Umbilical reconstruction & flap scar revision surgery 1 day Post Op (original TT surgery was 3/26/13)

Hello All! I'm happy to be here!! Like many of...

Hello All! I'm happy to be here!! Like many of you, I share a similar story. I'm turning 35 next month (April 2013). I have three beautiful children, an awesome husband and a blessed life overall! I am 5'-4"and I weigh 143 pounds. Im very fit. All three of my children have each been over 9 pounds, which like most of you, led to an incredibly stretched belly complete with stretch marks and wrinkles. All three were delivered via C-section. I gained 45-55 pounds with each pregnancy and lost it all within three months. My youngest is 16 months old. I've hated my belly post pregnancy for many years, but finally was over it and started to accept it. I didn't think plastic surgery was an option. I had more important priorities, so I thought. I went for a physical Oct 2012. My dr told me I had a huge hernia that needed to be fixed ASAP! I knew I had diastasis but never knew I had a hernia. He then tells me that I can get this extra skin taken care of during the repair of my hernia and refers me to both a general and plastic surgeon. Hallelujah!!!!! Cue the music. And so it begins...my hernia repair and tummy ruck are scheduled for March 26! I'm nervous, but mostly Im thankful and blessed. I'm glad to end this chapter of self loathing!

Hello All! I'm happy to be here!! Like many of...

Hello All! I'm happy to be here!! Like many of you, I share a similar story. I'm turning 35 next month (April 2013). I have three beautiful children, an awesome husband and a blessed life overall! I am 5'-4"and I weigh 143 pounds. Im very fit. All three of my children have each been over 9 pounds, which like most of you, led to an incredibly stretched belly complete with stretch marks and wrinkles. All three were delivered via C-section. I gained 45-55 pounds with each pregnancy and lost it all within three months. My youngest is 16 months old. I've hated my belly post pregnancy for many years, but finally was over it and started to accept it. I didn't think plastic surgery was an option. I had more important priorities, so I thought. I went for a physical Oct 2012. My dr told me I had a huge hernia that needed to be fixed ASAP! I knew I had diastasis but never knew I had a hernia. He then tells me that I can get this extra skin taken care of during the repair of my hernia and refers me to both a general and plastic surgeon. Hallelujah!!!!! Cue the music. And so it begins...my hernia repair and tummy ruck are scheduled for March 26! I'm nervous, but mostly Im thankful and blessed. I'm glad to end this chapter of self loathing!

Here are my photos prior to surgery

Here are my photos prior to surgery

March 26 can't get here fast enough. I had a mini...

March 26 can't get here fast enough. I had a mini breakdown today getting dressed. I always have to go through 6 or 7 shirt changes when dressing. Nothing ever disguises the belly. Support garments dont even work. The hernia and pouch has gotten bigger since my last pregancy a year and a half ago. It's amazing how I can still fit all of my jeans pants from years ago. My weight has been consistently between 138-143lbs for the last 15 years. The belly is the only issue! It really really sucks and I'm so exhausted with it. I've been doing this song and dance for over a decade and I'm over it. Enough.

In 48 hours, this belly will be gone!!!!!! Time...

In 48 hours, this belly will be gone!!!!!! Time has been flying, thank God. I've had this belly for soo long that I am not sure how I will react when it's gone. What will I do once I don't have to obsess over how bad it looks and how self conscious it makes me feel?! Ha! I'm sure I'll figure it out. Thanks to all of you ladies who left me encouraging comments. This is the best site.

Surgery day!!! I made it!!! Thanks to all--details...

surgery day!!! I made it!!! Thanks to all--details later on. VERY groggy from anesthesia!!! Fingers numb, but everything went well. Good luck to everyone else. So blessed

Today is post op 3. I'm finally home. My surgery...

Today is post op 3. I'm finally home. My surgery was on March 26 and lasted 5 hours. I ended up having a total abdominal wall reconstruction to repair my hernia plus a TT. My surgeons said my body was a wreck. I had one of the largest ventral hernia's they had seen. I now have mesh from breast bone to pubic bone. Aside from that, they couldn't save my belly button. There were no blood vessels in my belly button so it was essentially dead. I'll get a new one later in but have to heal from the abdominal wall reconstruction. The pain was as I expected. I just had two major surgeries. My plastic surgeon is very pleased with the results and I have a very low scar. I'm so glad to be done and over with this. I just got home from the hospital and looking forward to getting some rest. Heal well ladies!!

One week post op!!! Well actually 8 days. I made...

