#TeamCardenas Tummy Tuck, Lipo & FG

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Hi ladies! I will be having a tummy tuck, lipo...

Hi ladies! I will be having a tummy tuck, lipo & minor fat grafting with Dr. Cardenas on January 9th! I will be at Beauty Care Recovery house from tomorrow (1/8) until 1/18. I'm flying from NYC to San Diego ALONE and super excited at the moment (though I fluctuate between being scared and anxious and excited very quickly lol). I've been researching my doctor and these procedures for almost a year now. The fact that my day is so near is absolutely surreal! I leave tomorrow morning and hope to post my updated experience here.

About me: I'm 23 years old, 5'3, and have always hated my tummy, despite being active in the gym. I'm healthy and fairly athletic and even when I was working out 5-6x a week, could never get my stomach to a point I was happy with. My lowest weight ever was around 150 lbs, though I look like I weigh less because of muscle tone & that I know how to dress for my body type! I currently weigh around 166 (gained some weight from an office job -.-), and my measurements are 36-29-43, dress size 6/8, pant size 10. I want to wear a bikini and be completely body confident, and so I finally took the plunge and set a date a few months ago. I've worked out a few times (not as much as I'd hoped, but I've been doing high intensity interval training and cardio/weights), lost about 4 lbs, and know that I'm in good shape circulation-wise. All of my labs came back perfect too when I had them done a few months ago. Other than that, I'm scared for recovery pain, but I know what to expect and have researched SO much. I have a bunch of aftercare products, scar care treatments, and even a budget spreadsheet that helped me plan everything.

For all you ladies still getting ready for your date, here's my packing/post op supplies/tips list:

Purse - photo ID, wallet, debit cards, keys
Cell phone & charger
Boppy pillow
Stool softener with stimulant laxative
CASH $600-700 (for massages, pain meds, antibiotics, tips for nurses, etc.)
Go Girl funnel
Washcloth to fold for triangle (pressure above butt)
Baby wipes
Flight day outfit – same day in and day out (yoga pants, regular bra, tee, sweatshirt, etc.)
3-5 tanks w/o lines for under garment
1 sports bra
2 pairs comfy socks
2 pairs cotton panties
1 pair lounge shorts
Basic toiletries: toothbrush/toothpaste/facial care/deodorant, etc. (BC should have everything else)
Basic makeup: blush/mascara/lash curler/gloss/tinted moisturizer (want to feel good even though we will be messes!)
Cocoa butter or lotion
Lanyard that hangs around neck to attach drains in shower
Maxi pads for drainage
Tampons (just in case)
Measuring tape
Hair ties
Diurex (for water retention)
VitaMedica kit
Epi Foam
Epi Tape (just in case?)
Gauze rolls – for incision and bb
Printed wish pics - be very specific
List of questions - be very specific
List of personal info/emergency contacts - with blood type, med card insurance #, any allergies, etc.
Alcohol-free tea tree oil spray sanitizer (for hands, incisions)

Buy Later/Use at home for recovery:
Puppy pads (to prevent draining on my bed)
Walker for around the house
Follow-up lymphatic massages
Ultrasound hand massager 1 MHZ (with gel)
Scar Fx Silicone Belt Wrap (6"x48")
Silicone sheet/incision gentle cleanser
Bio Oil
Other scar creams
Stage 2 compression garment (Vedette)
Squeem waist cincher

*Liquid diet 2 days before surgery to prevent constipation: Ensure, soup, juice, etc.
*Brazilian wax before heading down to Mexico
*Go food shopping before leaving: frozen food/ensure/juice (check expiration dates)
*Let my bank know I’ll be in Mexico
*BCRH only takes CASH! Keep cash on ME when traveling so it doesn't get lost.
*REMEMBER only 3.4 ounces of liquid allowed on plane!
*No nail polish
*Get post op care instructions while in Mexico
*Drink hot water with lemon for water retention
*Blackberry access – turn on WiFi for Internet/cell access in Beauty Care w/o charges!
*Wheelchair access for flight home
*Scar treatments as soon as incision is closed/healed
*Don't use ultrasound massager on areas where you had fat grafting!
*"Marble Trick" for belly button shaping

Hope that helps ladies. That's all for now, looking forward to my big day!

Arrived today! San Diego is beautiful and super...

Arrived today! San Diego is beautiful and super warm. Drove across the border with Gabriel, there was a little traffic so it took about 25 minutes. He dropped me at the clinic and I met Fatimeh and Dr. Cardenas, who both greeted me with friendly hugs and cheek kisses. Dr. Cardenas spent time with me and answered all my questions, and then looked at me with my clothes off and we discussed my wish pics and what I want my specific surgery results to be like. She was very honest and made sure I had realistic expectations for my results, scarring, etc, and put me at ease. She didn't rush me at all and I felt like she really cared. She talked about recovery, having had a TT herself, and assured me that it would be difficult/painful but not unbearable, and to remember the results I was looking forward to. Afterwards I paid off my surgery balance at the front desk, in addition to the cost of my CG...I was a dollar short of $5 and instead of breaking my $20, Fatimeh just took the $4. Afterwards Carmen, who runs BCRH, took me to the house and showed me around. It's a nice place but nothing fancy, just a house. It's super cold here though! I had lunch (I was starving after my 6 hour flight with just a bag of chips and cookies) and it was pretty good: grilled chicken, avocado, slice of buttered whole wheat toast, these little noodles that tasted like rice & beans, and some yucca, carrots and zucchini. Filling and hit the spot! Since then I've just been setting up the internet, setting out my supplies, and calling my family and friends. I'm a lot less nervous after meeting everyone today, but I'm sure that I will be anxious tomorrow morning. I'm staying positive and believing that everything will go well and I'll get the results of my dreams. Wish me luck...more to come!

