So...after many years and much deliberation, I've...
So...after many years and much deliberation, I've finally decided to do this. I've agonized over my belly for years, trying everything under the sun to get it in shape, only to feel completely defeated by the fact that every other body part will tone except my belly! I've worked with a personal trainer since January of this year and she mentioned that I might want to talk to a PS about a tummy tuck since she noticed huge changes everywhere else except my tummy.
I met with a PS a couple of weeks ago who was very kind and talked me through everything. At no point did I feel rushed by her or pressured into more surgery that I was not interested in. She said I was a good candidate for the surgery and could give me the results I'm looking for, but would likely never gain from working out...there's just too much extra skin that won't go away.
What's crazy is that once I decided to do it and meet with a PS, I immediately had all these feelings of guilt about the possibility of spending this amount of money on a cosmetic procedure that was really only going to benefit me. If this were something for one of my children or my husband, I wouldn't hesitate to do it, but when it's for me...I doubt myself. I'm glad that I have a great husband that supports me and said that it's time I do something for myself and that it's no different than adults who wait until they're 40 to get braces (no offense to any adult out there with braces).
So...after two weeks of thinking about it, weighing the financial costs, reading through MULTIPLE reviews and talking personally with someone who's had a TT recently, I've decided that on November 12th, I'm heading over to the FLAT SIDE!
I'll update with pictures later. Thanks for any support or guidance along the way!
Since I've got quite a while before my surgery date, I decided to confide in some of my closest friends. Most of them were really supportive considering they've heard my complaints about my belly for years. One of them wasn't supportive at all and told me that I nothing is wrong with me and that my belly is fine and that it's because I've had two kids. I get what she is saying, I think I was just surprised at her reaction. I think I'll wait before I mention it to anyone else. Has anyone else experienced this type of reaction and how did you handle it?
So, I called the PS office the other day to verify that my date was actually in the books...I think I was nervous that all this time I'm assuming that it was and by some nightmare it wasn't. Her scheduling nurse, Leigh Ann, kinda laughed when I asked her. I'm pretty sure I'm not the first person to think that. She confirmed that my date was still in the schedule for Nov. 12 - so it's official! I'll check in at 7:30am and my surgery is planned for 9am.
It's very surreal right now. I've put in my vacation days at work. I discussed the surgery with my boss from the very beginning and she's been so supportive about the whole thing, even allowing me to work from home when I'm able to. I also told my children about the surgery. They had tons of questions and my little one (he's not little, he's 10) asked me if he was the cause of my belly and if I was upset with him. I assured him that I could never be upset and him or his brother and this was something that I could never blame them for. He said he would be praying for me (seriously, this kid is sweet) and that he'd help dad after my surgery.
I've got a pre-op appointment on the 28th and then I won't see the PS until I check in on Nov 12th. I'm slowly making a list of supplies I'll need for after the surgery. So far, I've got a shower seat, toilet extender and a leg elevation pillow. I'm not sure of anything else. I've seen some people with these extensive lists of things but not real sure what's actually necessary versus "rather have it and not need it". For anyone who's already on the flat side, I'll take some recommendations.
Oh...and I've finally uploaded some before pictures.
16 days to go!
Tomorrow morning is my pre-op appointment with Dr. Quigley. I'm not really sure what to expect so I've been making a list of random questions to ask her. I'm trying to keep busy preparing freezer meals for the family and ordering Thanksgiving dinner (I have a feeling that I won't want to be up on my feet cooking 2 weeks after surgery.
Lots of anxiety going on over here (which I'm assuming is normal) and the plan is to stay positive and busy up until the surgery. I've got a great husband who is encouraging me every step of the way and great friends that are even setting up meals for me and my family after the surgery.
16 days to go...let the official countdown begin!
4 more days!
I mean, really? What happened to the last 90 days? All of a sudden, I'm 4 data away from surgery. Anxiety is all over the place right now. I think I'm as prepared as I can be. I've got a couple more days at work and some last minute dinner prep at home and then it'll be Wednesday.
I've gotten used to telling people about the surgery. Some are supportive and others aren't. I'm okay with that. I'm not seeking approval from anyone.
During my last pre-op appointment I asked her about taking arnica and bromelin and she advised me not to. That was interesting considering all the reviews I've read mentioning them.
Anyway, I'll listen to my doctor and follow her advice.
4 days away. Trying to keep anxiety levels down.
T Minus 11 hours.....