One week post op!!! Well actually 8 days. I made it!! I had one drain removed today and hope to have the second one removed before the weekend. Only been taking Tylenol for pain. Pain level is about a 4. Still no shower!!!! Ugh. I think that's the worst part at this point. Slept in my bed for the first night. Went okay...slept in a cloud of 9 pillows. Swelling is still present but everyday gets better and everyday gets flatter. And I'm also down to 138 from 142! Woohoo!!!

As you know, if you've read my prior posts, I had...

As you know, if you've read my prior posts, I had abdominal wall reconstruction and an extensive hernia repair along with my TT. I got the bill today. It was a whopping $43,478!!!!!! I should have been a surgeon!! Thank God for insurance.

Two weeks post op today!! Feeling better and...

Two weeks post op today!! Feeling better and better everyday. Swelling of course is still present. I decided to wear spanx at night. My CG was killing my insicion at night. Kept riding up. Forget about it. I'll wear it long as possible during the day but once 10pm gets here I'm done with it until the next morning. Insicion is a little tender and itchy still. Other than that-no other complaints. I'm a designer and work from home so luckily I haven't had to do too much and have been able to rest as much as possible. The downside to that is that my kids are all back home from being at my parents for two weeks and my house has become wrecked in a matter of hours. So it's hard because I want to clean, lift, bend over, etc. My 17 month old doesn't understand why I can't pick her up-so that's a challenge as well. But we'll get through it. My anniversary is today and we're going out to celebrate. Wish me luck!!

Three weeks PO today. Not much has changed in the...

Three weeks PO today. Not much has changed in the last week. I do notice that the swelling is getting better. It's minimal in the morning and very obvious in the evening. All my clothes look great on me now. My steri strips are holding on for dear life. Only two have fallen off. The little bit of incision that I can see looks pretty good. I can't wait to exercise and feel 100%. By the end of the day I cstart walking hunched over. I'm ready to be done with that. Every week gets better. Can't wait to see end results!!

Four weeks PO today. Feeling good, about 80% back...

Four weeks PO today. Feeling good, about 80% back to my normal self. Probably have been doing more lifting and bending than I should. But it's hard when you have 3 kids- complete with their own full schedules-, a husband and a business to run!! Anyhow, incision looks great. Super low and healing nicely. It's concealed in all of my bikini brief underwear. Will probably start some scar therapy next week when the last few scabs fall off. Up until a few days ago my steri strips were still on. I've been using Neosporin on my incision in the meantime. Still sleeping on my back. I've tried sleeping on my sides but its still a little uncomfortable. Also, I've let the CG fall by the wayside at night. I wear it for about 6-8 hours during the day. Additionally I have a few stitches poking out at the very ends of my incision and its irritated by the CG. Going to go get them trimmed/removed today. Swelling has gone down a little. Not a huge difference from last week but definitely improving. My 35th birthday was Friday, got a new swimsuit to celebrate. Overall, Im thrilled with the results so far at 4 weeks. Can't wait to get clearance to exercise to further enhance my results. Happy healing to everyone!!

Today marks five weeks. No major changes....

Today marks five weeks. No major changes. Basically same situation as last week. Swelling is about the same. Scar looks good, Im moving more and feeling less tired. Feels great not to have any belly bulge anymore and wearing whatever you want without the added stress of concealing belly pudge. That is the best feeling!! For anyone who is considering this procedure I say, do thorough research on your surgeon, possible complications and really plan your surgery when you can afford to take three-four weeks really easy. Once you've done that-go for it! Life really is too short to be unhappy with your body. Tummy tucks aren't a quick fix though. You must do the work. I would not have done this if I had a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle. Anyway, good luck to all future TT'ers. It's worth it!

8 weeks PO today! New pics

8 weeks today!!! Surgery seems so long ago. I'm still very happy with my results. Not much has changed in the last couple weeks. Swelling is still there near my insicion. Mornings my stomach is super flat, by noon the swelling starts to set in and it's most prevalent in the evenings. I'm hoping that my surgeon will clear me for exercise tomorrow. I'm still sore and my stomach is tender in some areas. I get muscle cramps/spasms first thing in the morning when as I'm waking up. Other than that, back to life as usual. I've been sticking to a good diet/clean eating, but plan to kick it up a notch as swimsuit season approaches. Until next time....

8 weeks PO today. New pics

see post above!

