Full TT, Lipo, Muscle Repair - Minneapolis area, MN
So I guess my story goes here, huh? Well, I'm 42....
2 days til surgery...
I go in for pre-op later today. I'm sure my stomach will be doing somersaults again.
adding pre-surgery photos today
It's been done.
Day 4 post op
Day 5 po
This morning I started coughing from something, you know like when you get a little bit of spit stuck in your throat, I wanted to cough gently but my body didn't cooperate. the coughing hurt like I was being stabbed. I held my fist and a pillow into my belly while coughing and bent over also. The pain was really bad, about as bad as when I threw up. I really want to be done with this. I'm not having fun. I used my emergency inhaler for asthma to help with the coughing. it did help some. The coughing finally passed. It probably was only a couple minutes but felt like so much longer. I then proceeded to have a good cry. With my sweet daughter's help I put a heating pad on my belly and took a Tylenol 3 and slept for the next four hours.
The good: I walked today without the use of my walker. Yeah! That felt like an accomplishment.
The other good: I finally pooped.
Also I saw my belly button today and I like it. :)
Day 7 PO
I broke down and cried and finally my hubby comforted me and wasn't irritatable. He tucked the little kids into bed and we watched a movie with me (though he fell asleep, like he always does, and I took a sleeping pill and couldn't fall asleep for an hour and a half! )
Also yesterday I had 3 more coughing attacks. I have this stupid tendency to catch a bit of my spit into my bronchia. I can usualy cough it out easily, under normal circumstances, but coughing right now is VERY painful. I had to take my emergency inhaler for asthma just to get air enough to cough. My belly muscles hurt SO bad after that. I ended up taking a T3 for it like the other day and sleeping off the pain.
I get to have my other drain taken out today. I'm happy for this.
My final struggle is my CG. I think my hubby shrunk it when he washed it. There was some blood on it from my drain and I asked him to hand wash it. He hand washed it in hot (does he not know to wash blood in cold!!!!?) He did air dry it, but it is SO painfully tight right now. The zipper is still bending in and pressing hard into my ribs like the blunt end of a butter knife. I tried putting a sock in there to pad it, but that didn't help. My husband's idea was to cut a soft mouse pad and fit it there. I thought it was a weird idea but it actually helps some. But this thing is still to tight... hard to breathe in it.
More day 7 stuff:
The good: I got my session drain out yesterday and as a result I am finally getting rid of some constipation that has been ailing me lately. I pooped this morning. It was such a relief. Also, I was finally able to get up and walk around the house a little, get out of bed, spend a few minutes out on the screen porch in the sunshine, and visit with family. I ate my first meal with my family today. Then ...
The bad: My five-year-old Germ spreader said he didn't feel good and that he was cold. Yep. Fever, 101. Great. Now I need to quarantine myself again. Oh please pray I don't get the flu!!!!!!
I was having major pain from the zipper on my compression garment. At my last appt my nurse did give me a second, sized larger, GC, but I had the same zipper issues. So I tried a test: I put the garment on backwards. It fit a little funny, and i left the flap open and just tucked it into undies. The experiment showed me that moving the zipper to the other side was very relieving to my sore lipo on the left, so I ordered a different CG that has no zipper. It's a pull up kind and has a flap with eyelets for potty breaks.
Oh and I sneezed today (allergies) and it hurt a lot less than two days ago when I cried and put a heating pad on my belly. Today it hurt for about 20 seconds and then was gone.
I'm adding some photos that were taken on Day 9.
Also the wedding wasn't as hard as I feared. I had to be there early to pin flowers. Standing up straight to pin flowers on tall groomsmen was tricky, but made me work harder at standing up straight and not babying myself. The rest of the time before the wedding was just a lot of sitting around waiting during pictures and such. Then the wedding dance came. I knew this would be hard, because I LOVE to dance, and all my family was up dancing too. So I had a rum and coke and went to the dance floor. I thought, "maybe I could just stand up there with everyone and just kinda sway a bit and pretend I'm dancing so I can feel like part of the group." Well after a bit I moved a little more, and a little more... pretty soon I was actually kinda dancing. I danced off and on for about two hrs! In fact, I was still there when the dance closed down! I shocked myself. I loosed up enough that I was standing straight up by the end of the night. Oh - and I looked great in my dress!
