Was so worth it!

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*Treatment results may vary

I'm 42 with two children and had been joking...

I'm 42 with two children and had been joking about getting a TT for years. Somehow all the stars aligned, and I ended up with a surgery date for a FTT w/ MR and flank lipo. I'm 5'4" and 125 lbs. and couldn't really blame my pregnancies too much for the need for the TT. I always carried fat on my belly, and I was tired of looking relatively fit and trim elsewhere and still carrying a flabby gut. I told my PS to make me as thin as possible, and she seems to have done her best!

To back up for the whole process, my pre-op appt. lasted a long time (over 2 hours) and was very, very thorough. I paid my money, got fitted for a binder and left with a load of prescriptions. They had given me a prescription for Percocet, but I asked for Vicodin instead b/c I was worried about nausea and have a pretty high pain tolerance. Ended up doing great on just Vicodin and stopped pain meds after day 3 PO.

Oct. 12th was my surgery day, and my husband dropped me off and I met w/ a nurse and my anesthesiologist. My PS came in and marked me up very quickly. She does her TT in under 2 hours and I asked why she was so fast, and she said she always knows the game plan. I was glad that she is so sure about what she is doing and never has to pause to think about the next move. I vaguely remember my bed being wheeled from pre-op but have no recollection of the OR. I was awake about 1 hr. after the surgery feeling groggy but otherwise great. My husband took me home and I got into my gravity chair with foam pad added (a perfect substitute for a hospital bed!) and slept.

Oct. 13th, 1 day PO. I was taking Vicodin, some kind of anti-nausea drug, Valium for muscle relaxation and arnica. I was super sleepy from the drugs and surgery and just enjoyed sleeping a lot. I needed help out of my chair but had no problem getting to and using the bathroom myself. I had my upper eyelids done at the same time, so I had to sit w/ ice on my eyes for most of the first 3 days. It was not hard or painful to walk around, though, and I had no need for a walker and my back didn't hurt too much.

On day 4 PO, I stopped taking all my drugs. I think that was the day I went in the shower w/ my trash bag dress on and washed my hair and gave myself a blow-out. On Day 6 I went a little crazy and went too all my kids activities, out to lunch, and grocery shopping. I drove for some of the outings and have no qualms about driving today (day 8) to get my hair done. I had one drain removed on day 6 and am scheduled to get the other out tomorrow. They really haven't put out that much even though I'm super swollen. I'm a little worried about a seroma, but my drain has put out less than 20 cc for 2 days, so technically I should be fine. I really didn't want to have it for the weekend. They told me that the drain holes take a few days to seal up, so you can't take a shower until a few days after your final drain is removed.

As for my results, I'm bigger than I was going in, but I'm hopeful for the final results months down the road. My belly button is an innie, but it's much thinner and longer than before. I know it's too early to judge, but my guess is that it will be a tell-tale TT bb to those in the know. My scar is not super low b/c I didn't have that much skin, but it's sealing up well and I don't think revisions will be necessary. I can tell already that I will have a thinner hourglass, and it is nice to see no extra skin. Most of my stretchmarks were removed as well! My doc is a genius, and excised the fat above the belly button (where they tell you it is too dangerous to do lipo), and she got my flanks and upper hips with lipo. All in all, 2 lbs. of skin and fat were removed. It doesn't sound like that much, but all from one area should make an impact. A week and a day out I'm the same weight as pre-surgery, but I hope that will go down a few lbs. once the swelling subsides. I was not very hungry post surgery but forced myself to eat a lot of protein and fiber. Unfortunately, my appetite has come back strong, and I have to remind myself to keep eating clean! Thanks to the fiber and benefiber in my drinks, BMs were not an issue at all. Phew!