Hi Ladies! I am officially on the other side. I'll...

Hi Ladies! I am officially on the other side. I'll start from the top. Last night I chilled and talked on the phone, and watched some shows. Eli, one of the nurses, snuck me a Lindt chocolate...I thought I was on NYC time, and had dinner around what I THOUGHT was 8 pm, but was really 6 pm. Long story short, I could've eaten until 10 pm Pacific time, but messed up the hours and was too tired anyway. The other nurse, Roxana, woke me up and brought me a little pill at 10 pm, which was probably for nausea.

Ok, so I woke up the next day, and we drove to the clinic. I had my blood drawn and my hemoglobin levels were perfect. Then I went upstairs to my room and changed into a hospital gown. Dr. Cardenas came in and greeted me, and I gave her the wish pics we'd discussed. She marked me up with purple paint and I tried on this bikini I brought to show her how low I wanted the scar. Everything was fine, waited for a while. Got an IV. Then was wheeled in on a wheelchair and met Dr. Levya, the anesthesiologist. He inserted soemething into my IV after I laid butt-down on the table. I was like "is this gonna make me sleep? I'm a little scared," and next think you know, I remember them lifting me and then I just remember waking up in my bed. My surgery was about 5 hours I was told. After, I woke up every 2 hours wondering what time it was and if i could go to BCRH. The nurse, Angeles, kept checking on me, giving me pain meds, bringing me juice, emptying my drains, changing my pad on my back (for drainage), and giving me water and blankets. Dr. C and Fatimeh called my mom and sister around 10:30 pm Eastern time to let them know the surgery had gone well.

This morning at like 8:30 Fatimeh and Dr. C came in. I had my wet bandages changed by the nurse and Dr. C showed me a pic she had taken with her camera phone while I was in surgery lmao. It was of my butt, she said "I love your results, let me show you!" Haha. So pretty much: she took off 4 lbs of skin & fat and brought my stomach down to an inch over my old belly button. My incision is low but a little higher than normal because there was this one stretch mark I HAD to have gone! It only shows like 4 mm or so, so you can't even see it. I ended up getting an ETT and my scar was longer in order to account for saggy skin on sides, which Dr. C hates...her incisions are usually a little longer from what I've seen. She told me she took out 5 liters of fat, brought my waist in 4.5" (the least she will pull in is 3" for people who exercise a lot, so she said I had good muscle tone ;]), and put 760 into each cheek. At first, I was like um, my ass was already big, now it's HUGE. I can't really turn to see my results as there's no full length mirror, but my stomach is smooth and needs to flatten out because the sides where your ab lines would be look scooped out, I'm sure bc the skin is stretched. My incision is a little puckered in places but I think thats normal, and my bb looks bigger than before, but I'm trying not to focus on anything because it's day one.

After, I wolfed down some yummy hot oatmeal with strawberries, jello and juice for breakfast, since it'd been so long since I'd eaten. The nurse said I needed to sit up and if I wasn't dizzy I could take a shower. Sat on edge of bed, thought I was fine and bam, got a hot flash and sweats and had to lay back down. Tried again 20 mins or so later, and was able to hobble my ass to bathroom with a walker and sit and get a "shower." The nurse gave me a bar of soap and wet me down but I didn't feel sqeaky clean, just no longer sticky. It wasn't some intensive, nook & cranny shower lol. Got back into bed, paid for my meds (I can't remember but I think they were $56), got my blood drawn for hemoglobin again, had to have my pad changed because I was soaked all over my back, fell asleep, woke up, got frustrated of not feeling normal or being home (and it's only day one), used Fatimeh's phone to call fam and friends, got my clothes on, got post op instructions from Fatimeh, hobbled down the stairs to the van,gave the instructions and pills to Carmen, and rode back to BCRH; so here I am! Just demolished some fish, rice and veggies and juice after getting into bed and taking some meds. Feeling better but I know that this is gonna be ROUGH. Not in my faja yet, and I can post before pics but no afters yet bc I haven't been able to take any.

So I wake up every few hours at night, so Im' up...

So I wake up every few hours at night, so Im' up early today. I can almost stand straight and it's post op day 2! Just got up to use the bathroom--I have yet to use my funnel and I can walk a lot easier today, still bent over though. That makes me super happy! I'm draining pretty well and the pain is starting to subside. The nurses keep complimenting my incision :) and today my inner knee area (which I've always hated) looked slim as hell. Still some minor pain, but overall feeling good! Just keeping my end results in mind to get me through this...time always goes on! Been taking all my vitamins & meds...now I really just need a more thorough shower!

So I wake up every few hours at night, so Im' up...

So I wake up every few hours at night, so Im' up early today. I can almost stand straight and it's post op day 2! Just got up to use the bathroom--I have yet to use my funnel and I can walk a lot easier today, still bent over though. That makes me super happy! I'm draining pretty well and the pain is starting to subside. The nurses keep complimenting my incision :) and today my inner knee area (which I've always hated) looked slim as hell. Still some minor pain, but overall feeling good! Just keeping my end results in mind to get me through this...time always goes on! Been taking all my vitamins & meds...now I really just need a more thorough shower!

Ugh looks like my previous post went up twice -.-...

Ugh looks like my previous post went up twice -.- anyway, added a new pic. Btw, my weight before sx was 163.

Ladies, the struggle is REAL lol. Ugh, this...

