57 Yrs Old and on Step One of my Remodel! Full Tummy Tuck w/Muscle Repair on 10.16.14 - Grand Junction, CO

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Hello Realselfer's! I'm happy to have found this...

Hello Realselfer's!
I'm happy to have found this site and I'm looking forward to sharing with you our journeys along the way! I hope to find others getting a TT the same week as me so we can give each other support during our recoveries. I'm less than one week out from my Tummy Tuck. I've already had my pre-op visit and It's all paid for. Per PS instructions I have stopped all supplements 14 days prior to sx. Every morning I wake up and ask myself why I am doing this and especially at this advanced age. I have a brief moment of fear and doubt. I then walk straight over to the full-length mirror lift my night gown and gather all of my loose skin into my hands. I look at my profile and imagine myself with a smooth flat tummy. I think about how my undies will no longer roll down when I sit and how I will look naked. My fears are based on the bad things I have read here on RS. I try to avoid them but somehow I allow them to suck me in. Prayer is huge to me. I believe in the power of prayer. I try to push the thoughts out...you know the ones I'm talking about, I know you do. The ones that say if anything goes wrong during recovery that it is my own fault, that I was stupid in doing this cosmetic procedure and that my people may say that it was my own fault..... I then promptly remind myself that many, many women and men have done this, that I am very healthy, and that I must keep a positive attitude and believe that I will have a great recovery and that I will be so happy with my results. I take a deep breath and get busy with something to stop thinking about it. Thank you RS people for taking the time to read my review. Pictures to follow some time in the next few days.

Pre Surgery instructions from Surgery nurse and filled the perscriptions

I got my call from the pre sx nurse last Thursday. I was told to shower with an anti-bacterial soap of any kind and that Dial was a good one. She asked if I had any allergies to latex, medications, or food allergies. I was asked if I had prior surgeries to know how I handled anesthesia. I did have a D&C after a miscarriage in 1980, but don't remember much about it. Also asked it had been taking any medications and supplements. Zyrtec is okay to take for allergies if needed and no problem with me taking my bio-identical hormones. Wear loose clothing and no jewelry or contact lenses. Stop all food and drink (including water) after midnight and okay to brush teeth but do not swallow any water. I have to be there at 7:00 a.m. and surgery will be at 8:00. Hubby and I will have to leave our house at 5:15. I will be spending the night in the hospital and we will see if hubby can stay in my room with me. If not he may get a hotel room nearby or drive the 1hr and 45 min. back home.
My prescriptions are: Dilaudid 2 mg. for pain, and Zofran 4 mg. for nausea. No muscle relaxer (?)
I will have a pain pump.

About me

I just had my 57th birthday. I'm 5'3" tall and weigh 138lbs. I've been married 33 yrs. and have two kids ages 38 and 31. I was a skinny kid, average weight teen and went through my first pregnancy at 18 without gaining much weight. I began overeating in my 20's and ultimately gained 100 lbs. At my highest weight I was 236 lbs. I struggled with diets going up and down with my weight for several years and finally with healthy diet and exercise lost 100 lbs. over a 2 year period and have kept it off for the past 14 years. I've gone as low as 128 lbs. but found that weight very difficult to maintain and have pretty much decided that about 135 is a good weight for me. I do a cardio work out with light weights for one hour per day 6 days a week, eating no more than 1,200 cal per day. I'm almost 3 years post menopausal and find it much more difficult to maintain than before. My research shows that I must begin a strength training program to build more lean muscle mass. I have lost fat in places like my face, neck, ear lobes, and upper arms making me look a bit skeletal up top and I have loose skin in my upper arms, upper thighs, and tummy. My breasts have fared pretty well as they were very small to start with and although a bit deflated at the top they really don't sag, they are not pretty but not horrible either. My bottom is larger than most, hahah, and again not horrible and can probably firm up with some weight training. I do have a lot of cellulite in my thighs. This is the first of many cosmetic procedures that I am considering. I'm starting with the tummy, Considering a breast aug (but must do more research), botox in forehead, possible filler in cheek area. I'm taking a year to work on firming up my thighs but will consider lipo next year if needed. I may also consider having my arms done. I'm starting with the most lengthy and difficult surgery (for recovery) and the area that bothers me the most. I am so looking forward to a smooth flat tummy!

Only two more nights till surgery time for some before pictures

Well, here we go. I'm not so good at taking headless selfies, hahah, but fair is fair. You ladies are kind enough to show the ugly the bad and the good......I must do the same! My husband is documenting this process on a regular camera...with head attached. Whew, took me a while and definitely one thing to remember is that photo's make everything look bigger than it truly is.

Recovery supplies

1. Walker: 2nd hand store $5.00, 15 minutes of cleaning and some $2.99 tennis balls from Walmart.
2. Female urinal: Forgot to add to the pic. White plastic with a handle on top. Amazon $11.00. I gave it a trial run. First time ever that I have stood up to pee. Hahah, went well. I had no idea that I peed this much volume. Got a little drippage down the leg when I removed it....didn't love that. Hope to avoid using it but if I need it, I need it!
3.Toilet seat height extender: Amazon $27.00 Same thing at Walmart is $57.00!!
4. I already had the back massager and foot medi massager.
5. Shower seat: Amazon $22.00 again was twice that much at Walmart.
6. Hand held shower-not shown. Lowes $25.00 Hubby will temporarily replace our regular shower head with the hand held one.
Also in my recovery room; hubby was sweet and brought in from another room a larger screen TV and temporarily replaced the little one that was in there.
The bed comes in from an outside shed. It's quite heavy and hubby needs our son to help. It's a twin craftmatic the kind that raises and lowers the head & feet with a controller.
The nerves are setting in.
Tomorrow: Getting my hair done at 9:30 a.m. Finishing up some work up at the office and going to view a home that is for sale.
Taking the pictures of myself really helped to confirm just why I am doing this. Praying that I come through this with no problems, that my ps does her best TT ever:-) that I love my result and that I have a smooth recovery. Thanks for being there RS friends!

