39 Years Old, 2 Kids. Avid Runner and Yogi, I Just Cannot Get Rid of the Baby Belly!
I am a pretty practical person and to be honest I...
I am currently 173cm (5'6") and 64kg (140lbs)
My PS is retiring in January, should I still do my surgery with her?
I've decided to go ahead
I'm 6 days out from surgery, this is my rant to remind myself why I'm having a TT
During and after my pregnancies I did everything right. I exercise, I eat right, I gained the recommended amount of weight, and lost it. I did pilates and core classes and yoga and I run and bike almost every day... AND NONE of it, NOTHING has fixed the muscle damage or sagging skin. So, yes! I deserve to feel whole again, a woman again instead of a skin sack. BECAUSE I did create life and carry life inside my wonderful, beautiful, strong body.
I love my body, and just as I had come to accept my drooping sack of a belly, I realized that I don't have to. I'm not going to accept the fate of pregnancy. I want my cute, tight, (not sure if I'll go for a belly ring again) sexy belly again. I want to be not just strong but I want to feel good in my own skin. I want to feel like I am me again.
So in six days I will be cut open, and the damage that had been done will be fixed. I will heal and my life will move on, but instead of a one piece, I will be wearing a bikini. ;)
Two days to go! My pre-op schedule. . .
I have to be to the hospital by 7:45am. I was told that they would check me in, get me into a gown and I would meet with my PS before surgery. The surgery should be around three hours long. When it is done, they will put me into recovery and the PS will go tell my husband how things went. After that, I will be taken to a room, have something to eat and stay the night until Friday morning. I will have a catheter in until Friday (hmmm - fiber . . . I hope I don't have to poop right away!! I am going to eat light tomorrow. I am going to have my hubby take some "before" photos and get a final weight measurement before I go in to surgery.
I have my prescriptions -
Ondansetron HCL, generic for Zofran - for nausea
Hydromorphone, generic for Dilaudid - a pain killer
Cephalexin, generic for Keflex - an anti-biotic
The cream was recommended by my PS - Skin Medica - Scar Recovery Gel with Centeline.
I bought Diet Ginger ale and fruit packets - which I have put in the fridge to be cold for after I get back from the hospital. I have three compression garments. I also bought these super cheap ice-packs from Walmart. They are really pliable even when fully frozen and at less then $3 each cheaper than peas.
I am getting a little nervous. My twelve year old son squeezed me tight last night and asked me not to have the surgery, I told him everything should be fine - but seeing my little man with love and worry in his big blue eyes nearly undid me! My precious boy. I remind myself that most things worth having are worth the risk.
3 days post-op. Finally wearing pants!
One last thing - they gave me a huge ice pack at the hospital that been great. I'll take a pic of it when I get a chance. Here are some post-op pics. It's rough doing pics while you're freezing and your teenage daughter is turning you into a reindeer using snap chat and asking which "friends" I want my reindeer pics sent to. "Only my sisters! No one else!" Also, it doesn't help when my shower helpers tell me to "smile" while taking a nude "after" picture. Oh lordy! LOL!
PO 4 days
Anyhow, I have not had a dilaudid since last night (for some obvious reasons like the one above), only one tylenol (I'm due for one soon). I'm not trying to be brave or be better than everyone else, but I just want to feel like myself again - normal - even if it means dealing with a little pain. I am absent minded normally, but on pain meds - I don't even want to think about it. Apparently, according to my teen daughter, when I was taking the gauze off, I said, "should I take the belly button gauze out?" Supposedly, both her and hubby yelled, "no!" I said, "Okay, I took it out." This is all heresy from a fourteen year old so. . . it may (probably) or may not be true. ;)
I will most likely take a pain pill this afternoon though. Afternoons for me are the hardest and the time that my pain usually peaks.
Okay, so the pain pump. Strangest little thing. For the first several days it was like a solid rock, now it's mostly deflated. I think I need to wait for the center area to deflate to know it's done. As far as the zofran for nausea, I've been really lucky and haven't needed it - hopefully that trend continues.
Another word on the fruit and veggie squeeze packets - refrigerated like another lady suggested - they have been wonderful. I have mostly lived off of them because I'm not really hungry but need something to eat with the medication. They are cool and settle well in my stomach.
Well, that's all for today.
If you're recovering - I hope your recovery is going well! Let things go for now.
If you're getting ready for surgery - don't be afraid. Relax and try to prepare things for your recovery. It won't be nearly as bad as you think.
