Ok, so I totally planned on starting my review...
Ok, so I totally planned on starting my review before my procedure as reading them really helped me get ready. I'm now 4 days post-op so let me catch you up.
I had my upper and lower abdomen, hips and waist done on Dec 20th at Sono Bello. Initially, the plan was to do abs on one visit and hips/waist on a second visit a week later. Luckily, with the max amount of solution allowed the doc was able to do all 4 in one visit. I was thrilled! One thing I wanted more of in reading on this site before my procedure was detail on how it went so I'm going to go into that first. Please remember this can vary by doctor and how you handle pain/discomfort.
I started my Arnica pellets the night before sugery, had a total of 3 doses in me since my appointment was at 3pm. Arriving at the clinic with a full belly of food (had just left a Christmas lunch!) I was immediately taken back after signing some forms. I wore comfy clothes to the clinic and had my driver with me.
Once in the back, took the pregnancy test, went over the procedure with the nurse and started taking pills. 1mg of Xanax and one Percocet plus anti-nausea meds I had filled and brought with me. I got into my surgery stuff (bra, panties, compression stockings and AWESOME socks they gave me). The doc came in, marked me up and took pictures. I was then left to relax. They started and IV, just in case they needed to use it.
I took a little nap waiting to go in. I used the restroom several times because if you have to go once in there you have to use a bedpan! I did not want to do this and have colitis so I also took some Immodium before I went in (doc said this was ok).
Once in the room, the nurse cleaned me with some wipes and had me lay down on a heated bed covered with "puppy pad" things. I was very relaxed and excited at this point.
The doc began the part that everyone says sucks and yes it does. When he is inserting the needles with the tumescent fluid it feels WEIRD and hurts when he gets near bone (like my ribs). It feels like something is crawling under your skin. I would not say it's very painful but uncomfortable. If it hurts say so! He ended up having the nurse give me another pain pill and Xanax, even though I told him I was ok. He was always making sure I was as comfortable as possible.
This process took a while, maybe 45 minutes since he got all 4 areas. They give you a little break to get numbed up. Then the lipo began! This part was not bad at all. You feel a little pressure from the cannula and sometimes it actually tickled. A little gross hearing the fat sometimes but I was THRILLED to hear/see it being sucked out. The nurse and doc chatted with me the whole time, all of us joking and laughing a lot. He said my fat came out very easily and was loose so he was able to get 100% out. After it was all done, the nurse cleaned me up and got the garment on. I was dreading that thing, but it was actually very comfortable.
I was a dancer growing up and it felt like a very supportive leotard. Mine had a built in bra and went down to my knees with open crotch (thank God). Within a few minutes they had me dressed and wheeled out with my care package (instructions, extra pads, etc). They had given me some IV fluids because they had taken the max out so I was feeling alright when I left.
Mom drove me home and the minute I walked in the door I was leaking on the floor! I rushed to the bathroom and it looked like a crime scene. I knew it wasn't blood so I didn't freak out, but it was rushing out of me. We took off the garment because it was soaked. I stood in the tub for a few minutes, lightly pushing some of the fluid out. I then put fresh pads on and a clean garment so I was good.
I ate dinner and then decided to lay down for a bit. My mom woke me up a few hours later for my pain pill. When I woke up I had VERY sharp pain in my belly. So much worse then I thought it would be. I got up, ate some bread and took 2 pain pills. I stayed standing and walked a bit. Within 20 minutes I was 100% better! They drill it into your head and it's true, moving and standing makes the pain and swelling so much better. I was able to sleep for a few hours at a time, only waking up to take pain pill, pee (you will have to a lot from the fluid and drinking water) and change pads.
By morning I was already feeling better. The drainage had slowed significantly. My mom helped me get my garment off and I sat there for a minute before getting in the shower as I knew I could get dizzy (but I wasn't). Shower was fine except the water hitting my incisions hurt like crazy (like lemon juice on paper cuts). I faced away from the water and did a light wash with antibacterial soap. Try to dry off completely before putting the garment on, it will help a lot. We struggled with the hooks and zippers and keeping the pads in place. It's frustrating but by day 4 I totally have the hang of it. You will ALWAYS feel much better, less pain once it's back on. You do notice that you swell without it and any movement of loose skin hurts a bit.
I was back home that afternoon ( I live alone with a cat) and feeling pretty good. I took a pain pill, ate lunch and tried to stay moving. This is really really important. Sitting or laying down makes you very sore. But once you're up and moving you feel so much better!
I had to keep my binder on for 3 days. I ending up ditching it after the 3rd night because I couldn't sleep. I wasn't able to roll on my side because of the pain and stiffness of the garment and my back was hurting from sleeping in one position. I was only able to sleep 2 hours at a time the first two nights. I would get up, pee, take some Ibuprofen, have a snack and walk around for a bit. Every day I went for a 10 minute walk. I always felt great afterwards. The walk was slow and a bit painful but it really helps. Do not stay sedentary!