One day pre-op for Tummy Tuck

Today is an interesting day.....I feel surprisingly calm, much calmer than I was a month or two weeks ago. Last evening we got the bed moved into my recovery bedroom and I tried laying on it, getting out of it and making the head & feet go up and down. I have very good Ab strength and was trying to test and imagine how I will get in and out of bed without engaging those muscles...At this point I'm glad that I chose to do one procedure at a time, i.e. I can use my arm & leg strength. I'm listening to coffee house music which is very calming. I've had my first carrot, beet, cilantro, lemon, apple smoothie and will drink one more this afternoon. Eating clean and light today. Hoping that the smoothies take care of the dreaded 3-day constipation I've heard so much about. I showered this morning with the white Dial Antibacterial bar soap. No lotions except for my face and neck. I'm not wearing makeup today. Getting ready to straighten my overly kinky, curly hair. With my pale skin, dark hair and light eyes this hair and no makeup resembles the pic's you see of Einstein. Uh huh, not kidding! leaving out all hair products...What, no hairspray??? Yikes, yes it's true but since I have no idea when I will wash my hair next best to keep the crud out of it. It's not oily at all so I'm sure that I can go several days and be fine.
Had a huge scare yesterday! My 14 yr old granddaughter was accidentally (what the h*ll!!) over-immunized (how?!#??) and came down with a nearly 104 fever! She's a tiny girl at only 89 lbs. She was in the ER with IV, Blood work good. She's home, fine, fever's down and she's keeping fluids down. They say that she will be fine and may take a few days for her body to process.
Boy oh boy!!

Evening before TT surgery-crackers and butter?#!

No food or drink after midnight. Don't forget a barf-bucket, a pillow to put between me and the seatbelt for the ride home, and a neck pillow. Lay out the clothes....I'll wear the same ones home that I arrived in. Guess I'll take my prescriptions along with me. Get 6 yr old granddaughters birthday card ready, must have hubby send it on Friday.
In between this I am devouring a sleeve of (unsalted) saltine crackers with I can't believe it's not butter on top.....Gee, I'm feeling pretty calm.....1 Cracker, I must call my daughter and tell her I'm having surgery tomorrow....3 crackers, Should I leave an envelope in my dresser drawer.. You girls know the one I'm talking about, right? The letter inside reads "If you are reading this, I must not have.." 5 crackers. Why am I eating these crackers????? I finish them off. Good Lord in heaven!!
It feels surreal. I'm getting up at 3:00 a.m. I'm having surgery at 8:00 a.m. I'm spending the night in the hospital.....this is really happening!
Ladies, I thank you for your kindness and support. See you on the flat side, prayers and hugs to all!

I'm home! One day post op

Hello! My surgery went well. We had a 1 hr. 45 min. commute and left early. With no traffic the drive was faster than usual and we arrived 1 hr. early. Everyone at the hospital was so nice. Dr. Glasser marked my incision line and made a circle around my BB while I was lying on the bed. I was pleased at how low she made the line. I haven't seen it yet. The sx was 3 hours, recovery 45 min. and off to my hospital room. I am SO glad that I had one night in the hospital....Holy Cow. Hubby stayed with me, slept fully clothed, shoes and all in a recliner. He had a ceiling light shining right down on top of him so that I could see him every time I woke up. I had a clicker that would administer dilaudid every 8 min. They seemed surprised that I didn't use it very often.
Get this girls/guys.....3lbs. of skin, no fat! 3-4" separation.
I'll find out the exact measure at my first post op visit in 7 days. I asked to get up and walk at 8 p.m. took 2 laps and could have kept going but they said that was enough. I had the leg compression things on my calves the whole time. I'm so glad to have had the catheter! That came out at 5 a.m. I was up to pee at 6:00. No problem peeing at all. I had to pee on the drive home...ugh, at a rest stop. I'm fairly sure that I splashed the toilet seat and feel really bad about that. I'm drinking water like crazy and getting up every hour to pee, make 2 laps around the living room/kitchen and take deep breaths into the plastic breathing thing.....I'll post a pic later. Pain pump is great and I don't feel that I have missed out on anything at all by not having the Exparel (sp) injection that others have talked about. Thank God I got the $5.00 walker and the toilet riser with arms. I don't want to shower yet so I'm using the large medical wipes from WM on arm pits and china. Speaking of china......SX did a mini lipo on the mons which was a bit on the chubby side. I'm ready for another nap...hugs to all!

Post op day 2 & Ice and breathie thing

We got home and we both forgot about icing the tummy. I bought 2 icebags at WM. It was actually less expensive to buy these than to buy the extra large bags of peas. They look small but hold alot of ice. If you don't have an icemaker, then def get the peas. I like the idea of reusing the bags after recovery. I've responded very well to the pain med dilauid. I'm tired but I have my senses and am cheerful. I purchased several fruit pouches.....It's the fruit in a little pouch that you suck out. Keep in fridge. This IS THE WAY TO GO people. You have to eat a little to take the pain meds. It's wet, cold, and refreshing. The thought of trying to chew dry crackers is not appealing at all right now and I don't want anything high in calories/sugars. I was careful to get fruits that are low on the glycemic index, as I don't want to start craving sugars. I have berry blends, sweet potato and fruit blends, peaches......very tasty. 1/2 pouch is plenty. I'm getting the hang of stripping & emptying the drains. So much Thanks to you RSers that have come before me. I'm not shocked at all by what I see down there in the mons, and only because you wonderful ladies have posted your pic's. I'm not anxious at all to look under the CG or to see BB or incision....If I had my way it could stay all covered up and one month from now get something like "the big reveal" hahah, but I'll get braver as we go. I started Miralax the day after sx. I wanted to follow my PS instructions to a Tee and she said nothing before sx except Tylenol or zyrtec for allergies. Oh, one more thing; my hands haven't looked like this since I was 25.....hahah, at my age they are very thin and you see veins and bone definition, I'm puffy and they look fabulous, lol! It's nap time girls.

