Change My Life - Massachusetts, MA

I am a 40 year old married mom of 2 kids (12 &...

I am a 40 year old married mom of 2 kids (12 & 8) and have been in remission from Crohn's Disease for almost 3 years now. When I was very sick, my weight went as low as 109. Currently I cannot get the scale lower than 170 lbs on my 5' 5" frame. I believe it is partly due to my less active lifestyle from chronic illness but also the medications I am on. My self-confidence has suffered tremendously to the point that I almost wish I was sick again at times.

I think that I would be able to love this larger curvier me if I didn't have such a flabby middle. My abdominal muscles have separated from pregnancy and I have never had a flat stomach my entire life - this is where fat wants to go on my body. I want to feel good in clothing and sexy when naked. I want to be inspired to be healthy - not just thin.

A tummy tuck appeals to me to accomplish my goals. Cost is a major issue for me as I am unable to work and parent small children at the same time. We are a one income family but I might be able to finance a procedure if it was around $5,000.

I am overwhelmed with emotion after finding this site and seeing the before and after pictures. I cried before writing this part of my profile. This is the just the beginning.
Here's to all of us women struggling to improve yet accept ourselves at the same time!

Years later had breast reduction!

6/14/16 - bilateral breast reduction. Post op was going very well until sutures came out last Monday. Today is 3 weeks post op to date and I'm very disappointed though I read people go through this all the time. I have some suture separation on both sides and what looks like pus might just be fat or under layer of skin (I don't know because it's 4th of July and I can't get seen until tomorrow.

Here's my beef: I was healing great. Why this change since sutures removed? I wasn't given any special instructions at my last visit. PA did say I no longer had to wear the surgical bra which I was thrilled about! My stitches came out (super painful and some ares had healed over) & taped me back up and told me to massage on the weekends when the tape is off. Which I did yesterday and that's when I saw the separation. Freaked me out after seeing some of complex wound care on here! Let me mention I found suture material in 2 places (not where separation exists). Was I cavalier or not fully informed? I haven't done any major exercise since stitches came out - in fact Wednesday-Friday I was in bed with a killer migraine.

I'll see my PS Tuesday but what should I be asking him? Obviously I'll ask if there's more material in the wound. I don't want to be down with a wound vac & I want this to continue to go well. I guess it's another one of those female moments - self care vs. Life!

Me before

Amazing how you stop paying attention to your body when it looks like this. Feels awful.

Me after surgery - week 1

Feeling good at this point. Amazed at how small I am.

Week 2

Felt amazing! Shopping for little comfy bras...

Week 3

Nervous about the separation otherwise I'm happy. Hoping to see the doctor today! I do not recommend having your kitchen renovated this early in recovery. Thank god the kids are done with school otherwise I'd be done in!

Happy Birthday to Me - Breast Reduction @ Age 44

Yep I met my annual deductible so total cost only $100 copay with my insurance. Not including 2 pre-op office visit copays $60 but I'm not complaining!

Originally I came on here when I was still married...looking for a new life but not sure how to go about it. Now I am post divorce 2+ years with my breasts smaller than I ever remember (not a tummy tuck as originally interested) going from a GG to likely a full C.

When I think of why I didn't proceed during my marriage I was concerned about finances as a stay at home mom. Maybe I would still be married if I had learned how to ask for what I wanted & needed. By that point in my life I had put myself behind everyone else and was miserable.

Anyway fast forward to living on my own parenting my kids every other week. Even though I was the one who wanted the divorce originally - since I've lived as a single mom re-entering the workplace for a few years I am reminded why I stayed in a bad marriage - fear of poverty. I remember in college learning that when a father separates from the mother of his children his available income increases by around 30% when the average woman's income falls by more than 20% and never quite reaches the pre-split level. I am still struggling financially and it sucks but I wouldn't want to be married (to him) again. And I'm sure he feels the same (except for the financial part).

But I digress...the point being that I gained around 40 lbs (wow I am amazed to read that even though I know it) going from 160 to 180 that first year and 180-200 the second. I am now down to 175 again but the saggy skin & fat distribution is so much worse than when I was younger. Depression, inflammatory bowel disease & stress were the reasons I believe and that we all know on this site is digging the hole deeper and deeper.

Last thanksgiving my aunt suggested I consider a breast reduction to "kick off my diet" which made me want to puke as women in my family trade weight loss stories as emotional currency. I thought all I needed to do was lose the weight and my breasts would get small again but these babies were pendulous and so uncomfortable. My back hurt all the time which I wrote off as "bad sleeping" which was my problem as well but for some reason I spoke to my PCP and she sent me to the PS who did her breasts. You start asking people and find out more women than you thought have had this done! My PS approved me for surgery but my insurance required me to "fail" at physical therapy or chiropractic before they would approve procedure. I had partly qualified for the insidious rash under my breasts & back pain documented by my PCP so I chose chiropractor since it required the least amount of energy to complete. I was up front about why I was seeking treatment with this doctor and she pronounced me "failed" in about 6-8 weeks which wasn't bad. It also made me more health conscious which is good all around.

Finally they called me to pick a surgery date and the next available one was the day before my birthday and I didn't hesitate. Since I live alone I stayed overnight for "observation" in the hospital next door and returned home the next day to a house prepped for recovery. Life always intervenes so I've been challenged with kids & work needs since day 2. The first week was easier - I gave myself permission to use the narcotics and that made me sleep mostly. I took the first week off from work and thought getting back to it would be easy since I work for myself and can flex my schedule.

By my 2 week post-op visit I had my sutures removed and was told I could wear athletic bras instead of the uncomfortable compression bra I had been wearing 24/7. Almost all of my bruising was gone (thanks to Arnica gel) and I barely felt pain at this point. I only fatigue if I spent too much time out and about (ex: walking 2+ hours in the mall). Between that and my excitement to be out in public with the twins (my new breasts) - I think I overdid my activity level but didn't know because I had no discharge on my bra. The healing skin started to itch madly and when I was gently running my fingers along the scars I could feel a couple of what i thought were tiny scabs. When I looked closer I could see it looked more like a tiny piece of hair which appeared to be suture material so I tried my best to remove with tweezers. By mid-week I was cashed out in bed with a migraine that lasted until this past weekend.

This Saturday was the beginning of 5 days with surgical tape on my incisions and 2 days off with cocoa butter massage as instructed by the PA. In my mind I was concerned only with scarring at this point - honestly I was a little squeamish with taking the tape off and looking at my breasts so I waited until Sunday AM to start the 2 days off tape.

To my surprise and dismay I could see some separation - tiny bit on the left underside of the breast which wasn't too bad but the right breast was worse. I could see something white peaking out under the anchor site of incision which I immediately wondered if it was infected. Grossed out and scared so I didn't poke around too much to see if it was pus - I called the answering service not wanting to wait 2 days until after the 4th of July holiday. My PS was wonderful and allayed my fears - he told me to put some antibiotic cream on it and keep it moist until I could be seen Tuesday (which is today).

Of course I've spent the past two days looking on this site and others online to get an idea of where I went wrong until I can see my doctor. Seems like these things happen all the time and women go on to heal just fine. In fact, if I've seen much worse on here and I'm thankful to have caught it so early I suppose. I just want to know what I need to do differently!

Board Certified Surgeon

Not revealing doctor at this time - will update later. So far so good but too early to tell!

3 out of 5 stars Overall rating
3 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
3 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
3 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
3 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
3 out of 5 stars Payment process
3 out of 5 stars Wait times
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