I've been stalking this fabulous site for 6...
I've been stalking this fabulous site for 6 months, and as the ball is starting to roll for me I figured it was time to start writing about my journey! :)
I've had 9 kiddos in 10 years and that combined with being persistently 70-100 lbs overweight in that time has done a number on my body. I have a pretty wide diastasis recti and lots of flabby skin that barely budged from weight loss and exercise. After my last little one was born last fall, I decided I was out of excuses and I've spent the last 5 months working my butt off - I'm down 70 lbs, currently 145, but still want to drop another 10-15 before surgery. I've gone from wearing maternity pants (or size 18/20s!) to a size 8 (almost a 6 if not for the darn belly roll!) and I'm excited to do the finishing touches!
I've decided to see Dr. Ortega, traveling to Miami from the NE, for an extended TT with lipo to the flanks and a breast lift with saline implants. After a decade of big pregnancy and breastfeeding boobs, going from a 40D to a 32C (really a B if they weren't so droopy!) has been the worst part of the weight loss. I'm thinking mod plus smooth around 375-400cc, hoping to end up a 32DD-DDD.
Surgery is booked for 10/14, deposit is down and I'm starting to look into hotel options and nursing vs recovery houses. Very excited!!
Weight loss photos
Still have 10-15 to go until I'm at my final goal, but here's my progress - before is 2 months postpartum, 215 lbs. Those are stretchy size 16s I couldn't breathe in LOL! After is 145 in my non-stretchy size 8s! I'll post before pics of the belly/bbs once I'm where I want to be and work up the nerve haha!! ;)
3 months to go!
Just booked my hotel and air - definitely getting real!! I got a great deal at the Best Western next to Spectrum; glad I won't have to worry about cabs but not sure how I hobble over to my room after surgery LOL! I plan on using a nurse from CSI, who will pick me up and come to my room with me - anyone know if Spectrum has loaner wheelchairs? I'm sure lots of ladies stay at that hotel so I hope there's some method LOL!
I'm at 135 now, still have 10 lbs to go I think. Some new pics - Gap size 4s eeek!! I think after surgery I'll make it to a size 2. I don't remember ever being that size!
I've also decided to switch from mod plus saline to high profile smooth silicone. Probably 400-450cc.
Okay, so that's my update! :)
Nearly 2 months out...
Wow. Scary how close it's getting!! Decided to finally post some naked pics LOL - the candid reviews of others have been SO important and encouraging to me, I hope mine are the same for someone else. :)
I started this journey in January with the following stats:
35" chest (40" bust)
15" upper arm
Size 18/20 pants, XL shirts
Today here are my stats:
30" chest (33" bust)
11" upper arm
Size 2/4 pants, S shirts
Although it's mind-boggling to see how far I've come, it's also humbling to realize that I'm not done. Being obese for over a decade has taken its toll. Ultimately, I'd love to be 120 lbs with stats of 36-26-36. I am working on building muscle in my thighs and arms, but those areas are so loose I may look into mini lifts next year after I've recovered from the tummy and boobs. I couldn't stand the scars of full lifts so I'm hoping I can either build enough muscle to avoid wanting lifts altogether, or get decent results with the "hidden scar" minis. My butt is a pancake and I'm working on glute building to try to get some volume back as I don't think I'd have enough fat for a BBL.
I am so excited about the improvements I could see after October, but I could still kick myself for letting myself go so much. I only hope that with lots of hard work (and some cash LOL!) I can feel really beautiful again.
11 days to go!
I leave for Miami in 9 days!! Cannot believe how close it is. Getting very nervous, to be honest; I hate pain LOL!
I am at my goal weight of 125, after 9 months of working my butt off (literally - if anyone has seen my butt, let me know, I'd like some of it back ha!!)