2 days post op and not needing the walker.

I'm not using the walker this afternoon, still it was well worth having ($5.00) for the first day and a half. The toilet seat riser with arms is the very best investment so far. I'm doing fine with the hospital type bed. It's very comfortable. My husband has to help me in and out. There is no way I could do that alone on day one and two. If you don't have a strong helper who can take both wrists to pull you forward to get out and lift one leg to get you back in I would def recommend a power recliner that stands you up. I think that I will be returning a lot of supplies to W/M. I began RS by looking at MM's. At this point I gladly will wait on year to decide on a BA. My breasts are small and don't need a lift so I'll be happy with just tummy. My PS includes a little lipo to the hips through the TT incision. She wants a nice smooth transition from waist to hips and as mentioned she did a little lipo on my chubby mons area too. This is a little direct but I love what one RSer said that her ps told her. He said that the gal had her first orgasm during intercourse alone after having that done!!

3 days post op TT, cooked an egg, got out of bed by myself & hahaha, passed gas

Feeling good. Every day I'm better and stronger. I'm keeping ice on tummy 99% of my day. I got myself out of bed by lowering feet and raising head at the same time. I'm still not showering.....call me a coward, but I'm just not ready. I use my wipes to clean under arms, where my thighs rub, my fine china, and bottom every time I pee.
I strip lines every time I pee, it's just easier to remember that way. I'm extending my one pain pill to every 6 hours and having no problem with pain at all. I've heard others raving about the Exparell (sp) injections. I have the pain pump and it's awesome.... It will come out today, I'm just waiting a couple hours to see if it gets anymore deflated than it currently is. I fried one whole egg along with one egg white in some coconut oil. My husband is keeping a watchful eye. He got the cast iron skillet for me. I'm standing straighter than I had envisioned. The first day I was bent at nearly 90 degrees and looking at the ground. Today I'm bent at shoulders and still looking at ground simply to make sure there is nothing in my path. I have taken one dose of miralax each day since sx. No BM but not much to eat either. Today I passed gas and hahaha, considered that a milestone. Who knew it took tummy muscles to let a stinker, lol!! If no poo by tomorrow I may use an enema.....any idea's?? I stand and look at myself in the mirror and can't see anything of course but she took 3 pounds of skin off and repaired 3-4 in of separation.....there's definitely a difference even if I can't see what's underneath the binder. Happy healing sx buddies....time for a pill and a nap.

correction on above review and one thing about coffee

I should have added that I raise the head of my bed and lower the foot of bed at the same time. While I'm here I'll add that I needed my coffee today. I reasoned that I would not need my caffeine because I'm napping so much and I wouldn't get the caffeine withdrawal headaches.......logically how could I when I'm on pain meds...makes sense right? I am a very disciplined coffee drinker. I get 2 and only 2 cups of 1/2 calf coffee each morning. Any more and I'd have issues. I began having headaches yesterday..2 days off coffee. I drank 1/2 cup of 1/2 calf and hahah, headache is gone. hmmmmm

Post op day 4: Still no shower and a question: How high up do they go to pull the skin down, i.e. is it directly under your brea

Hello! Here we are at day four post op...already. Since I spent the night after sx in hospital and saw my ps next morning my first post op visit is 7 days from sx. I'm going to email the office and ask if it's okay that I have not showered, i.e. is it better to shower or does it matter one way or the other? Here's why I'm nervous girls. I lifted my cg a little and under the gauze right in the middle of incision is a clump of what looks like dried blood. The steri strip is not stuck to it. I'm afraid to get that wet. One RS'r said that what she thought was dried blood was really a brownish colored glue.
I'm using cleansing cloths to clean the parts that get smelly and my hair is fine. I'll call the ps office about it. My question is how high up do they begin pulling the skin down? So when you aren't getting a BA with your TT how close do they get to your breast crease?

Post op day 4: Started Tylenol today and removed pain pump last evening.

Post op day four. Yesterday I went from 1 pain pill every 4 hrs to one every 5-6 hrs. I have not needed 2 pain pills at the same time. (my rx reads 1-2 every 4-6 hrs). I chose to take my one pill every 4 hrs for the first 3 days no matter what. Today I decided to test my pain level and took over the counter Tylenol instead of the rx at 8:00 a.m. It's now noon and I still have no pain (short of quick movement) so I took Tylenol again. We'll see how this goes! The pain pump is good for
3-3 1/2 days. It looked deflated yesterday morning (3 days) so I gave it an extra 3 hrs
(now at 3 1/2 days) to see if it would change and it didn't so I removed it. My husband has been a champ and truly amazing through this experience but I could see the color drain from his face at the very mention of it, lol!. It was super easy. I removed the tape very slowly (cut a little tape away from some gauze it was stuck to. (DO NOT CUT TUBE!!) and was a bit puzzled that there was 2 tiny yellow colored tubes not 1.....hahah, read the rest of the instuctions (normal to have 2) and slowly/gently pulled one out at a time. Absolutely no pain what so ever. Piece of cake. Hubby was relieved when I yelled "all done" I'm so glad to be rid of the little black bag as it is one less thing to haul around with me. I'm pro pain pump all the way and happy that Dr. Glasser uses that. Although it didn't seem like it was needed I went ahead and put a little Neosporin over the tiny holes and a sterile pad. I used gloves for removal and for the Neosporin. I'm washing and using gloves for the drain emptying as well.