5 days PO - Laughing, pulling out the "wires" and drain management
So, last night my daughter helped me take out my pain pump. We both tried our best not to laugh as I peeled the tape off and began to pull out the "wires" as she called them from my abdomen. Oh boy! My stomach hurts just thinking about it! The situation was just so surreal. I'm sitting there naked, pulling "wires" (it is really just really small tubing) out of my body while my teenage daughter stands there in case I need help of some kinds.
I have been monitoring the pain, ready to pop a dilaudid if things got bad but so far my pain has been manageable with only tylenol for the past two days. I feel like a fog is lifting from my brain!
I would take more after photos with the binder off but I have no idea how all those women manage so many selfies. First off I am like a mix between a sloth and a turtle on it's back right now. It is a miracle for me to do something and it takes me forever! I did take a good look at the bell when I was drying off and carefully applying lotion to my non surgisized parts. My belly now rivals that of my teenage daughter! Actually my belly looks like a teenage belly now! It looks beautiful.
So, I don't know if I've written about this but since I had my babies I have had constant back pain. When I spoke to my PS after surgery she told me that I had extensive muscle damage - and she fixed it all. So now I wonder. . . is this what caused my back pain for so many years? Could this surgery help really help me? I don't want to get too excited, but the idea thrills me! I literally have suffered years. . .
Post-op 6 days
I made myself breakfast this morning! It felt like I had run ten miles afterward, but at least I ate! Our light ikea bar stools were my saving grace. I would push it around the kitchen like a walker, sit on it to work on the counter or open the fridge. So sitting straight is fine and actually feels good. Wow! The electric kettle filled with water felt like a hundred pounds! I made a mixed coffee of mostly decaf in my french press and I also made toast with peanut butter. Whew! That was actually pretty challenging and painful to do, but I did it!
Oh yeah, hopefully my drains come out tomorrow! They are collecting under 5ml or less every 12 hours now. Yes!! The drains have annoyed me and soon they will be gone!! I'm posting another picture of one of my drains. It's just so weird. I've read about these but seeing is completely different. Don't be afraid of them, don't worry about emptying them, it's super easy and doesn't hurt. My drains come out in the front center groin area. So, while a little annoying, that's probably the best place for a tube to come out of my body.
I'm still icing as much as I can during the day. I was told there is an awesome ice pack recipe on pintrest. I can get really cold so I've been putting a hot water bottle by my feet to help. I'm trying to take it easy, which is super hard.
1 wk post-op. Waiting to heal, waiting to stand up straight, waiting. . .
I've noticed a rash occur on my stomach -and decided to put a clean t-shirt under the binder. I took off the binder and like another lady said "was a little underwhelmed." I think the worst part about this time of the recovery is that nothing looks very good. Everything is swollen, stretch marks are popping out, and my incision is probably at it's all time ugly having just had the tape taken off. I that everything will get/look better from this point, but it is a bit of a downer. This is why I posted a picture of me with my binder on. To remind myself that I have a lot of healing to do.
Day 8 post-op. Mary Poppins is too nice, I need Nanny McFee!
So, a weird thing has been going on with the one that is left. I'm not worried about it but figured I would share. I have whitish clots floating around in the tubing, they have been there for several days. It's just kind of gross. I tried to push all the clots into the bulb but I can't seem to wrangle them in.
I'm tired of this recovery. . . I keep trying to find new and interesting ways to amuse myself. Netflix just posted some new shows. I'm finishing up Mr. Selfridge on Amazon prime, while reading "The Chemist" and listening to some audio books and podcasts on the side. I also have downloaded the Sims 4, worked on my rosetta stone Spanish and written on my true self review.
9 days post-op BTW- I know I'm a b*tch today
So, I tried to change my sheets today - hence the reason I'm sitting on my naked bed typing right now. I would go longer than a week if I wasn't in my bed so much. I'm just grossed out. Now I'm stuck because I'm not only exhausted but my husband told me not to do it so I don't want to ask him for help. I don't know. I may put a show on my laptop and see if I can manage it sloth style. Slow and careful - because I'll be damned if my bed does not have new sheets!! Today!!
BTW- I know I'm a b*tch today. I can't help it. I'm having my lady time, I'm dripping fluid and I'm uncomfortable in any position, especially walking hunched over! I am going crazy sitting around! Doing anything requires ab use, and I am a person with high exercise needs!! AHHH!
12 days post op - frankenstein's bride?
