything where I won't have to bend over or reach up to get to it. I have arnica and bromelain, protein bars, protein powder (and stuff to mix it with), fruits and veggies, lean meats, my rx meds, stool softeners/MOM, as well as granny panties, front closure bras, undershirts, and comfy tops that zip or button and drawstring pants. I'm sure I've forgotten to list stuff, but I think I'm ready. My husband recently retired, so I have a full-time caregiver, as well as daughters and a sister nearby. Any last minute advice??
One more sleep!
All ready for tomorrow. The surgical center called to give me my time for surgery tomorrow and go over my medical history. They told me to bring my pain meds so that they can get my pain stablized before I leave tomorrow. I thought that was odd, but oh well. I am a lot less nervous about surgery than I have been in the past. I'm more worried about how I will tolerate the pain over the next few days. I know it will be worth it in the end, but of course I'm dreading the recovery. I've always bounced back really quickly from surgery before so I'm hoping it's easier than I expect. But, who knows? I'll see everyone on the flat side!
Day 1 post-op
Went in for my follow-up to have desssing checked and catheter removed. Had hubby take some pics. The PS is very pleased with my progress. She gave me a rx for Valium though because pain meds usually wire me. I didn't sleep much last night. Happy healing ladies!!
Day 4 PO
I'm healing nicely. Started taking 2 Tylenol extra strength every 6 hours for pain yesterday, and a Valium at night. Little incision bleeding, drains look good - ones slowed down to a trickle. Hubby has actual measurements. I have some back pain from the pressure of laying in my recliner, so I use a heating pad. I read about how activity should only be goal driven (to and from bathroom, Kitchen, bedroom, etc) for another few days so your skin and muscle can attach together. So I've been following that advice (same recommendation from PS). My sides are oh so tender from lipo. Oh the flip side, I feel so good compared to what I expected!! Playing invalid is killing me because I'm really independent and a poor delegator, but my husband has been amazing! I'm looking forward to getting my drains out (1 will be ready for sure) and a new cg on Wednesday. Then maybe I can get up and move around more. So far I can say I'd definitely do this again. Happy healing RS ladies.
5 days PO pics
I needed to take off binder for BM so I thought I'd take a few pics. Posting side-by-side before and now pics at 5 days.
8 Days PO
I got my drains out two days ago, and it is certainly a turning point in recovery. My PS said I was healing rapidly and she cleared me for walking up to a mile a day! My incision looks great, it's closed and has a definite healing ridge.
A few days ago the swell kicked in and at times I feel like a stuffed sausage in my CG. I was hoping to exchange my full CG (knees to bust and full back) for something easier to get in and out of, but no such luck. I got a new one of the same at my appt. I have to wear it for three more weeks. I did master getting back into it myself this morning after my shower.
I am alternating Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve for pain management. I always wake up with mild pain over my stomach from bust to pelvis in the morning, but it goes away as soon as I get up. I was able to sleep on my side last night, which was funny because I tried the night before and it wasn't happening. My PS had told me I could sleep however I wanted.
Since the first glimpse I got of my new body, I have been absolutely thrilled that I did this. Not for one moment in the last 8 days have I been sorry I did. Today has been my best day yet, no emotional swings at all. I feel the most relaxed I have so far. The best part of the day was going through my closet and trying on jeans I wore just a week ago and having them slip down to my hips. My waist is 5" smaller. I can fit into jeans I wore 20 lbs ago, but without any muffin top! This is going to be the best Summer ever!
My Lovely CG
I thought I'd post a few pics of my lovely CG. I can't believe I have to wear this think almost 3 more weeks. At least I have mastered getting it on and off by myself now.
2 Weeks PO!!
I've decided to limit my PO updates to my review for the most part. I feel guilty posting my updates to the Jan/Feb forum because I've had an easy recovery and feel great. There are some people really struggling on there and I don't want to make them feel discouraged. Recovery is a very individual thing. I've really had to hold myself back and follow my PS's advice on things like activity level and leaving my incision alone (besides just washing it daily). My treatment and her advice to me has been tailored to me, my body, and my situation. That being said, a TT is a major procedure, and the recovery can be brutal. We never know what our individual recovery will be like.