Ladies, the struggle is REAL lol. Ugh, this recovery is a roller coaster. Sometimes I'm super happy and excited, and sometimes I get really down. Been having nightmares because of the meds and feel super tight in my tummy. Took the little brown pill last night & still haven't pooped! -.- Hopefully get my faja and first massage today. The first 2 times they unwrapped my bandage on my tummy for a shower, I got a hot flash, dizzy and had to lay down because I felt like fainting. The third time (yesterday) I did a little better, but I still got the shakes. It feels like you're gonna fall apart! I've stopped looking at my tummy when I shower or even in pics as much because it makes me feel nauseous/unstable. I'm going to try to walk around every few hours. Girls, DON'T try to stand straight even if you "can" before the 7 days Dr. Cardenas recommends. She said that it can disrupt your blood vessels in your tummy and cause necrosis. Take it slow, ask for help & keep your heads up. That's what I'm trying to do!

FINALLY pooped after FIVE days smh! Took 3 of...

FINALLY pooped after FIVE days smh! Took 3 of those little pills and one suppository enema thing (didn't hurt)...smh I know it's an overshare but I was SERIOUSLY uncomfortable. Don't eat cheese or excessive carbs, take your stool softener/mild stimulant laxative a day (or a few days) before, walk around to wake up your "sleepy" bowels, do what you gotta do girls, because that was the most unpleasant, frustrating part of my surgery experience to date. Had my first massage today too. Not sure what all the hype was about, but it realllllly didn't do much. She said I don't have much fluid in my back, and it was a lymphatic drainage massage, so maybe that's why. $40 down the drain lol. I'm quickly losing my appetite because every time I eat I feel tight, and I HATE it. Ladies...idk if you were mislead, but while BCRH food is GOOD, it's NOT really that healthful lol. The juice has added sugar and I def had three quesadillas over three days which prob added to my epic constipation -.-, not to mention these are the most carbs I've had in months! I'm not really complaining but there is temptation here, so I'm going to try to eat more healthfully for the rest of my stay. Btw, my ass was already big & now it's HUGE, so I've been sleeping on it and don't really mind. I hope it's not this massive bc I did NOT want a donk. I like the shape but it's too early to make any judgment calls. Also didn't shower today because every time I take off this wrap on my tummy, I feel nauseous, sick & unstable. Dr. Cardenas took me off pain meds because of the nausea. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I never take medicine for anything, and so I'm sensitive to all the pills? Regardless, no faja today because of the nausea, again. Shower first thing tomorrow *shudders* and into the garment I go. Pain pump should be removed tomorrow too, which is okay because the pain isn't too bad, though it's there. Sigh. Keeping my results in mind because I am uncomfortable, tired and on the constant search for a comfortable position. This recovery is a cold-hearted bitch lol.

Felt a lot better today. Pain pump was removed,...

Felt a lot better today. Pain pump was removed, and it didn't hurt at all. It felt awesome when they pulled the tape off my back, like a great back scratch lol. Had a great shower, pooped (!!!), could wash my hair by myself, and walked more. Put my faja on today but couldn't close it all the way because my right drain felt like it was on fire on my hip bone. Dr. Cardenas said it's normal and I can leave it open for now. She is so awesome, and comes to visit us everyday. I love her and the nurses. Other than that, I'm a little straighter today and should be fully upright soon. Every time I eat I get a tight feeling in my tummy, which is unpleasant; and at night it's hard to find a comfy position to sleep in and I get stiff, but it's not really pain, just discomfort. Every day is one step closer to healed!

Feeling a lot better, and in less pain. At this...

Feeling a lot better, and in less pain. At this point, I'm just on ibuprofen 800 and antibiotics, I believe. Had my 2nd massage today because Dr. Cardenas said that you can start seeing results after the 3rd or 4th. After 3 massages, you get the gift of a facial, which should be cool! Had a little allergic reaction to the tape for the gauze on my tummy and have two itchy blister looking things. Nothing major. Took my faja off to wash it and I'm back in the gauze wrap so I feel secure. I don't get nauseous anymore when it comes off since I've been off the meds. Trying to see if I can get this right drain removed because it burns and prevents me from closing my faja -.- As a result, I have lots of swelling in my lower abdomen/pelvic area since I could only button up the top without the right drain feeling like it was on fire. -.- No bueno, but what are you gonna do?! Hopefully these little stitches from the lipo come out today too, the incisions I can see are tiny and look healed. Saw my shape in the mirror again today during my shower and liking what I see for once...my shape is pretty damn sick. ;) Posting a new pic, post op day 5! Looking better & better, though I'm concerned my scar is a little higher on MY left, and my hip a lil lumpy? Eli the nurse said it's because of inflammation. Let's hope!

Hey ladies. Today is officially ONE WEEK POST OP....

