47yrs Old & Have Wanted to Do This for 25 Years! - Nashua, NH

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First post here - and it's to say that I'm glad I...

First post here - and it's to say that I'm glad I found this forum! My surgery is less than two weeks away.

I'm a 5'3" mom of 3 (ages 26, 23 & 20) - I'm pretty healthy, exercise regularly, am of average weight, and lost the mid-section of my former body to pregnancies. It's time to get it back! I work too hard to be feeling so badly about myself. Others don't see it, but this is about ME. Not them. I have a good amount of stretch marks and saggy skin, but I've hidden it pretty well all these years!

I couldn't sleep last night, so I started reading posts and comments here ... I laughed ... I cried ... Mostly I've landed on, "WHAT THE HELL AM I THINKING?!?" There's no turning back now, so I've decided to "expect the worst and hope for the best!" cuz I read that one more than a few times!

I'm getting VERY anxious and on top of that, I'm suddenly having left side belly pain reminiscent of my first experience with diverticulitis almost 2 years ago. It was miserable! This is day 5 with mild pain. Hasn't really gotten worse, but it hasn't gone away. The timing couldn't be worse! I'm hosting a New Year's Eve party tonight, have been running around crazy, and I don't have time to go to the ER to get checked today!

The first time this happened, oral antibiotics made me so sick and they failed. I ended up doing a three day outpatient IV antibiotics course at the ER. An hour a day over three days. It worked great and I've been fine since. I can't believe this is even happening. I'm praying it doesn't delay my TT procedure or interfere with my recovery (as I'm well aware of all of the bowel issues which can arise from the pain meds)! Why must it ALWAYS be something?!

Overall, I'm excited to be finally doing this for myself. I'm proud of myself for not backing out ... yet. And I can't WAIT to not have to find ways to suck in and hide my tummy roll! Especially when it comes to bathing suits!

I'm confident in my doctor and pray for the best possible outcome in his care.

I'm the kind of person who'll say a quick prayer for those who ask for one! I hope anyone reading this is, too! Right now I could use a prayer to resolve this stupid stomach pain issue!

That's all for now! Lots to do!

Have a safe, happy New Year's Eve! And Thanks!


One week from tomorrow...

I hope everyone's New Year is off to a good start! Mine? Not so much. While my side pain issue has seemed to work itself out without medical attention (thank God!), a nice family ride to the beach yesterday took an unexpected turn. There were a couple comments made that have me thinking maybe I don't quite have the support that I thought I did. It was suggested that perhaps I "shouldn't be telling anyone about my surgery" because it will apparently change their opinion of me - specifically, if I look good in a bathing suit this summer, they'll be saying/thinking, "well, that's just because you had a tummy tuck!" - as if I'm somehow cheating because I'm removing stretched skin and tightening stretched muscle to get my OWN ACTUAL BODY back!! It's left me feeling hurt. Really hurt. But today, despite some new doubts because of this and a rotten sleep last night, I've decided I won't let it discourage me. I have very few close friends to begin with and I virtually have no one to talk to regularly about this - my fears or excitement. I have a feeling this is going to be a looooong week! I'll busy myself with getting some stuff I'll need post-op prepared in advance. And I'll be doing a LOT of praying. Anyone going in this week, I'll add a prayer for you.

One week from tonight I'll be recovering!

Well, one week out and my low back, which I NEVER have a problem with, is in total spasm! I think I pulled it lightly sitting on the floor, wrapping xmas gifts over a week ago, but it was feeling better! Today I sat on the floor to pay all my bills for the month to get that out of the way, and I could hardly get up! Trying heat after a stretch tonight. Also, my ps's office called this morning to tell me that I've been moved up to first on their schedule next Monday morning from 10:45am to 8am! Guess the plus side is that I'll have less time to worry! It truly is surreal how quickly it's coming. I've been watching other women's surgery dates come and go! It's crazy! I've started having wild & weird dreams - about ending up with large "dog ears" and needing revision surgery! And, I'm also worrying a LOT about my belly button! I'm quite fond of it and pray that my new one is as likable! I reeeeeally don't want one that looks like a slit or a big open hole! My surgeon told me during consult that I don't have a whole lot of skin above my belly button and will most likely have a scar an inch and a half or two beneath my new one from closing the old one. The chances of that are so small, so obviously I'm doing the whole "why me" thing (to a small extent). Of the 25,000 pictures I've looked at, I've seen about 3 women with this scar... I'm sad about it, but have started looking at little dragon fly tattoos to cover it if necessary. It'd be my first tattoo, which is kind of cool... Trying hard to look only at positives, but that's not always easy!

