Full tummy tuck with muscle repair & lipo on Nov 19, 2012

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I am 34 yrs old with 8 & 10 yr old daughters,...

I am 34 yrs old with 8 & 10 yr old daughters, both born via C section. I had been lifting weights, doing aerobics, and running up to five miles per day following the birth of my second daughter, and despite achieving a slender figure, I continued to be unhappy with the saggy skin and pouch above my C Section scar. Dr Kortesis felt that I was a great candidate for a full tummy tuck, and after 17 days, I already am happy with my results. I have developed a seroma but it is either almost or fully resolved with aggressive treatment by Dr Kortesis and his staff. My stomach is completely flat, my scar is low, and my pain is improving day by day. I could not have asked for a better plastic surgeon or a more attentive staff.

Well, three and a half weeks post op, I feel...

Well, three and a half weeks post op, I feel almost 100% like myself again -- with a flatter tummy of course! My seroma is resolved, and next week I will be starting scar therapy cream and massage treatments at the Hunstad-Kortesis MedSpa. The massage is supposed to improve the appearance of the scar and help get rid of the toxins and swelling in my mod section. I was cleared to switch to Spanx instead of my CG whenever I am ready. That makes me nervous...it is like a part of me now, lol! I have not started back to the gym yet. I feel almost ready, but I am so far behind at work that I just have had to work early and late instead of trying to squeeze in a workout that might leave me hurting and less able to work! Maybe next week.

Well, I am slowly improving! Still kinda sore, but...

Well, I am slowly improving! Still kinda sore, but part of that is probably from going back to work at eight days post op and doing too much for my family. It is hard not to, with five kids between 8 and 17. I even picked up my friend's toddler the other day. Bad idea. I was so stiff the next day. That muscle repair really takes a while to recuperate from! Also, managed to get a yeast infection from the Augmentin I was taking for an infected incision. I really like to collect as many post op complications as humanly possible!

But honestly, I have not regretted doing this for an instant. My belly had bothered me for years. We also went forward with this to officially end our baby making years, and that feels good! My husband thought I would torment him about more babies till menopause, and I am just 34, so he was happy for me to do this despite the cost, the pain, and the downtime. We are headed to the Florida Keys for Xmas tomorrow! Hope I can go without my CG for a few hours to feel the sunshine!

Also, I would like to add...even with my complications and what I consider being "wimpy" and whiny about the pain, my PS's office has been amazing. I am now into the spa treatments to help with scar healing and swelling reduction, which are "free" or I guess you should say included with the cost of the TT. I love that they have you pay for the surgery and all follow up treatments and appointments upfront so then you can just relax and be treated like a princess! I think their fees are higher than most from what I have read, but I have not regretted the money I spent for one moment. They have done everything in my best interest and treated me better than any doctor's office I have encountered. I would give three thumbs up of I had them!

Well, I have made it to six weeks! I honestly...

Well, I have made it to six weeks! I honestly thought I would be back to 100% by now, but I am still tired and somewhat achy. It seems like it is"always something" whether that means my navel is sore, my incision is sore, or my upper abs are sore where the muscle repair and lipo were done. My surgeon self described himself as"really aggressive" to give me the best possible shape, and I almost wonder if I am pulled too tight! I am still taking a fair amount of Advil and Tylenol. I feel wimpy compared to a lot of the women on this site!

But that being said, I have been back to the gym for a week now, so that may contribute to the achiness. I am walking 15 minute miles, usually 30-60 minutes per day. I get really tired after that. I think I am slowly improving. At this point, I feel like I am getting back to my normal self at home, though it still is barely possible for me to have energy for a long work day combined with any housework at all. My husband was so excited yesterday when I was motivated enough to do some laundry and clean a bathroom. He has been very patient with me during my recovery but I know he will be thrilled when I feel 100% and have the energy I used to. We have a blended family of five kids, so he has really had to step up with the laundry and meal prep, even more than usual.

I am kind of happy that I went into this without really comprehending how long the recovery period is. I was used to being "on the go" all the time, and I think I willfully ignored my surgeon when he told me how rough this surgery and recovery is. Regardless, I love my flat tummy and the recovery will be a short blip compared to feeling good about myself for the rest of my 30's, 40's, and beyond!

So I just went for my second endermology appt with...

So I just went for my second endermology appt with Dr Kortesis 's practice. Not sure if I even spelled that right, but it feels so nice...kind of like a massage but with an ultrasound wand. I really felt like the staff was concerned with my comfort and convenience. Got some scar cream so I can start that too. Also, learned that if your scar stays too prominent, there is a complimentary laser treatment they can do if needed. I am still achy, but it makes a huge difference in attitude when the staff is supportive and rooting for you during your recovery!

Attemping to upload an "after" photo...

