37yrs old vertical/horizontal tummy tuck scheduled

EMAILIXFO1 I'm 37 years old and single mum to an...

EMAILIXFO1

I'm 37 years old and single mum to an 18 year old and a 13 year old. I'm bipolar and spent much of my life overweight through to morbidly obese and on certain medications for my illness. My scales stopped at 20 stone so I'm not sure how heavy I got. I was a UK size 28 for quite some time and hid behind my fat and comfort eating. In the last 3 years I have lost the fat dropping to 12 stone at one point. Through commitment to exercise and a newfound routine and targets to achieve, I have managed to have 2 1/2 years without medication for my bipolar disorder, had the confidence to make friends, socialise more and even have relationships. The knock on effect of getting fit has been tremendous, affecting so much more than my physical appearance. Once I reached 12 stone and was around a size 14-16 I really hit the circuit training and started to run. My weight increased but my dress size dropped to a 10. In the last 6 months my aim has been to build muscle in areas that lacked shape and gain lean mass. I am around 13 stone now, but loving looking strong and more shapely. I love lifting weights and seeing the muscles grow!!
My major issue is my stomach. The skin has retracted a great deal and I can feel a nice six pack under all the skin, but I would love to have the tummy I feel I deserve after so much effort and hard work. When I excercise it wobbles and often needs pushing back into my clothing better. My underwear often rolls or cuts into it awkwardly and I generally feel like an elderly fat person with a young persons muscular arms and legs. I also have barely any breast tissue left and really droopy breasts and I feel my groin has excess skin too. My thighs have a fair bit of loose skin at the top which chaff and prevent me from wearing running shorts or summer shorts. This is unfortunate as I would say the rest of my legs are in good shape and despite trying to build a lot of muscle into them to fill out the skin, they are still crinkly. I'm using a derma roller to try and condition the loose skin and hope this will improve my inner thighs st least. The rest really won't behave without surgery.
I often feel less confident when meeting a new partner than I did when I was heavy, as at least when I was heavy I fitted a body type and preference. Now I feel that I have to warn someone that likes my athletic build that I have a geriatric body underneath my clothing. When In a romantic relationship I have to consider lingerie that covers or holds my belly in and be concerned about how it behaves in say when leaning forward. I once had a funny experience when a guy thought he was touching my breasts and couldn't find my nipples, when it was the two blobs of upper belly he was touching. The muscle line in the middle had divided the loose skin into two boob-like masses! He was a numpty (as we say in Glasgow) so no excuse, but it was embarrassing at the time! Funny but quite tragic story though!
When at a music festival in Croatia last year, where everyone was dancing on the dance floor in bikinis, I was always fidgeting with a sarong or my high waisters trying to make sure I wasn't spilling out. I wish I could have just forgotten about it, but any time I have just walked about in a bikini I have had a few looks from women of all people. Looks of surprise and sympathy it seemed as my tummy just doesn't match the rest of me. Perhaps if I wasn't as athletic looking elsewhere it wouldn't look so out of place, but I will never give up my training as it makes me well.
Despite this I am a much more confident and extroverted person than I used to be, and I try to just imagine that my tummy the other bits I can't fix are sexy too so that I can bipass that insecurity. There are a lot of times when the confidence really fades and I struggle to find something to wear and end up having a cry instead of heading out and being my usual chirpy self. It would be so nice to be able to just be proud of my entire body and efforts at the gym. To have a midriff I could proudly show off In a bikini on holiday. Or to not have to wear industrial strength Lycra pants that go up to my armpits to exercise without mishaps. To not feel apologetic about surprising old lady boobs and belly! (Though not one partner has had issues with this, I do!)
I did jump through the NHS hoops at the beginning of the year, but unless I am totally disabled by my belly there was no chance of a free op. Thankfully my parents have said that they will help me get the surgery as they are so proud of my efforts and health improvements over the last few years.

I'm not totally hung up on looks as the most important thing in life, but I would really like to have the body I have worked so hard to have. My new lifestyle had given me so much balance and happiness in my life, it would just be the icing on the cake to lose the final reminder of my unhappy and unhealthy self.

I have an appointment with a patient advisor with Transform in Glasgow on the 18th Jan and I have an appointment with another clinic to see Mr Chew the following week. Mr Chew was recommended to me by a friend, he's done a lot of work in breast reconstruction and is apparently very neat when it comes to scarring. Not sure if I need both appointments, but I guess the patient coordinator might be able to suggest another surgeon( I know they work with Mr Chew too) so might be helpful to have another one to consider.

Anyone with similar experiences or suggestions please get in touch. Would be good to embark on this with the support of the community.

I'm carrying a Wee bit more fat in these pics than usual- it's been Xmas after all!

Surgery now booked!!

Had my appointment with Mr Chew at the Transform clinic in Glasgow yesterday. I found him very pleasant and sympathetic as well as very realistic and down to earth. After examining me he's said that I'll require a vertical incision from just under my sternum all the way down as well as a horizontal one. This is because I have skin needing tightening in both directions and a hip to hip scar would leave me with dog ears at the sides. This should help pull in the rolls of skin I have to my back and give me a better result. I'm not bothered by a scar as its more the benefits of not having the skin flapping about that appeals to me, as well as how I'll look in my clothes. As I'm big on tattoos I'll probably just get something really cool over it once it's healed then I will show it off a bit! ????
So excited and nervous!!
The main things I'm nervous about are dying and getting clots. I have had a lengthy surgery before and been fine, and so I keep telling myself I'm healthier now so it's less of a risk.
It's remarkable how much more self conscious I've become now I know the belly is going soon! I have emptied my wardrobe out as "nothing fits or looks right" I feel fat in everything and I feel more conscious of it generally. I know all this is psychological as my belly hasn't grown in the last couple months, but it feels very real to me!
Desperately needing some new jeans and things, but trying to
Eek it out til I'm post op. Seems silly to spend on them just for them not to fit.
Have had tremendous support from friends and family recently! One really good friend was annoyed about the surgery as he thinks that it's unnecessary and that I'll just obsess about something else afterwards. I just had to disagree. He loves me and is just concerned.

Got prescreening tests in a few weeks then it's off to Ross Hall in Glasgow on the 22nd March! Yikes!
Possibly Mr Chew

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