I've been reading reviews so even though I am a...
I've been reading reviews so even though I am a very private person I have been helped so much by this community I want to give back.
Currently I am 2 days o.p. I got home Wednesday evening and felt pretty good. My procedures were abdominoplasty with hip to hip incision and Lipo to the flanks. I wanted mind reduction but my doc said it would compromise the blood supply and so it was too risky, but the TT would help with that anyway.
I went home with Percocet and Valium and a lidocaine pump plus 2 drains. I had no significant pain that first day, just some irritation where the garment was over the incision.
Day 1 post op was pretty easy. I did wake up at 4 am on some pain but took a Percocet and went right back to sleep. Stays on meds and no pain at all. I was getting up and down and walking on my own very easily. Passed gas in the afternoon (felt good!) but no bm.
First po doctors visit and the doc said drains will probably come out Monday. Incisions look great. In very swollen though.
Now it's po Day 2 and I am in no pain at all on my meds. I don't need help getting on and out of the recliner but I can't reach the floor.
Here are some before pics. I don't have agreed yet but will update when I can.
Post op day 2
Still no pain but some irritation at the incision. Really sleepy, probably from the Valium. My doctor said that I can get the drains out when they release < 30 ml. Then another 48 hrs before I can shower. Not looking forward to that many sponge baths. Anyway it's been pretty easy today. Much easier than my c-sections.
Day 3 Post Op
Good morning! I am feeling great today. I still don't have any pain, but I am still taking the Percocet. My rx allows for 1-2 pills every 4-6 hours but I have taken just 1 every 6 hours. Unfortunately I accidentally pulled out my Lidocaine pump this morning but I don't feel any negative consequences.
I have no problems getting in and out of the recliner, but I do feel a bit achy the first few seconds I get up. No big deal. speaking of recliners, it seems from reading other people's experience the recliner is a must. Since I don't have one I picked one up cheap from craigslist, then covered it with a king sized flat sheet. Totally worth it!!!
I think I forgot to mention I was given a power leg compressor to wear while sitting/lying down. It's a little bit of a hassle but it actually feels great, like a nice massage. At this point I am not using it during the day since I am walking aound a lot, but plan to use it one or two more nights.
My biggest negative is the discomfort related to the incision and cg. My incision is super low, which as great, but that's where the garment hits me and tend to fold up, pressing on the spot. I keep trying different things to protect it. Gauze doesn't work because it falls out. A long tank top helps a little. I even tried wearing the CG over my shorts but that means I have to remove it to pee and that's a hassle. Suggestion are welcome!!!
I have been passing gas which helps my comfort level but no bm yet. I've been talking colace. What else? Hmm, I did cough a bit and it wasn't bad at all.
I took some pics at 5 am so they are pretty bad, LOL. Please note I am still very swollen!
It's Day 4 and I am bored. I usually can't sit still for more than a few minutes at a time so all this sitting is driving me nuts. I did some very light housework to pass the time and watched some Netflix but I wish I could do more. I know I am super lucky in that I have had virtually no pain. My back and sides are a little sore from the lipo and the incision is still irritated but that's about it.
I took a good sponge bath today and got a couple of pictures in. I think since yesterday I see my waist coming in a little. However my abdomen is still very swollen and a bit hard. I'm looking forward to that going down so I can see the flat!
Still no bm, despite the colace. I am passing gas regularly so I am not in distress, but I want that to be over.
Here are a couple of pictures, plus a front composite.
Quick Day 5 update
Started off the day with a poop! Hooray for me! I felt so light after, and I am pretty sure the cg fit better as well. Bad news is I am still draining more than 30 cc on each drain so they have to stay in. Binge watched Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix to pass the time. Highlight of the day was a visit from a college friend I haven't seen in decades. We just sat and chatted but after two hours I did feel tired. I was kind of glad I had an excuse to stay home and avoid the record breaking 115 degree heat, to be honest!
I took some pics but they look the same as yesterday so I won't bother posting. My plan now is to take the Percocet until the drain removal (hopefully tomorrow) then switch to Tylenol. Lordy I can't wait to shower!!! And wear some different clothes!
Day 6 post tummy tuck
One of my drains passed the test but not the other, so after talking to the nurse I decided to wait another day and get them both out at once. It will save me a trip and when it's supposed to be another record breaking hot day I have no desire to go out. Heck, it's only 9:15 am and it's already 100 degrees. Yuck.
I'm getting such great advice here, and based on that I have decided to stop the Percocet now. Some years ago I had bad injury and was on Vicodin. After just 6 days I stopped and went through a very uncomfortable withdrawal. So I'm going to switch to Tylenol and see what happens. Frankly I hate this loopy feeling.