Post op day 5 About yesterdays Poo

Oh my, the first poo. I have mentioned it before but I'm a "do it right" kind of person and details are important to me. I love my PS and at this point I can think of one thing to change....not about her it's about the office post op instructions. It would be a more detailed account of timeline and step by step instructions to make me feel that I am doing what I need to do when it needs to be done. Exactly when should I shower...days one to three is too vague for me. Exactly how is that to be done, i.e. a certain soap, is it okay for the soap and water to run over the Belly button and incision, is the shampoo hitting it okay, is it okay to remove the guaze from the BB....These are things I don't do well with. I do not like to assume things.
Then there's the Poo. How many days can I go without the poo happening before we need to worry. What is a good way to get that going and is the goal to not push at all or is a little pushing okay??
In my company we have a saying; "When in doubt, leave it out" I seem to have applied this to the above two subjects. Yesterday (p.o. day 4) I thought I had better figure out the poo. I had taken Miralax 3 days in a row. I attempted an enema and was not strong enough to squeeze more than 1/2 the water in. I sat and waited......it's working, it's working!! I produced 1/2 bottle of enema water and one marble sized poo. Good Grief!! I waited a couple hours and decided to glove up and insert a suppository. Reached from the front (couldn't do it the other way), no biggie, that was easy. I spent 15 minutes brushing teeth and washing face. Hubby kept asking if I was okay. I used a step stool to set my feet on (elevate my knees) which was helpful since I'm using a toilet riser. It was rough going to get started but then everything came out fine and I flushed once in between for fear of clogging. Honestly I don't know if I went that much but hahaha, had concern. I opened the door a crack and yelled "SUCCESS!!!" My husband did an exaggerated happy dance to show support.

Post op day 5 The dreaded shower

If I had my way I would keep my lovely binder on for weeks and never peek underneath.
The big date would be set. With much fanfare complete with colored lights and confetti, a spotlight would shine directly down on me. I would be wearing nothing but stilettos and a CG.
I would rip open my binder and there would be applause!!!
Instead, because of the spot I had mentioned that looked like dried blood and the worry that the steri-tape may not be covering it......I emailed the ps assistant asking if it's okay to shower. I sent her a picture. I called to confirm that she received the email and the office was closed.
Guess I won't shower today, Aw Shux....!!!
This morning (post op day 5) assistant at ps office called back to say that I must shower!! Her tone of voice had a hint of disbelief. There was mention of old smelly glue and bacteria. If I had been a cartoon character you might have heard a loud horn blow and seen the top of my head blow off. My eyes would have been bulged out a foot from my head.
I immediately called my husband and requested he rush home for an emergency shower!!! Thankfully he is the boss and can do that, plus he's only 5 minutes from the house. He rushed in, grabs the shower chair and I get into the tub. We point the warmed up shower at my knees and on it goes. He is right there, I'm sitting but we both wonder if we will pass out at what is about to unfold. I carefully undo the taped down gauze and everything was just fine. Hooray, no oozing no smelly anything. It's a beauty! I convince my husband to peek around the shower curtain and he smiles!! We are okay!! But wait. The Belly button has yellow gauze....oh my god, am I supposed to remove that????? I yell to husband "grab my phone and dial Dr. Glasser's office" Tell them I'm in the shower and there's gauze in my BB!!!! I hear him saying "but we need to know now, she's in the shower"....Yes, remove the gauze, it's okay he yells, just don't remove the tape".
At this point I had calmed down and realized that it wasn't really the shower that was scaring me at all. I was so frightened that I would not like what I saw. I was so fearful of an unhappy outcome or that I would be scared by the sight of the incision or that my belly button would be hideous. I finished my shower, hubby turned the chair and I even washed and conditioned my hair. Thank goodness our hot water heater is big.....I've never taken that long of shower. The water running over the BB loosened the gauze and I had a little cry. It's freakin fabulous!! This bb looks like the one I had as a little girl. My tummy looks amazing! I want to hug Dr. Glasser and tell her thank you and I love you!!! I'll leave out the I love you part but oh my gosh! My husband just stood and stared. Like everyone else I'm quite swollen. The longer I was out of the binder the puffier my belly got. I'll give you a better picture down the line but here's what I have for today.
Oh, PS: For that first shower find something to stick your drains in. I used my pain pump bag by extending the shoulder strap most of the way, hanging it around my neck, and zipping the drains and tubes inside.

The lovely Pain pump or the amazing Exparel injection

Ladies and Gents, Please don't let this site get you all worked up about the AMAZING MUST HAVE Exparel injection. Our Plastic Surgeon knows what is best and what they are comfortable using. I feel foolish asking my PS about that shot when I know absolutely nothing about what I was asking. This is my first and only TT, How the heck do I know what my PS should use??
She used the pain pump and my experience was excellent!

Post op day 6 and going to my first post op visit today and Keep your walker around for a while.

I kept thinking that my Dr. appt. was tomorrow but alas, it is today. Total commute time is 3 hours. My first fresh air since coming home. Asst. to PS said that she is using a product to apply for removal of the steri strip. I don't know if she is covering it again or not.
I needed the walker for the first 3 days. It helps the back, balance, it will keep you from stumbling over anything and this is crucial when on the heavy pain meds. My sleep is off and on. I haven't slept long stretches (not over 4 hours) since sx. I've had a day or two when I didn't use it at all but when I first wake up I feel groggy and find comfort in using the walker for trips to the bathroom. By the time I've peed and stripped my drains I'm fully alert and usually ditch the walker. At this point I'm walking normally ( I don't shuffle) and with normal speed. My shoulders are still hunched. I have not had anything at all for pain in over 48 hours!!! I have a medi-massager for the feet and a shiatsu chair massager (straps on to chair) which I use at least 4 times a day. I'm careful to only massage the middle to upper part of my back only. I LOVE this thing!!