Hey ladies. Today is officially ONE WEEK POST OP. Got my 3rd massage today, and a facial. All of my stitches came out too, which hurt a little but nothing serious (like getting a splinter removed). There were one each on the back of my arm near where my armpit meets my arm, two down the center of my lower back, one above each butt cheek, one on the back of each thigh below each butt cheek, and one under each breast (she lipoed my sides a little). I didn't have stitches on my inner knee lipo (incision in the back, fold of your knee) and pubic fold (side of mons pubis where your thighs crease)--those incisions just closed up on their own. All of the incisions sites have a little scab/scar that looks like if you scratched open a chicken pox bump or a bug bite, but with scar creams they should fade to nothing. The pubic lipo scars literally look like thin, 4 mm long scratch - almost nothing. Just letting you know, because lipo scar locations was something I had trouble researching pre-op. Still draining but the fluid is more yellow & transparent. I will probably be going home with just one drain. Still not in my garment because of the discomfort the right drain poses, but Dr. Cardenas said that the same thing happened to her, and she didn't put her garment on for two weeks (she had a CTT and lipo), so I'm not worried. She said everything is looking good, and gave me the approval to get ultrasound massages and start using Rosa Mosqueta oil on my incision, because it's all scabbed up now. I can't WAIT, because I read it really helps with scarring. She also said not to use the silicone strips/belt for 3 weeks because they will cause moisture on the incision. Oh, and I met Ronnie, who manages BCRH and is married to Dr. Cardenas, and he was super sweet, friendly and polite. I leave this Friday and my mom will be staying with me for the weekend, but next week Monday through Friday I'm on my own, so I hope I'm closer to normal by then. Overall, feeling a LOT better and appreciating every little step towards "totally healed." :)

So I'm really upset. Scarring and my belly button...

So I'm really upset. Scarring and my belly button being cute were my biggest concerns, and I'm having some issues. The last night before I left BCRH, I finally got into my garment. One of the nurses put some gauze lightly on my incision, and none in my belly button. We put the EpiFoam on. The next morning I didn't shower, headed to the airport and made the flight home. Wasn't as bad as I thought I was gonna be, besides me being a little gassy. Anyway, I get home, and look at my belly button, and there is a brown fluid crusting around it, and what looks like little pink, fluid-filled blisters inside around the stitches. I clean it out with antibacterial spray, and put Bacitracin on it. The next morning, I take everything off, and my right drain site had opened up some, and had brown fluid crusting out of it, with a yellow, rubbery looking material in the flesh around it, with some pink showing through. It has no smell and doesn't hurt. I sent pics to Dr. Cardenas and spoke with Fatimeh. Dr. Cardenas wasn't in the office, but passed along the message that she saw my pics and everything looked normal; Fatimeh also said it wasn't infected, and was normal, advising me to keep it dry, and take a pic on Monday to show them/follow up. Since then, I've been keeping the areas clean with the spray, drying them with a q tip, applying Bacitracin and then gauze. I'm not wearing the foam on my tummy for now, just my sides. I'm SURE it occurred because the gauze on the incision moved, and that and the gauze-LESS bb and incision both got hot; and since the foam is plastic, it trapped the sweat and irritated both areas. -.- I'm SUPER angry. I did so much preventative care, researched, bought so many post-op supplies, and I'm scared my belly button is going to scar weird or close up, in addition to the fact that my incision is no longer super thin around this one drain hole. My friend who had lipo in Miami said the same thing happened to both of her drains, and she thought it was infected too at first. Anyway, I'm really really angry and discouraged. It grosses me out to think about it and I'm super f*cking frustrated and annoyed. Any advice would be helpful.

Today is 2 weeks post op, and I removed my right...

Today is 2 weeks post op, and I removed my right drain this morning. You might remember that this is the drain whose incision site opened up. You can remove the drains once they drain 25 cc or less in an entire 24 hour period. On 1/21 it drained 25 cc, and on 1/22 and today, 1/23, it drained a little less than 25 cc. I washed my hands, rubbed the site with an alcohol swab, and cut the stitch with disinfected scissors. I pulled the entire thing out slowly--it didn't hurt but did feel weird. I covered the hole with a 3M medical adhesive wound dressing after pressing out any fluid. I figure that since the incision opened up, it will take a little while to close completely, so it will continue to drain a little. Also, not sure if this is important: but I can see one of the dissolvable stitches through the incision opening. I didn't cut it, I just left it alone. My left drain is still draining too much to take out, but hopefully on Friday I can remove it. I've posted some pics to show you how I'm doing. Everything is a process. The scabs have been falling off my incision site and it looks pink, and like it's going to fade really well. I've been putting Neosporin on it, and keeping my belly button clean, dry and packed with gauze or cotton. It looks like those bumps are going down, I heard they were caused by fluid/swelling. My garment is getting too big--I have it on the 3rd hook with EpiFoam; so, I ordered a small double reinforced Marena garment (I'm in a large now). I plan on getting this one and the other one taken in as needed--Dr. Cardenas and Fatimeh said that there really is no need to buy a stage 2 garment or a waist cincher (the garment I was put in was already a stage 2 style girdle, and the cincher can cause seromas and is unnecessary since the Dr. brings your waist in as much as your body frame will allow anyways). I still have some bruises on my arms for the lipo, but I haven't been using my arnica gel as diligently as I should. I also have some hard lumps on my sides in my lipoed areas, which should break up with massage, from what I've heard. I've been using my handheld massager but I should step up how much I do. I try to do about 10 mins per area. Showering alone is easier now. I'm still not fully upright, but much straighter; I don't want to put unnecessary strain on my incision. I also had some wrinkles coming up from the incision on my right side, which seem to be going down. My incision is definitely longer on my left, and I think one side might be a little higher than the other, but overall things are looking good. My butt is pretty much like my old butt, but rounder on the top and bottom (I didn't want a shelf), and I'm really happy with the shape. Btw, I've been sitting on my butt this WHOLE time lol, because I thought it was too big and my TT was my main concern. Tried on a bikini bottom and shit looks CRAY! ;) lol. One thing I'm NOT so happy with is my inner knee lipo; I know I could still be swollen, but one side looks a little slimmer than the other, and they don't look too much different. I guess we shall see how things are in a few weeks since inner knees are also still bruised. Also, she didn't do my upper back, though we'd planned for it, because she said I didn't have much fat there. I plan on working out like a boss again once I'm cleared to at 6 weeks or so! I'm just focusing on taking care of myself as best I can, resting and trusting that everything will heal up beautifully. I also keep Dr. Cardenas' office apprised of any changes, my healing, and my concerns. Thanks for all of your support ladies!

