39 Years Old, 2 Kids. Avid Runner and Yogi, I Just Cannot Get Rid of the Baby Belly!

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I am a pretty practical person and to be honest I...

I am a pretty practical person and to be honest I never thought I would ever seek out plastic surgery. However after years of pilates and core exercises did nothing to help my deflated balloon belly, I realized that there is a time and place to get help. I have four sisters, and two of them have gotten a TT, both of them are extremely satisfied. I did not decide to go with Dr. Vath who performed their surgeries because he is over four hours away, outside of Denver. I chose a local Doctor at a hospital near my home.

I am currently 173cm (5'6") and 64kg (140lbs)

So, I am uploading some before photos . . . ooh, rough. I went to visit my God-daughter who is doing a semester abroad, and those pan au chocolate's forced me to eat at least two everyday! Bastards! Anyhow, so I'm up about ten pounds from 60kg to 64kg :9

My PS is retiring in January, should I still do my surgery with her?

So, I went in for my pre-op appointment and was told that my PS's contract has expired and so she will be retiring at the end of January. She says she usually like to have three months follow up care, and will refund my deposit if I would like to cancel my surgery. What does everyone think, is a little under two months too little time to resolve any problems?

I've decided to go ahead

After talking to my family Practitioner (about my PS retiring Jan 30), and other ladies who've had a TT done, I've decided to go ahead with the TT on December 8th, 2016. I think it comes down to the fact that I trust my PS, and from what trusted doctors and friends have told me, the retirement should not be an issue. I'd like to just say a word on what I believe is prompting my PS to retire early, this is my opinion only and completely speculative. Grand Junction - where I live - is a "good ol' boy" town. Most docs are "good ol' boys". My PS is from out of town and a woman. I cannot imagine that it has been easy for her to work in a town with such out-right sexism and exclusivity. I am guessing that she is being forced out because of those things - this is only my speculation. Hopefully, all will go well with my surgery and my PS will enjoy her early retirement.

I'm 6 days out from surgery, this is my rant to remind myself why I'm having a TT

There was a time when my belly was cute and small and I had a little piercing with a stone that hung into my navel. The horror that my belly became after pregnancy! The stretch marks and general pooch that no amount of pilates can ever reverse.

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 am getting everything ready for surgery on Thursday. I was told to take three showers with anti-bacterial soap. One today - which I will do after I do my Zwift cycling workout, tomorrow after I work out and another Thursday morning before surgery. The surgical nurse told me to begin colace or fiber before surgery, so I am eating light and taking fiber Wednesday and post-op I will move to something stronger if needed.

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!

I finally gave in and took a didaudid for the first time today, so I might be a bit difficult to follow this morning. A few things. Yes, I have had moments of extreme pain but for the most part I have been okay and just weak. Things that are different than I thought they would be - 1 drains - I was told I do not need to strip my drains. 2 The pain pump - it totally doesn't look like it's getting smaller for a long time. Yes - it actually is working. 3 The dilaudid - ah yes. I really pride myself for only taking the occasional pain pill for a headache and nothing more. Take the freaking pain pills! At the peak of my pain, I was taking 1 pill about every 2 hours. Do not try to be brave. There was a moment in the hospital where I was trying to wait to receive the morphine injections only every 2 hours - I broke out in a cold sweat and began to be swallowed up by pain. (I had extensive muscle damage that my PS fixed, so this strong pain may not be normal.) As far as the dilaudid - it makes me feel weak, tired and mentally unclear - and a bit nauseas so yes, I will be happy to be done with it. However, for now it is a necessary evil.

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

Apparently my pain medication was working too well when I wrote my last up-date. I was only 2 days PO, not 3. Oh yes and I did take the gauze out of my BB, why? I don't know - my brain was off playing in pain killer land. So, yesterday when the fog cleared a little, I kept thinking, "OMG!! I f*ing took the BB gauze out! FTFWIT?" I've left a message at my PS office.

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

I took a shower by myself, put a plastic folding chair in and sat on it most of the time. The woman who suggested the exercise band - genius. I knotted the end and wore it as a sash for my drains to pinch onto. I also came up with this looping idea for the drains - see the picture. I was sick of the drains being just a tiny bit snagged and they would hurt like heck! This is what I have come up with - WHY oh why did I not think of this before!!??

