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Even before my son was born, while wearing a size...

Even before my son was born, while wearing a size 3 my tummy had never been flat. Fast forward 23 years, and and many pounds up and down later and that is where I am now. For years I have fantasized about what I would do if I ever won the lotto, since being a single mother meant that my first priority has always been my son. Now that my son is almost grown and about to graduate college, I am ready to do this for me and not feel guilty! 30 days until my dream comes true! I had already been stalking the Real Self site for at least 3-4 years reading other reviews and experiences, so it was much easier for me to make a decision on a doctor. I elected to go out of town to have the procedure not only for a lower cost, but also because the surgeons in Miami also have much more experience than the few that are in my area who charge more than quadruple what I will be paying down there. I also really liked the style of Dr. Salas's before and after results --which was also very important. A month ago, I made my decision, did my online consult, paid my $1000 deposit, booked the surgery date of September 7, 2016, then that night went home and booked airline flights, hotel room, rental car, and quit smoking. Yes, all just like that.... Never have I ever in my life wanted something so badly as I want this surgery, so the quitting cold turkey on the smoking actually was nothing, absolutely effortless!!!! (I had tried and had epic disastrous failures in the past with attempts to quit) Now the putting down the food is a whole 'nother story....lol ;) Here I am exactly 30 days out, and I have put on 15 pounds from quitting smoking and am working desperately on dropping that weight while getting myself ready for this surgery. This coming week I will be going to get my lab work, my EKG, and a medical clearance physical from family doctor. My insurance typically covers all lab work ect when my normal doctors order it, I am assuming that this would also be covered since its on a prescription that was emailed to me? (if any one knows, please feel free to share your experience) Vanity Cosmetic Center stated that LabCorp was familiar with them so they would have no issues getting the results in a timely manner. I have purchased two surgical binders, two pair of anti embolism stockings (for the flight and at night) , a rolling walker with the lil seat thingy, arnica gel, magnesium supplements , pee spouts (so i dont have to sit to pee) , wet wipes for bathing first day or so, easy to slip on dresses for the first few days and travel, slip on shoes, ect.... Trying to be super prepared for anything and everything. Does every one go through this phase of having a one track mind of not being able to focus on anything else other than the upcoming surgery and daydreaming of what they will be like afterwards? I am contemplating going ahead and throwing away some of my "fat clothes" now in anticipation of my new figure....

22 days pre op....Trying soooo dang hard to drop at least 10 pounds....

I am getting more and more excited as each day passes. My sister, who had lapband and later tummy tuck and lipo has been a pretty decent source of what to expect on the post op side of things, but honestly hoping that she is just whiny and weak compared to most of the stories of ladies I have read about on here. (she seems to think they are all faking it not being so bad lol) I did my lab work, physicsal and EKG last week and sent it to my sx coordinator Roxy Verde @ Vanity in Miami. She has been awesome at keeping in contact and letting me know she had received lab results from Labcorp and the ones I had emailed. My insurance did pay for everything, including an aortic ultrasound (???) that my family dr insists on doing for all patients over 40 looking for aneurysms in the abdomen?
On the sad side....I have been trying desperately to lose about 10-15 pounds that crept on when I quit smoking. I took the jump on the low carb , low cal wagon...now day 10 at staying under 20 carbs a day, lots of protein, and under 800-100 calories a day, while still at my decently active job--- total weight lost?? big fat freaking 0! That;s right, not one freaking pound....
I even talked to my family doctor about this, and his first question was if i was cheating, or not paying attention to what I was eating....so I graciously presented him with the printed out bariatric pre op diet that my sister endured (lost 23 pounds in a month) before her lapband..., which included strict intake at set times each hour during the day from 8am-8pm. The experienced really bummed me out a bit, and I went ahead and told him that I am afraid to eat even a breath mint!!! I stopped taking my probiotic gummies each morning because each one has 6carbs and 25 calories, and that I switched from the chocolate calcium chews to the pills due the chews having 3 carbs in each one. He is such an awesome doc, and told me not to give up, and to maybe increase my carbs just a lil bit. He also wants to see me within a few weeks after my tt to discuss a long lasting life style changes and to further assist in losing intro-abdominal fat and other areas that need to be worked on with diet and exercise. He is being super supportive and agrees that this will jump start things for me once that big long saggy pouch fat skin is gone. There are sometimes that this still doesn't feel real. I catch myself looking at clothes online that I imagine myself finally being able to wear for the first time in my life and looking good! At times that is almost like some drug induced high!!!!! Since I also dance Middle Eastern Raq Sharqi (belly dance) , I also find myself envisioning myself no longer being so afraid and anxiety ridden on a stage. My skill, style, technique, and talent are points of confidence for me... its just this body, and the saggy skin that keeps me from my real joy of sharing my love of dance....I can not wait to undulate and do ab isolations without my fat rolls!!! (yes i can do them now lol)