Also a little update on my kids: nothing contaigous entered my house with my 5 yr old's fever. I was very worried I would have a flu run through my house. Unfortunately it was worse news, he has lyme disease. 3rd kid this summer to get it. Not good.
Pictures are from day 14 just after the steri strips came off.
Also, I took a long bath today. Mmmm soothing. And took some pictures too.
I took pictures today too. Sure hope my scar lightens. I took pictures in my two swim suits, both today (the tie dye) and a few days ago (orange), and I'm not loving how much my scar shows. I knew it would show some, but I didn't know it would show that much. I did put on my swim suit the day of surgery when I was all marked up and it looked okay, but now it's just not so okay. :(
4 weeks PO
Also I haven't tried exersizing yet, but I plan on getting on the eliptical this week and trying some light weights. I do want to build up my strength becasue 4 weeks from now, I will be in the Caribbean swimming and snorkeling and hiking.
I started scar oil (forgot brand) and gel (mederma) a couple days ago. I'm still wearing my compression garment at night and some days. And Flexess brand some days. I like the one that snaps at the crotch, and goes all the way up to the bra, and has shoulder straps. The one without the straps rolled down, and the one with the shoulder straps but went down to my hips without the crotch strap slid up too often. I also ordered a stage two CG from Make Me Heal, as I don't like the zipper on my compression garment. It makes it ez to put on, but the zipper bends and digs into my side and I hate that.
Oh, and my lipo areas still hurt. I never brused but they always felt like the worst black and blue mark ever. They are less sensitive now, but they still hurt when hubby rubs my back and it hurts when I've been sitting for a while and then I stretch them. Burns like fire. :(
But the healing continues, and that's the good part.
I'm also finding that when I work out (or sometimes after sex) I get really nausous. PS said it's just part of the recovery. It means I'm pushing too hard.
Also today I wore jeans for the first time. I was suprised that when I sit I still have a bit of a muffin top. Wondering if this is just swelling. Also I know that the lipo takes about 6 months to fully show results, but I guess I just thought it would be different. :(
But I like my standing pictures anyway :)
6 week review
I still don't like wearing jeans. I wore them one night for about 2 hrs and then got them off as soon as I was home.
The nausousness I was experiencing after working out is lessening. Now it's either not there or just noticable, so that's an encouraging improvment.
I still wear my CG and when I do I feel pretty normal, as in presurgery normal (except for lifting and pushing). When I don't wear it, I still feel vulnerable, like I felt a couple weeks after surgery. I'm slow and cautious.
The scar is healing nicely, but still quite red.
feeling a little normal
On the good side. I slept compression garment free last night and it wasn't bad. Went without it for most of the day today too, other than during excersize and it was okay. But I am a little slower and more cautious. And I increased my excersize from 15 minutes of treadmill and 15 min of swim, to 25 minutes of each. And no nausea. :)
I did snorkel, but no more than one hour at a time. I did stand up paddle board for about 5 minutes (that was hard!!) I did hike, but no more than 20 minutes. My endurance for exercise has gone down the toilet after this surgery. Holy Cow! I didn't expect it to be that bad. Still who can complain about laying on the beach all day. Right?
Sadly my laying on the beach and too many "rum and diet's" and "painkillers" (a tropical drink famous in the Virgin Islands) gave me a souviner for my vacation: 4 pounds and swell hell. So as much as I hate working out with this low endurance, it's back to the gym I go.
PS I was concerned that my scar would get sunburned and it does show above my swim suit a couple inches. I found an excellent product by 3M, it's just skin colored waterproof tape. I put a new piece on everyday and it stuck even while in the water for hours. I didn't care if I had funny looking tape tan lines later since it's Nov in MN when I get home, it's not like they will be seen. It worked great. Never fell off once.