1st Post op appointment went well, 1 drain removed (post op day 6)

It felt great to get outside today! Temp in the 70's, Blue sky, billowy clouds, and changing colors. Arrived at the appt. 1/2 hour early and there were kiddo's in the waiting room. I chose to wait outside as I am avoiding children, and the public in general like the plague. I feel a bit freakish keeping a medical face mask in my pocket but I simply cannot chance getting a cold while in this healing phase. I paced the sidewalk back and forth for several laps for exercise while waiting.
PS assistant had me strip-down to all except bra and undies. (I wore some for the visit but haven't been wearing any undies.....just hate how they feel rubbing against the drain tubes). She moved the chair arm quickly....my arm was on it, and I just about jumped through the ceiling! I asked the ps assistant to please tell me everything she is about to do as she does it and to please do it slowly. Absolutely no fake-sneeze/pull out the drain fast shenanigans!! At this point I'm fairly sure they think I'm a crackpot. Dr. Glasser came in and said that everything looks great. Confirmed that she took off 3 lbs. of skin and zero fat. It was ALL skin! She showed me with her fingers how much repair was done. I told her that I'm very happy with my result and that I love my belly button. She said that the TT is her favorite surgery because she gets to see immediate results. She took a look at my drainage numbers and said that we would remove the one that had the least drainage and that I could possibly expect the remaining one to have a little more than usual. She wondered if I had any questions for her and honestly I couldn't think of any. I wondered why they remove the steri strips and she made a joke about me being the one and only patient that they have ever done this with and then quickly told me that this is just how they do it. It's the same with all of her TT patients. Meanwhile the PS asst. is applying an adhesive remover and slowly removing the tape. My skin is super sensitive to tape glue. If it gets taken off quickly I will get raised red areas that will begin to itch and takes a while to go away. I don't want that directly on top of my incision line!! I feel like one of those super sensitive, allergic to everything, fussy kind of gals and It's really not like that.....so..much, Whatever. Anyway she began cutting pieces of brownish paper tape in approx. 4 in strips and sticking them to the metal tray. She showed me how to apply the strips and said that I would keep them 6 days on and 1 day off, to flatten the scar. I was given the remainder of the tape roll and an instruction hand out. I remembered that at the next appointment I want to try botox on the elevens and thinking that this is a good time to do it since I'm not in the public much anyway. I'm sure that I will bruise a little. SOOOO, next weeks appt. is removal of the other drain and Botox. Oh....almost forgot!!! Drain removal! Asst. snipped the stitch and I reminded her again to please do it slowly no matter how painful I can take it, just do it slowly.....Jeez, I looked away, she said "Done" Good Greif I was expecting pain. I've heard on this site that it was painful, just awful....Honest to God I didn't feel a thing, not one thing!! Yay!! One down One to go!

A word about my Plastic Surgeon

I almost cannot speak when my ps is in the room. She is amazing. I have this feeling from her that I can completely trust her. I somehow sense that she will do ONLY the very best job possible and that I am safe in her hands. To me She is just this package of quiet, calming, confidence, no arrogance........and real. Her level of intelligence just radiates and for me seems untouchable. I am a person whose mind is never quiet it's always full of chatter, and I don't trust easily.
Her presence quiets me.

You mean that I can stand straight and didn't even know it??

At the Dr. office yesterday PS asked if I was standing straight yet and if not I should start working on that.
For the past few days I have been walking with shoulders hunched but otherwise straight. I feel no pulling, no pain. (still haven't had ANY pain med since post op day 4) I'm still sleeping in "beach chair" position. Back to that in one second.....
When I started this process I vowed that my only job for the next 6 weeks is to follow all of Dr. Glasser's instructions to a Tee. The RS website is so wonderful in terms of seeing before and after pic's and reading of others recovery tips and collecting ideas plus comparing our recoveries.
We must remember that we have no idea who is writing what they write and if they are telling the complete truth about following the pre and post op instructions......What do they really know about the exparel injection vs. the pain pump if they haven't compared both first hand??
I read a post from a gal who actually admitted that she was sneaking a vapor cigarette In the recovery center post Mommy makeover. What the H*ll woman?? One said that 10 days post op she was in a bar having a beer and just had a few puffs off her hubbies cig....Really??? Your Doc says to wear the binder 24/7 and really you are taking it off for several hours at a time?? They say to apply ice for the first week and you ice it "not as much as I should" You lied about being a smoker or about when you stopped smoking pre-surgery??
Why then are you wondering why you are having problems?? Okay, rant over.
Standing straight......when she asked if I am standing straight I had to think about that for a moment. In my mind "from what I've read on RS" I'm not even supposed to be standing straight. I was thinking, "You mean it's okay to stand straight???" (Remember...I am the do it perfectly person)So when I got home I tried it!!! I'll be gosh darn, People I CAN STAND STRAIGHT...I'm FLIPPIN STRAIGHT AND hahahah, I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT! 6 DAYS POST OP AND I'm STRAIGHT!! Nothing is pulling, I have no pain. I have to keep reminding myself to un-hunch my shoulders. Yay!!

A list of my most used and beneficial supplies.