I am still not completely happy with my body, as I'm still storing a lot of fat in my thighs and knees, with some loose skin there and on my upper arms. I want to lose another 5-10 lbs but mostly reduce my body fat percentage. I probably will be going for a mini thigh lift and mini arm lift later next year, but will go closer to home. I want to get through this first LOL!
Anywho, here are my non-nekid pics, at 218 vs 125, 5'3"-4"ish, stats are 32-27-35, size 0/2!!!
I will post some more pics of the naked variety before my surgery. :)
Leaving for Miami!!
Only 2 more sleeps until surgery!!!
123 lbs, cannot wait to see the changes! :)
Tomorrow is the day!!
Wow I'm a bundle of nerves!!
I am staying at the Best Western Premier, which is literally around the corner from Spectrum - see my pic of my room view! I originally was going to stay elsewhere because the price always seemed about $130-140/night but I got the hotels.com app and lo and behold, it was a Hot Deal for $100/night! It's definitely worth it to be so close.
So this morning I walked over there to pay and get my prescriptions. Then I walked 1/2 mile down the street to CVS, where began a lengthy quest for Percocet. They were out. I walked across the street to Publix grocery store, they were out, too! I did my food shopping while calling every pharmacy around - they all said they were out. I walked back to the hotel and went back to Spectrum. CVS and Publix were legitimately out of it, since I gave them the prescription in-person, but apparently in FL there is a new law that requires pharmacies to always say they're out of controlled substances unless the person is there with a valid prescription. Weird, huh? I guess Miami has a large population of pain med addicted fabulous looking people ;)
With the advice of one of the lovely ladies at Spectrum, I Ubered over to a Walgreens a mile away. (Highly recommend Uber - only $4-6 most places within a mile or two!)
I had to wait an hour for the full, but I left with that darn Percocet! (And zofran for nausea and Keflex for a muscle-relaxant, in case anyone was wondering about the standard meds prescribed.)
I got my call confirming my surgery time - have to be there at 6:30am!
I have arranged a Home Health Aide through CSI, and she will be at Spectrum at 11am. Right now I've got 8 hours set up, but may use more depending how I'm feeling. I'm a tough cookie so I'm hoping this isn't too bad for me.
I am TERRIFIED, but excited, and can't wait to meet Dr. Ortega. :)
Today is THE day
14 Oct 2015
Day of treatment
It's 5:45am, I'm up and scared out of my mind but calm LOL
Last Before pics.
Thanks for all the encouragement ladies, and I will post about my diet/exercise during my huge amount of free time I'm about to have ;)
On the flat side
14 Oct 2015
Day of treatment
Got back to my hotel room about 2 hours ago, politely sent the HHA away, took a nap, and have been up walking around. I actually don't feel too bad, core muscles are sore like after an intense new work-out (it actually concerns me that they don't feel worse - should they be killing me? They were very strong before so maybe that helps?) and the girls feel tight but it's not as bad as being engorged when my milk came in for my little ones. My shoulders/upper back actually hurt more than anything, from being hunched over so much.
Dr. Ortega was wonderful, he really has the best bedside manner and makes you feel confident in his plans. I didn't get lipo - he said I had too little fat LOL - so I hope that eases my recovery. I went with smooth silicone 500cc Ultra High Profile; he said that was the most he could fit LOL and he thinks the UHP will give me the look I want (see my wish pics above). He also said I can think about doing a full lower body lift (all the way around) to lift and fill out the pancake butt, but didn't recommend it right now because it wouldn't allow him to define my waistline as much. I'll think about it another day LOL!
My only concern is the darn drains - are they supposed to be perpetually filled with blood? I tried "milking" them but that didn't do much; my drains are getting filled but I guess I expected the tubes to be more clear, but maybe that wouldn't make much sense for a slow drip type thing.
I love that Best Western has big comfy chairs with ottomans; I'm kicking back with some coffee at the moment. :)
14 Oct 2015
Day of treatment
Oops, forgot my wish pics. Here they are - told him I wouldn't mind being a bit bigger, basically whatever it takes to fill out the weird wrinkly skin I have on them. I think a D or DD is the end goal.