Drain #2 (left) is still in, but that's ok because...

Drain #2 (left) is still in, but that's ok because I just got into my size S Marena garment (reinforced option...call to order it, it's not available online ;] ) from the large. I'm going to have this small one taken in once it gets too big, instead of buying a bunch more fajas. I might have the large taken in too so that I have another one to wear. The small is on the last hook with no foam, Here's hoping it squeezes this fluid out before this last drain is gone! To update: the opened part of my incision isn't draining as much. I've been keeping it clean and dry. All I need now is to stop feeling so achy, get rid of these lipo lumps that hurt and be able to stand completely straight! Progressing little by little.

I had to go into the city today for a meeting,...

I had to go into the city today for a meeting, which meant 1) the first time leaving my apartment since returning home from the airport, and 2) the most walking I've done since before surgery. I was in the small garment and felt out of breath after a block, not to mention super restricted in my clothes and garment, and the fact that I was walking slower than usual and not super straight. Ended up taking a cab home because my drain and incision started to feel like they were tingling/burning. Came home and incision looked...stressed. I'm scared it might split, so I put a bunch of Neosporin on and got back into my large garment to be comfy. I also feel like I have a pouch of swelling in my upper abdomen. If I bend over it hangs a little, so I'm hoping it's just inflammation. Has this happened to any of you ladies? OOH! I tried on some lingerie I bought for V Day and I look like a damn video vixen! Super happy :D I can't wait to heal up completely. ;)

Today makes 3 weeks post-op. I removed my belly...

Today makes 3 weeks post-op. I removed my belly button stitches myself this morning. It didn't hurt, but it was annoying to do. It looked like a little piece was left from one of the stitches, but when I pulled it with a tweezer, it seemed to be connected to something much deeper, so I got nervous & left it. Not sure if it was a deeper stitch, but it was black.

Anyway, he pain is okay, haven't been on painkillers at all, but I get a lot of lower back pain, especially at night, even though my back above my butt and below my waist is numb. I feel a weird pressure when I have to pee too, and it hurts if I pee after waiting a long time. The swelling is still a lot. My left drain is STILL in -.- and drained about 35 ccs yesterday. My upper and lower abdomen and pubic area are still swollen (they swell a lot) and I am bigger in my waist than I was before surgery. I haven't been eating the healthiest, so that's probably contributing to the swelling, and have been kind of down lately. I don't think I gained any real weight, and hopefully I'm PMSing. I started off in a Large garment but have been wearing the small one for a little less than a week. I can stand pretty much completely straight, but when I'm swelling it humps me over a little bit. My scar looks almost invisible in some places, and in others it's more noticeable; some places also feel ropy with scar tissue, mostly in the front where I believe my drain is/was placed.

I've attached some 3 week pics. My belly button is dark on the inside from the scarring, and still has some bumps inside that are hard when I touch them. My lower back is pretty numb. Also, my inner knee area that was lipoed is smaller on one side (right side) than on the other, and sometimes it looks like my abdominal incision is longer/higher on my left. I still have those two wrinkles coming up from my incision on my left too, hoping that they'll be gone once swelling goes down significantly. Lastly, I haven't been able to get any massages because I haven't been able to find a place in NYC that does ultrasound massages. However, my lumps and bumps from the lipo on my sides have gone down, so I'm not too worried.

Curiosity killed the cat! I saw some hairs...

Curiosity killed the cat! I saw some hairs surfacing near my incision and took them out with a tweezer. They slide out so easily I have pulled them with my fingers. Anyway, there was this one spot on my incision, I thought it was an ingrown hair. I picked at it with a tweezers and it was a little scabby hard thing, so I tried to pull it and I think I opened up my incision a tiny tiny bit! I stopped and put a bunch of Neosporin on it. I'm so over feeling like a science project!

So...upon further inspection & research, that...

So...upon further inspection & research, that ingrown hair thing was a spitting stitch! I pulled it a little with a tweezer and snipped it. It was literally just the knot of one of the dissolvable stitches...and there was an ingrown hair next to it, too lol. I disinfected it and put more ointment on. It is a tiny little hole like a pinhead. One more update: I put a little cotton cylinder (not sure what to call it...my great aunt uses them for her hearing aids) into my belly button, and those bumps went away! My bb is now shaped perfectly--guess it was just the swelling. Will be doing this from now on!

FINALLY took my last drain (left side) out this...

FINALLY took my last drain (left side) out this am! Didn't hurt, but did feel verrrry weird pulling it out as I felt it move in between scar tissue. Cleaned the hole (which opened because of irritation around the site) with an alcohol swab, put some Neosporin on and covered it. I cannot wait for it to close up so I can finally start doing scar treatments!

Hey ladies. So I'm 5 weeks & a day post op. My...