The pain was almost non-existent. I could easily get myself out of chairs and bed by a few days out, and I can move pretty quickly. I didn't have much MR, so that accounts for a lot of my lack of discomfort. I also think that if you are fit, this is much easier to deal with. I'm no triathlete, but strong legs and arms can make up for a lot when you can't use your abs. Eat your protein to help your healing and enjoy thinking about what's to come with your results!

Sorry, no pics. I hate taking pics of myself but will try to get with the program. My current results would not impress b/c of the swelling, but hopefully future will be much better.

From you experienced TT'ers, I would love your advice in massage for the belly and incision. I want to do all I can to get the best results and minimize the appearance of the scar. The nurses have given me mixed info on when I can use kelo-cote and do massage. I have an lymphatic massage scheduled for next week.

Bought a size 0 skirt at the Gap today. Even w/...

Bought a size 0 skirt at the Gap today. Even w/ the swelling, it is AMAZING how much smaller I look. This is awesome. Finishing my antibiotics today too!

13 days PO Still doing well, and taking off my...

13 days PO

Still doing well, and taking off my binder more often to take a look. My stomach looks like a crime scene, and that scar definitely looks like someone tried to cut me in half. The stretchmarks above my old belly b are not prominently featured, and I'm thinking a bikini might still be out of the question.

I went back to the PS's office today to get some reassurance that the oddities of my new tummy would eventually go away or at least diminish. I have an indentation, a pleat and a red bump. The bump is probably a stitch coming out, but we weren't able to coax it further. I did get another spitting stitch pulled out and my belly button stitch removed. The nurse told me to massage the odd areas and that stuff like that happens when you are bringing the sides in and need to sew it up. She said to massage as much as possible. She also cleared me to start using Kelo-cote, so I'll try that tonight. I also have a big hard bruised area right under my sternum. I hate sticking out there b/c that used to be my smallest part. The nurse thought maybe I had a blood leak there during surgery. The bruise is getting yellow, so there's definitely no fresh blood. She suggested a warm compress.

I'm still super tired at the end of the day and sleeping really well at night. I need to start using an alarm to get up in the morning, which I never had to do before. My friends tell me that no one would guess that I had surgery, but I'm definitely walking a little funny still. The novelty of looking a bit thinner is wearing off and I'm ready for a dramatic decrease in swelling! Does anyone know how long we'll have to avoid salty foods? I'm trying so hard to be on an anti-swell diet, but it's hard.

Oh, here's something good. I had my drain holes go through my pubic hair area b/c I thought I'd get little red scars from them, but it appears that they just immediately scabbed and healed up. One area looks a little indented, but I'm sure it will pop up eventually. My belly button is still scabbed, and the nurse said don't pick at it but let it come off naturally with the help of a shower.

Need to make dinner now for the kids, clean the kitchen, etc. I'm on my own again without help. Will take a hot shower, massage the belly and get to bed early tonight.

16 days PO I wanted to update you on my...

16 days PO

I wanted to update you on my lymphatic massage. I had it exactly 2 weeks and 1 day post surgery, and she really kneaded my tummy w/ a lot of pressure. She also focused on the lymphatic areas, the collarbones, hips and top of my shoulder bones. She said she could feel some congestion there. We did not massage the incision yet, but it was tugged quite a bit with the rest of the massage. She also felt all the knots in my lower back from hunching, and she worked that area. All in all it was very enjoyable and I'm sure great for breaking up the scar tissue. So, this a.m. I wake up and I do think it was my least swollen morning yet. I'm going to get 2 massages a week for the next 4 weeks and hope for the best.

In other news, I was always reading these reviews looking for inspiration, so I'll share some little stories. I bought some Spanx at Costco yesterday, and the lady behind me in line told me I didn't need them at all (if only she knew). I've been told how small I am by strangers 2 times in the last week, and that didn't really happen before. Meanwhile, I showed some friends my tummy and they said that they never noticed before that I had a bigger tummy. I guess I hid it well. I tried on a bunch of my dresses this a.m. and they don't look perfect b/c I'm still pretty swollen, but I can imagine how good they will look when my waist finally settles down. Already looks better than before, though.