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

Argh! My back. So, after my surgery I was told to walk stooped over like a little old woman. I really can't walk another way and I don't want to damage anything. So, walking like a little old woman for almost a week is exhausting and painful. I'm slowly trying to straighten a little but I don't want to go to fast. I'm finding the squat to be my new favorite position! I am so thankful for strong legs! I am constantly using a leg beneath me as a lever or to do a squat for some relief! I can't imagine have a Brazilian but lift also with a TT - I would be screwed!

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 saw my doctor today. She had the nurse remove the tape from my incision, clean my belly button and take out one of the two drains. I still can not walk straight, and being bent over while walking takes it's toll on my back and my energy. I still have not pooped either! My PS said to add more fiber to my diet. Okay :(

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!

My house basically looks like a frat house now. I was able to pick up the kitchen a little and run a load of dishes, but there is only so much I could do before heading to my bed to rest and ice atop my wedge and mountain of pillows. I seriously need to get my kids to step up, they are driving me crazy. This morning, I went to use the toilet and found that my children had pillaged my bathroom's toilet paper supply! They are also slobs. Where is Nanny McFee when I need her?!

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

I pooped! Yea! It actually wasn't bad at all! This is after taking stool softeners for a week and triple dose of benefiber for two days! Apparently when it rains it pours - Aunt Irma has also decided to visit. However, a lightbulb came on when I realized a panty liner would be great used to soak up spillage from my drain. When I use a gauze pad, it always falls out or shifts. IDK, I haven't tried it yet.

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?

So, I really hope that this is swelling. My belly button is noticeably off center and holly heck I hope it heals a lot nicer than it looks right now. My incision line is unsymmetrical, and wraps around to my back. (Breath. . .) I feel like the bride of frankenstein. There is no bikini that will cover that sh*t up.

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

So, I'm a bit embarrassed about my last post. I went for a slow walk around my neighborhood yesterday and it seemed to clear out the cobwebs so to speak. I felt the sun on my face and fresh air in my lungs and realized how silly I had been. I think it goes to show the emotional highs and lows that come with surgery. I'm sure that being on my period had nothing to do with it ;)

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.

Two weeks! This means I am supposed to switch to the compression garment instead of the binder. Although, seriously anyone who choses to wear these things is crazy - putting one on should be an olympic sport. I don't remember this being so difficult to put on when I tried them on in the store. I will keep my binder close at hand to if needed.

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 -

I've taken a picture in one of my compression garments. This one reminds me of cycling bib shorts. When I first was put it on, it really hurt my incision. Also, I'm not really a big fan of the hooks in the crotch area. However, overall this CG has good compression. I actually really liked the "tank" CG. I'm pretty small chested so I could wear that instead of a bra. It made me feel like I was just wearing an under shirt.

3 wks post-op - pretty much back to normal other than swelling :)

So, after switching to the compression garments at 2 weeks, I began wearing the binder over the CG in the afternoon, and if I'm walking or moving a lot. I have been wearing only the CG, no binder at night.

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.

I did an easy ride on Zwift (computer/ bike smart trainer) for my first workout. Realizing that I'm at 24 days out I think I should've been able to do more, sooner but I know that's not true. I rode about 20KM in 50 minutes, and it really took it out of me. On one hand I feel like my little ride was pathetic, but I am proud and I know I have to start somewhere. I wore my compression garment and my binder to keep things supported extra well. I kept my heart rate low just to make sure I wasn't going to strain anything. I also rode sitting up instead of leaning down toward the handlebars so that I wasn't engaging my newly repaired muscles.

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 :/

In my zeal to get back to exercising, my weenie interval workout did me in yesterday. I had those horrible thoughts like, what if I popped a stitch? However, I haven't used my ab muscles in a month. Using them even a little would probably make them hurt." Please let me be right! I remember reading some poor lady's review saying she popped a stitch, it makes me cringe even now. So, I have promised to take it easy - no intervals until I'm six weeks out.

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 am feeling better everyday! I'm still swollen but it's getting better. I did an hour long "fat burning" workout this morning, I'm not tired! I'm not exhausted! I even went to lunch with my husband afterward and then did some errands. Yeah, I'm a little tired now, but the workouts are really helping me get my stamina back up!

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, so you ladies know about that numb belly triangle that sits between your new belly button and incision? Okay, so I have jabbed myself twice now because I have no feeling there. Both times were in the evening because I'm swollen and the numb part of my belly is what is sticking out a little farther than the rest.

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?