Attemping to upload an "after" photo...

I am a bit disappointed that no one has returned...

I am a bit disappointed that no one has returned my call today. I know that it is unusual for patients to still have issues at eight weeks post op but here I am. So sorry to still be causing problems.

I don't know what has come over me, ladies...lack...

I don't know what has come over me, ladies...lack of exercise or normalcy or whatnot...maybe I am getting depressed (which I have never been prone to, except after my first child was born...a little postpartum action going on there, but that was more than ten years ago...)

The bottom line is...tummy tucks HURT. It's not just waiting for the drain to be removes, or waiting to be able to stand up straight...certainly at eight weeks out, I feel light years better than I did at Thanksgiving, but I am still tender, still wince when my husband reaches out to touch/hug me (mainly because he is super enthusiastic and forgets that I am still tender), and basically haven't felt like myself for a long, long time. Did I mention the recovery is long? Really long?Did I mention that pretty much everyone you know loses sympathy after about a week? Did I mention that your stomach looks flat, but doesn't feel flat because you are both swollen and mostly numb from your (new) bellybutton to your hips? And lastly, did I mention that if you have kids and pets, they definitely don't care that you had surgery...they will continue to have potty accidents, flu bugs, and all sorts of mess incidents that you get to clean up, because you are ALWAYS home in the first few months after a tummy tuck because you don't feel like going anywhere else. Yesterday I had a breakdown of sorts after being woken at 3 am by a puking child, going downstairs to wash her laundry and stepping in a pile of dog throw up, and later that day discovering two other piles of dog waste on the expensive but stupid carpet that my ex husband bought years ago...I used my super bionic newly sewn abs to attempt to roll the carpet up and drag it out to the trash, but of course could not do so, because my abs only LOOK super bionic...they are actually quite sore and spasmy yet. Anyway...I guess I have made my point that it's not so much something my PS practice did (except not return my call), but just my general frustration at the slow recovery and my inability to apparently get anything done lately. End of vent.

One last update for today, ladies. My hubby worked...

One last update for today, ladies. My hubby worked from home and pampered me today and I feel much better. Also, sitting around means less swelling, so I took some pics before dinner. Holy lipo, Batman! I haven't uploaded them yet since ahem, I am supposed to be dressing for a nice dinner, but I will tomorrow. Suffice to say, my flanks have been stripped...sucked totally dry...couldn't totally tell until today. Maybe this is why my recovery has been rough. I had no idea I could ever look like this after say, age fifteen. It even makes my boobs look better and they are au naturale (props to those of you brave enough to do the full Mommy Makeover...any more pain and I would have gone over the edge!). But anyway. My mood is much better and getting excited about really working out and seeing even better results down the road!

Eight weeks pic added

Eight weeks pic added

So I successfully got my pic posted...I tried to...

So I successfully got my pic posted...I tried to take a side view as well but I am not so professional with the cell phone photography, so one looked weird and one showed way too much of me! You'll have to give me your tips if you have any...I don't get professional "after" pics done until February 14th; my surgeon's practice waits until your swelling goes down completely. I guess it is a good sign that he thinks that will be the right day! *fingers crossed*

I wanted to add my thoughts on physical versus emotional recovery, since this is a rough week for me, mentally/emotionally. I really think that at first, I was hurting so much that I was focused on the physical pain, and don't forget that our minds of course are dulled and altered by narcotics, anesthesia, etc. Then say from week 3-6, the pain wasn't as bad, so I started being all concerned about swelling and getting back to work and working out, and wasn't really worried about my figure or functioning at top speed. But let's face it, girls...if you are accustomed to working full time, being a super mom, working out five or more days a week, AND coming home to do laundry and whip up a homemade batch of brownies BEFORE making dinner...six weeks of down time is enough. ENOUGH. Plus you're probably all messed up in your head and bowels from weeks of medication and lack of exercise (or less exercise, even if you are a super woman and have managed to do light workouts at 3-5 weeks like many of us want to).

So by eight weeks, I think I want my body back (no swelling or limitations) and to be 100% pain free and actually be able to work and take care of my house without worrying about random weird feelings in my torso. But for most of us, that's not in the cards at this point. Or that's what I'm telling myself.

Also, I think I'm correct in assuming that most of us have undergone major weight loss in our adult lives, whether that is before/after pregnancy, or just a major lifestyle change (I think for most of us, a little of both). You know how they say that you can lose the weight, but you still feel like a fat girl on the inside? *points at self* That is particularly true after a tummy tuck, because you can't even feel your stomach! I swear, my stomach feels like it still has rolls and saggy skin. The nurse at my PS office said something about phantom pain, but it's not phantom pain...it's phantom belly! I literally still feel like it's there. Which is one reason I forced myself to do an impromptu photo shoot last night. To prove that it's not.