Post-Op Update

I can hardly believe that my surgery has come and gone! My procedure was at 8am yesterday and I was home before 12:30pm! The surgeon told me that I'm going to be "thrilled" with how my tummy looks and that everything went smoothly! He actually said the words, "excellent results"! I will have to have the two small "dog ears" at each end of the incision repaired in a few weeks, but doc told me it's a simple fix and it kept me from having a much longer tt scar. I'm kinda disappointed that I can't see any of the work he did yet, and I don't know how much skin/fat was removed - I'll have to wait until Thursday to remove the dressing! He also didn't give me a binder to wear today. He says they can restrict blood flow in the first couple of days, slowing the scar healing. I'll be given one when I see him Thursday. There's no sugar coating the pain, that's for sure! It was utterly BRUTAL the first few hours! Just no getting comfortable - and I was convinced that the pain medicine wasn't working. I've been diligent keeping on top of my medicines! Here's the GOOD news... I did SO much better last night than I'd done the first few hours post-op! Still quite sore, especially where the drains are (those sites really burn when I'm getting up to walk), but I'm able to stand, walk and sit on my own now! Hunched over, but that's ok! I'm still pushing lots of fluids to get the anesthesia out of my system, so that means walking to the bathroom often! I think the best word i can use to describe how I'm feeling, despite the pain, is "euphoric"! There wasn't one moment yesterday that I thought of backing out of the surgery! And I have not one regret at all! I really thought I'd be a basket case! Not at all! I'm all propped with pillows in my double-wide chair with feet on the ottoman. Warm and comfortable! I napped frequently throughout the day yesterday and hope to do the same today. My husband and daughter have been awesome caretakers! My daughter is keeping track of medicine times and amounts, and my husband has been giving me physical support as well as emptying my drains. So far, the most exciting thing that's happened is that my belly doesn't sit on my lap anymore when I'm sitting! I had a really good sleep last night and had woken up just long enough to eat a graham cracker and take pain meds. I'm hoping everyone else is doing well, too - and a huge thanks to those of you who've offered so many words of encouragement! Sharing your journeys has been informational and inspiring! I'm looking forward to getting my drains out within the week, but I'm not looking to the pain of that! I truly can't wait to see what each new day brings!!


AFTER!! 3 days post-op

Just experienced one of the biggest moments of my life!! I got to see my new belly button, flat(ish) tummy and incision site for the first time!! As swollen and bruised as it is, I'm THRILLED with what I see so far!! No more jelly belly roll resting on my lap when I sit up!! The blisters I got from an allergic reaction to the tape are pretty sore, but should heal soon enough. It was a wicked challenge just getting to the appointment! I think I've earned a nice nap! Doc said it was too soon for a binder and too soon to remove drains, so I'm scheduled for this coming Tuesday at 8am! One big moment at a time! I'm calling today a success!

