I've always been fit, healthy and lean. I've had...
I've always been fit, healthy and lean. I've had to work hard to stay in shape, and make the right food choices to keep myself lean, but for the past couple of years I've noticed a slow weight gain, particularly around my stomach that I just couldn't seem to shift? Maybe this coincided with me stopping my high intensity workouts due to injury? Maybe it is the dreaded 'middle-aged spread'? Or maybe I am not quite as strict as I was with my diet? Whatever the cause (or causes), it started to chip away at my self-confidence, to the point I found myself more than a little interested in vaser.
A few months ago, having done a lot of research on the procedure, I booked a consultation. I wanted the 'expert's opinion' on what could and could not be achieved with my body type. I chose the most highly-regarded Vaser expert in the UK, and I based this on word-of-mouth within the industry and from doing my own research too. I told him of my areas of concern (stomach and thickening of the waist) and said I was open to his opinion on what also may need doing, as I appreciated that sometimes, you need to have other areas treated in order to get the best outcome. After all, if you're going to do this, you may as well do it properly first time around.
The consultation was very informative and after an assessment of my body shape, my lifestyle, my skin quality ( you have to be aware that the condition of your skin also has an affect on the results) and my own expectations and hopes, the doctor talked me through what he would suggest I have done, and what other areas may be an option if I wanted to add anything on. He explained that in order to shape the waist, you need to target the back, so I would need the flanks, the entire midsection, the upper back and the bra roll treating in order to get a great result. He suggested mid to high def to get me a more athletic look, without being too 'masculine'. I didn't want an etched six-pack as I have never had one despite being very fit, I just wanted the lean, defined look.
He said my quads and hamstrings were fine, but he could take a little bit off the outer thighs, and also the inner thighs and knees. I've always had fat knees so it would be great to say goodbye to them! I also had the option to add the arms too. The arms aren't as important to me, but I have been aware that the upper arms are getting a little softer and wider and perhaps more definition would make them look more shapely and leaner? He then explained the importance of the aftercare MLD massages, the compression garment, the 4D vest I would have to wear day in, day out for 4 weeks, and how patient I would need to be before I saw my end results in 3-6 months (or even longer). I've had cosmetic surgery before (A BA) but vaser seemed way more dependent on what I do after the procedure than a BA is. I went away with a lot to think about, and then came straight online to read through plenty more reviews now I had my 'battle plan'.
Within a few days I confirmed that I wanted to go ahead, and my date was sent for 5th July, I was banking on the typical British summertime being rainy and cold so that the compression garment is not so unbearably hot. In hindsight, maybe I should have planned this for Autumn so I could better cover up my surgery, as I planned on keeping it a secret from everyone. If I'm honest, one of my main worries about the whole thing is how I am going to hide the 4d vest and the compression garment for a minimum of 4 weeks whilst wearing flimsy summer clothing, but I guess we will soon find out eh?
Two Days Out
For the past two months I've had occasional issues sleeping due to this upcoming procedure. Again, it's not so much the actual surgery itself I'm worrying about, although I won't lie, 5 hours under general is freaking me out a little. It's the aftercare, the covering up of the garment and trying to keep it hidden from people that's been making me stress out. People can be so judgemental about this kind of thing, and because I've always been fit and in shape I would have people telling me I didn't need it and 'wasn't fat' to begin with. But then Vaser isn't a solution for those wanting to lose a lot of fat. It's about sculpting and enhancing and shaping the body and targeting those areas resistant to diet and exercise... but the thought of having this conversation over and over again made me decide to keep it private.
Two days out from the surgery I found my sleeping improved (thank goodness!). However the nerves come in waves. They hit when I was packing my suitcase, when I was preparing a batch of food for the freezer so I can eat healthily during recovery, and when I'm reading a review on here where some things didn't quite go as planned!!! However the reviews on this site have been a godsend and I am so grateful to everyone who's documented their journey. This is why I'm posting myself. Maybe my review will help others?
The day before!!!
It's the day before, I've done my last gym workout for quite some time and I'm heading down to London as I have to be at the Highgate Hospital for 5.45am tomorrow morning. I've treated myself to a luxurious hotel as I figured I could have my 'last meal' (I have to stop eating by 8pm) at the restaurant and then try and relax in my room. Maybe I will be less nervous if the hotel is nicer? ;-)
The nerves are still here, but I'm keeping myself distracted. This past week or two I've been a bit more flexible with my diet and have been having a few treats. After all, when I am recovering I won't want to eat that much (I never do after surgery) and what I do eat will need to be super-healthy and nutritious. Plus the compression garment and 4d vest will be quite snug so even if I wanted to eat a lot, I doubt I could? So now's the time to indulge a little. Funnily enough I'm not enjoying it as much as I thought I would? I guess deep down I'm a healthy girl?