Thanks for reading! :)

I thought joining my husband at the gym would be...

I thought joining my husband at the gym would be helpful for general soreness and my mental state. He ran on treadmill at 7mph while I walked next to him at 2.5 mph, bumping it up to a whopping 3.5 mph by the end of 40 minutes. I ended up going about two miles. He made it to four miles and got off to do weights. I didn't feel ready for all that so I got on the recumbent bike and read a magazine...it should have been a "phoning it in" workout for me. My lower abs and back were killing me by mid afternoon! My husband thinks the bike was the kicker that did me in, since I have been walking all along. I guess logically he has to be right...but how sad is that? We were supposed to go out with friends last night and I couldn't do it with any amount of Aleve/Tylenol/heat therapy. What's a girl to do? Is it better to just not work out for the time being? It's almost comical...my doctor promised at my consult that I would hate him the day after surgery but eventually would love him when I had my new body...I feel the opposite...the day after surgery I hated my drains but not my doc...I really pretty much loved everybody for the few minutes I could keep my eyes open. As the weeks go on, I think I am getting more into the hating everybody and everything territory. Mostly the people at the gym who are running and lifting weights like it's no big deal! I can't even imagine how people must feel when going through rehab after being hit by a car or something...I chose to do this and this is really bad enough right now!

I just called and talked to my surgeon's staff...

I just called and talked to my surgeon's staff about not getting a call back last week. They were extremely apologetic. We had some crazy weather here at the end of last week, and they are too professional to "blame" or make excuses like that, so I am just going to assume that North Carolinians freak out about snow and leave it at that! Anyway...after overdoing exertion last week between work and sick kids and a few stupid things like trying to drag a carpet out of the house and daring to hop on a recumbent bike for eight minutes, I have been having these weird spasms almost like Braxton Hicks contractions. Evidently it's"normal" as long as it's getting better and I have a lymphatic massage schedules for tomorrow. Hoping that will help! Can't hurt at this point!

I am feeling better (physically and emotionally)...

I am feeling better (physically and emotionally) than I did last week. I went for another endermology session yesterday and the masseuse said she could tell I was still swollen, especially below the belly button...they may even do a few more sessions if I am still swollen at 12 weeks. Anyway, I snapped a pic this morning-9 weeks postop- and look at my waistline...am I obsessing too much? One side of my waist is very indented and the other is not much at all! I had lipo near and above my waistline, and in addition to normal swelling, I had a seroma around 2-3 weeks post op on the side that looks really great and indented now (ironic much?). Any thoughts? Go to work and stop worrying about it? :)

Well, this is pretty funny...you know my freak out...

Well, this is pretty funny...you know my freak out about asymmetrical lipo or swelling yesterday? I believe that I can say it is all or mostly swelling, because this morning I am shaped opposite! I think I slept most of the night on the opposite side from the night before. Or something along those lines...or maybe I am just going crazy and don't know my left from right. Haven't posted a pic as I am trying to get out the door...I really logged on to post a workout update.

1- working out, even walking slowly, reallllllly helps my mental state...I recommend a soon around the block if you are down and can be at all mobile.

2- I have found that even nine weeks out, walking much faster than 2.6-3.2 mph is too much...makes me exhausted and sore. This feels crazy slow since I am (was recently anyway) a distance runner. But it is still nice to be active.

3- Thanks to Lourdes, I have discovered a way to tone my bottom a bit until I can get back to running! Step up and down, just like old fashioned step aerobics. Unweighted or very light weights...like 3 # to start. I started with five minutes yesterday and did ten this morning. So far I don't feel like death. Don't go-fast like you would in a class. Slowish music on the iPod helps with this...hiphop with a beat on the slow side worked for me...also "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy." If you can't tell, my taste in workout music is really driven by beats per minute rather than musical preference!

4- Please don't get on a recumbent bike if you have had a tummy tuck in the last few months. I tried it at 8 weeks post op and crippled myself for 48 hrs. We literally had to cancel our date night on Saturday because I was laying in a hot bath crying. It seems easy, but it isn't. On the other hand, if your family is unsympathetic and you want to give a convincing performance of how much working out post tummy tuck can hurt, try it for ten minutes. (No really don't, it is not worth it!) I hope my foolhardy determination to keep hitting the gym despite my husband's protests will help someone!

Tomorrow makes ten weeks since my tummy tuck! Just...

Tomorrow makes ten weeks since my tummy tuck! Just in the last few days, I have been waking up one hundred percent pain free, spasm free. Not necessarily swell free! I still get achy later in the day, especially when I am active, which I am happy to say is almost every day lately! I have been traveling a lot for work and trying to make it to the gym often, even though a true workout for me is two miles walking on a treadmill. Baby steps. The swelling is driving me crazy. But I am trying to look at it as a good thing, because for a long time I was too achy to care if I was swollen!