In less than 12 hours, I'll be checking in for surgery. I just finished one last workout and a run to the grocery store. I guess I'm about as ready as I can be at this point. Great friends of mine are set up to bring dinners to the house for the next 2 weeks and my husband has cleaned everything from top to bottom! I'll update in the morning and at some point on the other side. Prayers are appreciated. I'm praying my doctor and anesthesiologist have a great nights rest and are both in great moods tomorrow!
On the other side of surgery
I made it! My surgery was around 8am on the morning of the 12th. I checked in at 630am and did pre-op stuff and then I waited about an hour until Dr. Quigley got there to mark me up and take pictures. She promised not to make me look "boxy" and that my scar would be nice and low. Then the anesthesiologist came in to give me something to relax and the next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery. The nurse in recovery was very sweet. She helped me try to cough since my throat was very sore and dry and helped me to the restroom. Who knew trying to pee would be so difficult? Anyway. She then showed my husband how to empty the drains and went over post-op stuff with him. I think I was in recovery about an hour then we went home.
The car ride wasn't bad. I live about 10 mins away from the surgery center. I dreamt the night before that I threw up in the car on the way home. Thank goodness that didn't happen. Walking from the car to our bedroom seemed like it took about 3 hours! Man, am I moving slow! I got settled in the recliner and went right to sleep. I've slept off and on all day. I don't have much of an appetite either.
The pain isn't intolerable. On a scale of 1-10, I've been consistently around a 5 or 6. I told a friend that it feels like Mike Tyson punched me in the stomach. This recliner has been amazing. I also have a leg incline pillow that I can prop my legs up on for added comfort.
My husband has taken great care of me so far. I'm so thankful for him. I don't know what I would do without him.
Enough for now. Back to sleep I go.
Post-op day 2
This recliner is a blessing. I couldn't imagine trying to get in and out of a bed right now. My pain is probably a 4 out of 10. I'm getting up and walking around the house every so often, which completely exhausts me. I've got 2 drains in and they are not as gross as I thought they would be. One of them fills up with air from time to time, but I don't have any pain or leakage from the drain site.
I don't have much of an appetite at all right now, but eating small meals and drinking lots of water.
My family has been amazing these past few days. My husband helped me wash up today, not a shower but more of a sponge bath. I got to take my binder off for about 10 minutes and it was glorious. I couldnt really see much of anything since everything else is under gauze and tape. Can't wait to see my belly next week at my checkup.
Pictures are attached.
Post-op day 8...the unveiling!
I had my follow up appointment today with my doctor. They finally took off my and I got to see my new tummy! I was so excited. It looked like it was someone else's stomach. They cleaned me up and removed my stitches and took out the dreaded drains! I read so many stories of people getting their drains taken out and it either didn't feel a thing or it hurt like hell. I really didn't know what to expect so I braced myself for the worst. The Doctor was on one side and her nurse on the other. They told me that they were going to remove them at the same time and that my job was to take a deep breath until it was over. Easy enough, right?
1....2....3.....SON OF A BITCH! What was that?! Good grief that hurt. I literally couldn't even say anything afterward.
Dr. Quigley covered my scar with tape and my drain holes (is that what you call it? ) with gauze and my belly button with a bandaid. She swapped out my binder for a smaller, shorter one. The one they sent me home in after the surgery was too big and too wide. I was having to fold up the bottom and fold down the top. The new one fits so much better.
The best part of the day was that I got to shower! That was amazing...and exhausting. My husband has been great throughout this whole thing. I couldn't imagine going through this without his help.
I uploaded pictures (sorry for any nudity/half crotch shots)
2 steps forward.....5 steps back
So, stitches out, drains out & everything was feeling good. I even ran errands with my super wonderful husband. Laying in the bed watching the entire 5 seasons of Parenthood and all of a sudden I needed to go to the bathroom (for whatever reason, it's always a last minute feeling) so absent-mindedly, I attempted to quickly hop out the bed.....WRONG MOVE. So, as much as you think you're feeling better, your body physically will not let you. Those muscles will not move the way they did pre-op & when they attempt to and fail, the pain that shoots through your entire body will make you consider taking the entire bottle of whatever your doctor prescribed you (totally didn't do that, but considered it).
Didn't sleep well last night and tried to shake it off this morning. Decided to attempt driving and going to Target by myself today. Husband asked me to be careful and to use one of the motorized carts in the store. Of course, all 3 of them were dead. I figured waddling through the store wouldn't be that bad. Surprisingly, Target didn't have what I needed so I had to go to (deep breath) Wal-Mart. I couldn't even locate a motorized cart there, but I did have to walk all over the store to find what I needed. By the time I checked out, I was hunched over and sore and tired.