I will post more pics today or tomorrow. I had some fluid drained at my PO appt yesterday. Didn't hurt a bit. I can definitely see more definition showing in my abdominal area, like curving in around my waist in front. I think my sides are still swollen from the Lipo. I have a lot of swelling on my mons (Ken Doll Syndrome). My weight has only fluctuated slightly, I have been down 14 lbs since a few days PO. I have really clamped down on my diet. Fresh fruit and yogurt for breakfast, a green salad with avocado and blue cheese for lunch, and stuff like chicken fajitas, steak, or spaghetti for dinner. Except for the blue cheese, I avoid foods high in sodium like the plague. I am watching my portions. I told the PS I would like to lose more weight and she said that 20 lbs would probably be good. I have a fairly curvy, muscular build. Oh, I took measurements this morning, and I am down 6.5" in my waist (1.5" more than just PO), and 1" in my hips.
I was told to limit my activities a little more because I have bruising above and below my incision which they believe is from my over doing it. So, I am trying really hard to spend a little more time in the recliner and less doing stuff around the house. No driving for another week :-( though I have a great chauffeur who doesn't mind taking me where I need to do. I go back for my next check in 2 weeks.
I am so glad I did this!! I never thought I'd look this good, and I know I'm not even at my final results. I'm wearing spandex stuff like fitted workout tops, yoga pants, my fav Lululemon capris, and all my jackets zip up again! I purged my closet again of stuff that is waaaaay too big.
Well, I need to get back to my class work. I am in an intensive college program and I got behind during my early recovery and working hard to get caught up.
15 Days PO Pics
Posting updated pics. I am down 15 lbs since surgery, though at least 10 lbs of skin and fat plus Lipo were removed. My waist is down 6.5" and hips down 1." I love my new look! I have clothes that fit - they are from when I was 15 lbs less than now but even they are loose in the waist now. I have tops from several years ago, when I was even smaller that fit. Menopause took a real toll on the area above my BB, so most of the weight I'd gained went straight there. I am holding off on buying any new clothes for a few more months as I still have a lot of swelling and I plan on losing more weight.
3 Weeks PO Update
So today I'm 3 weeks PO! I made an unscheduled visit to my PS office this morning. My BB is still really red with a scab and I wanted them to take a peek at it. Turns out the scab was covering a few stitches, so I got them removed. Last week I had some fluid removed (a small seroma) and they removed from the same area today. It's totally painless. She said it was harder for her to get it out this time which is a reflection of the healing.
One good thing about going in is that she okay'd me wearing a Spanx garment I have (though she recommended I get a smaller size)! It is SOOO much more comfortable than my old CG. It is the Spanx "Oncore." I got it from Nordstrom originally, but I just ordered a smaller one from Amazon (and it was a little less $$). Another reason I was glad to be done with the original CG is that the inner thigh seams were on the outside, so you could hear them rubbing when I walked. So, I couldn't wear skirts or dresses.
Yesterday was my first day driving. I went to a kitchen appliance demo with lunch for a few hours, did home work, then I had my first night class. My the time I left at 10pm, I felt like crying because I was so sore overall and exhausted. I took a Percocet and went to bed. I felt fine when I woke up this morning. I realized that I probably spent about 9 hours of sitting upright yesterday, which was the first time I've done that. My energy level is still down, about 2-3 hours out and about walking around and I am tired. Although I have had an easy recovery, I am 50 and I can't imagine going back to a full-time job right now. If I did, I would be wiped out when I got home. I would definitively need someone to help out with cooking and cleaning.
I have more and more waist definition every week. My upper hip area (near edges of incision) looks bigger than a week ago, but overall I have more swelling anyway. I'm still down over 15lbs. My weight varies by about 1-1.5 lbs, depending on what I ate. When we eat out it's almost impossible to avoid sodium. I am still so thrilled I did this!! I never imagined I would have a trim middle silhouette. I will post more pics this week.
This happy girl is sending happy healing to my other TT sisters out there!
I am posting some 3 week PO pics. First time out of athletic wear! Please ignore my messy bathroom I was in a hurry, lol.
1 Month PO
Today is my 1 month PO! I've noticed a BIG change in my level of energy in the last week. I still have soreness, but it's mild and comes and goes. I had my night class two nights ago, and unlike the week before, I wasn't exhausted and sore after class.
I had my 4 week check a few days ago and the PS said everything looks great and I'm healing well. I have a small seroma (smaller than my palm) and she drained it, but only got out about 1/3 as much as last week. I was able to quit wearing my CG at night 2 weeks ago, and last week I got the okay to wear just Spanx during the day. But, after a few days of wearing only Spanx I thought I was swelling more and didn't have the middle core support that my CG gave me. So, usually I start off in my CG, then in the afternoons if it's bothering my skin, I'll change into Spanx. At night I just wear my pajamas. I've been able to sleep in any position for at least a week and I'm not usually sore anymore when I wake up.