3 Days Post-Op

Post-Op Day 5

No regrets! Not a single one! This journey has been terrifying, confusing, painful, joyful, and pretty much every other emotion there is! And it ain't over yet! But as I sit here in my chair, looking down at the sutures in my now-flat stomach ... I know for certain that I wouldn't change a thing! I've learned so much about myself in the last three months! But it's the word "brave" that I keep coming back to. I never really considered myself to be "brave" but oh my god! And I am in good company with you ladies! To have willingly gone through what we have just gone through .... That takes bravery to a whole new level! Five days out from a surgery I was convinced would never get here! And what a looooong five days they have been. Not easy by any stretch of the imagination! I've been humbled letting others help take care of me, when I'm the one who usually does the care-taking. Not being able to perform the simplest task like putting on a pair of socks... But each day has gotten better! Today I feel like my whole midsection is in one giant contraction, or like it's made of concrete! The pain in my low back is ever present, but lessened, and I'm able to stand a bit taller today than yeaterday. I'm not up straight yet, but I'll get there. This process requires that I surrender, and that is new. Surrender to pain, take the Percocet. Surrender to exhaustion, take the nap. I'm so thankful that i have the time and ability to recover at my own pace and that I don't have to rush. My heart hurts when I read women posting that they have to be back to work by the second week, or that they have no one helping them through this. I couldn't have done it alone. And I send prayers for all of the women who do. Five days out and I still tire quickly with a simple walk around the livingroom. The most annoying thing is the itchiness and blisters from the medical tape. And the drain sites are starting to burn when I move. I finally had a bm yesterday, which was the biggest relief of all! The swelling in my belly is uneven, and it's weird to touch some spots and be numb while other spots have feeling. I sleep reclined in a big chair, propped with pillows, but I long to stretch out on my back in my own bed! My diet consists of Naked fruit drinks with protein and graham crackers because everything else has a metalic taste. There's nothing convenient about this recovery. It's brutal. I haven't showered since last Sunday night and my drains don't. Come out until Tuesday, if they're ready. Dry shampoo is ok, but not great. And sponge baths don't come close to being as good as a nice hot shower! I knew that recovery would be a long process, but knowing it and living it are totally different things! Just sitting here, typing this, has made me tired. So I'll rest. But I want to congratulate each and every one of you who made the choice to make a change for yourself! Unless you've gone through it, you don't truly understand. It's so nice to have this place where we can come to read the stories of so many other women who understand! Thank you all for continuing to share and offer hope and support!

Bump in the road to recovery

So, it doesn't seem fair that I'm having to deal with this on top of the bruising, incision sites, muscle pains, etc. I had an allergic reaction to the medical tape around my post-op bandage. I also have an irritated spot on my face next to my nose, possibly from taping my anesthesia mask on. At my first follow-up appt with the surgeon, he had the nurse clean and re-cover the areas on my belly that were raw, and she used MORE tape - which was counter-productive. My husband helped me today to remove the gauze that was stuck to the dried puss and I applied fresh Neosporin and have been letting the sores air out. I'm afraid to put more gauze over them. My whole midsection is so itchy! I am desparate for a shower! Hoping this resolves quickly!

One Week Post-Op!

This has been a very challenging week of recovery for sure! It has flown by, and yet, it's dragged by! It feels like my recovery stalled at about day 4. Since then, there haven't been any real notable changes or improvements. I'm still sitting/sleeping partially reclined. I've only got feeling at random places on my belly, but for the most part, it's still quite numb. I have a lot of swelling along my waistline and bruise-like pain, most likely from flank lipo. I said earlier this week that my core feels like concrete. I don't like that feeling at all! Still getting pregnancy-like contractions of my entire abs. The only persistent "pain" I have is at the drain sites. They both really burn when I stand and move. My incision looks good and is healing well. The swelling under my belly button is a little uneven, and (as of now) I detest my belly button. Praying that resolves as swelling goes down. Especially since that was my biggest worry going into this surgery. I loved my old belly button. I'll be really sad if I have to cover this one up. I cut back on Percocet last night and am now taking only 1 every 4.5-5hrs. The biggest hassle has been caring for the sores that were left on my upper belly from the allergic reaction to the medical tape from my post-op bandage. And the itchiness! Ugh! I'm trying to get up to walk on the hour today. Still not close to standing upright, but I'm getting there. I'm walking very slowly, and I haven't bothered attempting to climb stairs yet. My core is SO tight! And the back pain has been awful! I've been sleeping pretty well but have had some really vivid and weird dreams this week. I have my second follow-up with my surgeon tomorrow and while I hope my drains come out, I dread the pain I've read so much about! I'll also be put in a binder. When the doc saw me last Thursday, he decided to wait and let some more healing take place first. Not being able to shower all week has been a total downer. Sponge baths and dry shampoo don't compare to a nice warm shower with soap and shampoo! Above any of the negatives I've experienced, when I sit down now, I no longer have to figure out how to hide all of the extra skin that I had like I did for so many many years! NOTHING is better than that! I've had moments of exhaustion, frustration, agitation, but through it all, I've had this indescribable and overwhelming feeling of elation! It's a wonderful happiness! It's over! I made a choice, I made a plan, and I made a massive change in my life! Earlier this week, I commented on someone's post that "bravery" is the best word to describe what it took to undertake this journey! I never really considered myself a "brave" person, but I DO NOW!! If you're planning your surgery now or if you've made it through, embrace that bravery! You are some of the bravest women I've ever encountered!! Hooray for us!