If it seems to be too good to be true...
Yeah, you know the rest. Felt so great, so little drainage, right up til I went to bed last night. Then I woke up at 2am with a small puddle of blood under an overflowing left drain.
Got up to empty it and suddenly felt like I did when I had a postpartum hemorrhage with baby #7 - sweating, shaking, clammy. Made it to the bed before I passed out. Woke up two hours later to the same feeling, left drain full again, and called 911.
I'm currently waiting to go back for surgery due to a suspected hematoma. Will be intubated and put under, very scared and miss my family terribly. I just hope I wake up and things are better.
Dr. Ortega did an exploration about midnight when the OR finally opened up. He found a small blood vessel that hasn't closed up correctly that was the cause of the hematom. Repaired that and closed my left side back up.
My hemoglobin is low but they didn't think I needed a transfusion just yet. I'm hoping I start feeling much stronger soon and can be discharged later today or tomorrow. I'm going to hire an LPN from CSI to be with me for at least 6 hours to be safer.
Dr. Ortega has been amazing, he called my husband every step of the way to let him know what was happening, how surgery went, etc. I am bummed over the crazy additional costs I'm going to be saddled with (my insurance stinks - very high deductible) but it was very scary for a while there and I'm just happy to be alive. :)
Belly button off center?
Trying not to freak out but after this ordeal it's hard not to. I ended up needing a transfusion and will be in the hospital until at least Sunday. :(
But got a peek at my belly and though it's nice and flat, the belly button placement looks off to the left. I am hoping maybe it's just from swelling over on that left side and as that goes down it will settle more center....but the thought of going through all this just to need a revision back home is incredibly depressing. :(
Weight loss info
I wanted to share what I did to lose 95 lbs in 10 months :)
For about the first 5 months, I didn't do any particular diet plan, I just tried to keep my calories at about 1000 per day. Usually, I had eggs for breakfast (2 fried or scrambled) and coffee with half n half and Splenda. For lunch I'd have a light Greek yogurt and maybe some carrots with dressing or celery with peanut butter, and for dinner I had a 6 oz portion of grilled chicken or fish, often with some cheese melted on top, with 2 cups of steamed veggies. I usually had one snack sometime, either an apple or cup of grapes, or 2 tbsp peanut butter.
I also worked out for 50-60 min every day. I started with TurboJam but after a month worked up to TurboFire - and TurboFire became the workout that got me so fit! It was hard because I was also finishing my bachelors degree and the only time I had to study and exercise was after the kids were in bed - but I did it, I was often in our family room at 11pm doing TurboFire LOL! I missed very few days. I did have a few cheat days on my diet, and after 5 months and 55 lbs I seemed to plateau, so that's when I started trying particular diets.
In May I watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (I think that's what it's called LOL) which inspired me to do a 2 week juice fast. It broke through the plateau and I lost 10 lbs, then I switched to a high fiber, moderate carb diet - lots of huge salads, veggies and fruits. Then i got braces, and suddenly couldn't eat any of those crunchy things anymore.
So, I tried a low carb diet - lots of eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, nut butters, soft cooked meats, always staying around 1000-1200 calories. Going low carb really helped as I seem to retain water easily so once get came off I could see how lean and strong I was getting and it really motivated me to keep going. Over the summer I decided to add in treadmill workouts because my thigh muscles get big easily LOL - so 4x per week I fast walked for 60 min (4-4.3mph) and the other 3 days I did TurboFire. That was my routine right up to the day before I left for Miami, and I'd been sticking with a slightly kerogenic diet (low carb, moderate protein, high healthy fat) but didn't actually sim for ketosis because I didn't think that would be healthy before surgery, so I had more protein.