I'm 4 days out now and really pleased with how I'm doing. My incisions are healing nicely, not closed but barely oozing and not really any pain in the shower. I do recommend putting ointment like Neosporin on them before you reapply the pads, they tend to stick and it hurts when you take them off. Don't use band-aids, it can make your skin stretch and pull. I've noticed some bruising in my pubic area which I know is normal. My upper abdomen and hips are swollen but I'm already so pleased with the results. I'm down 4 inches in my hips. No change in my waist so far because of swelling, but I'm patient because I know it will get better. I'm able to sleep on my side now and I actually think this helps with the swelling. It forces more fluid to come out and I don't looks so lumpy and uneven anymore. I've also been doing light, fingertip massage which feels nice, to help with the hard lumps, fluid and swelling. Keeping a positive attitude and looking forward to improving every day has really helped. A healthy mood will help you heal!
I know this was a novel but I'm hoping this will help anyone out there who might need it. I will post pictures soon, I don't have any but the ones the doc took but I'll try to take some tomorrow to show how I look on day 5.
17 Days Post Op - doing great!
K, so I know I've been neglecting to update but I'm around to it now :) Let me back up to where I left off: Around day 6 I started getting really swollen. My abs felt like concrete. It wasn't painful, just uncomfortable. I couldn't button my pants or get my shoes on! When I went in for my 1 week post op my nurse said it's normal because your swelling peaks days 7-10. She said I was healing great and encouraged me to keep massaging and walking.
We ordered my 2nd stage garment which I got a couple days ago. I really don't like it, it cuts at my legs and boobs. I'm going to try it after I get smaller. For now I'm staying in my stage 1. She said I only need to wear it 12 hrs a day for 2 months but the more you wear it the better. I've slept 2 nights without it, I wouldn't recommend it. Being uneven, lumpy and swollen without it does not make for a good night's sleep. Sometimes I take it off just to scratch my skin and take a break from it but I always feel better with it on.
I haven't had to take anything for the pain since day 7. I occasionally take some ibuprofen to help with the swelling. Sometimes I wake up and I'm totally flat, other days (like today) I'm really swollen. Try not to be discouraged, it will fluctuate based on your activity level, salt intake, water intake and just how your body is healing. I'm flatter on my waist but they are still really hard. My abdomen is swollen out but softer. Every day is different.
All around I'm feeling good! Pants are still a problem, since my stomach is so hard from the swelling it's hard to button things. I try to wear stretchy stuff or just zip but not button.
Incisions have been closed since last week, you'll be able to see them in my pictures I'm going to put up. Keep in mind when looking at today's pics, I'm more swollen then I have been in over a week. This could be because I finished up my Arnica on Saturday. I'll put more up when I'm having a good tummy day :)
Don't forget to massage! I cannot stress this enough. My nurse said not only does it "tell" the blood to come in and take the lymphatic fluid away it also helps the nerve endings that have been damaged to learn what touch feels like. If you don't stimulate those nerve endings, even the lightest touch could feel like pain. So massage every day, as hard as you can without doing too much, you don't want to re-injure the area!
Day 25 Post-Op - still the best decision ever
So a lovely little lady actually reads my review and stuff and asked for an update. So in the past week (3 weeks post op roughly) I noticed some of the "rubber band snapping" feelings as the nerve endings were healing but all-in-all no pain. The swelling is gradually going down, and as it is I'm actually looking uneven (bear with me here).
As you can see in my Day 17 post op pics I just looked bloated. Well now that a lot of the general swelling is going down it's more obvious the specific areas that are lumpy with fluid. I had a bulge about the size of a small baseball in my lower ab area for a few days that was crazy looking! I was a little bummed but kept telling myself to be patient.
I blamed the fact that I took too much advantage of the "you only HAVE to wear your garment 12 hours a day" after my 1 week post op visit. So I've been alternating my stage 1 and stage 2 garments every other day (stage 2 is still pretty tight) and not wearing it at all when I sleep.
Yesterday was pretty swollen at work, had the stage 2 on and was really uncomfortable. When I got home, I changed into my stage 1 and slept in it and today was SO much better. I'm really pleased with how I'm doing. Down about an inch in my waist and 3 inches in my hips.
I will also say I've been slacking on my water intake and I'm making an effort to keep that up along with walking. I also checked out some self lymphatic massage videos on YouTube and have been doing that every few nights or so. I think it does help! Will post pics when I haven't just eaten dinner :P
Also, I was finally able to shave my legs the other day (gross I know) but since my surgery it hurt to much to bend over in the shower. I was so darn happy, it's the little things ya know!