8 Days Post-Op

Had my 2nd follow up bright and early this morning! Drains out!! Binder on!! Took my first shower in 9 days! It took some planning and help, and it wasn't easy, but i feel human again! And it was exhausting! I know I still have lots of swelling of the belly and flanks and it shows in these pics. The incision looks uneven, but it isn't. And my belly button is still pushed outward from swelling, but what I DON'T have is all that extra skin sitting in my lap! And all of the pain and aggravation of this week was SO WORTH IT! You can also see that the sores I got from the medical tape allergic reaction are healing well, too. Very exciting! The one thing I can't stand is how itchy I am! I'm very grateful the back pain is letting up, because that was a killer!

10 Days Post-Op!

Into the double digits on recovery!

Funny how it took forever for my surgery date to arrive and yet recovery is FLYING by! As I got cleaned up and dressed this morning, I took a quick look at myself in the mirror and, for the first time, it took my breath away! My swelling was minimal and my belly was FLAT! I took a quick pic, but it wasn't very good since I can't stand up straight yet! (I'll get one when my binder is off tomorrow!) My belly is so tight I'm afraid I'd tear the sutures! And my back, though better, still gets sore pretty quickly! Frustrating!

I had my 3rd post-op follow-up appointment this morning and it was all good! My two tubes came out only two days ago but the Physicians Assistant says there was no new fluid buildup! The sores from my allergic reaction to the medical tape are healing, though still raw and ugly. She took a few sutures out of my TT incision and removed all my belly button sutures! It might sound weird, but I'm afraid to look at my new belly button. I didn't like it at ALL immediately post-op and I know it needs time to heal and for swelling to reduce, but I was overly worried about my belly button even before surgery! Has anyone tried taping a small marble in your new belly button to shape while healing?? I might. One change today was that they gave me a square piece of foam to wear over my belly under my binder, and the binder is to be worn 24/7 (minus showering) for a week to 10 days. Next follow up in one week!

This week has been a challenge for sure! My belly is still so numb inside that it feels unreal. I've gotten feeling back a little bit on the outside but I don't touch it much because it freaks me out! And I'm so itchy front and back under the binder that it wakes me several times a night and drives me insane all day!

I've been sleeping propped up in a big double wide chair every night, but I'm going to try sleeping in my own bed tonight! I miss sleeping on my side and can't wait until I can do so again. I'm so nervous to try!

I've been up and around much more often since losing the tubes. I've even sorted and folded some laundry which was a huge accomplishment for me! I'm amazed at how quickly I tire! Especially at my level of fitness going in to this journey! I know for sure I'll have to take a few steps backward as far as my exercise regimen (which included intense cardio and free weight training) which is kind of depressing.

I'm happy to finally be off of prescription pain meds, but I continue to take Tylenol, stool softener and muscle relaxant. My core is in almost constant hard contraction all day long... Hoping it's gonna benefit my abs and that I'll have a six pack when my binder comes off! Lol. I still have significant pain from my muscle repair especially when I laugh - and I've found I start to panic if I get a dry patch or dry cracker crumbs in the back of my throat because I'm terrified of coughing. Two reasons: the pain, and I don't have great lung capacity yet! One of the weirdest things I've found post-op is that, now that my core is repaired and tightened and in the proper place, I'm a little short of breath and have to stop and take extra breaths when really talking because my lungs don't have the space they had for so many years. That takes getting used to. And the same goes for my bladder! I find I'm running to the bathroom way more often!