Day after....

so... I am in a good bit of pain, not just sore but pain. Went in for follow up this morning and since my doctor had no intention of coming in, and I was only being checked by a medical assistant. She said no one is given decent pain medication after surgery .... Some one also died there yesterday after mine, so boyfriend told them to get paper work ready for us to fly back home tomorrow morning! Saving grace is that I already have a doc in place for follow up care back home. Otherwise I have been getting up once an hour to walk back and forth for 5-10 minutes as instructed . The act of getting up or getting back in bed is the most painful, but it's easy to get worn out by walking/standing. I have a lot of swelling and a good amount of drainage. No bowel movements yet, but I have now farted for the first time in front of my boyfriend !!!! Lol

3-4 days post op....pain , flight home on day 2, rambling thoughts

So, my son and his girlfriend have been staying with me around the clock. I haven't needed a whole lot of help, and am glad I prepped , or over prepped prior to surgery. All of my meds were kept in a lil backpack/purse thingy in the bed with me, along with a couple of bottles of water ect. I made a written schedule also to help remember when to take what ect. Honestly, the pain meds given to me by the surgeon's office really were not sufficient, but after telling them at my followup that the one Vicodin every 6 hours just wasn't doing it, they pretty much told me that this was how they do in South Florida, and that one must have pain to have the beauty! Uhggggghhh. Knowing that it was such a low dose already, I did double up on it just to get home, and then asked doctor here for muscle relaxer, since my back, neck, shoulders ect were aching so much. Started on the 10mg of Flexeril, and now am only taking 1/2 of the vicodin broken in half only after I am hurting. By tomorrow , I most likely wont need it at all. I had read on here that many here are given muscle relaxers, pain meds, and abx. Not sure why my dr. did not give muscle relaxer up front. If he had,this would have bee a much better experience. I have been getting up and using the rolling walker (the kind with hand brakes and a lil seat in case i get tired or need to carry something) to get what I need for the most part (which is not a lot). First bowel movement finally yesterday, and since I have been up and down a bit more this morning walking from living room to kitchen a few times, two more today.
I am having to force myself not to take the binder off and sneak a peeks at my body. I know I have a lot of swelling along the incision, especially right in the middle above mons...but the areas I am the most worried about not looking even are my sides. I KNOW that swelling and fluids will make it look uneven for a few months even, however, any one who has had a TT will tell you how hard it is not to want to look at this amazing new situation taking shape. Not to mention that I had started my period a lil over 24 hours post op! yea talk about PMS from hell!!!! So yea, for any of you that are planning on scheduling a TT, MM ect...Please if you can, save yourself some messy, crampy, pms hell and try with all your might to schedule it as you are coming off your period, or right after if possible. I normally bloat up like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon for at least 2 days prior and 4 days after starting...well my body and hormones didn't give a crapola that I was having a TT with 2 areas of Lipo.
Before I forget, yes, I did fly home on day 2 post op. My flight was a 2 hour flight, and American Airlines was very accommodating, they came to curb picked me up in wheel chair, then took me through screenings, to the rest room, and assisted me onto the plane, and then all in reverse. I also made sure to stand up at least once for about 2-3 minutes, and also kept moving my feet and knees, stretching my arms ect during flight. I am in no way saying that I think any one else should try to do this, or schedule it that way, but we had a situation arise. Despite being given paperwork clearing me to fly, no one asked for it from airline or TSA.

Week 2 done, back to work 5 days post op

So yea, I stopped taking pain meds last Monday, and went back to work full time on Tues , 5 full days post op. I did drive myself the 3 miles to work, and home. Most of my day was spent at my desk, but I also got up and walked around a good bit once every hour or so. My first day back was 9 hours long, and since I get up at 530 am, and didn't get home until almost 5 pm, it left me almost totally exhausted. Came home, fed my lil critters and went straight to bed. Day two was even easier, and by last night (Friday) , I was feeling well enough to take myself out to a tiny dinner, then do some shopping before going home after work. I did feel the need to take a regular tylenol by the time I got home and into bed, and I also could just feel myself starting to swell up.
I am still draining about 50cc on each side each day, so drains aren't coming out yet.
Took some pics to look at my progress...I can def feel all the swelling, and the bruising that is still there...but honestly, even if this were the end of my progress, for the most part, I would still be happy that I was able to get this done. I am still wondering why I have bruising on the side of my butt, and hope like crap that the doc didn't suck fat out of my ass!!! (i don't have much, but wanted to def keep what was there!!)
Now if I could only figure out how to stop looking/shopping for clothes that are super baggy and hide my tummy/middle?