Only a few people know I'm having this done...my mum and sister (& I always feel guilty that I am worrying my Mum by having this done), a friend who lives abroad and a friend who's had lipo herself. My friends are super-excited for me which is reassuring.
As for the procedure itself, I have to be up early tomorrow and at the hospital for 5.45am. My procedure starts at 8am and is around 5 hours. I trust my surgeon implicitly. That's one less thing to worry about right? He's a perfectionist and a vaser specialist so I know he will give me the best possible body. Then I am staying in for two nights. I could get away with staying for just one night, however I am away from home and figured it's easier to stay at the hospital as I will have drains in until Friday anyway. Then I will stay overnight at a hotel before heading home at the weekend.
Im a UK size 8 and around 9st 5lbs at 5'5" tall. I stay fit in the gym and eat healthily but I have those trouble spots that just won't shift.
I arrived too early at the hospital so had to wait for the receptionist to get to work before I could be admitted!! I have a private room with en suite and will be in for two nights. The nurse came to take a urine sample and fill out some paperwork, then Dr Hamlet arrived to do all the prep. That's more paperwork, talking through the areas was having done, taking lots of photos and marking me up. There was a hell of a lot of markings and in different colour pen which all means something different. I then met the anaesthetist and he went through what would happen and I spoke to him about my concerns about vomiting afterwards as I always do, no matter how much anti sickness they give me.
I then walked down to the theatre where I went in a separate room to have the cannula in my hand and they told me what would happen next. Dr Hamlet came in to say hi. I checked the clock and it was 8.30am. I didn't even notice falling asleep. I vaguely remember being back in the prep room (the one I was in to get my anaesthetic) having my face rubbed as apparently I had to wear an eye mask when face down? Can't tell you any more as I don't remember. Next thing I know I am feeling annoyed as someone is saying my name and I am trying to sleep. I feel myself moving on a trolley and people telling me to wake up but I barely could. Eventually I did and I was in my room all done. It was 4.30pm! Apparently I had taken a long time to come round?
I was already in my compression garment and the 4d vest so couldn't see anything. I had 3 drains (2 front, one back) and a catheter. I was so grateful for the catheter as no way could I have got up to use the bathroom! Once I was properly awake I felt relatively ok. The only pain came from the drains if I moved. I had a nice cup of tea and a biscuit to help my blood sugar levels and then I was checked on every few hours. Dr Hamlet showed me my photos on the operating table. It's amazing what he has done!!! Makes all of this worthwhile knowing what is underneath this garment! Trying to text people was hard as my eyes didn't focus and my typing was all mixed up!!! I also discovered my face was quite puffy and swollen.
I had some food around 8pm but didn't eat much. Then went to sleep.
The day after surgery
I found it difficult sleeping last night because I had mechanical compression on my calves (which was like having someone snore in the room), the nurses took my BP every few hours and checked the drains, and then I had back pain due to the drain l, so they gave me tramadol. After that I slept fine.
So far I haven't felt intense pain all over. It's just the drains stinging like mad when I move, and the one on the right front side hurts the most for some reason. Today the catheter was removed which is great..but that means I have to get up to pee!!! The first attempt to get me up failed as I managed to sit up with my feet on the floor but my nausea and dizziness overwhelmed me so I stopped and they gave me more anti sickness meds. I hate this nausea thing I suffer from. I swear it's the worst part so far! Nobody gets as sickly as I do.
The second time they helped me get up I managed to walk up and down the corridor but again still felt sick despite the meds. Plus I felt like I was stretching my midsection by standing upright? I suppose it's bound to feel weird after this?
The third time was easier and that was when I had to pee properly too. They measure your first pee! But again I felt nauseous so they gave me different meds to counteract it thank goodness. Had a bit of a freshen up too! Dry shampoo is your friend ladies!!!
Appetite is still low partly due to the meds and also the construction of the vest and garment but I am trying to make sure what I eat is healthy. I have my vitamins, Bromelain and BCAAs to help as well as Skinade (look it up-it really helps).