Over all, I couldn't be happier that I made this choice for myself! I have a whole new level of respect for myself and for ANY woman (or man) who undergoes this type of life-changing procedure! I feel stronger and more self-confident already!

BE BRAVE! Like me!

11 Days Post-Op is my "Turn-The-Corner" Day!

I don't know how or why, but I'm suddenly feeling HUMAN! I've turned some kind of corner and it's amazing! I don't want to get ahead of myself here, so I'll start last night ...

Last night, I'd decided I was done sleeping propped in the chair and I was going back to my own damn bed. I managed to get in by myself, but it wasn't easy. My side of the bed is very soft and it was awkward trying to turn and bring my legs onto the bed. I got settled leaned back against 2 pillow, somewhat propped, but having my legs out straight was really pulling my tummy too tight. My husband grabbed me some big pillows and he had to help lift each leg onto them til I got settled because my core couldn't handle it. The end result was him laughing at my near uselessness, and me still not being comfortable! But there was no way I was leaving that bed! I was still itchy under my binder, but didn't scratch. I never fell asleep until long after 1am, but I only woke up once - and that's because my feet had gone cold and numb up on the damned pillows! I didn't want to wake my poor husband, so I finagled my legs off each side of the pillows and literally pulled my legs up and tucked my feet up to my butt. I didn't have the core strength to even push the pillows down a bit with my feet, so I slept all jammed up! Next time I woke it was because my heels were digging so hard into the mattress to brace me from slipping flat onto my back that they actually hurt. It was already 6:45am, so I just threw them back up onto the pillows best I could and slept til 8, when a massive abs contraction woke me! It was so strong that it actually pulled my upper body into a painful crunch - and the only way to break it was to try to pull my knees toward my chest! That lasted at least 30 miserable, endless seconds! But, F it! I'm calling bedtime a success despite the obvious!

I did get myself out of bed ALL BY MYSELF! My husband was on stand by, just in case, and he had a good laugh watching me roll and contort! I came upstairs to our main living area for only the 3rd time since surgery. Today, I didn't need to use the handrail on the stairs! After taking in the mess that was left by my family in my kitchen, and resolving that I wasn't gonna be the one to clean it up, I made some oatmeal, sat and ate, and ventured down to the bathroom to take a shower and dress ... That's when I realized I was walking almost fully upright with little discomfort! I had my daughter take the chair out of the shower and I showered STANDING! Didn't take any chances leaning down to shave my legs, but I did get my armpits shaved and all my cracks and crevices cleaned! I felt AMAZING!

BEST PART ::: And, to me, this is HUGE ... As I blow dried my hair upside down to dry the underneath, I was able to FINALLY answer the question I'd asked myself every day for 2 dozen years while drying my hair upside down and looking at my loose belly skin just hanging there, jiggling ...

"What would my stomach look like if I ever got myself a tummy tuck??" ... ... ...

It hit me like a ton of bricks when I looked at my belly in that moment and it was FLAT -- NO extra jiggle!!!!! Even with the swelling I still have, it was way flatter than before! (I only cried a little because my abs started to contract! Lol!)

I snapped a few pics to share after spending time cleaning the sores left from the stupid bandage tape. (They're healing nicely, but I'm so sad that they've ruined my tummy tuck pics all week with their added ugliness!) I wanted to document the process of bandaging up, padding up, and binding up! I even took a pic of a couple of the stitches that have fallen out onto the bandage under my binder! It's the little things, girls!

This journey for me hasn't been pretty. At all. As you can see from my pictures. (I look enviously at other women's pictures and their flawless skin and clean incisions and pretty new belly buttons and try not to wonder, "why not me?")

It's been Emotional. Frustrating, challenging, painful, and deeply, deeply RAW. Life-changing. Truly. But I'm proud of it, and thrilled about it! I've maintained my feeling of elation through this entire post-op experience, because I KNOW there is so much more healing to come!

I feel unstoppable, full of energy! I'm walking more, bending more, squatting more easily, doing small tasks that need doing ... and that gives me just the encouragement I need today to know that soon, I'll feel like myself again - in the body I had before pregnancy ravaged it enough for me to hate it - to hide it. No more! I wouldn't trade my pregnancies for ANYTHING, but it was time to be rid of some of the scars!