Once I got home, I was exhausted and quite sad. I realized that I'm not well. I'm not fully recovered and I have to be patient and take my time so that I don't end up hurting myself and end up in pain.
So. Gonna take my time. Ask for help. Stop trying to be a hero. Back to my recliner and Parenthood.
11 days po
Today was a good day. Got out the house for a bit to go to church. Watched more Parenthood. Friends brought over dinner for us. Pain and discomfort were at a minimum.
All in all....today was a good day. Here's to hoping you all have a good day.
Hopefully this is nothing....
Woke up this morning with some dried blood in my cg. When I checked, I had some separation in my incision and it was a little red. I don't have any feeling along my incision so I can't feel anything.
I had my husband take a picture of it. I put some neosporin and gauze on it and put my cg back on.
I was cleared to walk on the treadmill today but I think I'll hold off. I'll also try not to stand so straight today. I don't want to pull it open any more than it is.
Not panicked yet, but watching it very closely. I'll call the nurse tomorrow if it's not looking better.
Days 18 & 19 po
Well....I went back to work on Day 18 (yesterday). I work for a church, so my workweek starts on a Sunday. I did pretty good. Got tired around 1pm after been up and moving around since 6am. My job is a lot of walking and hugging and lifting things. My amazing group of volunteers made sure I sat down when I looked tired or hunched and that I didn't lift anything heavier than a coffee cup! My clothes are fitting pretty loose (even with the cg on). So loose that I considered wearing a belt to keep my pants up but opted against it. I don't have much feeling below my belly button and I'd hate to be squeezing my incision and not know it.
By the time I got home I was swollen/bloated and ready for a nap. The nap isn't unusual, I normally nap on Sundays after work. Once I woke up, I was still real bloated and tired. I finally deduced that my bloated was gas. By then end of the night, I was pretty uncomfortable.
I woke up this morning feeling a lot better and not so bloated...a bm helped the rest of that bloated feeling go away. We were back to our normal family routine today. I drove kids to school and have been at the office since 830am. Moving slower than before surgery, but otherwise feeling good. My coworkers have been super sweet with the exception of keeping me laughing which creates that lovely tight feeling in the abs.
It's almost 2:30 and I'm still feeling pretty good. I'll post some pictures of yesterday and today. Things are healing well and I'm being patient. I see the ps again on po day 22.
PO day 33
I've been meaning to get on here and update but every time I thought about it, it was because I felt horrible and wanted to vent.
Today was a good day. The past few days? Not so much. I was terribly swollen and uncomfortable and pretty miserable. It finally hit me today. I started my "lady times" and that was the reason my bloating was a 20 on a scale of 1-10 and my bitchiness was unusually bitchy. Man. ..pms is 10 times worse post-surgery!
Due to a lot of swelling and general uncomfortableness, I found solace in my old trusty recliner. My hubs wasn't so pleased as he wants me back in the bed with him, but I think the recliner is necessary right now. The option to roll over in the middle of the night isn't a great one right now.
A positive for today is that I hit the treadmill today! Working out always helped my pms pre-op so I figured I'd give it a try. I walked on the treadmill at 1.0 speed and 0 incline. I lasted 30 minutes before I got tired and stopped. Hopefully this "exercise" will help me sleep better tonight.
My incision & bb are healing nicely. No more issues with them. I don't go back to my ps until January. Until then, I'm trying my best to take it slowly.
Almost 3 mos
I'm almost 3 months post op. Man...what a difference time makes! 2 months ago I was still very much hunched over and couldn't lift anything and still popping pain pills.
Today I went to the gym and squatted 40lbs! I feel great. I haven't taken anything for pain in a long time. My doctor cleared me to workout at the gym back in January. I can do pretty much anything with the exception of an work. She put her foot down and said no ab work at all. Not one single crunch. I've learned to listen to my body and stop when it tells me to.
I wear a spanx garment 5 days out the week. I stopped sleeping in any garment or change since January. My doctor felt it was doing more harm than good. I agree. My back has felt better and the swelling in my upper abs has gone down since I stopped doing that.
I haven't bought new clothes yet but all my old sweaters and t shirts look amazing now! I'm down 12lbs since the surgery. I don't know how much of that is surgery or my efforts in the gym and better nutrition.
I'm so glad I did it and wish I did it 8 years ago.
Picture posted below is from today.