Overall I feel really good. I mean most of the time I can tell I had a TT, unless I'm laying in the recliner. Sitting straight upright for long periods can be uncomfortable because the CG and Spanx cut across my BB area. I have been experiencing sleep issues once a week or so, where I wake up around 3am or so for no reason and I can't get back to sleep. The PS says that's common after surgery.
I love how I look and I would do this again in a heartbeat! Sometimes I regret not doing this earlier, but then I think of how I'm glad I had it done after menopause so I could get rid of the upper abdominal pudge that it brought me. I am still down at least 16 lbs even though I am more swollen most of the time than I was a few weeks ago. I plan on losing at least 15-20 more lbs. My PS gave me the okay for walking on the treadmill and doing arm workouts. Yesterday, I walked 2 miles outdoors. That's the furthest I've walked PO. I felt fine the whole time and was a little sore last night, but nothing major.
I'll post some pics in the next week or so. All the scabs are almost gone from my incision and BB. I still have a few tiny stragglers. So thrilled to be on the flat side now!!
5 weeks PO
It feels like so much longer than 5 weeks since I had the TT. My weight and swelling are up a little from even 10 days ago. Clothes fit a little looser than the first few weeks post TT, though. Most of the swelling is above and below my BB. I'm trying to get back to drinking more water and eating fresher foods like I was early on. I saw a detox tea online made with roasted dandelion tea, lemon, and plain cranberry juice (its credited to Jillian Michaels) and decided to see if that would help with the swell/bloat. I started it yesterday and I think it helped.
My energy is really good, though some days I still get tired. I like the compression my original (white) CG gives me but sometimes it digs into my sides by the end of the day. So, I try to switch things up and alternate with Spanx. Last night I had class and my CG was digging into my sides from sitting for 4 hours and I was so sore from it. I realized that its going to be a long time before my middle is "normal" again. Even though I don't regret doing this at all, I can see there comes a time 3-4 months PO when it this gets old. I think if I can get the swelling down, it will be less discouraging. When I look in the mirror with my clothes on, though, I still smile.
Pics 5 weeks PO
I took some pics earlier this week at 5 weeks PO. I still have more swelling than a few weeks ago, but I've been drinking water mixed with roasted dandelion tea, lemon, and pure unsweetened cranberry juice and it's helped a lot. I'm still down 15-16 lbs than before TT.
Finally Scab Free!!
The title says it all, I am finally scab free. Seems like it's taken forever. I had a tiny scab on my belly button and tiny one where the PS drained my seroma. My scars are starting to get red, instead of the dark color they were. I've noticed in the last few days that I am feeling less pulling and minor twinges. My sides feel pretty much normal now.
I am starting to feel more like my old self - without the big old tummy in front! For nearly a week now, I've only worn Spanx (from bust to thighs, alternating between the Incognito and Oncore). My old CG worked better at keeping the swell down in my upper abs area, but it was really digging in my sides my the end of the day. I still have my small seroma and at in the evenings when I take off my Spanx, that area sways slightly when I walk. I have no idea how long seromas hang around. My next PS visit isn't for 2 weeks yet. I may call this week and see what they say.
7 Weeks PO Pics
It's been over 7 weeks now. I am nearly 100% of my old energy level. No pain or tightness anymore at all. I used to get tightness if I had a big meal, but that's been gone for a few weeks now. I still have swelling, but I have no idea what's still fat and what is swelling. My upper abs look bigger than the first few weeks PO. Most of the time, I forget I had surgery 7 weeks ago. What I see isn't perfect but it's sooooo much better than before and I am content with how I look. You can see in my pics that my sides don't look exactly the same. I'm not sure how much of the difference is from angling my body to take the pic and how much is real. And, since I plan on losing more weight, I don't worry about it. My incision is straight and really even, but I have a small seroma that's causing that area to dip a little lower there.
I have been walking outdoors at least twice a week for at least 3 miles, but tomorrow I'm finally going to the gym. I got cleared for the treadmill and arm exercises a few weeks ago but we moved to a new city before the TT and I needed to join a gym. My 8 week PO check is on Tuesday and I think I'll get the all clear to start doing full workouts. I would like to work on my upper abs if I can and maybe start yoga. Now that I invested this much money and recovery into this new body I plan on making it even better. No matter what I did with diet and exercise, I never would have had this fabulous looking tummy.
I'll post another update soon!