Yup, today I've turned a corner!

And I hope you have, too - or will soon!

12 Days Post-Op

Just a quick update today because ... I feel AWESOME!!

Nothing in particular, other to say than that when I got out of the shower today, even though my scars are raw, and I'm not thrilled with my belly button (though, I'm willing to give it time to hopefully resolve), and I know I have a loooooooooong way to go in my recovery, for the first time in over two decades, I didn't HATE what I saw!

I. H A V E. M Y. B O D Y. B A C K !!!!!! and I'm SO HAPPY!!!!!

(Also, I wanted to post the slightly edited picture my daughter sent me yesterday after I'd sent her the original to show her my progress. She'd added the caption, "Don't hate me!" Funny girl.)

13 Days Post-op

After having a really great day yesterday, I just wanted to get a few pics posted from this morning while my swelling was low!

I'm a little bit discouraged and thinking that none of my bathing suit bottoms will cover my new scar, but I haven't tried them on yet to check... If not, I'll have to find some mid-cuts, and perhaps I can fall back in LOVE with bathing suit shopping now that I have no belly to hide!

The sun is shining! I'm relaxing! And it's a beautiful day!


It's been like a loooooong dream! I can't fathom that it's been 14 days. Each new day makes the past days a bit blurrier! I'm so glad to have documented everything here so I'll be able to read it again years from now!

Let's see ... I'll start with the negatives today.

I'm still not walking completely upright, though the spasms in my low back have let up a lot. The longer I'm on my feet, the worse it gets. I probably haven't spent as much time on my feet as i should have, but that changed today!

I love the support that I get wearing my compression binder with a foam square under it, and it really really helps with swelling, but it's SO ITCHY!! I've tried it right over my skin, as well as with a tank top underneath. Tank top is a little better, but it's hot, and the itchiness seems to be worse at night. I wake up several times and try to scratch over the stupid thing, usually to no avail. I wear it 24/7 for at least another week other than in the shower. Each morning when I take it off, I spend the first five or so minutes softly scratching, and I find my daughter or husband to scratch my back. And I take most of my pics just after I shower because my swelling is lowest in the morning.

I still haven't driven, which is limiting. Just don't feel confident enough. I've only left the house 4 times this two weeks - 3 follow-up appts and last night, I went out to dinner with my family! Hitting the bumps was rough.

I don't have any pain with my incision at all and really barely pay any attention to it. Many of my sutures have fallen out. I do have some skin glue residue around it, no bother.

It was the Med tape blisters that bothered me the most, and I'm thrilled that the sores healed so well. The areas still itch under the binder. I still use Neosporin on them each morning.

Beside the low back pain, the worst of my pain has come from the muscle repair! I had top to bottom repair and I feel it all the way down! Laughing and sneezing were basically out of the question the first week or so. Only now can I chuckle! I miss laughing! I actually practiced stopping oncoming sneezes for two weeks before surgery!! I'd punch my nostrils to stop the feeling! It worked. A couple days ago, I was relaxed and reading and totally forgot about my surgery and a sneeze caught me off guard! Bloody hell, it hurt!! Brought tears to my eyes! And today. Watching this stupid show, Crazy Ex Girlfriend with my two girls, I could not. stop. laughing. And they didn't help matters! It was fun though, which I needed! I've gotten more feeling back around my belly, but I'm still numb around my belly button, incision, and low hips and a couple inches down my leg. My insides are another story! I still have a heavy feeling, like concrete and it's all numb! It's odd having my core back in place and feeling them fire in different places when I reach or I bend or squat down and stand! I'd forgotten how it felt! I like it! Planning on taking rebuilding core strength veeeerrrrrry slowly, as I've read hear they are only at about 75% 6-9 mos PO. The WORST of my core issues is that it randomly contracts like a hardcore contraction that just lasts relentlessly! For many minutes at a time for just one! It feels just like I'm hooked to an electronic stim machine! It happens mostly first thing in the morning and when I stand. It can bend me right into a crunch. Hence not walking upright yet.