Oh! I should add...had my first real "worth it"...

Oh! I should add...had my first real "worth it" moment on Saturday night...had some friends over and we all decided get in the hot tub...I wore a bikini and didn't have to hide in a tankini or under the bubbles or anything! Still a little swollen but that is way better than the hanging skin I had before!

So, overall it's been a good week for me. I'm 10...

So, overall it's been a good week for me. I'm 10 weeks post tummy tuck, and for the first time since surgery, I worked like crazy and travelled like crazy for work...Monday through Thursday, I put in at least four hours in the car, and on Thursday it was more than SEVEN hours in the car. Sitting still in the car makes you swell like crazy. I wore Spanx plus an abdominal binder (yes, this far out from surgery) to try and control the stiffness and swelling, and it had the miraculous effect of pushing the swelling up into my BREASTS. Yes, my manageable C cups became D cups overnight. Well, over four nights anyway. It is ridiculous, like when you are lactating and your milk first comes in and you look like a stripper for awhile. That's me. *waves hand* I mention that only because (a) it hurts to swell like that in your breasts (b) I recently had a good friend pass away from breast cancer, so I am uber paranoid and have done a self breast exam at least once a day and (c) I thought I should mention it because I finally got up the energy and motivation to try on some bikinis and post pics! And I just wanted you all to know that I have not had a breast augmentation/lift etc although I may consider it after seeing hubby's reaction to my D cups this week and also let you all know that evidently this sort of swelling is normal for some people.

All that being said...I'm sorry about the fuzzy bikini pics. It's hard to take pics on your cell phone by yourself. For me, anyway.

We are going to Puerto Rico on vacation at the end of February and I am happy to report that most of my bathing suits conceal my scar! However, they seem small. I'm hoping it's the abdominal swelling that is making me spill over the bottoms a little bit. I will not stress...I will look at this as an opportunity to perhaps purchase a new bathing suit for the trip. :)

Yesterday, at almost eleven weeks post op, I was...

Yesterday, at almost eleven weeks post op, I was able to run a little bit! I walked for ten minutes to warm up, then did a couple intervals of three to four minute jogs. I probably only ran for ten minutes all together, but it felt super! I could really feel every muscle in my torso, but not in a painful way...just a sort of tense feeling. I was really cautious not to overdo it. Twenty four hours later, I still feel ok! My husband was on the next treadmill watching over me, and he made me take some Aleve and drink a bunch of herbal tea when I got home. After a few months of tears, he is more than ready to help me so whatever it takes to get back up to speed, so I have had to get comfortable with letting him take care of me!

Well, yesterday I intended to take flat pics...

Well, yesterday I intended to take flat pics before a workout and not-so-flat pics post workout and long workday, but I got busy and dropped the ball. This morning, after boasting that I had not suffered "one moment of insomnia" to the January Tummy Tuckers, I found myself awake at 3 am. Curses! One day, I will learn to think before I speak (type). The upside of that is that I have 3.5 extra waking hours to work, exercise, or waste time on the Internet and take cell phone pictures of my flat belly without being interrupted by children or pets. :)

It is so disorienting to wake up with a nice flat stomach and look more swollen, bloated, or pregnant as the day wears on! But I am feeling good so far this week, and the swelling is not nearly as bad as it was from 8-10 weeks, so I can't complain too much.

On a totally different topic...stop reading here if you are squeamish about bodily functions...I seem to be a pooping machine lately. If you dare to share your experience, feel free to post a comment...otherwise hear me out! I was on Lortab around the clock for the first week, then until four or five weeks post op, I would take at least 1 per day. I would think any narcotic related constipation would have worked itself out in the six weeks since I stopped taking any of that. Right? My medical background (or any quick Google search) will tell you that it's "normal" to have anything from 3 bowel movements per day to 3 bowel movements per week. I have at least 3 per day lately. Usually 3 by mid morning. I think it's fine and not a health concern, but I just wonder WHY! I don't feel that I'm eating enough to have that level of, well, you know. I eat fairly healthfully with lots of fiber, water, tea, etc, but my eating habits have not changed significantly in years. It's just strange. I wonder if my body is still working out the kinks after all the anesthesia and narcotics that were involved in this tummy tuck procedure and recovery. Anyone have thoughts on whether it could be related to the lipo?