Hey ladies. So I'm 5 weeks & a day post op. My left drain hole is still closing up. I find that I have some saggy skin on my back where I did the lipo but I read this is normal. I have swelling still...a decent amount. But I haven't been super healthy with eating at all. I don't eat a lot, but I've been down so I eat comfort foods. My back is still very swollen and my lower tummy & pubic area are too. I think I've noticed my butt flattening out a little bit...not on the top like I wanted but at the bottom. -.- I have been sitting on it since day one, but damn. I'm hoping it will fluff. Has this happened to you? Is there anyway to prevent this? My butt seems to be fuller at the top (not what I wanted) and less so at the bottom. Also, my inner thighs are uneven -.- It's a little upsetting but I knew my results wouldn't be perfect. :( I haven't done any massages and I've been slacking a little on my regimen in terms of taking Vitamin E and bromelain. I should start again. I'm in the small garment but I haven't been using Epi-Foam (though I want to) because it makes me sweat and it seems unsanitary since I don't know how to really wash it. Every time I shower, I put Neosporin on my drain sites, rosa mosqueta oil on my incision scar, and Kelo-Cote on my lipo scars on my back, near my butt, arms and under boobs, and also on my belly button incision. I haven't used my scar belt yet because my scar isn't completely healed at the drain sites and I don't want to mess anything up. Pleas let me let me know if any of you ladies have experienced what I'm going through.

Hey ladies, figured I'd post some new pics...

Hey ladies, figured I'd post some new pics (lighting not so great...sorry!). Healing is going ok, nothing eventful. I'm about 5.5 weeks post-op. Really cannot wait to get back in the gym! My left drain hole is almost closing up, but not quite, so I still have gauze on it. I don't like the lipo scars on my back and have been treating them with Kelo-Cote. The ones in my bra line & lower back look like bad blister/acne scars. I really hope they fade. The pleat that comes up from the right side on my incision is flattening out, which made me happy. My tt scar appears to be reddening, and my belly button scar is kind of dark/raised. I'm hoping all will go down. I've been sitting on my butt but I'm going to be more conscious of that. I like where it is now & don't want it to flatten out. My inner knee lipo is uneven and noticeable to me, but I don't think it's noticeable to others. It upsets me but I can't do anything about it.

I have some questions & concerns that maybe you could help me with: I have saggy skin on my upper back/bra roll area and back flanks. If I lean a certain way, I have rolls, and it is worse on my left side than on my right. I didn't have this before surgery. I know that I'm still kind of swollen (though it doesn't feel like I'm very swollen, I haven't been eating as healthy as I should and it's probably keeping the swelling there). My questions: will the rolls go away as fluid disappears? Is there ANYTHING I can do to make them go away?

Also, my waist is only 28" as of now...it was 29" before surgery. Will it go down (Dr. Cardenas said she took my waist in 4.5 inches, which should make it go down to around a 25")? Am I still really that swollen?

What about "fluffing" for your butt. Does it really happen and make that much of a difference? Last thing: I have some skin on my upper abdomen that kinda hangs when I bend over. If I suck in my tummy, it's flat/tight. Is this swelling, or is something wrong?

I realllllllly hope some of you ladies could kindly provide some of your own experiences/answers. I think that before surgery, finding answers to questions is important; but after surgery it feels even MORE important because everything is said and done and you're worried about your results. Thanks ladies! Lmk what you think!

Just tried on all my jeans--and nothing fits. My...

Just tried on all my jeans--and nothing fits. My ass doesn't fit into anything, mind you, I've always had an ass and worn size 10s. The one pair I could button (a super stretchy pair) don't come up high enough to cover my scar. I had all these dreams of wearing jeans with crop tops and I feel like crying. I get down so I eat comfort foods, and then I swell. Super depressed & tired of all the bullshit of this healing process.

Got my new Marena garment in a 2XS...WOOO it's...

Got my new Marena garment in a 2XS...WOOO it's tight lol. That's the smallest size left so hopefully this swelling goes down. First day back in the gym today. Did some interval cardio training & weights, AND some abs (nothing too crazy, did hurt a little though). I only plan on doing 3x a week for now. Also, I'm trying to eat pescatarian this week! Started my Scar FX silicone belt yesterday. It's wide enough to cut in half lengthwise to make 2 belts (more bang for your buck, b/c they're expensive as hell!). Make sure you're fully healed before using the strips or belt though, because they make you sweat on your incision. Dr. C responded to my email & still said I'm very swollen. My waist is currently about a 27" so that's good news. Also, I've gone out a few times without my garment, drinking/dancing/clubbing. Felt a little tight/swollen but nothing too traumatic. I put my garment on the next am when I'm awake. I don't plan on doing this too often, but some outfits require the garment stay home lol.

Hey all. So I'm still swelling but wanted to...

Hey all. So I'm still swelling but wanted to update you ladies & provide some new pics. I sent my previous pics in over a week ago to Cardenas and she said everything looks great. As you can see those rolls have lessened considerably. I've started to eat more healthily the past few days this week to try and prevent swelling (I have a photo shoot later today so I kind of needed to lol). About my scar: it is much darker in the front than on the sides for some reason, which is annoying; but I notice that my incision scar has definitely faded in the few short days I've started using the silicone belt. I can only imagine the results I'll see after a few months, and I'm gonna stay positive that it will fade well with consistent treatment. I currently weigh 165, I went into surgery around 167, so I'm assuming it will go down. I started working out but was so sore & swollen after that I haven't since Monday. My goal is 3x a week because my stamina isn't the same at all; my muscles were very very sore for days to the point where it hurt to walk down stairs, in addition to the fact that I get winded very easily even going up stairs (I'm assuming it's from the muscle repair, I was in decent/good shape before surgery and didn't have a problem with this). I've been a little lax with my garment but getting more strict, still in the 2xs and it feels a little better but still very tight. Still can't wear jeans but leggings look great and waist is still a 27". I currently wear a comfortable size 6 on top, size 6 in dresses. My size 10 jeans don't fit yet, and I'm probably a small in AA leggings, but the pic shows a medium. I also posted a pic of my lower back lipo scar, I want to say about 3-4 weeks in and today. I was using the Kelo-Cote gel on it, and now I just have the belt cover it. It has most definitely flattened and I'm thinking once I get a tan my back scars won't be noticeable. Still need to work on the belly button scar (also using Kelo-Cote) and the little ones under my butt cheeks (haven't treated them as strictly) but I think everything is going well. My hips are a little uneven, probably because I favor laying on my left (not so noticeable in the pics), so I'm trying to lay on my right for a few weeks. Lmk what you think!

