Former Fatty

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Hey guys and gals, I am a 26 year old guy. I...

Hey guys and gals,
I am a 26 year old guy. I started gaining weight when I was young. The weight gain and lack of activities resulted me being an obese kid at the edge of 11. Same lifestyle continued until I was 18. At that point, my brother planned his wedding for the August of 2008. I decided enough is enough and zi need to change this. Main reason was other's comments about how cute snd chubby I was. I hated it. I did not find it funny or cute. I looked at my eldest brother's wedding photos and I was obese. I also realozed that age 18 I can't be much active and enjoy life. Once I got into college, I became friends with a guys whom which is my best friend up to this day. We strated running outside and lifting 4 times a week for 9 months. I started dieting and actually changing my lifestyle. Over the 9 months I lost around 100lbs. No one recognized me at the wedding. That me really proud. I moved back to thr states 6 months after that. I started college in MN and the weight kept creeping back up despite me working out. This had to do with bad dirt and lack of money as a student. Yup. Like that zi regained all thay weight plus some more. In 2011 I graduated from college. I knee what needed to be done. So I started my routine. I knew what needed to be done. I started running 5Ks 4 times a week for 6 months and came down from 250 to 212. I started doing crossfit. With that I dropped the weight down to 192 and gained a lot of muscle mass. I completely changed my eatimg style. No more greasy food. Lower carb and sugary stuff. Protien intake increased dramatically. Due to back injuries I stepped away from Crossfit and resumed lifting. I dropped down to 180 which is my current weight. My legs and upper body are in good shape. Not so much with the stomach.

I researched around and found Dr. Tholen. After many hours of research I made the appointment. I went to it and had a great meeting with Dr. Tholen. I knew he is the guy to help me reach my goal at that point. I made the surgery date so I would not back out of it.

Dr. Tholen was nice enough to give me his cellphone number and told me to reach out to him if anything comes up. I have talked to him 3 times over phone and he has been assuring and helpful. Such a great guy.

So here I am. A bit anxious. Just about the recovery process. I don't like uncertainty. We have 2 cats and Dr. Tholen said they are a big NO NO. I cannot be around them due to higher chances of infection with cats. So I will be confined in my room with my PS3. My mental situation will be tested for sure. Thanks to my beautiful wife for taking a full week of to take care of me, this should be no problem.

I will upload pictures from old times to present to show the progression.

Current pics

Current body picd

Pre OP done and 6 day pre OP

Yesterday met with my primary care and took care of the exam. Things look good. I am getting super nervous now.
My plan was to lose a bit more weight but due to schedule issues I put up 6lbs. It kind of made me depressed. I feel like I let myself down. Man, my mind is playing tricks on me. Won't lie. I am a bit of nervous wreck. Phew. As for the weight gain, i think it is mostly water weight. I have sever ongoing constipation and retain good amount of stool internally as well. Dr. Tholen has been great responding to my concerns. I have texted him multiple times, even on the last weekend and he has been great. Sorry for bothering you so much lol
Main thing is to have stool softener on hand. My PC wants me to take 1tsp of Miralax each day to help my constipation. I am also on 8mcc of Amitiza. Dr. Tholen emphasises on using Fleet Enema the night before and morning of the surgery. Hopefully these help me get through the recovery and the constipation.

I have been at the gym non stop for the past 10 days. I am planning on uping my cardio amd lifts while I can. It makes me sad to know that I will lose some of my strength. It will be a rebuild all over again lol

Going through pre OP instructions. Pubic shave and Hibiclens

I was a bit confused on the directions. 2 things:
1) shaving pubic area
2) Hibiclens on all body specially groin area

I read so many posts by surgeons advising against it unless directed by them. Some hospitals will cancel your case if you shave a body part. It can increase the rate of contracting an infection. It makes sense specially if surgery is done at a hospital. I read about so many people who shaved their arms, legs, or body a day before surgery. That is bad and it allows your body to be exposed to nasty bacteria. There is also no straight answer in regards how late you can shave. In my case I called the office and talked to one of the nurses. She suggested trimming instead of shaving. She said the point is not to clean completely. She advised against shaving as it can get super itchy post surgery.

As for the Hibiclens. It should not be used on face and genitials. She said I can clean around the genetials and not too close to it. The bottle also states no shaving after it. So I guess I will trimm tonight and then start my showers on Saturday. Hibiclens showers starting 2 days priror to surgery and the morning of the surgery. Bottom line. If in doubt, call your surgeon and ask.

Oooh gettimg close...also unnecessary stress pre surgery

So I went to the store and bought some washcloths for pre and post surgery bathing.

We have two cats at home. One has history of UTI. I recognized that he started jumping in and out of the litter box and peeing a bit each time. I just crossed my finger that this would go awat the same as last time. Firsr time we eneded up at the ER and pain med resolved it.