Regarding the way my body feels - 7ish. I am still really solid feeling in the belly. Swollen. And the ends of my insision still feel like I have a stich poking me somewhere. I am able to strech and reach up for something high, but I don't like the way I feel when doing it. My flanks still burn when I strech or when I'm trying to sit up straighter in a deep peice of furniture, or when my hubby rubs my flanks.
Regarding my exercize endurance, I'm still at about a 5. I wear out really, really easily. I plank every day and now I'm up to 90 seconds and really can't make it past that yet. I can do about 20-30 min on the elliptical before I am exhausted.
I don't have any pictures to post because there isn't much visual change from last month.
A year and a half later...
Was the end result worth more than the money I spent on it?
Was the end result valuable enough that I would go through the recovery again?
Was my end result valuable or beautiful in my eyes?
I told people that I wouldn't even answer those questions until one year after surgery. I read many reviews on this site where people stated with 100% certainty that it was worth it and they'd do it again. At my one year mark, I still wasn't certain I'd do it again. It cost a lot, and I have a large family and a lot of expenses, so it was not easy to scrape up that money, nor was it easy for me to spend it. Also, I was not prepared for the difficulty of my recovery. When I first found this site, I hadn't explored it well enough. Had I, I may have been better prepared, or at least had a better idea of what to expect. I think that would have helped my mental state. It was hard for me. I don't know that I'd want to go through that recovery again. I was in my early 40's, had given birth to 10 kids (all naturally, and the last 6 at home so I'm no stranger to pain and recovery), physically fit, regularily exercised, 130 pounds, but I will tell you that recovery was still HARD. Trying to get back into exercising 2 months after surgery was exhausting. I couldn't even do it for 10 minutes. Yes, gradually I worked back up, but it wasn't easy. I also had to attend a wedding 7 weeks or so after surgery, 6 hrs away from home, with 9 kids going with me, and I still couldn't stand up straight. Not fun!!!
So, one year later, I would've answered that I was 50/50 on whether it was worth it.
But now, 18 months or so later I am more toward 60/40. I do think it was worth it for this one major and one minor reason...
Major: My doctor also did muscle repair on my abs that were streched and torn apart by my many pregnancies. I likened it to wearing pants that were too large with a belt that was too small and couldn't buckle. The belt does no good. Well, neither did my muscles. Now, my core is SOOOO much stronger, I am a new woman. I am active again. The best place I saw this was while in the Caribbean on a stand up paddle board. I could FEEL my core at work and it was amazing. I am very grateful for that repair.
Minor. I do look better in a swim suit than I did before. Yes, I can wear a bikini, but the $8800 output does not outweigh the ability to wear a bikini for me. So I just consider that a side benefit. If my core were not just a great improvement in the quality of my life, I don't think the value of my appearance would outweigh the cost of the surgery for me. But I am happier with the way I look.
That being said. I still struggle with my weight, and keeping my weight down. (Currently I'm at 140, when I'd like to be at 130) and I still struggle with the way I see myself. I still have body issues. Sometimes I still feel like I look fat. Now I'm self conscious about a scar line that goes above all my bikinis. I still have strech marks from my kids. I still feel self conscous when my husband sees me naked. I think these are issues I'll deal with all my life. For some reason I thought surgery would magically take my body issues away. Silly thought right? I will always deal with them.
My final thoughts then... Was it worth it? I don't know. Am I happy? Yes.
Ok. The good: Surgery went well. My scar is minimal and healed very well. He taped and glued, not stiched. My ab repair seems wonderful. His nurse was wonderful. The bad: He's really old. He has a strong accent and I couldn't understand him all the time. His "bedside" manner isn't the most pleasant. He answered questions very short and quickly. When I expressed sadness my my scar always shows in a swim suit, he didn't seem to care about my disappointment. He just told me I was drawn on before my surgery and knew where it would be. (yeah, that was the morning of my surgery - too late to do anything about it - and I was quite drugged up on valium during that time too.) He seemed dissapointed that I gained 5 pounds after surgery.