I know I need to be patient, and I'm going to try to dual-process two paths....1) try to bring down the swelling w/ massage, eating right, and a little bit of moving around while 2) ignoring the whole thing and just letting time heal me. Hard to do #2 while working on #1, but I'll try.

My incision itches and stings some, and my BB is still scabbed. Can't wait for those to fall off. Was 2.5 lbs. below surgery weight yesterday a.m., and I give myself credit for mostly healthy eating to shed some weight post surgery. It gets harder every day to eat well (esp. with Halloween upon us and 4 parties this weekend!!), but I want to maximize this one chance to be as flat as possible.

3 weeks PO Yesterday I went to the PS to try to...

3 weeks PO

Yesterday I went to the PS to try to aspirate a big bump I've had since surgery. It started out as a bruise and then just grew with a hard part in the center, like a tangerine buried under my skin. The PS figured it was blood that had leaked after surgery and that the blood was probably a gelatinous blob by now. Would take lots of massage and time to break it down. She said she's aspirate, but was not hopeful of finding liquid. Well, guess what, there was liquid after 3 weeks! She aspirated almost 20 cc, and today the bump does not seem to be refilling. There's hard scar tissue on the borders, but I am SO glad to have that lump gone. It protruded from under my ribs and looked freakish.

I had my 2nd lymphatic massage yesterday. Very enjoyable. Was up 2 lbs. from my last weigh-in this morning and hardly ate yesterday, but I will attribute that to my period. I wish I knew what my true weight was w/o the swelling, and I'm still quite swollen at 3 weeks.

I found two little pea-sized bumps under my skin near my belly button. They feel like little swollen lymph glands, but I don't think we have lymph glands there! Has anyone else felt little hard spots? I'm not sure what they could be, but possibly muscle knots?? I hate finding things that worry me.

My only other worry is just the pressure to massage. I'm doing it maybe twice a day, and I'm not sure that's enough. I keep hearing that you can never do too much, and that's a lot of pressure! It's like saying if you have a lumpy belly after or hard spots from scar tissue, it's all your fault. I do have a divot from the lipo and have been told to attack it w/ massage aggressively. Not budging at all yet. Meanwhile, my friend did no massage, but 3 years post TT, she does have a scar tissue ridge under her incision.

Was able to take my kids trick-or-treating (in a hilly neighborhood no less!), and it felt great to walk fast. I felt like a stuffed sausage in my binder that night b/c I was so swollen, but it was worth it. Still wearing the compression garment as much as possible. My doc says 6 weeks and that most patients wear it after that. I've switched to a giant collection of spanx, flexees, and other brands instead of the one I got from the PS.

My final big scab fell off my BB yesterday, and now I've got an Oleeva patch on it and my incision. Trying to go at the scars aggressively too. I read one review of a scar treatment where the woman started using it almost immediately (maybe before she was completely sealed!!), and she swears that her scars are invisible now and the doctor is amazed. I figure 2.5 weeks is pretty soon to start using scar treatment, so I'm catching it as early as possible.

My son, who said I looked pregnant a few weeks before surgery, said I looked, "much skinnier!" last night. It was definitely worth it.

3 weeks, 3 days PO Not sure if anyone is...

3 weeks, 3 days PO

Not sure if anyone is reading this, but I'll keep posting just in case!

Starting to get really impatient/over this swelling, soreness, scar tissue and exhaustion. Had to take my daughter to a party and then a playdate today, and I'm wiped. Didn't help that I stayed up late with friends. I tried some wine, but it hit me so hard that I just indulged in salty snacks. Not the best plan, but I just want to be back to normal!