Okay, things I like - my incision is for the most part very neat and thin, this may be my saving grace - that hopefully I can get it to fade so much to where it is not really noticeable. I am trying to have faith that my PS didn't just jack me up. After all I picked her especially since her after results looked much nicer and her belly buttons looked natural.
I just looked at the picture of my belly button and I feel sick. I need to calm down. This is swelling and the button just needs to heal. Oh Jesus.
Emotional ups and downs
I realized that two of my main surgery goals were accomplished by having the TT done.
1. My muscle repair. I really thought I didn't have much muscle damage but my PS told me that I had quite a bit that she repaired. Already, I feel more support even without the binder.
2. I had a lot of extra skin. I know that I look chubby in my pre surgery pics, however I wore/ wear a size 4 women / 5 missy, pre-surgery. My weight fluctuates like most women and my low (during summer cycling season) is around 125lbs - even at that weight my belly although "flattish" was just wrinkles of nasty stretch mark skin.
Also, after talking to another patient from my same PS, my ugly duckling belly button is normal at this stage. After even one night with some vaseline on it, it looks less red.
**An update - I am walking almost completely straight. My belly is a little tight, and I feel a little bit of tugging but the nurse told me to try to straighten up so that I don't heal hunched over. Yikes! I've been putting unscented curel lotion on my skin all around the incision and my belly button. I put the skin recovery gel on my incision twice a day and I put vaseline on the edges of my belly button last night.
Thank you so much for helping me through this journey! It's a lot more mentally tough than I thought it would be.
2 wks post op Yea! Feeling pretty good! 42kg fully clothed.
I've been managing the swelling with ice packs - which works okay. I'm still pretty much swollen in the flanks, lower belly and mons area. BUT - I'm wearing normal clothes!! I'm standing straight (for the most part!) And Aunt Irma is on her way out! Yes!!
I've showered, applied lotion, and scar cream and got dressed! Look at how much I have done today! Wow - lol! I am planning on watching a show on Netflix while icing and then dicing up some veggies to throw into the crock pot for veggie chili (even my ex-Texan hubby likes this one). I may even go to the grocery store! But whoa - one thing at a time.
In the mean time it is holiday break and both kids have turned into turned into sloths. All they do is watch TV on their laptops or play x-box. They only come out of the tree to poop or collect food. What can you do?
Compression Garments -
3 wks post-op - pretty much back to normal other than swelling :)
I'm standing and walking straight easily unless I am super swollen. Everyday seems like there is less of a stretching feeling in my bb or various parts of my belly. I'm sleeping with just one pillow and completely flat. I found that I can also sleep on my side if I put a pillow up against my stomach - I don't know why, but that just feels better.
I'm trying to be patient when it comes to my belly button, I feel like the cute "hooded" bb my PS designed has stretched out into something else. It dried out and cracked along the top where the stitches are, so I've been putting vaseline on it, which made it begin to (my eyes) heal and seem to get better. My incision looks pretty good. The edges have already begun to blend into my skin and disappear. Another word on this - even though the picture doesn't really show it because the incision is right where the shadow is on my belly - my incision line has always been really nice and clean.
I have been frustrated with the follow up care from my PS's office. I've left messages with a promise that I'd get a call back, but no one calls me back. I have seen my PS only once after surgery, with one more visit scheduled on Jan 12. My PS is retiring on Jan 30 - and I knew this but it doesn't ease my frustration. I have already tried calling this morning and they are not open until later - I will try later.
So, for the most part I feel pretty normal, until I begin to swell. Then, I lay down and ice and can usually get going again. I'm excited to begin to exercise again. After the new year, I plan to start back on Zwift - a computer simulator that I use with my bike, a smart trainer and my computer. I won't have to balance and can stop when ever I need to.
The thing that's on my mind is, do I think it was worth it? I am glad that I got my muscles repaired, and I don't have that over hanging skin. I think when everything is healed up and my BB is somewhat normal looking - that I will look back and say - Oh yeah, It was worth it. But right now, 3 weeks out I can only hope it was worth it. Time will pass and my skin will heal.
First workout since surgery! Also, why does no one talk about the lack of sensation under their bb - I know it's not just me.
