I've turned 40 and decided that I'm not old yet...
I've turned 40 and decided that I'm not old yet :)
Always dreamt of having six-pack, but no matter what I do, the fats in the lower abs and flanks (love-handles) don't go away. I'm not regular on sports, but as I grew up being sportive, I maintained a reasonably good body and now slightly overweight 80Kgs (compared to optimum weight of 73Kgs).
Decided to go to Vaser route, as the more you get older, the less suitable such operation is for your skin to adjust to the lost fat!
I've gone to the private clinic (based on recommendation) and booked an appointment for Vaser high def. I was then introduced to Dr. Hamlet (whom I researched afterwards and found that he's one of the best in the UK for high def Vaser! Luckily).
The appointment was just perfect... He explained, not rushed, answered all questions, went through pictures, expectations, etc. The appointment experience encouraged me to go ahead for the operation (me who had never had a medical procedure in his life!)
Operation date is scheduled for 8th of Feb 2015, so I'll keep you updated with pre/post photos, feelings and experience.
Procedure date approaching...
As the procedure date is approaching fast, I'm having control on my food (good breakfast, reasonable lunch, and light dinner) and doing more exercises to strengthen my abdomen muscles. I actually already got my top 2-packs, lol :)
Although dr. Hamlet in my consultation session could get a feeling of my 6packs under the ab-fat layer, he asked me to do core-exercises (squats) with a kettlebell. I got a 16Kgs kettlebell and oh, my back muscles screamed for 2 days after just 10 reps! So, I parked the kettlebell for now and did a daily abs program using a mobile phone app called "Caynax A6W" (in android, but it also exists in apple app-store). This app is amazing and I feel after 2 weeks of exercising with it a great result. Every night I squeeze my abs muscles before sleeping to get a feel of the 6 packs (although only 2 are visible), but this is what dr. Hamlet will need to do pre-procedure to draw the lines as he can't guess, especially that the number of packs and the size of each is different from a person to the other!
The 'before' photos will be taken just before the procedure to be up to date, and to be able to compare with the 'after' photos to see the impact of the procedure only, as this might be your interest!
Next update will have the 'before' photos ;-)
8 Feb 2016
Day of treatment
And the day has come... I was a little bit nervous, but not much...
My appointment was at 2pm, started with reading and signing consent forms, discussing with the antithetic and changing closths, until doctor's arrival (2:45pm). Dr. Hamlet started by drawing lines (based on what he feels about muscles locations, bones, etc.) on lower chest, abs, flanks and back. That process took us to past 3pm (good time investment).
Different doctors have different procedure technique, some prefer light sedation to keep you conscious enough, but Dr. Hamlet prefers to get the patient close to the edge of being unconscious... So, I started lying down on my face (to do the back/flanks maybe) and once I was injected, I felt NOTHING afterwards until they woke me up and I remember NOTHING!
Funny though that I woke up with the 4d compression garment + compression vest over it ON, and tubes and drain bages hanging outside my body (I didn't expect that! However, I don't feel any pain (yet) but I feel super drowsy... getting more aware with each passing minute.
They offered me coffee and biscuits before leaving, but my stomach wasn't ready for it so I vomited them few minutes later when I was getting dressed in the toilet (luckily I vomited in the toilet for not to make any mess), then a friend picked me and drove me home.
Now being at home, still with sensitive stomach, don't feel like eating, so I'm having oranges (eating one piece every 5-10 minutes to go easy on my stomach, but I was soooo thirsity)... Drinking water feels good, especially that I needed to take my antibiotic.
No pain yet, just a feeling of getting out of the gym out of energy! Planning to take the pain killers before sleeping, to prepare for the sedation complete absence and return of full sensation.
I'll update you tomorrow on how I'll feel.
Until then, sayonanra :)
Day-1 post procedure...
Day-1, the worst day as they say, and as I hope...!
You definitely, definitely, definitely need someone with you as you can never managing this by yourself.