I think day two is when things kick in? The swelling, the pain of the drains and the exhaustion you feel when you're trying to get up and mobilise. I really want to heal quickly and I know how important it is to move, but it's so hard! I did have quite a painful moment in the afternoon after getting back into bed. I think the pain meds had worn off and the drain was agony. Not sure why it's just that drain? They come out tomorrow which is great and that's when I'll get my first MLD massage and be discharged. Currently wondering how I'll find the energy to pack my case and get in a cab to my hotel!!
2 days Post Op
Overnight my drains caused me issues again. Occasionally the one on the back would dig in but the right hand one near my groin was nasty...when I needed to get out of bed to use the bathroom it caused me intense pain. In the morning I tried to get up to use the bathroom again and I couldn't. It was so painful I was crying (bless the nurse trying to help me).
Luckily Raddy the MLD specialist arrived to change my dressings, remove the drains and do my first MLD massage. The drain removal was awful but I instantly felt so much better having had them removed. The massage was absolutely fine too. I had a couple of blisters on the top of my bum that had been caused by the drain rubbing but she said the bruising wasn't too bad. It was nice to be out of the garment to be honest.
I had a first look just as I went to shower and my waist is tiny!!! Even though I'm swollen I can see the new shape.
All this moving around was exhausting and although I was checking out that day, I stayed and ate lunch before collecting my take-home meds. I was getting a cab to a hotel to stay overnight and that walk down to the cab and into the hotel really challenged me. I had two nights in hospital and still struggled to travel alone so if you have extensive vaser done take this into consideration. You're going to need help.
I spent the evening trying to walk about the hotel room (it got easier and I felt stronger for it) and rest. Staying mobile helps recovery. I can feel myself stiffening up now as the bruising and swelling kicks in!!
3 Days Post Op
3 days Post Op
Today I had to check out of my hotel, go and have my second MLD massage and then travel nearly 3 hours home on a train. I felt much better than yesterday, & although I was moving, I was a lot slower than normal. I put my face on, got dressed, checked out of the hotel and grabbed a cab to go for my massage.
The second massage was a little more pressure than the first. I also had a mild ultrasound treatment too. This all helps to speed recovery. I was pleased to hear I didn't have any seromas so far, and I wasn't too badly bruised yet either, but my blisters where the drain at the back rubbed had burst, so the problem now was keeping this area clean and free from infection whilst it healed. The fluid that was being pushed towards the lymph nodes couldn't escape through my incisions as I had healed already. I felt much better after my massage.
I met up with my sister who had travelled down to accompany me home (thank goodness), bundled up in my layers and still feeling fragile, I then started the 3 hour train journey home. By the time I got home I was exhausted.
I'm still taking antibiotics and am now taking 3 of the 4 doses of pain killers. Right now I feel like I did 20 gym sessions at once and am sore from it.
5 Days Post Op & clothes shopping
5 days Post op
One thing I've learned is to allow myself more time in the mornings to get moving and get ready. Lying in bed makes you seize up slightly and that first attempt to get out of bed is quite something! I have to roll out and wait for my body to realise it's upright before I attempt to move. After sleeping or a period of resting, it feels harder to get moving again. But once you are up and moving it does get easier.
I'm feeling bruised and sore, but it's nothing I can't handle. Getting up to a standing position and sitting or lying down is the worst part. Once you are up you're usually fine. It takes me a few minutes to feel like I am straightening up properly. You definitely feel like your skin is tight and you have to pull a bit to stand up straight.
My morning routine now consists of taking a while to get up and moving, having my Antibiotics and pain killers, doing my massage using a hand-held ultrasound massager, then showering and stuffing myself back into my garment.
I was advised by my Clinic to get a 1mhz hand-held ultrasound massager (it cost about £100) and to use it around 40 mins in the morning spent out of my garment massaging the treated areas. It helps with recovery and it doesn't hurt. My skin in the treated area feels a little numb and some areas are tender, but the swelling isn't as bad as I anticipated (although my knees swell up quite badly). I have some bruising so I am using arnica cream on that.
Today I was tired but I attempted my first drive (only a short distance). Apart from getting in and out of the car (I looked like an old woman easing myself into the car) it was fine. I went and looked for some cheap clothing in a bigger size to cover the garment and 4D vest I have to wear, as right now I've been living in jogging bottoms and a top. Primark is the best place to try! Don't spent too much on clothes! Maybe even try a charity shop? After all, this won't be your final size. I found I needed to go up 1-2 sizes to make sure I could fit things around my padded 4d vest.