Oh boy I was wrong. Wife gets home at four and calls me to tell me that he is bleeding.
We had to rush him to the vet. Fortunately no blockage but I had to monitor him all night and take him back the next day. 500 bucks later, he is diagnosed with a small amount of crtstal in bladder and now needs to be on prescription diet...yay this brings up his food cost to over 100 bucks...
I am gkad he is fine though. Funny part was watching him high on pain meds

Tick tock tick tock...almost there

Oh wow. Time flies like crazy. Here I am. In 3 hours the surgery will begin.
I did 1 enema and anti bacterial shower last night. Oh boi, the cramps were not fun.
Woke up around 5.30am to do another enema per Dr. Tholen's instructions. I give it an hour to feel normal. I thing I mostly emptied my bowel last night but still have pretty annoying cramps. Next step will be another Hibiclens shower.

Here I Go

Wish me luck everyone

I am alive lol

Thanks all. Dr. Tholen was awedome. And his team went above and beyond. But oh boi oh boi. This hurts. Initially tightness hurts. But now I am narco. Id say i have a stinging pain on the sides. Getting out of bed is going to be hard

Man it is painful

No kidding when people say let others take care of you...im super tight. Breathing is a bit funny.
I woke up with no issue from anesthesia. My surgeon uses TIVA (complete IV anesthesia) and not the gas. I woke up 20 min later and was alert. There was a dude by me and he was tripping lol
But I nearly cried trying to get out of bed. My bed is a bit high so we got a stool. Helps but it is tough. But try eating sugary stuff before getting up. My blood pressure dropped like crazy on the way to the restroom. At most 15 steps inside bedroom. I was white and pale as flour. Once I sat down and drank something, I recovered.
But man getting out of the bed is a huge task. My wife is an angel. She is taking care of me nonstop while I am ordering things every 10 sec. Thank god she lifts. You need a strong person. Otherwise get a recliner. I have no issue sleeping in bed. Issue is getting out of the damn bed lol

Feeling much better

It is super hard to get out of bed. Really plan for a helping hand. Annoying thins was I had to pee every 2 hours. Sucked to ge out but needs to be done. I started having gas. Relieving it helps. I will start stool softners. I have been told by many of the kind people who reached out to me to prevent it as much as possible. I am taking muscle relaxant every 3 hours. This is helping a lot. Not much psin now. Just tightness and stinging pain. I can also get out of bed a bit easier. Well, my wife can get me out easier lol
She locks her arms around my back and gently lifts me to a sitting position. I let me feel dangle a bit and then walk to the restroom

2nd day post op + first checkup

Just had my first checkup with Dr. Tholen. Took a nit to get in but they emptied out the drains. Dr. Tholen opened the binder and I was amazed. I actually love his work. Being fit made the result better. He removed 6.1lbs of mostly skin, not so much fat. The incision looks good and he is really impressed with it. I am happy too. It even looks good to me despite the swelling.

2nd night sleep

Last night was tough. The swelling gets worse at nights and pushes against the binder. I have pillows under my shoulders and feet. At some point my glut muscles started cramping so I had to move around. I am trying to delay taking Vicodin but felt doing that last night might not be wise. I took half a pill. I got around 8 hours of sleep and feel much better. Day by day I can roll and move around more. I feel the tightness in the incision is getting less noticeable. I would love to be able to get out of bed on my own by Monday. My wife then can go to work and I do my own thing. Right now going from sleeping position to sitting is not possible.

3rd day going well

Emptied out the drains and documented it. Dr. Tholen wants me to open the garment once a day, move around the pads and pull a bit down. Sitting and standing up cam cause the binder to move. I also need to do this while on bed and need a helpinhmg hand. I also was directed to apply antibiotic ointment on the drain openings and belly button. Not swollen much today. Just remember one thing. Stay super HYDRATED. I also need to have a bowel movement soon or this will get ugly and painful

Day 4

Drains remove around 30 to 50cc a day. 5am was miserable. I was itching like crazy. Specially under the binder. Exciting news is that I can get out of the bed on my own now. I can roll to my left and use the pc desk to push myself up. I still prefer relying on the wifey to avoid putting too much strain on the sutures. I also had my first BM. I went off of pain meds yesterday. I fo not recommend doing this. I have high pain tolerance. I have chronic constipation caused ny IBS so I prefer the pain to hard stools. To give you a perspective, I have %5 control on pushing the stool out. I can't use the ab muscle so hard stool is a nightmare. I started taking Dulcolsx Stool Softner 3 times a day on the second day until last night. I also drank prune juice. Stool is now soft enough to require minimal push. I know it sounds gross but if you are planning on doing any surgery, do anything possible to avoid constipation. I also drink truckloads worth of warer. Maybe 5 to 8 24oz. I am still thirsty lol

Day 7 post op, 2nd appointment

Things are going well. I was cleared to drive. It was a bit exhausting. I drove to my appointment. Knock on wood I do not have that much swelling. Drains are extracting low volumes. The two front ones were removed. It was weird. It was a sudden burn which lasted 5 sec. I will go back on Friday. If the last two are pulling low amount of fuilds, then 1 or 2 will be out. Dr. Tholen does not want to rush it. Seromas are not fun. Better safe than sorry.