Other random thoughts: It feels weird to touch my belly button. It looks like it's in the normal place but mentally it feels high up. I wonder if the brain adjusts to that.
Also, a shoutout to Dr. Cambeiro's staff. Such nice and helpful ladies. Very professional!
Day 7 - First week is over
I have to say, the first week went way better than I expected. No real pain, just manageable discomfort. Given that I am older and heavier than a lot of the ladies here, I thought I would have a tougher time.
Not that all is roses, of course. My second poop was a killer. Everyone talked about the excitement of the first poop, so I was unprepared for how awful the second one would be.
On Monday morning one of my drains had passed but I decided to go in the next day instead. Well of course that drain went over the limit so it had to say, but the other passed,so I went into the office and had it out. I till have one but that's so much easier than two. It's already over the limit so I can't get it out tomorrow. Hopefully it will pass tomorrow so I can get it out Friday and not have to wait another weekend.
I also had the tape taken of so I saw the incision for the firs time. The good news is it is healing beautifully, with a nice clean thin line and no sign of infection. It is also nice an low. The bad news is that while the sides are symmetrical, the center is a little crooked. I think it won't be too noticeable after it heals. The most concerning issue is that on my right hip the skin over the incision looks kind of puckered. I really hope that flattens out.
I am still very swollen in the belly, so much so that it's hard to picture what my flat tummy will look like. The hanging part is gone, so that's awesome, but I look pregnant. The nurse said that will go away, so I will be patient.
Tomorrow I will venture out for the first time. A friend's son, who survived cancer as a teenager, is participating in a summer-long 4000 mile bike trip for cancer awareness and the group is passing through town. My friend is throwing a little party, so I will be getting dressed in real clothes and getting out of the house, yay!
I guess what goes up must come down. Felt a little blue today. Slightly achy all over, kind of weepy, very tired. After much thought I conclude it's withdrawal from the Percocet. Knowing this helps me feel like it's a temporary and I will get over it but right now I just want to cry and crawl out of my skin. It didn't help that I got a ridiculous settlement offer from my future ex husband. So just a bad day.
On the plus side I think my belly looks less swollen for the first time.
Sorry to be such a downer.
Day 12 -- Drains Out!!!
Hallelujah, I got my second drain out today! What a difference in how I feel. The drains were so time consuming and made it difficult to dress and put on the cg. Plus the stitches were starting to come loose, making the area tender. I also had some of the belly button stitches removed and I think it looks pretty good. The nurse was very pleased with how the incision was healing. I still feel like my tummy i kind of round but the nurse assured me there was still a lot of swelling that will go away. I have to say, I was so impressed with her knowledge and bedside manner. My follow up with the doctor is set for Thursday so I will update then.
Mentally, I had a somewhat rough weekend. I had a case of the blues, my stomach ached, and I was feeling like a prisoner on my home. But in the few hours since I have been home since the drain removal I have already started feeling cheerier. I was allowed to drive to the appointment and I can shower on Wednesday, all good things.
And guess what else? Even though I've been thinking about this for some time, on a whim I stated a laser hair removal package to get rid of some pesky chin hairs. I was leaving and asked for a quote. It was very reasonable and the technician was available, so I did it right then and there!
2 week post op visit went well
I had my 2 week follow up the other day. Everything looks good. The incision is healing nicely and is about 50-50 scabs and areas where the scabs have fallen off. I had the stitches removed from my belly button, so there are just some scabs around it. In another week I can start scar treatment.
I asked the doctor how much he took off in surgery and he said 5-7 pounds, but added that it was mostly skin. I got the impression he removed more skin than he anticipated before surgery. I have another week in the compression garment and then I can switch to Spanx. I go back in six weeks.
I am feeling much more positive emotionally. I am still swollen but the swelling is noticeably less than a few days ago. I let my daughter see me in my underwear. She's 18, a dancer on her college team, and has literally a perfect figure. When she saw me she got a huge smile and told me I could wear a bikini, so that was super encouraging.
One last thing, I don't think I mentioned that I also had a lipoma removed from my right side. It's been growing for several years and is about the size of a golf ball. I figured since I was going under anyway I might as well get rid of it. So the results were it was benign, and that scar is healing well, too.
Three weeks and all is well.
Posting from my phone because my laptop is in the shop. After a bit of an emotional low last week I am doing much better now. I think getting some bad news combined with the opioid withdrawal plus slightly increased pain led me to a bad place. But I'm past it.
This week I see a noticeable difference in the swelling. I feeling I am looking flatter from the side. Realistically I know that at 50 lbs overweight I am still not skinny but the big round belly is virtually gone.