Finally, I'm off of all Percocet for a few days now and am taking muscle relaxant, and one extra strength Tylenol, both 3xday. And I take a probiotic in the am, and one stool softener at bedtime. I haven't had much of a problem with going to the bathroom, which I'm greatful for!

Still not thrilled with my new bellybutton but I've found I'm not as bothered by it today as past days, and it has changed a little for the better. I'm giving it time.

On to the good!!

When I look in the mirror at my body, I feel oveewhelmed with happiness, scars and all!! To know I won't have to hide my extra belly every day when I dress and that my clothing options have just opened wide up is overwhelming!! Sometimes, I get an unexpected wave of elation! I just go with it! My mom and family see a positive change in my mood. And my eyes look more sincerely happy than they have for a long while!

Now that they don't have to compete with my loose stomach, my small boobs have never looked so big! Haha! I never had boobs to begin with - How many "almost A" bras did I buy until I had kids?! I breast fed two of my kids and was left with kinda flat "A's" - I didn't want to do any breast augmentation because I never did this surgery with the intention to CHANGE my body. I did it solely to get my body BACK! And I think I have succeeded!!

Today, for the first time, I got on the treadmill and walked 11mins @ 1mph. I was so proud to walk .2mi when just 2 weeks ago, I walked/ran about 2.5mi 3-4xweek! It's the small things! I plan to increase my time and distance daily. Today my back started to burn early on, so I didn't push it.

I love to share my photos with my kids and see how happy they are for me! And my husband has been a good sport letting me go on and on about my days and how happy I am. He's happy for me, to!

Last night, I spent time looking at bikinis online! I'll need a higher waist bottom to really cover my incision, but there are some really cute ones! I haven't tried any of my jeans on yet, but judging where my normal underwear sit on my hips, I think I might be able to see the ends of my incision above the waistband. I don't think I'll care much, I'll get used to it, but I was surprised at my initial reaction of disappointment. I'll also admit to looking online at TT scar tattoos ... There are some really beautiful ones! I don't have any tattoos currently, and that would be a stretch for me, but they were fun to look at!

I also look forward to finding out how much my self confidence improves when in back in real clothes!

One last thing ... My appetite is apparently improving because I'm hungry for dinner now.

And I'll end on that happy note!!

I hope all of you can experience even a little of the true joy that I have! Not too bad considering the BEST is YET TO COME!!

15 Days Post-Op

Another day closer to living a normal life again!

Early this morning after my shower, flexibility was the best it's been! I was only a few degree from standing up straight! And, I was able to bend down and touch my toes! I took a few pictures of my progress and spent a lovely day! Had lunch out with my mom and daughter and took a nice long ride, just to enjoy being out of the house! My husband brought us home a pizza from one of our favorite pizza places in CT and it was delicious. And I waked just a bit longer and further on the treadmill this evening! The only downside, beside the itchiness, which is relentless, was that my core contracted very very strongly a couple times - lasting half and hour to an hour and a half straight. Woke up to it, right after lunch & while on the treadmill. It's a little disturbing that the muscles fire on their own and there's nothing I can do to break it. Can't wait to be past that, but ... it's AWESOME to feel my abs in the right place again!

17 Days Post-Op

I was up, showered and out early for my 4th follow up appointment. My poor daughter has been my personal driver for two weeks, so I dragged her along!

The nurse took my vitals then his assistant removed all of my remaining sutures and tweezered off the remaining excess skin glue and loose scabs . When my ps came in, he talked to me about my intense core muscle contractions. I described how it happens and can stay contracted for a full hour or more. He asked if I was still taking the muscle relaxant, which I am, and he told me that the contractions "aren't typical." He didn't seem concerned, though. He feel it will resolve over the next few weeks. I sure hope so cuz it's the only thing keeping me hunched over! He wants me to keep my compression pad and binder on for another week, and the to wean out of it the following week. I asked him about my belly button again and he said that if there is excess skin inside of it after the swelling is gone, he can easily remove it in his office, but that wouldn't be for several months. Ew! I also asked him if he'd ever heard of using a marble to shape the belly button as it heals, or even a soft earplug. He and his assistant had never heard of it, but thought it made sense and gave me the go-ahead to try it. He said he was glad I hadn't started it sooner. My next follow-up is in two weeks!