Appetite is still low but it's important to feed the body with healthy food to encourage rapid healing. I had an omelette for breakfast, and had a protein smoothie for lunch. Dinner will be fish with veggies. All smaller portions as it's like trying to eat with a corset on right now!!
Over 5 litres removed
I had over 5 and a half litres of fat removed in total. I didn't expect so much to come out of me! It's fascinating.
One week post-op
One week post-op.
I can't believe it's been a week since my surgery?
I had a check up with Dr Hamlet yesterday and I am healing really well. No seromas! My swelling is now sitting at the lower abdomen and legs and I have a fair bit of bruising too. By the end of the day my knees are like pumpkins (I still don't have compression on those as I had the wrong garment) & I can see the swelling moving into my calves now too. I had another (more brutal) MLD massage yesterday too. Even with Tramadol it was tender, especially around my obliques and also what I believe is called the 'femoral triangle'? That's the area on the inner thigh and apparently the Dr really dug it out to define it. That's great... until someone puts their thumbs in there to massage it out! Eeek! However no pain, no gain! It is bearable and the importance of the aftercare is forefront of my mind. I don't want to have come this far only to ruin it by not following the aftercare recommendations.
Today I went for an MLD massage nearer to home. I knew it wouldn't be quite as good as the ones from Dr Hamlet's clinic but something is better than nothing, and they are designed to wake the lymphatic system up. The woman I went to see has been doing this for 18 years and has seen a lot of vaser in her time. She was amazed I was only one week post-op and said it's the best result she's ever seen.
Smiling so much right now.
I will attach a photo I took this morning. It doesn't show my thighs or knees (they are very swollen still) but you can see under the swelling on my midsection the definition I already have. I also have some marks from the compression vest and garment but they will go.
9 Days Post Op
9 Days Post op
I didn't sleep as well last night, as I think I put the 4d foam vest on too tightly? But today was a good day. You get slightly more mobile each day and this morning was also my last dose of antibiotics so I think you feel better once that has finished?
It's like the bruising has suddenly decided to fade overnight. I mean, I still have bruising but it's faded dramatically the last couple of days. I've been taking arnica pills for a couple of days (until I managed to lose them!) and been using arnica cream on the bruises from the day I was out of hospital.
I've removed the dressings from the front of my body (apart from the one on my belly button as that's stuck quite firm), and also the ones on the back of my arms, but I can't reach the ones on my back. Removing the dressings has made me feel more comfortable. Perhaps it was pulling at the skin?
I had another MLD massage today. She did extra work on my more tender right side and said although she could still feel it was congested, it had started to feel much looser which helps with healing. Again she said I seemed to be healing really quickly. She said by the way I walk you'd never guess I had surgery last week as most people hobble in. I feel like Teacher's Pet ;-)
I found today's massage had more pressure than Wednesday's but I found it relaxing. The initial touching makes you wince as I suppose you're protective of your body and anything that may hurt it, but that soon passes as it becomes relaxing.
The area of skin above my bum that was blistered is now definitely healing as it's itching like crazy!
Nutrition & Supplements
Supplements and nutrition
I'm doing everything I can to help the recovery process, and good nutrition, hydration and sleep is the foundation you need for your body to heal and repair itself. Stay active with walking but also listen to your body and don't overdo it.
So this is what I'm doing nutrition-wise right now:
For breakfast I'll either have a protein smoothie mixed with frozen berries and a teaspoon of Superfoods powder, or an egg white (with one yolk added) and mushroom omelette.
For lunch I will have some lean protein (tuna, chicken etc) and some healthy carbs with veg and I'll have white fish with steamed veg and tomatoes for my evening meal. I also have yoghurt as a sweet treat as it also helps with the bacteria in the gut which will have been compromised whilst taking antibiotics.
The supplements I am taking are as follows:
A good multivitamin
An iron supplement as after surgery you'll be a little anaemic.
Time-released vitamin C
Omega 3 fish oils
A probiotic. Again I'm trying to support the gut bacteria which will have been wiped out by the antibiotics.