Well, that's enough of that topic! I am off soon to do a very careful workout. I am trying to be as active as I can, but ramp up the workouts SLOWLY as I have had enough days of being sore and confined to the sofa. Today marks the fourth consecutive day that I have woke up feeling pretty good, not too swollen, and ready to work out and face the day. I still get tired by the evening, though. And I have to say, after a couple very "down" and moody weeks between weeks eight and ten, I have been consuming way more caffeine than I usually do (my usual prior to tummy tuck and for the first eight weeks post tummy tuck was close to zero...I would drink coffee only if my husband made a pot for himself). Nine weeks post op, I felt like a really needed a kick in the pants to get my act together, and I started being really consistent about making coffee or caffeine containing hot tea in the morning and taking my iron supplement. It has helped although I wonder if it has anything to do with me being awake at 3 am today. It's always something! But I am definitely headed in a better direction than a few weeks ago...seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel.

Ok, one more post workout update since several of...

ok, one more post workout update since several of you seem interested in swelling after exercise! I snapped a few pictures immediately after today's workout, which was 25-30 minutes of self guided low impact step aerobics. I think I actually look a little flatter? But again this is IMMEDIATELY after I got home from the gym, with no water consumption at the gym since I forgot my water bottle, and I wore my binder until the moment that I snapped these pics (you can probably see the numerous wrinkles on my skin from a tight abdominal binder and spandex capri pants). I expect that I will swell up in a few hours at work, and if I think about it I will post pics of that too (so you can look forward to my puffy afternoon belly as much as I do...).

seriously, thanks for the interest, girls! I think the camaraderie helps us all stay positive and focused on the end result! :)

I snapped some pictures around 9 pm after working...

I snapped some pictures around 9 pm after working out in the morning and then working all afternoon on my feet. I think the swelling is in my lower abs mainly now. And it doesn't look as bad as I expected! Maybe it's coming to an end, finally?

Well, I have made it to twelve weeks post op, and...

Well, I have made it to twelve weeks post op, and I have to say that my doctor was right when he said the swelling and spasms would settle down by 10-12 weeks post op. I still have some swelling, especially later in the day, but it is much improved. From about 6 to 10 weeks, I was having very frequent spasms, especially upper abs, and they were painful...now they are mostly uncomfortably tight. I swear that I have had more "contractions" in these twelve weeks than I did in two full term pregnancies.

So overall, life is good. My family and I have spent a fair amount of time in the hot tub since I was cleared to do that sort of thing at six weeks.

I am really thankful and thrilled to be wearing a bikini confidently for e first time since I was about thirteen years old!

That being said...I am kind of struggling still in some ways. I travel a lot for work, sometimes up to seven hours driving per day...that is pretty uncomfortable. I try to get out and walk around and stretch every hour or two, to prevent stiffness, but it only helps so much when I have to get right back in the car. I think it would all be fine if I could just come home and rest, take a hot bath, etc, but that isn't realistic for a mother of elementary school aged kids. Also, I just don't feel like my normal self yet. My appetite is weird, my sleep is off (I think because my workouts aren't as intense), and this whole experience has put a damper on my sex life. My husband loves the way I look and isn't put off by the scar or anything, but I am just so tired by the nighttime! I have always been a little anemic, and having a major surgery probably didn't help that, but I am trying to take my iron supplement and eat really well. I guess we all just have to take this one day at a time!

So, I am 12.5 weeks post op and feeling pretty...

So, I am 12.5 weeks post op and feeling pretty good! My abs still get tired by the end of a long day. I had the funniest dream last night! I dreamed that I went to my followup appt (3 month checkup) and my PS was falling all over himself, apologizing because he didn't think he had done a good job on me. He said his baby had been up all night and he did a surgery right before mine, and he was just too tired to do a good job. And my scar was uneven, went halfway around to my back, etc. I kept telling him "no it doesn't, it looks fine" and he kept shaking his head and saying it wasn't right and he had to do a revision. I woke up thinking "what on earth??" because I am really happy with my results other than some residual swelling! I feel like my right side isn't quite as indented as my left side of my waist but I think it may be the muscles not the fat/lipo...anyway....it was kind of funny...I think it reflects my anxiety that he is going to want to fix something and I don't want any more sharp objects near my torso this year, thank you!

This journey is such a roller coaster! I had a...

This journey is such a roller coaster! I had a really great w
run (with walking intervals) yesterday...I am running stronger than I did prior to surgery, of course I had some downtime in the last few years due to a stress fracture among other things...I feel strong now though, and am wondering if it has to do with the extended rest during recovery, the Core muscle repair, and maybe the step aerobics that I have been doing for a few weeks! Maybe I should keep that up even after I am back to running full time. Anyway...I feel so swollen today in my belly and thighs! I know all of up "flat side" girls get tired of the swelling, and it seems silly to mention it much since there isn't that much you can do about it...BUT...I just wanted to whine for a minute...it just simply isn't fair that the more I work out, the puffier I feel! It is supposed to be the other way around! I should be on top of the world, being able to workout and function pretty well again, but some aspects of this are just no fun and there is no way to speed it up! On the positive side, I did wear jeans last night for the first time since before surgery! The skin on my abs is still pretty tight, but they were reasonably comfortable to wear out for the evening. I even ran around the house playing Godzilla with my friend's toddler. Gosh, I wonder what part of yesterday made me swell? Hmmm.