So it's been a while and I figured I'd update. As...

So it's been a while and I figured I'd update. As time goes on there are some things I want tweaked about my results. Laying on my sides has made my left hip/side of butt a little flattened out as compared to my right. I am probably the only one who could notice it unless I pointed it out to you while naked and showed you exactly what I mean. I don't think my waist is exactly even in terms of shape on the sides, but it could be swelling around the incision area, so I'm going to keep an eye out. I haven't been wearing my garment for about a week as diligently as I should, so I am getting back to that (even though it's past 6-8 weeks, I would like to continue wearing it sometimes to help with shaping/swelling). When I don't wear it, I do feel tight and have swelling pain in my lower back and near incision. I haven't been eating as healthily as I should, which is definitely not something I expected. Dr. Cardenas really is right--after surgery, you slack a little. I think it's a combination of having the new body so thinking you can relax, and also being down/depressed at times...at least, that's been my experience. I have a wrinkle coming up from the left side of my incision that is noticeable, and my incision is very dark in the front as opposed to the sides. Also, one side is higher than the other. I am seriously considering a scar revision, but Dr. C said to wait about 6 months at least, and I've read that scars should be observed for about 1-1.5 years, so we'll see. I was using the silicone belt diligently until about 2 weeks ago, when I kind of slacked. I will be getting more strict again with the belt and garment. I also would like my banana roll lipoed if I do go back for a revision, because that was supposed to have been done and wasn't; in addition, I would have my inner knee lipo fixed because it isn't even. I haven't posted pics in a while but I plan on doing the Master Cleanse and getting back to healthy eating habits and my gym routine, so I will post pics in a few weeks. Still out of breath walking up stairs, etc...but it's less so when I don't wear the garment. The smallest I've seen my waist was 26.5 inches about two weeks ago, with swelling it's 27.5/28 now. I believe it is swelling and not weight gain. I think I may have gained around 5 lbs, but I really can't tell because my weight fluctuates based on what I eat daily (frustrating -.-). Overall, my body looks natural and I am happy with my results, though they aren't perfect and may needs some tweaking. I think that's inevitable with plastic surgery, especially lipo. I look great in clothes (even got some of my jeans on finally, though it's hard to fit the top of my ass in lol) and get lots of compliments and attention. (I always got attention before, but now it's to an obscene level, which I should've expected. The thirst is REAL ladies!) Most importantly, I feel confident about my tummy, which has always been something I obsessed about. I look at is as being one huge step closer to where I wanted to be. Hopefully with diet/exercise and possible revisions, I'll be 100% happy. :) Anyway, just wanted to keep you ladies posted. Please comment if you've experienced any of what I have!

I am a little over 4 months post op & wanted to...

I am a little over 4 months post op & wanted to update you ladies. I have gained a little weight because I have a new job that messes up my sleep/eating schedule, about 6/7 lbs. I am trying to be better with that & will start to hit the gym to tone for the summer. I can feel swelling in my lower incision area & pubic area, sometimes it hurts the area of my incision where the right drain was, which is annoying.

My butt & hips are a little uneven now because of laying on them and trying to switch sides/being unable to lie on my stomach for a while. The wrinkle from the left side of my scar is still there & has lessened but has not disappeared. There is a spot on the right side of my scar where a stitch came through and makes a bump/round scar that is darker & feels hard. My waist is currently around a 27" but I think this might be swelling from not eating the best (let's hope that's it :/ ). I haven't been wearing my garment as of around 3ish months or a little earlier; I also bought a Squeem waist cincher but haven't really been using it. I put KeloCote on my bb scar and was using silicone strips for the incision scar, but because I want a scar revision, I haven't been using the silicone strips lately. I would like to bring my scar lower on the left side and fix the wrinkle that's been bothering me (it comes up past low waist jeans & def needs to be lower). Additionally, some parts of the scar are darker/thicker (some areas have faded very well on the sides, but the front is very dark in comparison). There's also a little tiny tiny bump (dog ear?) at the right end of the scar. I would also maybe get some touchup lipo/fg to even out hips/butt. I also don't feel like my banana roll was lipoed, because I still have that same problem fat pocket! My inner knee area is uneven as well. So I would potentially do my banana roll area, & upper & lower back, and inner knees; maybe tummy/pubic/scar area since this swells, but idk if that will go down soon. I would go around 6 months, so this fall. I think that the lipo scars (at least the lower back one) were bigger than I thought. I've used Bio Oil on the back ones & think it's helped. Hopefully my tan this summer covers them up for good!