I also bought a bag of Açaci powder (the brand is Superfoods by Matt Dawson) which is a blend of açaci, goji berry, pomegranate and blueberries and I've added a teaspoon to a protein and berry smoothie as an added boost or to a glass of water each day. I also drink Skinade (a collagen drink) which gives the skin a boost and aids healing, and I squeeze lemon into hot water as I read that helps too?
The Body is an amazing thing and given the right care and nutritional support will recover and heal. I would recommend starting the healthy eating and supplements before surgery as the healthier you are the quicker you'll recover.
Two Weeks Post Op With Photos
Two Week Post Op with Photos
I can't believe it's only been two weeks today since I had my procedure? It feels like so much longer ago.
I've continued to be impressed and fascinated at how quickly my body seems to be recovering. Bruising is now almost non-existent. The very noticeable swelling has reduced considerably, however my knees (which didn't have compression) and my lower back are still more swollen than other areas. My movement is back so that I don't dread having to bend down to pick anything up anymore. As of today I'm even in the tightest fastening on my compression garment! I'm getting used to disguising the 4d vest too. Plenty of jackets over tops and long skirts seems to work, although it's not ideal in this summer weather. I haven't been as hot as often as I thought I would be? Maybe the newly-reduced body fat helps? One thing I'm grateful for is that all Dr. Hamlet's patients have made-to-measure 4d vests so they are less bulky than the standard ones other doctors issue.
I'm off all pain killers but occasionally may pop a paracetamol if I feel a bit sore from being out and about more. I have also saved my Tramadol for the MLD massages as although they are quite pleasant in the main, there can be times where my sore spots really don't enjoy the massage. I tried doing an MLD massage the other day without pain killers. Never again!
The photos were taken first thing in the morning so swelling is less (swelling increases as the day goes by) and also I have a lot of temporary creases and lines off the compression garment and vest. The midline looks slightly off-centre but that's due to the garment and swelling so I am not too worried about that as I know my Dr is a perfectionist. I haven't really looked for lumps and bumps but as I know it's part of the healing process.
I'm doing a daily home massage using the hand-held ultrasound massager and I have 2-3 MLD sessions each week so far. I'm still taking Bromelain and my usual supplements to aid healing.
I haven't tried on any of my old clothes yet but I did measure my waist and it's down by an inch and a half and I am still swollen. :-)
Three Weeks Post Op: seromas!
Three Week Update
So this week I managed to get a few seromas! After two weeks and no sign of them I thought I wouldn't get any, but Raddy the MLD specialist found three! One in my lower back and two smaller ones on my lower abs. Apparently most people get seromas which is a build up of fluid under the skin. It's better to drain them so no scar tissue forms (which can cause contour irregularities) and they do that with a needle! It didn't really hurt but I did feel a tad light-headed afterwards. She drained them again on my next visit to her too. The seroma looks like a ripple of water under the skin when touched so keep an eye out for them.
I'm still having 2 MLD massages a week near home and also one per week with Raddy. I've had 9 so far and they recommend 7-10 as a minimum. I'm going to keep with the massages for as long as I can until the fluid build-up becomes less and the skin softens. This is as well as my daily massage using the hand-held ultrasound device. It's a full-time job with all this aftercare ;-). However never underestimate how important the aftercare is to get the results you want. It's pointless going through the surgery only to skimp on aftercare. Think of it as a 50/50 partnership. Your surgeon brings the skill and talent to the table and you then have to follow the aftercare instructions. That means following the no exercise ban whilst you heal, wearing your compression garment and your foam vest 24/7 for four weeks, and having regular MLD massages.
I'm hiding the garment more easily as my swelling goes down. One more week of this foam vest and compression garment and then I can switch to just wearing spanx. I'd rather do that than go without any support as I think I would feel weird without wearing anything so soon? I also have numb areas on my stomach and also my lower back. I still haven't tried on any of my old clothes yet... it'll be interesting to see how they fit?
Did I mention the strange sensation you have moving from seated to standing? I feel like the skin on my thighs and stomach is so tight it's tearing as I stand up. That's normal apparently, but it can feel uncomfortable. Stand up slowly, that's my advice.
I've not missed the gym considering I am a gym junkie, but I've noticed my glutes have really shrunk without weight training so I can't wait to build them back up again to enhance the curves. I'll start slowly when I get the all clear. Light cardio (walking) and light weights. No jumping, no high impact and no running. My skin is set to feel even tighter too so I will need to add more stretching too. But that's another week off yet. One more week and it's bye bye foam vest :-)