I had my three month checkup yesterday. It was the...

I had my three month checkup yesterday. It was the first time I went to the PS office that I wasn't scared (consults, preop) or kind of achy and grumpy! I am sure they thought I was crazy because I was so chatty about how I never thought I would make it to this point and feel good again! The doctor looked at my waistline where I think it looks assymetrical, and apparently it is not that evident, because I had to strip totally and show him exactly what I was looking at. At first he thought it was the opposite side! So I guess it really is a matter of perspective. Anyway, once he figured out what he was looking at, he determined that one side appears fuller because my spine is slightly curves (mild scoliosis) and this pushes up any fat that is there. He said that if it still upsets me in three months they can do additional lipo or Coolsculpting to create the illusion of symmetry...basically my waist would appear symmetrical but obviously my spine will continue to be curved...so it would all be smoke and mirrors. I have to think about that. They also hassled me about my weight (146 at five foot eight), saying that my goal weight is 135. I was a bit taken aback and didn't ask how they arrived at that number. Trying not to let it get to me...but of course it did, and as of this morning, I was down to 145 after freaking out about it all day. Not sure if they did me a favor or just made me more OCD than I already was about my stomach! More on that later.

Well, I didn't start this review until maybe three...

Well, I didn't start this review until maybe three weeks post op, and after reading a question on the forum yesterday, I thought maybe I should write out his how rough the first week is after this surgery! (Someone posted asking if she could return to work the day after! I almost spit out my swell reducing herbal tea...)

So honestly, I truly had no idea how painful it would be. Unlike many of you smart women, I didn't plan and obsess and makes supply lists for months beforehand. I went for one consult and put down a deposit before I chickened out. I filled the prescriptions I was given and then set those and the post op instructions aside for a month, bringing them out the night before surgery, at which point I realized that I didn't have any comfy button up shirts and baggy sweats like they recommended for post op...hadn't rented a recliner or prepares in any way other than avoiding aspirin! I just figured my surgeon and my husband would take care of me (and they did). I am just laidback like that. Anyway...I was nervous the morning of surgery but I for some crazy reason expected to be alert and rational post op like I was after my c sections...I packed makeup, magazines, etc, like I was going for a weekend away in the mountains or something. I remember the nurse rubbing my arm after I laid on the operating table and the anesthetist telling me would feel sleepy. The next thing I remember is waking up feeling like my abs were on fire. I spent the first night at the clinic with a private nurse who gave me tons of painkillers and IV fluids and was basically awesome. I could not stay awake. I sipped some ginger ale but ate nothing at all. Wasn't hungry, didn't care about anything except trying to keep my eyes open. But I couldn't. I went home the next morning and my husband took over the nursing care. I barely stayed awake for the first three or four days. I would wake up when the pain meds wore off and basically sat in an armchair and attempted to watch movies for days in a narcotic haze. The first day I felt somewhat alert and human was Saturday when my drain came out (surgery had been Monday). It's like I lost almost a week. I vaguely remember hanging out with my husband and being quite irritated only when I had to pee and the silly drain leaked everywhere. Miraculously, the next Tuesday (8 dpo) I started working a few hours per day from home, but even that was a struggle, just to sit up straight at the computer. I really recommend taking more than two weeks off if at all possible...I was a wreck trying to do everyday things until three or four weeks out. Also, I developed a seroma at the two week mark, probably due to pushing myself too much.

Anyway, just wanted to write that down before I forget how awful it was! Hubby and I are headed on an adults only trip to Puerto Rico tomorrow! Can't wait!

Well, we are back from Puerto Rico and it was...

Well, we are back from Puerto Rico and it was fabulous wearing a bikini and not worrying about my belly! I will upload pics as soon as I can. I am feeling good, not sore much any more at all, and mostly flat now with minimal swelling. Swimming all day on Friday did make my abs tight and spasm-y, but that was ten hours of swimming, sailing, and hiking...the most active day I have had since pre op by far! It felt ok at the time but the next say, I woke up at 4 am unable to sleep because my abs were tight and spasming. Recovery really is long! But I am so happy that I did this! I can't stress how nice it was to have my hubby admire me and touch my belly now that I don't feel compelled to flinch and hide it and move his hand away from my saggy rolls!

Well, I never thought I would say this, but I am...