The evening of the procedure after going home, and after managing to eat a little, I went to toilet for a pee, I had some liquid/blood dripping out of me, one of the bags was full so I changed it with an empty one (I was given 3 empty ones), and as I was standing, I felt nausea followed by dizziness followed by a feeling that I'm going to faint! I sat down quickly, and then I started to feel better gradually, as it seems the blood was struggling to reach my head (lips were kind of yellow as well when I was standing).
Slept reasonably good, with the help of paracetamol and codeine. Woke up with no pain to mention really... The pain comes only when I move, at the locations of wounds (back and abs), but if I'm lying down, standing or sitting, no problems.
Struggling to move with the drain pipes and bags, but trying to stand and do small steps to help liquids to exit the body instead of being idle!
I wanted to take a shower today (as advised) but I still doubt if I'll be able to manage that, at the same time I don't want to leave the bloody mess for the MLD therapist to handle (first appointment tomorrow, to be reviewed later).
So, with the help of someone at home with you, you can get over day-1, I guess :)
Day-2 After Procedure
After the first day, which was indeed the most difficult day (especially with managing 3 tubes and drain bags, one from back and 2 from front) the 2nd day has come where I had my first MLD appointment with "Radoslava Dimitrova" (Raddy) who is working with Dr. Hamlet for 10-15 years already!
Private Clinic gave me 3 free of charge sessions with Raddy which I;m taking full advantage of as a real expert in post-vaser recovery! She removed the 3 drains (thanks God) with no pain at all! She did some pressure massage on the high-def lines (which hurts, but necessary to extract the last fluids before putting the dressing on the wounds). It's not only MLD that she does, which helps the body recover, but also the pressure massage along the lines that will help showing the high-def results.
I'm feeling lighter without the drains, but still pain exists whilst moving from a position to the other (no pain when sitting or lying down), but I can walk and go up/down the stairs without assistance. Only some assistance required for getting off the bed to reduce the pain. Nevertheless, I'm still on the pain killer (taking paracetamol 4 times a day, but codeine I'm keeping for necessary times only, after waking up and just before sleeping).
First post-op pictures, with the help of Raddy after removing the drains, cleaning and putting the dressings. Note that you can still see the marker lines that were made by Dr. Hamlet pre-op.
Note that I'll need to wear the compression garment (and underneath it the 4-D pressure garment) for a minimum of 6 weeks continuously!
Tomorrow is my 2nd session with Raddy, that she said will be a lot better!
Day-3 (2nd MLD session)
Well, it wasn't really an MLD session as it involves checking the wounds, pressing against the lines of the high def to get rid of any accumulation of fluids.
Once I took of my garment, Raddy (the MLD specialist) immediately noticed a pocket of fluid in my lower back. Noting that the drains were removed on day-2 (a bit early I know by I've very thankful to be free to them), she had to take the liquid out with a syringe. She took out around 60ml (quarter of a glass).
On my abs, as my wound (from the previously removed drain) has already closed, she pushed all the fluids she could access to a point, and pulled with the syringe (around 10ml). She told me that she'll keep a close eye on that to do the same tomorrow, if necessary.
Then, an ultra sound sessions started. A bit surprised on the use of it, but it's like a probe emiting 1MHz waves to help the skit retract by warming the muscles underneath and increasing the blood circulation. Raddy did that for me on the full abs and back. She also advised me to get a similar device to use at home (price range varies from £50-£250 as she said).
Feeling better today, more mobile, less pain whilst moving and better appetite. Looking forward to my 3rd and last 'complimentary' session with Raddy. However, she also told me that whenever I get such an accumulation of fluid, I can call the private clinic and they can arrange the syringe extraction free of cost, which is good if my next 'paid' MLD therapist won't do that!
Until next update.
Day 4 (3rd MLD session)
Today I got another accumulation of seroma in the back, removed around 40ml (less than yesterday), and also in the front (removed around 15ml).