1. The Bed which has kept me in beach chair position goes without saying. An electric powered recliner would do the same.
2. Neck pillows (travel pillows) : I took one along to the hospital. I use one in the car and I've used one to sleep with every single night since sx. There is simply no full sized pillow that fits right when in beach-chair position in a bed. I have a variety of neck pillows ranging from the firmer kind with memory foam to the type with the little beads inside. These have saved my neck!!!
3. The fruit pouches. Used for the first 3 days. Without this I wouldn't have wanted to eat or take my pain meds. I could easily suck it out of the pouch and the coolness and taste was refreshing and comforting.
4. Toilet seat riser with arms. This was valuable! The seat made me feel secure as in not falling off, and the arms for getting myself back up. This is as much to do with being on pain meds as it is on strength. As good as I felt on the pain meds, in retrospect.....I was definitely not real steady on my feet. I wouldn't have been able to do it without help on days 1-3 otherwise.
I worked pretty hard on my leg/knee strength a couple months prior to surgery, so by day 6 and no longer on meds I was ready to try it without the riser and did just fine. I haven't used it since.
5. Walker: Much needed first 3 days when on the pain meds and for support while being hunched over; helps save the back. I'm keeping it around in case I need to take any pain pills down the line.
6. Zip-up light to medium weight house coat: Keep the sleeves at short to 3/4 length; long sleeves get in the way. I lived in this the first 3 days.
7. Sweats or baggy yoga pants. I like my husbands size medium sweats with large openings at the ankle and deep pockets. They are thicker (good for concealing) than ladies sweats and run big. I can pull them up high, not wear undies and the drain tubes can move freely. I almost feel normal wearing them with my slip on Dansko's and a nice but oversized pullover type shirt.
8. Rubber gloves: I have used them to strip and empty drains. I def did not need a big box of them though. Stripping drains is so much easier with the gloves because you get a good firm grip and it saves your fingers.
9. Ice bags: I bought 2 ice bags. My icemaker couldn't keep up so I ended up filling them 2/3 with water and laying flat in the freezer. Per ps instructions I used them 24/7 for the first 7 days. I lay one of them directly on my binder being carful not to touch bare skin and it lasts the entire night, then I replace with the other one. After day 7 I am using them when reclining, napping or sleeping.
10. Arnica: Using them sublingually (under the tongue) 4x a day.
11. Misc. I feel better putting a dry sterile pad over my healing bb underneath the binder. I'm using Band-aid brand medium non stick pads. I don't use tape, the binder keeps it in place.
Something for your water with a lid and straw. I've been using the one I was given at the hospital, I drink water constantly. Drink carefully people!!! Going down the wrong pipe is completely unacceptable as you must avoid even the tiniest cough for the first 6 days!! Trust me on this :-) Should it happen straighten your neck and begin taking slow deep breaths and think of something different until it passes. HAPPY HEALING!!
Parts of my mouth and throat were a little sore from sx and cough drops helped.

Post op day 9 let the Zingers begin!

I had my first Zinger on day 7. At this point they don't come often and they are not long in duration.
What is a Zinger? Whomever coined this word did very well! This is my experience so far.....I'll let you know if this changes but for now It is a sudden needle-like, electrical pain which pinpoints one tiny spot in the tummy, hips, incision, or mons. It happens quickly, literally stops you in your tracks, makes your eyes open real wide and is gone within 3 seconds. No pain meds needed. If this was frequent I would consider Tylenol, but at this point it's gone quickly.
Be happy and feel grateful for the zingers as it is said that this means there is some healing going on!!! Hahahah, this is what I tell myself each time one happens. When Hubby sees this happen his eyes get as wide as mine and he worries. First couple times will take you by surprise but after that I have tried not to react as I don't want to worry this man who cannot bare to see me in any pain and feels like he must fix all things that are wrong :-)

Stripping drains

When I was pre-op I had absolutely no idea what this meant. There is no visual that fits these words so I just waited until sx to learn what it meant. Being a person who likes to know what is happening beforehand I will describe my experience for those that are pre sx.
I had two drains. Mine are tubes coming out of the mons leading to a plastic bulb which holds the drainage and is safety pinned to my binder. Every so often you must strip, empty, and measure. It is my understanding that stripping should happen several times a day, where emptying was less frequent. I chose to strip each time I peed as a way to insure that I was doing it at least or more often than needed. (enter one of the horror stories read where the gal didn't strip...ah jeez!).
I wash and glove up each time I empty but not each time I strip.
Stripping is very simple. With one hand you pinch-off the tube using your thumb and first finger closer down toward where they are coming out....I did it about 4 inches up from there. With the other hand you simply slide your thumb and finger along the tube going up towards the bulb. This is easy but a little tougher where the tube thickens in the last 2 inches. It goes quickly. My big fears were that I didn't want to be pulling with force and accidentally loose grip with the pinching fingers.......oooh doggies that just makes me cringe thinking about it!! IT NEVER HAPPENED. Be carful when on the heavy drugs that you trace the tube from mons to bulb before stripping, otherwise you risk stripping in the wrong direction......Not Okay according to the nurse in the hospital who said it with much conviction.

One more thing about the shower, a robe and a hug

I thought of this a few hours ago when I took a shower. A few years back while taking care of my sick Mama she had been on a quest to find an old-fashioned terry cloth Robe. We went from store to store and this went on for months!! We finally found one at Ross for Less, it's Tommy Hillfiger of all things and was under $20.00. My mother is gone now but I've kept this darn heavy thing all this time as I just haven't had the heart to let it go. Well, I finally get why Mom wanted this robe. The thing weighs a ton, it's like wearing a giant oversized heavy white towel and goes down mid-calf. Mom had cut and hemmed the long sleeves to 3/4 length.
You get out of the shower put on the robe, sit on the extended potty seat and rest; Because in those first days the shower experience might kind of wear you out. No towel is needed to dry off because this robe absorbs all of the water, no bending or stretching.....Though it's not just that , it's warm and comforting like a big 'ol hug and we kind of need a hug right now. At post op day nine I clearly no longer need this robe as I can easily bend and stretch to dry myself yet it's still hanging on the back of the door and after every shower I still look forward to snuggling up in it!