The best advice I can give is to stick to it; my weight loss wasn't perfectly linear - there were many weeks where I didn't lose anything, or weeks where I lost and regained the same 5 lbs over and over, and other weeks (usually after a period LOL) where I lost more than usual. Just keep at it and don't be discouraged, look ahead long-term and eventually you will get there :)
Finally sprung from the hospital after transfusing 2 units of blood.
Of course it was like walking back into one's own murder scene. I cleaned up what I could.
I'm tired and rationing my Percocet so I'm going to sleep, but just wanted to say that unless you're coming to Miami with someone(s), don't do it. And be prepared for the fact that the cheap Miami surgery can end up costing more than the doc closer to home. So not worth it.
I'm alone for 4 more days. And I hate my boobs. They'll get better (hopefully) but right now they're Snoopy boobs and I just hate them LOL. And my incision sucks and I can already tell the left side scar (where all the commotion was) is going to be a doozy.
And weird, he put my drains IN the incision line, not out to the front separate like you usually see. Not sure what's up with that.
I already know I have to fly with them on Thursday. Fun stuff. Can I fit them in my 1 quart carry-on liquids bag? Ha!
5/6 days PO
Had my follow up visit at Spectrum today; Dr. Ortega says things look good. I need to keep the drains in for 2 weeks. Apparently he'd had to reopen the entire incision in the hospital, so I guess that makes me 6 days post original op, 5 days post reopening, a bit worried that means I'll have a really nasty scar, but I guess I'll deal with that when the time comes.
He started me on a compression band to bring down the snoopies - but said they should look great when they drop. I hope so. I see potential for great, if my body cooperates, which it isn't always apt to do! :p
I cannot wait to get home. I see Dr. Ortega one more time Thur morning, then fly home that evening.
Overall, I think I'll be happy with the final results. I snapped some pics in the mirror after my visit - my tummy is SO flat, and he said it's very swollen still - LOL to me, I'd be happy with it just as it is now. :)
7/8 Days PO
I'm going home today!! I can't wait to see my kiddos again :)
I have one more follow-up appt this morning, and then a lot of time to kill, so hopefully Spectrum lives up to their reputation for ridiculously long wait times today! ;)
I'm also showering for the first time since surgery this morning - I have just been too afraid to disturb things to do it sooner, but my hair looks like crap and I suspect that I'm smellier than usual LOL.
Here are some pics from this morning - swelling has gone down everywhere but my thighs!
2 weeks PO Update
I am 14 days post-op/13 days post reopening, so thought it was time for an update!
Physically, the first couple days home were exhausting, but I think that was more due to anemia than regular recovery. My center ab muscles get a bit sore once in a while, but my overall impression of pain from these procedures is that it was way less than I was expecting. I've seen women say that it's much worse than a c-section recovery, but for me that wasn't true. Today I feel physically at about 95%.
The drains were actually the worst part for me - such a PITA, in my way, restricting my movement, keeping them covered and away from little hands - blech!
I removed them myself yesterday, I was nervous but after a snip to each stitch holding them in, they came out easily and painlessly. Words can't express how happy I am to be rid of them! :)
My bandages are still on and I plan on leaving them alone for another week or even two before trying to remove them. The incision feels thin and flat so I'm hopeful it will look decent!
I had a moment of concern over possible seroma, which I was actually worried about in Miami - this one are below and to the right of my belly button just seemed so puffy and waterbed-like - but Dr. Ortega thought it was just normal swelling. Yesterday it seemed worse, but only when I sat - if I stood it went away - so I emailed Spectrum photos and a video clip and they were very responsive, told me to see if it improved after sleeping (probably not a seroma) or worsened (possibly a seroma) and call this morning. Huge relief to wake up and find the area almost flat, swelling way down and very little waterbed-like squishiness. Talked to Spectrum again and I'm just going to keep an eye on it but it doesn't seem to be a seroma right now. (I have seen many reviews on poor follow-up care from Spectrum and I just have to say how super impressed I am with their responsiveness with me!)