3 Months PO
It's been three months! It seems like so much longer. Physically, I feel great. I do still having swelling, generalized from upper abs down to upper thighs. It's frustrating because you start to get worried that maybe it's really fat and NOT swelling. We have been undergoing a kitchen remodel for the last month, so I haven't been eating well. Processed/canned foods, refined carbs, and eating out, ugh. I keep telling myself that it's just temporary. Our kitchen is supposed to be finished in a week. On a brighter note, I have been going to the gym consistently for about 6 weeks. I do the treadmill, walking and running, and a weight machine workout I got online. I haven't noticed much of a change from the weight toning, but I have only been doing the weights a few weeks.
My scar is still dark reddish, as is the area where my belly button was sewn in. I have been using scarguard from my PS, but not as often as I should. My scar is really straight and except where my small seroma was (I still have healing tissue in there) it's perfectly symmetrical. I am definitely happy with my outcome. Having the loose skin and fat gone is amazing. I now feel confident enough to wear form fitting tops and dresses. I am still struggling with having such a different body shape, though. My bust is a 36DD and my hips and butt are a 12-14P. I'd seen women post-TT here question having wider hips, and I just thought they were imagining it. But, I am experiencing the same thing, including my upper thighs. I believe (hope, lol) it's swelling.
I do plan on getting back to healthy eating and trying to lose weight as soon as my kitchen remodel is done. The remodel includes my family room and dining room, but also impacts our den and living room since they have all the furniture from the other rooms!
As I've said before, I would totally go through this again. The pain was never to the level I expected, I did underestimate how much I would hate the drains. They are so uncomfortable, awkward, and gross. Thank heavens my husband totally took care of them the 6 days I had them. The early recovery was much easier than I expected, and even at 2 months PO I was almost back to normal.
I'll see if I have some recent pics to post along with my update.
3 Month PO
Forgot to mention that I quit using Spanx or any compression during the daytime about 4 weeks ago. I did it almost cold turkey after getting the go ahead. I tried a few days without it, then used it one day, and then quit after that. I continued to wear Spanx while I was at the gym until about 2 weeks ago. Now I don't use anything. It was weird at first but my PS told me I didn't need it and I follow her advice. I also believe that my skin and muscles need to learn to function without it. I'm sure it's increased some of the swelling I'm experiencing, but I just have to remind myself that this is temporary :-)
5 Mos PO Update
I can't believe it's been 5 months now! I confess I haven't worn a bikini yet. Mostly it's because I just haven't gone out and bought one. I bought some new clothes for Summer. Ironically, when shopping for clothes before TT, I needed to consider my belly, now it's my butt and hips! That was never an issue before, lol. So, I still need to buy a 12-14 in fitted pants and shorts. My boobs are still 36DD, so usually need a L top, though I have some mediums in stretchier things. What has really changed, and this IS BIG with me, is that I am actually proud of my figure and how I look. Even when I was 20 lbs lighter, I still had the saggy looking tummy. Before, I shopped to hide my tummy, now I shop for things that show it! I really love my figure, though I would like it to be a few inches smaller all around. It's all within my control now, though :-)
We were dealing with our kitchen/dining room/family remodel all of April and May, so I feel like life is finally getting back to normal. The eating out took a big toll on my swelling. Our gym attendance was also really spotty in May and even June. We have had so many changes this year (moving to a new part of the state and my husband's retirement) besides the TT that I feel like this year is all about trying to find a new normal.
I will be posting some pics I've taken in the last few months. It's usually easier to do it from my iPad. Unfortunately, I missed my PO appt last month and keep forgetting to reschedule it. I'll be asking my PS about the area just above my incision. I have excess tissue where I had a small seroma and a few things I want to ask her about. As you can see from my scar, it's taking a while to get back to a normal color. It could be because I am really fair. I remember people asking about their hips and thighs being bigger PO and I am experiencing that, too. I think it's still swelling, but who knows. I am still pretty numb from just above my BB down. I can feel pressure if I push on it, but nothing else. I still have some tightness in the area on the sides of my pubic bones and just below the incision when I stand. These are all very minor annoyances.
This has been an experience, that's for sure. Most of the time I forget I've even had a TT! Of course, I wish I'd done this years ago. For me, this has been so much easier than I'd ever have imagined after reading so many stories. I was prepared for the worst, which was probably a good thing! I am so much happier now with how I look, that my TT has only improved my life and my outlook on life!
PO Pic Update
I am posting new pics separately. I'll try to put when PO they were in the description.