Almost all of the scabs have fallen off, so tomorrow I will swing by the office and get scar treatment. I forget what it's called but you apply it like nail polish twice a day.
Also starting today I can wear spanx instead of the compression garment. I hated that thing!
4 weeks and progressing.
It's been 4 weeks and I feel like this past week I've had slow but steady progress. The swelling is just a bit less but not by much. I think my incision is looking very good. The Scarguard is a minor hassle but worth it.
I'm wearing the spanks every day and at night. It makes me feel stronger and more secure and less sore.
Not too much else to report which I guess is a good sign. It's been smooth sailing and not as hard as I thought it would be.
Bonus Photo Collage
This is a collage of weeks 2, 3 and 4 from the front and side.
Week 5, a little late
I'm a couple days late with my 5 week update, but you know how it goes. My pictures are from Wednesday, which was 5 weeks, but I just haven't gotten around to writing.
This week was a bit of a downer for reasons unrelated to the surgery, and I've let it affect my feelings about my recovery. For example, I still feel like my belly is round over my belly button and I have no idea whether it's swelling or just fat. I've been looking forward to getting back to the gym, but being stuck inside t to extreme heat I feel my enthusiasm starting to wane. I've been extremely fatigued and I don't know whether it's because of the surgery, depression, or the heat.
On the other hand, I know I look tons better than before. I actually have a waist! And it's so amazing that the hanging skin is gone! I've noticed how much easier it is to bend over, sit on the floor, and even just cross my legs. I never realized how much the belly got in the way!
The incision continues to heal well. I think the last of the scabs are gone. The worst areas are the right hip, where there might be a sight dog ear but it's too soon to tell. The ripply effect I had at first is gone. The other area that is less than perfect is the exact front middle where I had a couple of tiny separations early on. Since those scabs just came off that part is a bit behind. We'll see how it looks in a couple weeks.
I'm still in the spanx and they feel looser than before. I definitely still feel more comfortable with them. Occasionally I will try not wearing them to bed, but I always get up and put them back on.
So that's about it. Thanks for the support; this is such a nice group.
The 6 Week Milestone
Because my ps said I could start exercising at 6 weeks, I have been looking forward to this as a key milestone in my recovery. In reality, it's not like I woke up that morning all healed up. I continue to make small progress most days. I'm not posting pictures today because I don't think I look any different than last week. I think I might try doing monthly pictures.
Anyway, my plan is to go to the gym this afternoon and do a very brief workout. I don't want to overdo it. Maybe 15 minutes on the treadmill at a slower pace than normal and a little upper body with low weight. The thought of crunched scares me a little. Is there a place I can find a recommended post op exercise plan?
The scars are healing. The very front where I just lost my scabs last week, is already improving. My belly button always looks kind of red and irritated to me. It has looked very vertical since the surgery but I think it will become more round once the swelling goes down. I'll discuss this with my ps next week. I still get soreness on my sides and tire easily if I do too much.
All is well and I thank everyone for their support and kind words. I hope you are all doing great!
Went to the gym!
I went to the gym today. Now let me start by saying, I hate the gym, even just walking on the treadmill. So today I decided to get on the treadmill and just see how it went. I am excited to say, it was better than I could have imagined. My plan was to go slow and increase the speed as tolerated, but it felt so easy that I got up to my usual fastest walking speed in just two minutes, and stayed there until I hit the 20 minute mark. Then I switched to the bike (I have some foot issues that I don't want to aggravate) for another 20 minutes. Despite not having worked out for 6 weeks, this was the easiest workout I've had since I've had kids. Is this was it's like for regular people?
The only explanation for this is that my stomach muscles are actually working. For the first time ever I feel optimistic about getting fit!
6 Week Post Op Visit
I had my 6 week follow up yesterday. All is well, and the doctor is pleased with my recovery. And why not? I had zero complications and great results. I am very happy with my waistline and the scar. He said to keep using the ScarGuard, and that when the redness goes away, which could take up to a year, it will look great. He suggested massaging my belly button, which is a little bumpy where the stitches were (by feel--you can't see anything).
I went in with three questions. First, I asked about exercise and he said I could do what I wanted, no limit. So after I post this I am off to the gym. I plan to do the treadmill and a few crunches, not too many.
Second, I showed him the roundness above the belly button and asked how much was swelling versus fat. He said there was a little swelling but mostly it was the fat from higher up. Like I said, time to go to the gym!
And finally, I asked about muscle repair. Several people asked about that and I wasn't sure, so I thought it would be good to know. I was not all surprised that he did indeed do a muscle repair, as I can just tell my abs are much stronger than before. It's hard to describe, but I can feel that they are more engaged just doing everyday activities.
I will try to get a picture tomorrow!