Well, I never thought I would say this, but I am kind of sad that the acute recovery phase of the TT is over! I think it is analogous to the letdown you feel after pregnancy or planning a big, stressful wedding...a lot of it kind of sucked, but once it is over, you aren't quite sure what to do with yourself! For a couple months, it seemed like I was at the PS office for something anywhere between one and three times a week (I had a seroma that had to be aspirated, and they do endermologie treatments weekly for a while after the three or four week mark). I suddenly have free time on my hands when I am not forever driving this office or frantically trying to catch up at work on the days where I feel good...because I feel good all the time now! Which makes work seem kind of boring! (Ha. Some people are never satisfied...)

So...I suspect this is why some people get addicted to plastic surgery! It's nice to have something to get excited about and look forward to, and I really feel like I got a lot of attention from my PS practice. I really can't imagine having other surgeries done, but I can see why people get a tummy tuck and then go back and start thinking about a breast augmentation or other procedures. I am starting a new boot camp class tomorrow morning, so I guess that is enough excitement for now!

So, I took a boot camp class this morning and had...

So, I took a boot camp class this morning and had to do all kinds of crunches, scissor kicks, plyometrix jumps, mountain climbers, tire flips, etc. And I did not die! My abs are already sore (also the rest of my body) but I truly felt 100% strong and ready to work out on a way that I have not since preop. Woohoo!

It's funny how you spend less time updating...

It's funny how you spend less time updating reviews and thinking about your tummy tuck once you start to feel like yourself again! I think it's been almost 3 weeks since I posted anything. I am back to full energy and full activities at long last...travelling all over for work, doing tons of stuff for my kids and going full steam till late at night. Being able to exercise fully again makes your energy and mood so much better, I think. I ran my first full 5k since surgery this week (and am currently procrastinating today's run...I want to do it outside but it's COLD!). My husband had our Puerto Rico pics printed out, and I can definitely say that I now know where those extra pounds went...my thighs! Three months of sub-par workouts will do that to you, I guess. I did start back to speed walking at 5 weeks post op, but I used to do crazy workouts every single day...running up to 5-6 miles per day, elliptical, weights, aerobics, etc. I'm sure the calorie burn from my walks was about 1/3 what I am used to burning...and sue me, but I *love* food. I have two kids and three stepkids, and we eat a real family meal every night...I look forward to cooking dinner with my husband and eating as a group. Exercise really helps me maintain my weight. Anyway, enough about that. I am back to running, and I'm sure my thighs will be back to normal in no time. *I hope* Other than that, no real updates! I feel totally normal. My belly does contract during tough workouts, but not painfully. I am sore after tough workouts, but I'm sore EVERYWHERE...it's not because of the tummy tuck, it's because you will be sore when you workout hard, especially when you are getting back into it. My next PS appt isn't until May 14, and I am leaning toward NOT having him do a revision. (Due to having a curved spine, when he lipo'd both sides of my waist "equally," it doesn't appear to be "equal" because one hip bone is higher than the other.) At my three month check up, the surgeon offered to lipo the bulkier side or do Coolsculpting to give the appearance of greater symmetry, but now that I am able to run and work out without any pain at all...I am thinking I can live with the way it is! Already after a few good workouts and better control over my diet, I feel like my waist looks a little more even. Or maybe I'm just trying to think positive because I don't want to be sore from lipo all over again! He did say that CoolSculpting might do the trick, but the reviews on here are so mixed on CoolSculpting...plus it seems weird to try to correct asymmetry by doing a different procedure on one side than what you did on the other! Just doesn't seem like it would work!

So, I am a little past five months post op now. I...

So, I am a little past five months post op now. I am back to full activities and have been for awhile now. I celebrated 5 months 5 days post op by doing a five mile run. (I didn't actually plan it that way, but as I was jogging slowly down the trail, I realized that it was five months and five days from surgery. You have a lot of time to think on a five mile trail!) I am not going to lie...it is not easy to get back to five and six miles runs after the long TT recovery! I have had to coach myself to run slowly, conserve my energy for the distance, and so what I think is called "negative splits" I.e. Run slowly at first and finish stronger/faster than the first half of the run. It sounds odd but it feels GREAT to finish a five mile run sprinting. It is worth the discipline to start slow. I am also trying to look at my longer runs as "transportation" - like, if you had to run to get to a destination (or to get away from something, lol) you would NOT be a quitter and stop before your destination. Rather than stop running, you would just pace yourself, slow down, breathe mindfully, even stop to walk and catch your breath until you could resume running. I don't run everyday, but on my off days I have been doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred or the elliptical. It feels so good to make a post about working out instead of pain! My next checkup is May 14 which will be almost six months. They wanted me to be at 135 lbs, but spoiler alert...I don't think I am going to make it. My body is pretty happy in the low 140's. I really like the results of the tummy tuck and I think that will continue to improve now that I can work out like I used to.