Post op day 9. Ten amazing things that I can do 7-9 days post op (that I couldn't do after surgery!!)

1. Stand straight
2. Go poo without any over the counter help and no more toilet riser P.S. Never used the female urinal....that's for someone with a full binder having just a cut out in the crotch.
3. Take a shower with no one watching over and without a shower chair P.S. Never did need to install the handheld showerhead!
4. Sleep a solid 5-6 hrs. without waking
5. Sleep with the head of my bed a bit lower
6. Fix a small dinner for two all by myself
5. Make my bed, dust the furniture, empty trash
6. Walk long driveway to mailbox and back several times
7. Put hot rollers in or straighten my hair
8. Blow nose, clear throat gently, and gargle mouthwash while sitting. Carefully laugh but not often.
9. Sit in a regular recliner and carefully put the leg rest down w/o help
10. Pick up lint from the rug
********** Time passes quickly and we heal so much faster than I ever thought!!!! **********

Medipore Tape....is it going to come off without a skin reaction?

Last appointment when I was 6 days post op, the assistant removed my steri strip tape using an adhesive remover and replaced it with the tan colored Medipore tape. My instructions are 6 days on and one day off. The strip is placed over the incision in approx. 4 in strips, looks smooth and flat after placement and I am SO glad I was told that it will wrinkle waaay up afterward. I'm a little anxious...no a lot anxious about getting it off because it is really stuck on. My worry is that my skin will have a reaction. I'm fine when tape or a band-aide is on, it's when it comes off that my skin may or may not react. It seems to be more related to how fast it's removed and how much pulling takes place when removed. Sometimes all or just a part of what was stuck will cause a raised red area, sometimes itches sometimes not and it takes days to go away. No big deal most of the time but over a fresh incision???? Never done this before! It holds up in the shower so I don't think that water is the answer. Can any of you RS gals give me suggestions?

This Picture was meant to be with the last post.....10 days post op

This picture shows my new tummy. You can see the medipore tape. I'll post a before pic next to it!

Post op day 14 and doing well / Removing the medipore tape the evening before / On to the next phase of healing!

Hello! Yesterday I had my 2nd Post op visit! I fixed my hair, wore close fitting clothing, cute shoes, and Undies, Yay, undies!! I had to fold them way down under the drain tube which is very uncomfortable hence, my not wearing undies since sx. Having that drain removed was the best!!! Again, no pain what so ever! J. the med assistant did a wonderful job of explaining everything she was doing as she did it, (hahahah, I was so jumpy at my 1st post op appt.)
My BB was looking red and dry. PS had J. remove stitches; they are self absorbing and well on their way so they removed easily and quickly and there was absolutely no pain.
The Medipore Tape: Oh boy.....my instructions were six days on and one day off. I removed it the evening before my appointment. It was stuck on there good and getting it off was a challenge. I first got it wet in the shower and then sat on the toilet seat and painstakingly began the process of removing each strip by keeping my gloved finger on the skin next to the tape and lifting a few millimeters at a time. . I gotta tell you girls; I haven't been too awful squeamish about most of this process but when it comes to that incision.....yikes! My fears were/are that the over-stuck tape would pull little bits of scabbing out of the incision and that it might bleed, which in my mind could lead to something......I don't know, something bad?? It took a good 35 minutes to remove and towards the end I did pull a little scabbing and it did bleed a tiny bit. I couldn't bare to go through this again and asked my ps if we could use something different. Without hesitation she said that I could use a scar treatment cream and that I may buy an over the counter brand or purchase the one that they sell, so I purchased theirs. It was pricey (I've heard that they all are) and J. said that most of their patients use it with good results. It goes on twice a day and I'm using gloves to apply it. Already this morning my red & dry BB is looking way less red and not as dry.
Happy Healing!!

16 days post op- Lotion on the tummy, the BB, and the incision/Sleeping with my husband :-)

I had a couple days of worry over scabbing on the BB and the incision. I had it in my mind that it's not good to have any scabbing and somehow just got myself worked up about it. There is also some noticeable dryness on my belly. The scar ointment didn't seem to help with the dryness so I decided to moisturize both my belly and the incision including the belly button for a couple of days and then start back up with the scar ointment. I already had Vani-Cream so I'm using that. For anyone who doesn't know, Vani-Cream is a non-RX lotion or cream that you can get by asking for it at the pharmacy. They use it as a base for dermatological prescriptions where they add steroids or other rx for skin conditions. It is absent of any scents, colors, lanolin....pretty much anything a person can be allergic to. It comes as a thick cream in a tub or a thin lotion in a pump bottle. My skin reacts to some perfumed products so we've used it in our house for a few years now. After one day of use my skin and incision already looks less dry.
I'm still sleeping in a separate room from my husband. It feels very strange to meet in the hallway, kiss goodnight and go off to our separate rooms, hahahahh!! I love my hospital type bed and I'm so glad that I'm using it over a recliner! I've graduated from sitting fairly straight (with feet up too)to having both my head and foot of bed reclined at about the same low incline but definitely not flat. I told hubby I'm going to at least try lying in our comfy bed tonight but I'm not ready to stay. I'm still falling asleep late, around 11:00 and waking up around 3:00-4:00. I stay awake for an hour, use the bathroom and then usually fall back asleep for 1-2 hours. I can turn on the light and the TV and not wake him. I'm guessing another 2 weeks and I'll give it a try. I still don't feel comfortable sleeping directly on my incision, I can shift almost to my side but not really it's more like leaning.
Happy Healing and Hugs to all of you wonderful RS ladies!