My numbness is wearing off and I feel lots of soreness, esp. in the areas with a lot of scar tissue. I can feel the lumps under my skin and have been trying to massage a lot, but it doesn't seem to be helping yet. The swelling is a lot less than right after surgery, but I still think it's pretty bad. My thighs look bigger b/c of the smaller waist and lack of exercise. I'm going out for a burger and fries tonight, as I'm just tired of being so good and not seeing any difference. I'll get back on the wagon tomorrow, but today I'm just feeling a little tired of the recovery. It has NOT flown by. I've felt pretty darn good, but not anywhere near normal. I want to exercise, dance, lift my kids, etc. All in good time, I suppose. I wish you could get an idea of what you would look like w/o swelling to motivate you.

Think I'll go do a good massage now, drink some water and look forward to my burger!!

4 weeks tomorrow Seems like things haven't...

4 weeks tomorrow

Seems like things haven't changed much in the last 2 weeks. Still quite swollen and the pockets of scar tissue are not relaxing, but I will try to be more patient. So tired of hearing "massage, massage, massage" but I suppose it must work. I've added heat compresses as well to clear my old hematoma spot and increase blood flow. Also using a dry brush to activate the lymphatic system. Doing all that I can, but still feel chubby. My skin wasn't so elastic, so when I sit or squish it, it's all wrinkly. Guess a tummy tuck can't make you into a 20 year old! Since I feel so bloated, part of me wants to eat away b/c I look chubby anyway. The other part feels like I need to starve myself. I wasn't too hungry for dinner, so I skipped it tonight. Reward will be a flatter stomach in the very early morning, but it will swell up in no time. I really need a fast forward button to put me out at a year PO!

Saw my PS today and was cleared for walking and lifting weights w/ my arms. She said at this point I should just listen to my body. As always, I was told to massage, massage, massage. My incision seems redder than others', but I guess that's just the way I heal. On the good side, it's pretty smooth and fully sealed. I think I'll have dog ears on both sides b/c I told her to make it short, so probably some revisions in my future. The worst thing about that is that it will make fresh scars. My friend had her dog ears revised and that area remains quite pink years after. Sigh.

So not to be Debbie Downer, things definitely look better than pre-surgery, and I've never eaten this little before. I'm motivated to try to maximize my results. I can use my abs somewhat these days. I don't try to, but if I accidentally engage them, it's not painful or weird feeling. I'm lifting heavy bags of groceries and doing almost everything I did before surgery save exercising. Tomorrow I'll get on the treadmill and do some arm weights. Excited for that. I bought a tight fitting sweater today and am pretty much looking for a new wardrobe of fitted tops. In my old tops that hid things, you can hardly tell a difference. I bet most people I know could not tell a difference if I wasn't wearing fitted clothing.

We are going to see some old friends and my sister this weekend. My sister said she's ready to scrutinize my changes. She had her TT years ago. I hope she thinks it looks good. I hope the friends notice too.

4 weeks I finally posted some pics. Sorry they...

4 weeks

I finally posted some pics. Sorry they are such poor shots, but it gives you an idea of where I've come. You can see in the after shot that I have some little dog ears. I really hope they will resolve, but if not, my doc will fix them in the office for free. The belly button is completely different than my old one (which was a sinkhole after kids), and I hope all the redness leaves sooner rather than later.

I'd love to get any comments from other TT'ers. They seem really happy with the incision at the doc's office, so I hope I'm healing well there. Note the divot on the left from the lipo and faint bruising up top from the hematoma. Nothing is without a hitch! The red bumps are from my garment, and I think they come about after my lymphatic massages b/c of the oil she uses. Can't wait to NOT have to do massage or wear spanx. Weight in the after pic is about 123. Hope that goes down with the swelling.

5 weeks, 1 day. Had another burger and fries...

5 weeks, 1 day.

Had another burger and fries meal last night (I'm SOOO hungry now after losing some weight post TT), and boy did that make me feel uncomfortable. I'm guzzling water today to flush out the sodium.