Scar tissue

So, I saw my PS about my bb today. It's scar tissue and I'm supposed to massage and press in the lump every day. She says it may take 6 months to a year to resolve. I'm doing my workout while writing this which shows how motivated I am today. Either way, if my button heals with this lump or not, I'll still be better off. Feeling freaking super unmotivated... and my freaking smart trainer will not hold at 90w! Jen suggested I put a marble in, I should have asked but forgot.

~5wks po. Swelling - Seriously

I am posting pictures today of me wearing a pair of jeans that I easily wore BEFORE surgery, that are too tight to button - I am about 5 weeks post-surgery. This is to show how crazy swelling is and what a mind F this surgery can be. This is in the morning too! WTF!? MORNING. Okay, so for full disclosure - Aunt Irma is visiting me right now.

However, I am beginning to love my results!

I've been able to begin taking baths again. I am really beginning to love my results. My incision is beginning to sit in my crease when I bend and I am starting to see how my ugly duckling of a belly button can turn into a swan. :) I sat there in the tub looking at my belly and it looked sexy and beautiful and natural. It looked like my 14 yo daughter's belly (except with faded silver stretch marks.) However, I suffered for those and even though, it would have been nice to be rid of them - I am actually fine with them.

6wks post op.

A little less swelling, the swelling seems to be getting gradually better. My belly button is improving. My scars are fading a bit but not as rapidly as at first - maybe because I've begun to use the scar cream only once a day instead of twice. I have one spot on my incision where the scab fell off that is having trouble healing. I showed my GP it and she said it was fine, so I guess it just needs more time to heal. I'm going to continue to use my camisole compression tops.

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've been sick, so I haven't been on Real self too much this past week. I still have a little swelling. It's become a way of life. I still can't wear my favorite pair of jeans from before surgery. However, for the most part my belly is pretty flat.

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

After hurting my stomach muscle around my bb last week, I haven't worked out until today. I wore my binder just in case and did a brisk hour long walk. It felt so good to get outside! My face was a little cold but the air was crisp and I was able to snap a few photos of the lakes partially frozen. I haven't had any pain - other than a brief twinge in my stomach today. So - I'm hoping that everything is healing up.

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 feel pretty normal now. The stitch in my belly is gone. I am rarely reminded that I have had a tummy tuck. The only time I am aware of the tt is when I'm naked and see my scar or I'm doing upward facing yoga positions. My stomach is slowly deflating from the swelling and I'm beginning to see a little muscle definition on the sides. Now - I am under no delusion that I'm going to have immediate definition but I believe that with careful exercise and watching what I eat that I can get there. Rome wasn't built in a day, and even though my surgery was, the results will still come in time.

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!

As of about two weeks ago I've been pretty much back to normal life. Other than feeling a lot stiffer and still a bit out of shape I've returned to all my usual activities. Running, cycling, circuit workouts and yoga (I'm still tight on the tummy especially in poses like upward facing dog and cobra which I am slowly working into.) I notice how weak my abs are and that they're sore but not hurt now when I work them even a little.

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?

Hey guys! I know it's been awhile. I guess I feel like nothing has really changed. My swelling is so minimal that it's either gone completely and I just have some chub left or I have very little swelling left. LOL, either way I'm back to normal.

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.

So, it's been awhile since I've updated my review. I've been dealing with two traumas involving my children - which each alone would have devastated me, let alone together. Everything will be okay for me and my family, I know time heals all wounds. I'm not really comfortable or ready to share on here, so I'll leave it at that.

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

I wanted to post this picture to show the truth of a tummy tuck. It's getting up in the morning, throwing on my gardening jeans and even though my weight is up 13 lbs, my underwear and jeans are flat and I'm not frantically looking for a shirt that will hide my belly. My tummy tuck just made me normal - which is all I wanted. My back pain has been noticeably less - which I attribute to my major muscle repair.

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.

Ten years ago this spring, I suffered a life threatening injury, had a stroke and spent a week in the critical care unit at Swedish Hospital. I was placed on bed rest and tons of restrictions. My life was dramatically changed. I went from kayaking and rock climbing to watching "The Office" on DVD (still a fan!) I put on some weight. I was depressed and I felt like I had lost myself even when the restrictions were gone.

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.

6 month update - I think I'm regaining feeling in that lower belly!!

I wanted to post some incision line updates.

Last night I felt tingles under my belly button where I haven't had any feeling. It makes me so relieved. I thought I'd never feel anything in between my bb and my incision line ever again!

Also, as a RealFriend for RealSelf, I was given some scar cream called biocorneum, I began using it last week. I'll post a picture of it.
Grand Junction Plastic Surgeon

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.

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