That was the end of my complimentary sessions with Raddy, and from Sunday I'll start session 4 (upto session 10) with another MLD therapist. Let's see the difference, as Raddy was focusing on removing excess fluids and doing the ultrasound (not really the MLD treatment as I understood it).
I'm also attaching day-4 post-op pictures to see the development!
Day 6 post-op
I'm getting more mobile day by day, less pain that encouraged me to stop codeine for 2-3 days now (taking paracetamol occasionally only).
Itching has increased (and I've been told it's a good sign) as the skin is getting back the sensation. It used to feel mostly numb before! Managed to wash the stinky foam (due to drained fluids) in delicate program in washing machine with fabric softner/freshener and luckily most smell is gone! The good thing also that the foam vest also shrank a bit, which helps going with the recovery as swelling also decreases around body. The foam is very tight (especially that the compression garment is above it) which leaves marks on the body (similar to the marks your tight elastic socks leave), and this also contributes to the itching!
It's not comfortable yet to change positions whilst sleeping, nor to keep sleeping on my back all the time. However, I sleep reasonably good (but gets up with painful stiff back due to sleeping on single position).
Checking my weight, I don't see a weight loss! But I've been told that what I see now is not the final look, as the swelling need to reduce, muscles need to be built up again by exercise after this long rest for the final high-def result to show!
Today is my first 'real' MLD session (out of 7 I booked) that I'm looking forward to and I'll review separately.
1 week post-op (real MLD)
Pain is a lot less, no pain killers now, I can drive but moving in bed remains a challenge!
I had my 'real' MLD (Manual Lymphatic Drainage) massage yesterday. It was very relaxing (a bit of pain in couple of points only) and it's supposed to help the body get rid of the toxins/bruising/etc. in a quicker way.
The therapist started with neck (the door) then chest/arms followed by abs and upper thighs, then back and flanks.
I'm planning to have 7-10 MLD sessions (every 2nd day to give time for the body to heal itself).
I thought of starting to exercise, but after a second thought, I shouldn't rush. I should manage first to stand, sit and move properly and that is the best exercise to start with!
Drinking plenty of water to help the body get rid to the toxins!
Swelling/Bruising getting worse before it gets better?
Etching is a lot better today, probably after I started wearing an under-shirt below the the 4D foam! However, I've still got bruising and accumulation of seroma (lower abs, back and sides). I need to contact the private clinic to get an appointment for drainage!
Honestly, I can't wait to return to exercising to start rebuilding the muscles again. But for now it's still a challenge to move in bed, but sitting, walking, driving is mostly alright.
Overall, I think I'm recovering with a good pace but to see the result that I wish, I need to be a bit more patient.
12 days post-op
I got some seroma accumulation (mostly in my lower back, and in random locations on my chest/abs). This was the reason for the painful spots! So I arranged an appointment with the clinic for Seroma drainage (no charges).
I got ~50ml removed from lower back, 22ml removed from lower abs (right), 22ml removed from right side of upper abs, and 17ml removed from centre chest! All drained by syringe.
I felt so better after removing that and the swelled areas are a lot better instantly. The seroma accumulation actully prevents skin retraction as it forms a kind of a bubble under the skin and it will take months to be drained naturally by the body. So, syringe was quick and easy! (some people even do that daily for a week or two but I can't go to London every day for that!)
I'll arrange another seroma drainaged next week (to make sure no pockets are there) even if it's for few ml's!
And here are some more photos (notice that muscle mass reduces due to idleness, but also the swelling).
Time passes quickly and every day feels better than the day before.
I've got another seroma drainage session with noticeable improvement. However, I've got 40ml from the back drained. The front had only 8ml drained which shows that the body is now adjusting. Going again after a week to see how much would be there in the lower back (not expecting any in the front).
The compression garment is supposed to be worn for 4-6 weeks (I'm planning to go for 6). However, the foam vest can be taken off after the 3rd week (this weekend) but only for 50% of the time until the end of 4-6 weeks. My plan is to take it off during the day during office hours and wear it when I'm back home and during sleeping. This will be my plan for the coming 3 weeks then all off (hopefully).