On the good side, I really think I feel better at 5 weeks than I did at 4. The tightness, numbness, etc. is almost all gone. I do still have the divot and mini dog ears, but my massage therapist said the improvement will be very gradual, and I realize that 5 weeks is definitely a long ways before the 3-6 months where they say your final results come in.

I really listened to Portland's exercise experience and tried only once to do some walking. Did 20 mins at 4 mph and two sets of arm weights a few days ago. When I went to take my shower after, I could see that there was already swelling. Nothing extreme (I mean, not like eating a burger and fries!), but it was there. I did wear compression garments for exercising too, but the swelling still comes. I'm about to try again, maybe doing 30 mins today. It's easy to motivate for exercise that is not going to push your heart rate much or make you breathe hard. Will be more of a challenge when I need to push it again after 6 weeks.

I can lift my children again and will be pulling out the heavy Christmas decor totes soon enough. I can stretch more, and just all in all, I feel great. So hard to believe it's been just 5 weeks since surgery. Had I known it would be this easy & with such great results, I would have done this long ago. Will try to get some more pics soon, preferably not after eating a big restaurant, sodium-laden meal.

7 weeks!! I hit the 7 week mark, and started being...

7 weeks!! I hit the 7 week mark, and started being a little more active. I went on a playstructure w/ my kids and went down the slide, and I also went on a fast hilly walk. Since then I've noticed a small bulge over my belly button. It's still there 4 days after the activity, and I'm sort of freaked that I screwed up my muscle repair. It's not a huge bulge and I can't feel any separation when I lie down flat on my back, but it seems strange to have such localized swelling. Hope someone can tell me that this has happened to them when they got more active. The bulge has scared me away from exercising. That and the super swelling activity gives me. I will try again next week.

I've done two nights now w/o compression garments. I don't seem to wake up more swollen than with them, so it's a nice way to start weaning myself. I am quite swollen in general which, like others have noted, is a bummer b/c you expect things to get gradually better, not so up and down like this.

The abscess seems to be fine although the tape used for the gauze has given me really dry skin on the incision. I've been massaging the incision and my whole belly a lot and still don't see much difference, but I hope it's helping. It's so funny how the little divot and this new bulge are getting me so obsessed, when my tummy was absolutely not for show to anyone before the TT. I have to keep reminding myself that no matter what, this is a huge improvement.

On a happy note, I did get some more form fitting clothing that looks pretty good. I really liked this belt and they only had it in XS. Well, whatta ya know, that was my size!! That was a real thrill, as my measurements were always out of whack when it came to the waist (i.e., size 6 in chest and hips and size 8 in waist).

Here's to hoping the bulge goes away. My scar is also so deep red. When does that start fading?????

9.5 weeks not too much to report on, although I...

9.5 weeks

not too much to report on, although I thought it might be encouraging to let others know that the improvement from 6-9 weeks has been rather dramatic. I'm still swollen, and I've been eating a ton, so the tummy doesn't look better, but it FEELS so much better. Much less numbness, able to use my abs so much more, less soreness, and just feeling much closer to normal. I can barely believe I had surgery 9.5 weeks ago. It's a distant memory.

Aside from a little rash on my incision line, my scar is looking pretty good. I need to get rid of the compression induced rash that I have all over my torso, AND lose the 4 lbs. I've gained through overeating, and then I'll post a new picture. :-) I am still wearing a compression tank every day but trying to skip it at night. I'm too scared to go during the day without, as I am definitely still swelling, and my doc indicated that if that's the case, compression will still help. Trying to massage at least once a day and treat with kelo-cote as much, but I've not been perfect about it. I figure time is going to make the most difference.

Went clothes shopping again today (just too many sales not to buy!), and was happy to fit in some pretty small sizes. doesn't look as good as it did, but after the holidays I intend to eat better and get serious about exercise. Just walking now and taking it easy. I hate the exercise-induced swell, so nothing hard for now.

So glad not to have that gut anymore!!
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