This isn't the first time I'm bringing this up and probably won't be the last - recovery from this surgery is hard. I was in shape before and now after being inactive for about a month I feel like someone has picked up my playing piece and moved it to square one. This is why I'm definitely making my fitness a priority. I think it would be so easy after surgery to fall into complacency and use the excuse "I'm still recovering." So, I've done "day 1, FTP builder" on zwift. I've even begun in the "if you're in shape, skip this part." (tear down my cheek -lol)
I still feel a stretching sensations in my stomach. I also have mapped out on my stomach where my skin has no feeling. It's kind of like a triangle with the apex at my belly button and the bottom of the triangle being my incision. No feeling there... Well, I do have feeling inside my belly button. I notice that no one talks about this.
I'm still icing every once in a while, maybe four times a day for about 20 minutes each. I ice mostly in the afternoon or evening when swelling is at it's worst. My belly button is actually starting to look better and my incision which has looked good from the beginning is still continuing to fade and shrink.
I've over done it :/
I've decided to try a new oil on my belly, Palmer's cocoa butter formula 'skin therapy oil', I'll post a picture of it. I'm using it on my belly and belly button. I'm still using the scar recovery gel on my incision which I think is working well.
So I've taken some selfies - I still struggle with this. I wanted to show my incision which looks better every day. If you wonder why my incision looks like it's peeling or shiny, it's not, its just the scar recovery gel. On my belly button I've been using that pink night emollient cream from Mary Kay but I will begin to use the Palmer's oil on it. I did use the scar recovery gel on it once and it made my BB skin crack - So, I will not use that on the BB again.
Like many other's on here, I have come to accept that my body was never perfect to begin with and I'll be happy with my results and think it's worth it. I'm trying to trust my PS, after all I did go to her because of the natural look her belly buttons have. I need to trust her and allow my body to heal.
Less swollen - 27 days post-op
I figured I'd post some full body pics - close up pics of my short waisted belly have been super unflattering. I love wearing regular clothes! I am so happy not having that belly dimple anymore. Even swollen, my stomach looks really nice and good in tight fitting shirts. This blue shirt, I would never wear unless I was down to 57kg (that's maybe 125 or 130lbs.)
I see my PS tomorrow about my BB. I am still unhappy with it. It's looking better and fading but - it kind of prolapsed out after the first week. After surgery it was hooded and looked really good, then it bulged outward : /
Anyhow, yes, this curvy ikea mirror is the full length mirror I have. LOL. I stole it from my teenage daughter's room. She has selfies! Who needs mirrors?
The numb belly triangle - Always there or does it go away?
Okay, this sounds weird but both times it happened while making dinner. The first time I only realized I had jabbed myself on the corner of the kitchen granite because I felt the pressure! The second time it was against the flat part! Yikes! I have got to pay more attention. I'm okay and nothing was really injured but just thinking about it makes my skin crawl!
So, will this always be numb or will it go away?
~5wks po. Swelling - Seriously
However, I am beginning to love my results!
6wks post op.
My PS retires on the 30th. I've gone over everything and I really don't have any reason to see her again. I still feel tight in the belly area on my skin and in my muscles - although it's normally not very noticeable. I still have the occasional twinge of pain and my numb area beneath my bb is still there.
I don't really look very different with clothes on but realize that I'm not choosing my wardrobe based on hiding the belly. I can pretty much pick anything out of my closet, put it on and I'm happy.
7wks post op
I have been working out pretty regularly, cycling and working out on the elliptical. However, I thought that since I was over six weeks out that I would do some crunches. :/ This was a very, very bad idea, as I did half a crunch - and got a sharp pain in my internal stitches near my belly button. I've been doing yoga - with tons of planks and side planks etc. So I thought it would be fine. It doesn't hurt all the time, just when I engage those muscles at all now. :( I'm kind of down because I'm afraid to do my regular exercise now. I've been waiting a few days for it to heal but I think it may take longer.
A little over 7 wks po
I'm really disappointed in the pre and after care of my PS's office. She is really great but her staff really restricts access to her. I tried to make a last appointment with her before she retired - which is today - but they never answered and I was never called back. That's probably fine, I'm healing up really well with the exception of the one set back. I would have liked to have been able to e-mail at least her nurse during my recovery time and get a response. I felt really neglected during the time that I most needed guidance after my surgery. Well, whatever - I'm really happy with my results, I liked my PS, I trusted her. The rest is water under the bridge I suppose.
2 months post op - Feeling great!
I've done my first outdoor road ride (cycling) the other day. I felt great and performed decently. I felt it in my belly a little on the steeper hills, but I kept it in the small ring and tried to work on improving my cardiovascular shape with a faster cadence.
SCARS - the weird and wild things. The weird thing about my incisions are that sometimes they can be really light and almost invisible and other times they are bright pink. This morning is a bright pink day. Time. . . time. . .