The itching is still there, due to the tight garment and sweat (wearing an undershirt to make it better), but I'm not sure if I need to use some sort of powder or cream to get rid of the itching. I need to research for that.
More pictures for you to check development (relaxed and tense).
Not being able to meet Dr. Hamlet since the procedure, I followed the review (of another patient with him doing a similar procedure) and took off the foam garment after my 4th week.
This is my 3rd day without the foam (just wearing the compression garment). I've ordered a smaller size for these last 2 weeks period as the initial garment is somehow stretched and it meant to be a bit big to accommodate the foam garment underneath it! So, I'm happy with the tighter feel of the new garment.
I started to exercise last week "at home" (mid of week-4) by doing push-ups, weights for arms and ab-crunches (after taking off the foam.
To be honest, the abs muscles were very lazy to work out and I got the after-workout pain (I thought initially it's because of the tighter compression garment) but then I realised that it must be the muscles that were idle for almost a full month and traumatised by procedure. I gave myself a day break in the middle and I'm taking it easier now with no problems. Planning to go for some cardio by weekend.
Luckily, I managed to get an earlier follow up date with Dr. Hamlet, which will be Monday 14th of March (end of my week-5 instead of week-7!!). So let's see if I was doing the right things and waiting to hear his feedback. However, I haven't done any massages following my 10 MLD sessions! (lazy :( !)
I strongly advise you to book for your follow up appointment when you book for your procedure if you're doing it with a dr as busy as dr. Hamlet to make sure you have the chance to check your progress and ask any specific questions you might have.
More pictures will be posted on Monday after the doctor's visit when I post the review.
Day-35 (end of week 5): Dr. Hamlet Follow up visit
Finally I managed to see Dr. Grant H and get his view on my progress and development + share my 2 concerns!
I told him that I've taken the foam off after end of week-4 (but still keeping the compression garment), he was OK. Then he examined me and was pleased with the progress.
He did some long pressure massaging with his finger on the definition lines (hurting a bit) and asked me to keep doing similar massaging with same pressure until the swelling is reduced.
My concerns were:
1. I don't feel or see a vertical definition line at the upper part (feeling as if there's a long hard muscle making a horizontal line): He said what you have in the middle is just swelling that will go with time. He pressured strongly on the middle vertical line and actually it looked better afterwards. I now try to do more self-massage as I was lazy to do any in the last period.
2. When I'm lying down I feel the line between the muscles is actually between the definition lines (as if the definition line is misplaced) which was a major concern for me: Dr. Hamlet said it's normal to feel the lines moving 1cm or 0.5cm when lying down. What matters is when standing up (the lines overlap then) that's why the definition drawing with a marker (before the procedure) was done whilst standing, because this is the position you want your definition to look perfect! Makes sense.
The good news is he told me that I don't need to wear the compression garment any longer based on what he sees... Horraaayyy :D and I need to see him at the end of month#3 to check the progress. But until then, it's massaging massaging massaging!
He warned me to wear tight belts as the buckle can leave marks, so I need to keep the buckle a bit loose.
I went to play squash, a bit of stiffness at the start at center of abs and back, but when I warmed up it was OK. I went swimming as well, and this is when I really saw that my muscles toned nicely (after the workout) before relaxing again.
Basically, the workout is what will make the final results/look after 3 months.
That's it for now... Some photos will be posted in probably a week.
30 May 2016
3 months post
As I'm about to hit the gym (I was just doing very light exercises and not so regular on racket games) I thought to give you this update @ month 3.5 and I'll make another update in a month or so.
It's worth mentioning that I haven't visited Dr. Hamlet at month 3 as he suggested. Probably I'll make the visit in a week or two.
You'll mainly notice that all previous swelling is almost over, and only exercises and time can bring the high-definition to live (as I can see it clearly following a long swimming session for instance until muscles relax again later.
Last update - (post 6 months) - after gym
21 Oct 2016
8 months post
Last photo update - (post 6 months) - after gym