So far I am thrilled with my flat belly and waistline - my compression garment is too loose LOL, I seem to have to tighten it every couple days. I'm excited to see my final results in a few months once the swelling lessens.
As for the boobs, they are still very high but have dropped a bit. The left one is dropping faster but it had a bigger pocket so that makes sense. I'm still wearing a compression band and will start massages at 4 weeks post-op. I'm very happy with the areola reduction and placement, and very hopeful that once these puppies drop they're going to look great. :)
Here are some updated pics :)
One more pic
Just an FYI on compression bras - you will probably need more than one size!
I brought a Small with me to Miami, because the Medium was just huge on me. (Marena surgical) Afte surgery, it was just too snug and hurt my incisions. Spectrum sent me off in a Medium. The incisions don't hurt anymore and I'm able to fit into a Small comfortably now - the Medium was just too big.
I'd definitely take two sizes to be safe! :)
3 weeks PO
I will take pics showing scars at the 4 week mark, and hopefully looking less swollen - I'm at 128 and have been eating more carbs than usual so I'm bloated in belly and thighs; trying to get back on the diet! - but here are some 3 week PO pics.
Boobs still high but improving, and love, love my new curves. (Hubby does too, I think! LOL) Went crazy at Victoria's Secret, in a 34DD! :)
4 weeks PO
Just a few pics and small update - doing well, feeling physically back to normal. I got on the treadmill yesterday for 40 min at a very brisk pace, though slower than pre-op, and felt sore in my core muscles this morning and seemed more bloated. So I'm going to take it a bit slower I guess LOL
Not too much swelling unless I eat a lot of carbs or sodium - those things always made me pack fluid but it's worse in my stomach now. I'm up to 128 but I know much of that is water retention; still, it's been hard eating well when I can't work out to keep me on track!
My waistline is down to 26" now, without me engaging my muscles like I used to (that's down 3"!!!), some of my pre-op size 2 jeans are a bit loose!
I have a love/hate relationship with the boobs; they have dropped some and the left is starting to look more normal, but the right has the so-called waterfall effect going on, where my lower skin hangs off the implant since it's still so high. I've started massage, so I'm hoping within a couple weeks they start looking better. In a bra/shirt they look great LOL!
7 week PO
Just a couple pics. Doing well. Breasts are dropping nicely and starting to love them!! :)
3 months post-op!!!!
14 Jan 2016
3 months post
Wow, can hardly believe it's been 3 months!! I feel like I'm pretty much fully recovered, back to my pre-surgery fitness level and routines. I definitely still notice swelling, especially after a hard workout or if I eat too many carbs or sodium, but the swelling is isolated to the lower tummy now, the upper tummy stays pretty constant.
I have been abit worried about the right implant not dropping enough, and that I might need a revision, but just the last week it has dropped much more and I feel hopeful that by 4 months out, or 6 months at the latest, it will look just as beautiful as the left!
I am really happy with my results! My breasts are round and perky and big but not crazy big, I can downplay or emphasize them as needed ;) My stomach looks pretty great too and my belly button is perfect. My waistline is at 26", so about 3" lost from surgery. Stats right now are 36-26-36...couldn't ask for much better than that, right? :) Looking at my before pics it's shocking how big the difference is.
I hope by 6 months things are fully settled and I will really see the final final results!
So happy with my results!!
23 Jan 2016
3 months post
I'm back down to 125 and back into my usual HIIT workouts which are really toning things back up, plus the swelling has lessened even more, so I'm really starting to love how everything looks!
My right breast still hasn't dropped completely, hoping it does soon, but the girls still look pretty good I think.
Dr. Ortega did an amazing job! :)
A few new pics! I can't stop buying bras LOL!!
A few more pics
24 Jan 2016
3 months post
Some morning pics. Wake up with zero swelling, still have a little pot belly from the swelling by afternoon.
Still can't believe the difference in before/after!!! Totally worth the money and tears! :)
Please pardon the plunger in photos LOL