I just added some new pics because I didn't feel...

I just added some new pics because I didn't feel like my "look" had changed much since about 12 weeks, but I got home this afternoon from work and realized my belly kinda looks concave at my waistline! (I don't know if that is really the right way to put it, but anyway...thought it was a good time to update!)

I have been doing ab/Core work since about 15 weeks, so maybe it is making a difference.

Almost 6 months post op: full tummy tuck with muscle repair and lipo to abs

So, I measured my waist this morning and it was 28 inches! That might not sound small to some of you, but as far as I recall, even when I was severely underweight in high school, it wasn't any smaller than 26 or 27 inches. Scarlett O'Hara, I am not. (Does anybody really have a tiny waist any more now that we don't wear corsets to restrict growth?) Anyway, I guess "the number" shouldn't matter, but I really hadn't seen any reduction in my waistline since the muscle repair, and my doctor insisted that I should lose several inches between the MR and lipo he did, assuming the swelling is gone and I don't gain weight back. Seems very interesting to me that it TRULY takes six months or longer to attain your final results, and even then, it's very dependent on keeping up with diet and exercise.

six month post op checkup was this morning!

All good news! I have lost about six pounds, so back to my preop weight more or less. Since they removed 4.5 lbs of skin/fat, I could stand to lose 5 more lbs for "optimal" results, but my surgeon was thrilled with my scar and that my activity normal is back to 100% of preop and I am feeling good. I don't have to go back for six more months! And the few pounds that I have lost seem to have more or less evened out what I thought was asymmetrical lipo at my waistline...apparently it was just a little leftover swelling or weight I had to get rid of. I will post my professional postop pics as soon as they come in the mail!

Eight months post tummy tuck- new pictures added

Well, it has been just over eight months since my tummy tuck now, and I have to say that I am thrilled with my results! I was a little down this morning- super busy month, not enough time to work out or even think straight most days- these message boards are a seriously guilty pleasure sometimes when I am stressed out! I undressed to take a shower and I thought, even not feeling great or eating particularly well this week so far...my stomach looks really good! LOL. It's the little things, I guess. Pre tummy tuck, I could run five miles a day and still be unhappy with the saggy skin on my stomach. This was worth the pain and recovery...kind of like being pregnant...at the time it seems really hard, but it is worth it in the end.

In the Florida Keys this week

I am, let's see, nine months post op, I think? Our summer vacation was to the Keys this year. It is probably the last year my oldest stepson will want to come on our big family vacation...he is starting twelfth grade next week, and our other children are starting tenth, seventh, sixth, and third. I can't help but wonder if anyone looks at me hanging out with all these kids and can figure out that I have had a tummy tuck! Or maybe they think I am the nanny, lol. I am loving wearing a bikini 24/7. This is really one of the best things I have done for myself. Even my husband is amazed by how it has changed my attitude and confidence, commenting that I never would have walked around in so little clothing without a towel or cover up on! He is thrilled.

11-12 months post op

So, my surgery was 11 months and 1 week ago! I have my one year checkup coming up. Feeling very proud of myself; I started working out with a trainer in October and she is kicking my butt, but I am feeling so good! I am getting even better definition in my abs and waistline. I measured my waist yesterday and it was down nearly an inch. She works Core a ton and I have really struggled with how much she pushes me, but I am getting my money's worth for sure. I will post pics when I get a chance.

Exactly 1 year post op from tummy tuck with muscle repair and lipo

Well girls, when they say it takes a full year to see your final results, I have to say that I didn't believe it at first! How could it possibly take a year to recover from surgery? I mean, after my C sections, I was back to pre pregnancy weight in a few months and working out like a fiend! But I think the swelling and muscle repair after a tummy tuck make all the difference from a C section. I can honestly say that my exercise routine suffered for the first six months, at least, because I was still sore/stiff/spasmy or just plain scared to work out and test the strength of my new abs.

Twelve months later, I am not swelling at all (finally), not sore or spasmy at all (finally). I will still say that my skin in my abs feels tight in certain yoga positions but not in a bad way. I have been working out with a personal trainer for 2 months or so and I can tell you that my Core strength is still not fantastic, even compared to people who "appear" to be less fit than I am. I don't know if that is because of my tummy tuck or just because they have been working out with the trainer longer. But anyway....I am thrilled with my results and I feel like I can see more definition than I have ever seen in my abs, even pre children (I can probably thank the lipo for that!). I will post some pics from this morning, exactly 12 months to the day post op. I don't know if you will be able to tell a huge difference from my 4-5 month photos, but I can tell a difference in person, and unlike back then, I look the same in the morning as at night!
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon

5 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
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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