Graduating to the new compression garment / Swell Hell (I now understand....I think)

I worked two days in a row for about 3 hours each day. Felt great to be back in the saddle again!!
Swelling: Post having the drains removed......lots of swelling in low abdomen just above the mons area, right around the incision. Holy Cow it gets tight and bulges. I now think I understand the meaning of "Swell Hell." I began using my Walmart high wasted girdle on the two days that I worked; it's the one that you pull on and then hook up the last several inches. It unhooks in the crotch which is a lovely thing! I was wearing bikini cotton undies underneath to wick any sweat away, fully cover the incision and to avoid daily washing of the girdle. I stick a round cotton pad in there to cover the BB, again just in case the girdle is sweaty. I don't know if it is due to my having just gotten the last drain removed or sitting at my desk or a combination of the two but my evening swelling seems to be mostly in the low area that I mentioned. When taking off the girdle I realized that the swelling is exactly in the area beneath the hooked up part on my girdle, leading me to wonder if that lower area needs to have a bit more compression. Boy oh Boy!!
I love the binder that I got after sx, it's my Happy Binder.....We are bonded. Nothing feels as good as that one. I slept in it last night and have had it on all day. I took a longer walk today but other than that I haven't done much and still this evening I am quite swollen so guessing that Swell hell is going to happen no matter which compression I'm wearing so I may as well wear my happy binder. I was told of a homeopathic that is good for swelling. This one is in spray form and you spray once a day under the tongue. I ordered it and will let you know how it works. I hear that swelling can go on for months but would be so Happy to hear of suggestions and to know how long the initial swelling lasts. I'm drinking a lot of water and not sure but I think it helps.

Post op day 16 - Unused supplies returned / Shopped my own closet / Sleeping position

This update is sort of a mishmash of different information. I'm posting pictures of the Wal-Mart high wasted girdle that un-hooks in the crotch $11.77, and my bed at the incline I'm currently sleeping at.
I went shopping in my own closet and found a shaper that goes just under the bra line and down to mid thigh. It's Dress Barns version of spanx. I have a good sized bottom and thighs so it's tough going over that area, making it tough going over the incision......What were "they" thinking when they designed these garments?? I mean really? Getting this up and down on a good day is difficult and we go how many times a day? No peep hole for the Pee? Clearly this will have to wait until I'm further along in recovery. Oh, and while on the subject of shopping my own closet....Holy Cow!! I have so many shaper type thingies!! There are shaper slips in black and nude, shaper undies in black and nude, some still have the price tags attached. I have tight fitting tanks in every color imaginable. That was my way to hold in the tummy and add camouflage at the bottom of shorter tops, I wore a long tank under every top I own. OMG, I rarely say that but I am truly having an OMG moment!!! Hello! I don't have to do that anymore!!!!
I took back all of my unused supplies to Wal-Mart for a refund of $51.00!! I'm really glad that I made my pre-sx purchases all at one store and on the same day.....one receipt for returns! On a separate receipt I returned compression garments for a refund of $49.00. I wanted to buy them in advance since I knew that I wouldn't want to shop too soon after surgery. Conclusion is that we need decent compression but it's not good to go too tight. I kept only the garment that I show in the picture. It digs into the tops of my thighs when I sit too long but otherwise it's comfortable. I think that it will be great once I'm not so swollen in the lower body but until then I will continue to wear my happy binder!
I'm Including a picture to show how I've progressed in sleeping. I started out with the head of this bed nearly as straight as it will go and legs up a bit. PS calls it "beach chair position" It's now been at this incline since po day 13. The flatter my head goes the higher my legs need to go. It's kind of odd.....I stand very straight with shoulders back yet I cannot sleep flat. I tried lying in my regular bed and was fine with head on pillow as long as my knees were completely bent. I gradually attempted to straighten them thinking I may be able to sleep in my pre-sx position with a small pillow under knees but this is not happening as I could feel the pull in my stomach muscles. I'll give it 2 more weeks.

Post op day 23 Hanging in there!

Hello! It was 3 weeks Thursday that I had my surgery, and healing is still in progress. I found the high wasted girdle that I'm wearing for the long haul. I've gotten the hang of pulling it up and down without sliding it over the incision; I'll post a picture of the tag. The other one I was using with the hooks in front and in the crotch didn't have an even amount of compression from top to bottom. The one in the latest picture is from Wal-Mart, under $8.00, and comes n black and White.
My incision and belly button is healing well. I'm putting scar ointment on in the morning and vanicream lotion on at night. The bruising on my hips have been gone for a while now. I still haven't graduated back to my bed. It takes a while to get to sleep and I wake up every morning at 3:00 a.m. use the bathroom and go back to sleep until 6:00 or 7:00. My goal is to transition back to my bed by Thanksgiving......hahah, mostly because I will need the guest room for guests! I've become a little too used to having my own space, turning the TV on and off as I please, no hubby snoring......I've always been a light sleeper. I'm back to somewhat normal activities such as going to the office, driving, grocery shopping. I still haven't gotten back to using the elliptical but plan on starting slowly this week. I've been taking long walks with no problem. The main issue right now is swelling in the lower abdomen. Gosh, I will be so happy when that goes away....When? When? It is lowest in the morning and then varies throughout the day but is worst starting at about 4:00 in the afternoon and into the evening. I still use ice in later evening but no longer fall asleep with the ice bag. I've started back on my Vitamin's again. PS wanted me off of them for 3 weeks after sx. Need the B vitamin's for the hair......It's been falling out a bit since sx which I've read is very common. I'm also back on Vit. D and C. My energy level is fairly low; I get tired easily and need a
30 minute nap at some point during the day or else I'm exhausted by 7:00! My weight has been stable throughout the process but in the last couple of days I've really had an appetite.
Well, that's about it for now RS ladies! Hugs!!
Grand Junction Plastic Surgeon

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