4 months--- So sad and dissapointed - really dissapointed!

Well, I have avoided posting for a while because when my surgeons office calls, all I hear is that you must wait until 6 months, its most likely just swelling, it will go away...don't worry about your hips looking hideous and and shaped differently, with the incision higher on one side by a couple of inches than the other side., no one will notice--HELLO??? I NOTICE!! Not to mention I belly dance, and that was told to Dr. Salas up front, so my hips are a very important part of my life and are seen by every one. WERE... . She(the medical assistant-- since I have only been able to see and/or talk to Dr. Salas one time the day before surgery, and he has never returned any of my calls or answered any of my questions) also told me that for the results I want, that I will need to come back for Lipo and BBL...I am like huh??? (my intent was to do so anyway for my back fat , inner thigh,and shape my butt---not to fix my crappy looking situation from my full TT)
Seroma drainage has been a bit of pain and started draining my $ since I had to go to another DR locally, and now after 4 months, I have been told that I need to go back to original surgeon, that he should be doing revision on me, to remove seroma capsule, sew/adhere the abdominal flap to muscles, fixing hips ect, and that there is still a good bit of excess skin? On top of all of this, every time I try to get up out of bed, or exert any force by engaging my upper abs, I have a really sharp pain especially on the right side. Of course when I have mentioned this to the medical assistant who calls once in a while, she is all sweet and nice and just blows me off saying its all just a part of the healing process. I am still having to wear my Faja Salome 216 every day for at least 12-16 hours, then at night I wear a light duty spanks type garment to sleep in. I feel like I am back to square one...I look ok if i suck in my muscles and hold them , but if i relax, its just as if I have the same muscle laxity as before..otherwise it looks like I traded in a flap of hanging skin for a shelf of bloated swollen thingy and an uneven scar with differently shaped hips that are asymmetrical. I looked ok before if I sucked in my muscles, and held them in or if i wore spanks, so now I am angry that I have gone through this, spent money, traveled, still in pain 4 months out and limited in exercise, and seem to not be much better off and Dr. Salas either does not know or does not give a hell about me as a patient . I honestly have never encountered or even heard of a doctor that would neglect or ignore a patient in this manner, let alone after a major surgery.

If I knew then hat I know now...Not my Doctor's fault

Well...my first mistake was not knowing that that despite choosing a good doctor, that getting him through a surgical center was going to be the cause of the no follow up night mare. I finally did get in touch with my surgeon, and sent him pictures, he personally has called me at least 3 times in the last 24 hours. He has let me know that it appears that it seems I have complete failure of the muscle repair. He has offered to re-do this again, free of charge, and of course I will have to travel and pay for the anethesia ect. I am totally fine with this. As I had said in my previous angry rants, there was no way that he could have been getting my messages via Vanity/Eres, because my pictures and description were very clear and indicative of the failed muscle repair. I had been researching the surgical center and had even mentioned the death that had occurred....it seems they are notorious for herding women through like cattle, the staff just try to keep you quiet unless its something to do with major infection, but still they just tell you every thing is normal and just to wait it all out. They prey on your lack of experience and frustration hoping you are going to just go away or go elsewhere when you cant get any one to send op reports, or get a doctor to return your calls. I have actually requested my op reports from them via email at least 4 times, and now 3 times on the phone, I have offered to sign a release as well. Each time, I am given a different excuse, such as they are organizing the records room, or moving the records room. Just as the excuses for why the doctor had not seen my pictures were equally crazy...he had a flat tire and had to cancel all his surgeries for the day so he didnt come in today, he decided that he needed to take a vacation so he will not be in until after the 3 rd week of next month, ect. Yesterday was quite interesting when I had the pleasure of being told that he was out of the country , and the girl did not know I had just spoken with him myself. smh, I genuinely feel sorry for this new post op manager, she seems to struggle with the lies to come up with on the fly, unlike Keyla who was a super fast talker and told me that any pain I had was just the price of beauty, and that I must wait until 6 months, ect. .... So, today I will call another department and request a copy of the op report....
Miami Plastic Surgeon

Care still in progress

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
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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