New pics

I forgot to mention earlier that I'm not wearing my CG anymore! Seams like after week 6 it was causing more swelling than preventing it. I'm wearing spanx and girdle panties on most days. Clothes look so much better on me now. However, even at 8 weeks my jeans are still uncomfortable. Anything tight along my scar causes more swelling or the dreaded swelling above the jeans!! So still wearing lots of dresses and yoga pants. Trying to be patient and wait this swelling out.

9 weeks PO today

9 weeks today. No changes. I feel like after week 6, I haven't seen any major improvements. But that's not a complaint. I'm still 100% happy with my results. Even if the swelling never improves, it looks and feels so much better than it did prior to surgery. I had a visit last week with my surgeon, he was very pleased with the way everything is healing. I thought he would agree to some scar therapy, etc. but said it wasn't necessary. I may still invest in some silicone strips. Who out there has had great results from using silicone strips? He also said we will plan to create the belly button at the end of the year once I'm fully healed from the abdominal wall reconstruction. Because my abdominal wall skin is so super thin, he said my button will be shallow, but cute. I'm looking forward to that. I still haven't gotten totally comfortable with not having a belly button...but honestly, if it never happens, I'm still good with the way it looks right now. Aside from that, I've eaten horribly this week. Peach cobbler, ice cream, chips, the whole shabang!! Gotta snap out of it. I started working out today for the FIRST time (even though I kept eating Monster Trail Mix all day). My abs are still really tight/stiff/sore, so I need to make sure I stretch really well. I'm not the type that eases into things. I do everything full force, so it will be interesting to see how this workout thing goes. Anyhow, that's about it for this week.....

10 weeks PO- still happy

Time is flying by. Can't beleive it's been ten weeks already. It was actually 10 weeks on Tuesday. Same situation as last week. Feel just about the same-but I have increased my workouts just a little bit. I really should say activity level because I'm still taking it easy and my routines consist of about 30 minutes cardio everyday--nothing major at all and I don't always break a sweat. So, I use the words "work-out" loosely. I'll probably kick it up a notch as the tightness begins to ease. But for now Im content with moving my body at a slower pace. I kind of have a heavy feeling when I try to jog. Like an inner tube or something is around my waist. It's hard to describe, but basically I'm not ready to jog yet. Aside from that weird feeling, I still have numbness all over the center of my belly. It feels fake, almost like rubber to the touch...wonder how long that sensation is going to last? I went to the pool for the first time last week and it felt absolutely amazing. No feelings of insecurity at all. I'd say the procedure is worth it for that alone! Cheers!!

One Year Anniversary Today 3/26/14

Wow!! This day has been emotional for me! So many great things have happened in the last year. My confidence and mojo has increased exponentially since my surgery. It's actually been kind of like a rebirth---I have a new life-literally! I am so grateful for the experience! I am definitely a butterfly who is spreading her wings. No longer confined by my cocoon! My weight has pretty much stayed the same although I feel like I definitely have to be more careful about indulgent eating. The last thing I want to do is stretch this belly! I still have areas of numbness/tenderness particularly on the center of my abdomen which is surprising but not bothersome. My scar is still rather dark to me also, but I think it will fade in time. Overall I am still 100% happy with my results. It's a great feeling to wear clothes and not feel an ounce of insecurity or the constant need to tuck in or hide the bulge. This has been a great learning experience as well and I've become very vocal about my story and how I was clueless about my hernia...my hernia was extreme, and I'm so glad that it was taken care of. Take care of and know your body Ladies!! It's the only one we have! Cheers to having a better, healthier, more confident body and life. Oh also, still contemplating having the belly button added- now that I'm at the year make I can have it done! It's supposed to be a quick outpatient surgery-so maybe I'll do that soon-not sure yet. Anyhow....Happy Surgery Anniversary to me and all the other beautiful ladies out there!

Umbilical reconstruction and flap scar revision yesterday 11/17/14 - 1 day po (original TT surgery 3/26/13)

I had my umbilical reconstruction and flap scar revision yesterday. Surgery was straightforward, in and out in about 3 hours. If you have read my previous updates, you will see that after my abdominal wall reconstruction, hernia repair with mesh and tummy tuck left me without a belly button. The plan was to completely heal for a year before attempting the next surgery. I ended up waiting for a little over 18 months.

I am sore, but recovery is so much easier than before. I am thankful that the final stage to my journey is complete. I can't wait to see my new belly button and new scar. Oh, my doctor wanted to smooth out my scar and cut an inch off of loose skin--he said he was conservative the first time around since my surgery was so complex, but he took the remaining final bit of loose skin and revised my scar.

Glad it's all over and thankful for a smooth recovery.
Dr J. Cart DeBrux

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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