11 weeks post op - Back to normal!
I still have the triangle of numbness beginning at my belly button, but I feel twinges sometimes so that makes me hopeful that I'll gain some sensation there.
Swelling - yes, I still have some swelling left in that "triangle of numbness but it's gradually going away.
I have completely stopped wearing any compression garment or binder. I don't know exactly when that happened, I didn't have a clean one and didn't wear a CG and I felt so much more comfortable that I just stopped wearing them.
Scarring - Okay, so about 6 or 7 weeks out I stopped using my scar cream and my scar began to turn dark. About week 9 I broke down and bought more from Amazon which cost $52 instead of $103. I've been using it religiously and my scars have begun to fade again. I personally really like the Skin Medica - scar recovery gel but I've seen great results from Embrace as well.
Happy Healing everyone! Thank you so much for helping me recover from my TT! I don't know what I could've done it without you all here at Real Self. This is such an epic journey and I'm not quite done yet ;)
Crumbly nails post surgery- anybody else?
However, there is one weird thing that I've noticed during my recovery. My strong, hard, sharp fingernails have turned into these crumbling fragile things! I began to notice this around 2 months post op. I started to add unflavored gelatin to my morning coffee which has helped. Also, I was recently sent a jar of gummy vitamins specifically for "hair, skin and nails" so I've begun that. I think my body has been busy repairing my skin and making scar tissue that it was using the minerals and vitamins that normally made my nails strong. Has this happened to anyone else?
4 months post op.
Needless to say, I haven't been as active as I was pre-surgery and along with some depression I've stabilized at my "fat" weight - around 140lbs. I guess this is good : / considering my recent DNA test showed that according to my genes I should weigh 160.
There really hasn't been much of a change. My scars are fading - slowly. I'm unsure whether the scar cream really worked or not. I am happy with the overall result, and muscle repair but I do have a few complaints. This really sucks because my PS has retired!
#1. My scar is low at first, but curves upward at each end. I assume that she lengthened the incision to avoid a dog's ear - which is why it's off the crease after a certain length. This makes it difficult to hide the line while wearing bikini bottoms.
#2. I think I have a slight dog's ear on my left side : / . Yes, this blows.
#3. Where was the lipo wand? I was supposed to have lipo on my flanks but it must have been minimal. I know I've gained around 5lbs post op but come on!!
Anyhow, I'm going to wait until the dust settles on recent events and see how things look at the 6 month mark to reassess.
I've wondered if I should have looked for another doctor when I found that my PS was retiring, but she was really good and I could have easily had the same if not similar problems or worse with another PS - and have had to drive 4 or more hours them, along with delaying my surgery for maybe a year or more.
Here are some more follow up pics, I snapped while making this post. They're not the best, but I'm not very motivated.
The everyday truth of a post tummy tuck
However, I'll be the first to say that there have been many times I've questioned my choice to have surgery. There have been many hard moments and stray thoughts and regrets - BUT, the things I wanted from this tt - I got. Are my results perfect? I am far from perfect, but that's okay with me. I love my body, it's strong and healthy and beautiful, no one in the world is quite like me.
So, my goal today (well everyday) is to appreciate the small things in life and look for ordinary happiness in everyday things.
Happy healing! *hugs* Thank you my friends for walking through this journey with me.
Who is your real self now? Because you aren't the same person you were pre-op.
One day, while talking to a friend of mine who is a breast cancer survivor, she told me how she was figuring out who her "new" self was. The facts were that she had changed and would never be the same person post-cancer that she was pre-cancer. This really struck a cord with me. This was a turing point in my life where I began to figure out who I was - post injury.
I write this because that conversation changed my life - and yet again I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm not the same person pre-tummy tuck that I am now. I realize that I have to find my new self. We all have to find our new self, our real self everyday. Adapt, change, move or we become stagnant.
I sought out a Doctor to perform a tummy tuck for me. I immediately liked Dr. Glasser. She seems professional yet friendly. I felt kind of ashamed and nervous seeking out cosmetic surgery but Dr. Glasser and staff helped me feel good and excited about my decision. The only hesitation I really felt about having Dr. Glasser perform my TT is the price. Another one of Dr. Glasser's patients posted her TT cost only $7,300 in October 2014. I can only assume the large bump in price is due to Dr. Glasser moving to the brand new Community Hospital. The price I was invoiced ($10,275) almost made me decide against having the TT done.