My only issue so far is the leg cramp right on top of the feet. This is due to the compression socks. I have to take them off time to time. Besides this, all is going well

2 week post OP appointment

Oki doki. I am free, there are no strings on me. My last two drains were removing less than 20cc a day. Dr. Tholen decided that it is time for them to come out. Don't want to lie, the left one hurt really bad. These were the back drains so they were quite long. Crystal, the amazing assistant, pulled them out and I did not feel much. Suddenly I felt something moving in my back and then there was a pop. A sharp stinging pain came and lasted for 30 secs. Apparently tissue can grow on the tubes and the act of yanking out can be a bit painful. The right one did not hurt. Dr. Tholen had me stand and looked at the results. He is super happy with it and he thinks I am healing faster than normal rate. I can finally shower, but after 24 hours. It takes 24 hours for the wound to seal. A quick bath with no scrubbing.

Here is the fun part. He felt a bit of swelling on the left front site. He thought it might be seroma so the fluid needed to be removed.
I leaned against the counter so he could work easier. The poke did not hurt much but I could feel it. 5 seconds into it, my eyes started rolling and head spinning. I told him I am super light headed and I will faint. He held me with the help of Crystal. It was really weird. My brain started short circuiting. It is hard to explain. There were intervals of blackness and then awareness while my head was spinning around the room. I heard him say put him down on the floor if he cant make it to the chair. At this moment my feet went completely noodles. I had no control. Their dragged my butt and put me in the chair and elevates my legs and in 5 secs I was back. It was nerve wrecking since I constantly envisioned collapsing and hitting the ground.

This can happen to anyone and I am not scared of needles or blood. Make sure to have help nearby and let your surgeon know if you feel dizzy.

No fluid was builtup and it seems like it is a bit swollen. I have to go back on Friday to make sure no fluid is accumulating. If it is there, I need to go back next Teusday as well. I feel great but a bit tired

3rd post OP appointment

Dr. Tholen was pleased. Still swollen but he does not think there is any seroma. If there is one, it is tiny and will be reabsorbed by the body. So no poking with the needle. Yay
I was also cleared for flying. He wants me to take half an Asprin before each flight.
Merry Christmas everyone.
I have another appointment on Tuesday to check for fluid

4th post op appointment

Another good one. Dr. Tholen did not see a seroma. I have swelling with a bit of soft tissue which will get better over time. So I am clear to fly but I need to take a 81mg Aspirin prior to flying. I was also cleared for sex. Yay haha
He said I can do it as long as I have no pain and don't do anything weird. Just gentle and slow.
He also wants me to use gentle antibacterial soap such as Dial for shower. I have some scabs left on my lower back. He wants me to keep an eye on those ones. He wants me to make sure there is no leakage there

Happy new year everyone

Hope you guys had a great new year. I am in Tornto with friends. The only bad thing about it is overeating over the past 10 days. I possibly gained weight. Being inactive and eating too much is bad. I return to home tomorrow and I need to get back into my old diet.
I am doing better. I am more active now. I walk, stand, and get arpund more. No running or lifting. My sides burn a bit after sitting.
Dr. Tholen asked me to keep an eye on the scab near the butt crack. The scab is mostly gone now. It leaked the first day I was here. Not too much. I brought my antibiotic ointment and sterile gauzes with me. I sent out pictures to him to see it and he is not concerned. There is some puffyness around the scab. It feels like a soft pocket when I touch it. I have an appointment tomorrow once I get back.

Back home and 5th post OP appoinment

Hey all,
Just got back in town and ran into my cat with a bloody bottom again. There goes another 300 bucks for bladder inflammation. Appartnaly the little guy was stressed out that we were away, despite a friend stopping by 2 times a day and playing with them an hour each day...
Dr. Tholen looked and was happy. The back is looking good and no scabs left. He wants me to start rubbing Vitamin E on the scar to smooth it out. He also gave a me scar healing gel to apply.
There was a seroma in my right side. Apparently I must have popped a vein or something due to moving around. This time I did not hold my breath, so no passing out. He removed 34CC worth of blood and fluid from that side and asked me to take it easy. I need to go back next Tuesday