I currently wear a size 10/12 in jeans (a 9 if they're the stretchy cheap kind, bigger if they don't stretch...can't even really FIND jeans to fit right at H&M!) and can fit some, but not all, of my old ones. I wear a size 6 dress (as long as it stretches over my ass lol) and a size 4/6 top depending. I get so many compliments on my body it's flattering, and I also get a lot of questions about "is it real?" smh. I pick & choose who & how to answer, but all in all I feel much more confident...TOO confident, maybe, since I've slacked on my workouts! Anyway, I hope this helps. Please ask any questions or weigh in if you've had similar experiences :)

Cardenas TT, lipo & minor FG - Pics at 7 Months, 5 Days (Taken 7/29)

These pics were taken almost a month ago, but I hadn't posted. I emailed them to Dr. C. to show her the ledge and wrinkle I was talking about. Here's her reply to my questions:

It is great to hear from you.
I checked thoroughly your photos and I see exactly what you are talking about.
Answering your questions:

1. During the scar revision procedure, would the scar tissue be removed and the "ledge" be lipoed? Yes, scar tissue that is causing the" rope" feeling will be removed, and because this surgery will not create tension at all, then the chances to develop that thick scar tissue is very low. About the ledge, it is due to the remaining fat, remember that during the TT I can not lipo the abdominal flap, that thickness is due to fat and will be removed during liposuction and this will create a totally flat flap.
2. Is it possible to fix the wrinkle & lower the scar? I am not sure if I would be able to lower the scar, but the wrinkle area will be improved, but you have to know that is due to some degree of saggy skin, so the incision has to be longer to the back, a good 4-5 cms more.
3. Do you have any pictures of patients who have had a scar revision? I am not sure, but I will ask Fatimeh to look for them and if we do have, she will share them with you.
4. Do you think that in general, the look is greatly improved by the procedure? definitely the liposuction to the abdomen will improve the ledge, the scar revision will let a thin and soft scar and the extension on the back scar will help to the wrinkle area.
5. Does the bb also need to be corrected along with the incision scar? I can not see very good on that photo, the quality of scar on the BB, but if it is thick, definitely this may be revised too.
6. What is the suggested length of stay at Beauty Care for this procedure? Probably about 4-5 days.

Revision to the scar (where is needed) and liposuction to the abdomen quote is $2000 dlls. This is an out patient procedure.
You will have to wear the CG for 4 weeks, and no position would be needed.
Please let me know if you have any more questions. I will be more than glad to help and serve you.
Dr. Cardenas

Overall, I am happy with everything but what I've mentioned before about the scar, ledge, and wrinkle. The sides of my hips flattened a little from laying on them, but I've seen that happen to a lot of people. I will be going back for a revision once I save up the money, but I still like the way I look (aside from ledge -.-). I have gained weight, but I feel like most of it went to my butt...none of my jeans fit! I still swell too. Also, the area between my incision and belly button about 2 inches wide is still numb/without much feeling, and there is also little feeling on my hip bone/hip area right by incision. I have a little bump on the side of my incision where a stitch has been slowly moving up for months. One thing I did NOT expect was my loss of motivation to workout and have restraint with food! Didn't think it would happen to me. I used to be so obsessed with working out because I never liked what I saw; now that I have a flat tummy, I have been SLACKING to be honest! I'm working on it, it's a struggle; but overall, I still think the surgery was worth it and everyone--I mean EVERYONE--compliments me on my body.

Cardenas 9 Months PO Update

Just a quick-ish update for you ladies! I'm about 9 months PO and everything looks great. I mentioned I'd gained some weight from NOT eating healthy (I got too hyped about my flat stomach and slacked majorly). I've lost 15 lbs and can now fit my ass into my jeans (minus one pair from the Gap lol). The wrinkle is STILL there and one side of my incision is higher than the other, and shorter around to the back. I will be getting a revision because the front of my incision is kind of dark (the sides are less noticeable and a lot thinner); this is probably because Dr. C pulls the skin so tight! I also think my bb is a little bigger than it was pre-surgery. So yes, I want the revision to make the incision thinner, more even/lower on one side, to get rid of the wrinkle, and there's also a little bump where this stitch came through and will NOT go away, which needs to be fixed. Also, the top of my left butt cheek is flatter than the top of my right, and I think it's from laying on it, so I'll have to get some fg to fix it. She will lipo the ledge so everything is smoother. I'm not in a huge rush to get it fixed though. Need to save money up so I'll get it within the next year or two. Also, I didn't really use the massager I bought, ever. I still have some numbness on my tummy; the area is about 3 inches across and comes up from incision to bb. Hopefully sensation will return since it can even a year out. I also have some loose skin on my back. I guess this happens to everyone with lipo! I hate it but I haven't been working out, just dieting, so I'm sure I could improve the way it looks if I hit the gym. Uploading some pics for you ladies (I just ate so I look a lil thicker in the tummy). Feel free to ask me anything!


1/9/14 officially makes one year since I had my surgery with Dr. Cardenas. I am going to be going back for a scar revision and some lipo to my abdomen, inner knees (to fix unevenness...maybe), and fg to fix the parts on my hips/booty that flattened out my laying on them (the sides).

I still have the wrinkle, the ledge, and the little annoying stitch that pops out. It looks like a tiny splinter with a scar around it. I also have an area about 4 inches wide below my belly button where I have no feeling. I've kind of been using the ultrasound massager for it, but haven't noticed any real difference.

I did gain 20 lbs, and lost 10 so far (another 10 to go). Honestly the pics I took for the year update aren't that flattering, but I'll post more soon.
Mexico Plastic Surgeon

I've been researching doctors and have been in correspondence with Dr. Cardenas for almost a year now. She and Fatimeh have answered all of my questions and I'm confident in Dr. Cardenas' skills. Dr. Cardenas is patient, kind, and ready to answer all of my questions. She is honest and stands by her work, though she doesn't make unrealistic promises. Wait times are a little frustrating and after care is still in the works, but so far I am pleased, aside from the inevitable pain of recovery lol.

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