6th POST app and done for a while

Met Dr. Tholen today and he felt a small amount of fluid in the same spot as the last time. He predicted 25cc but only 10cc came out. He was happy with the recovery so far. At this point, due to the seroma he wants me to wear the compression garment for 1-2 weeks. I have foam pads inside it and two of those can take a hike soon. I only need to leave it right on the seroma spot. After 1-2 weeks I can switch to a spandex or Under Armour for support and compression. Here is a list of things I should start:
1) As of now I can start elevating the heart rate which means light cardio. Nothing that requires bending or lifting from floor
2) He wants me to start doing toning exercises in a week or so. Rule of thumb is to listen to the body and not do workouts the same way as I used to do, for example sqaut 250lbs or shoulder press 180lbs :D
I have a trainer at my gym and I need to meet with him to adjust my routine for post OP for a while until I regain some of the strength and more importantly the form I had. There is a need for adjustments
3) I will have weird pain popping around the lower body. This could be stinging, sharp, dull or achy pain. Sometimes sutures can get pressured + nerves are sensitive. These are normal and will get better over time
4) I can submerge in water once the scab on my back is healed. Yes, the sucker is still there. Well, it dried up and fell, but it came back. Dr. Tholen checked it to make sure it is not due to a stitch tail.

So with all of the progress, my next appointment is in 6 weeks. I am using the skin recovery gel 2 times a day. Included in the cost of my surgery, I have 6 30 minute message at the clinic. I will start doing those after the appointment.
I am super happy with the surgery, Dr. Tholen's care, his staff specially Tracy and Crystal. The recovery is going well and I look great. It will get better once the swelling goes away. Thank you to many of you for your words of encouragement and for all of you who reached out to provide much needed advice. Feel free to message me if you have any question, or you are thinking about doing this procedure, or scheduled to do it, or even early post surgery. There are many great users on this site who are more than happy to help you through your journey. For me, it is a way to pay all their kindness forward. I will update if anything comes up. Other than, see you guys in 6 weeks ;)

Going back to see my doc

Hey all,
Things are going well. Only issue is insane itch and discomfort on the sides specially the left one.
I suspect small amount of fluid on sides and back. Just to be on the safe side, I will go in and have it checked out.
My next appt is scheduled for Feb 21st and I did not want to wait that long. Will keep you posted.

All good

Had my appoinment and it all looks good. No or minimal fluid. I can now retire the binder and switch to under armour or something. A suture tail was sticking and needed to be cut. I can now sub merge in water and slowly go back to lifting and doing core workouts. Will post progress pics soon

7 weeks post OP pics

A bit swollen but I habe switched to atheletic compression pants. For the first time I can wear a large Under Armour shirt lol
It felt really good

Almost 10 weeks post OP

Hi everyone,
Feeling much better. Still long ways to go. Stomach is suoer tight as expected. I started doing some minimal core activating exercises. Mostly rotations. No crunches or planks. I can't get up from sleeping to sitting position yet.

My sides are super dry. I am applying Vaseline intensr care 2 times a day. I also ser some suturr spitting, mostly in the back. I have my 3 months op this upcoming Tuesday and if needed, those can be trimmed to close the holes.

2 nights ago I was taking a shower and felt a pop in my pelvic area. Top right side of the pubic area. Did not hurt at all but freaked me out. I felt fine the next day. However I had pain the following day in that same exact spot. I texted Dr. Tholen and he thinks that I popped one of the deep dissolavble sutures. No issue there. The pain is mostly due to a bit if tissue getting separated by the sutures. I just have to take it easy.

So I am back to lifting. No core involved ones. So no squats or deadlifts. I can do sitter shoulder press, bicep and triceps curls, lats and so on. I can do some leg but no leg curl or press. Those need to be in a slight bent forward position and can put on the core.

As for people who are considering a tummy tuck or LBL, the recovery is lengthy. Weird things happen, so be patient. Weird pain and feeling might show up which is normal. Between disrupted nerves and deep sutures pulling things might hurt for 6 months. As nerves wake up you might experience dull or shooting pain which gets better. Moisturize the area. Sweat glands are disrupted so no natural lubrication there.

I also suggest working with a trainer who knows about injuries. Therapists work also. The goal is to strengthen the core while recovering. This expedites the recovery. Worth spending the extra money. If insurance covers it, then go for a physical therapists. I use my trainer instead.

4 months update

Hey everyone,
Things are goig well. I started lifting last month and slowly getting back into my old me. I can do minimal core workout. Swimming, running, and lifting is fine.

The scars are getting better. Sensation is getting better except below the belly button. Scars don't each anymore.

4 months pic update

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon

Awesome guy with tons of knowledge. He is a no BS guy. Tells you the way it is and does not sugar coat it. Just read his reviews and his suggestions to others. He can make money from cases but if he believes the procedure you are looking into is not good for you, he will try to change your mind. My wife wants to do liposuction on her legs and he told her that some spots will be waste of money and it will not be that good. So he changed her mind to only focus on one location. Truly a good doctor

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