On the way home, I took my girl for a manicure and eyebrow waxing to treat her for taking such good care of me. A lot of that kind of fell on her since she was home, between jobs. It was so relaxing to just sit there being pampered a little!

I made us a nice breakfast when we got home and did a bit of laundry, too! I think might have caught myself standing full upright a time or two also!! This afternoon, I did tape a soft earplug over my belly button. I cut it to size first. I won't see it until tomorrow morning. I may try alternatin earplug and small marble depending on how it looks. The marble just felt too hard and weird against the pressure of the swelling. Sure hope it works!

No pics today, but maybe tomorrow!

I'm so glad to be past the two week mark! I'm getting around so much better in general with no pain, just discomfort. I'm standing, squatting, sitting on the floor, getting in and out of the car (not driving yet), out and about! I had lunch with my mom and daughter and went out for ice cream with my husband and daughter. I've walked on the treadmill each night this week since Monday, progressing each day. No incline and only 1mph, which is humbling, but I'll get there!

I'm still feeling pretty elated overall! Ups and downs for sure, but that's part of the process! Still, no regrets!

18 Days Post-Op

As happy as I am, and trust me, I'm happy ... this week has been a real challenge, and not in the good way.

I've mentioned in my previous posts several times that, since my muscle repair, my abdominal muscles have been contracting at random times and holding that contraction for up to over an hour at a time. Well, I wasn't paying much attention to it the first and second week post-op, but since this past Monday, it's been happening each morning as I start to rouse from sleep. It can be so strong that it's pulled my upper body involuntarily into a crunch, or I have to pull my knees in to compensate. It's not "painful" exactly, but it's certainly uncomfortable and bothersome. But, even worse, it's been happening each and every single time I stand up. It instantly contracts from lower abs to top, and it really pulls at my navel area! It causes me to walk hunched back over and it's starting to really worry me. I feel like it's getting more intense, but I don't know if maybe I just wasn't really feeling it those first two weeks because of the pain meds, and now that I'm off of them, it's more noticeable. It's as if I hooked myself up to an electronic muscle stim machine and cranked it to high and just left it there. No exaggeration.

I'm discouraged because I felt like I was making such great progress and thinking that I'd be standing up tall any day. Now I'm feeling like this is a setback. It worries me today that my ps said this isn't "typical" though he didn't seem too worried.

I tried searching this site last night for info on abdominal spasm after muscle repair, and there wasn't really anything like what I am describing, but what I did read about possible long-term spasms or even nerve damage was kind of scary.

I know I'm probably overreacting, but my insides are still hard and numb and that's so weird. It's not a good feeling and it's wearing on me. I know it's still soon after surgery, so I'll keep a positive attitude and outlook, but I sure wish I could fast forward to May and be done with the recovery!

I'm also being slowly driven insane by the itchiness under my binder from front to back! It's nearly unbearable! Today, I've started to put only the gauze over my incision, pull my shirt down over it, put the compression foam pad on the OUTside of my shirt and then put the binder on. It seems a bit better, but man! It felt earlier like there were little bugs creeping around on my skin and I couldn't stop it!

In the plus column (!!! yes, it's not ALL bad this week!) I've been taping a soft, rounded pink foam earplug over my belly button opening since yesterday morning to try to compress and round the opening. When I took off my binder for my shower earlier this afternoon, it had actually made a small difference! There was a small depression under the top rim of my bb! Maybe you can see it in the picture I'm posting. I put it back again and plan to continue to do so as long as there's a difference for the better! (please ignore my dry belly skin! no wonder I'm so itchy, but I'm not putting lotion near my incisions yet!)

Ok. I'm done. And I feel better now that this is out of my system and written down for the record!

I know I'm not alone in facing challenges. And I know mine are small in comparison to some other women's. This makes me that much more compassionate for anyone with serious complications! So, for today, I wish everyone well!!

19 Days Post-Op

After 48hrs of earplug therapy for my belly button. Not too bad!


Looking back, those first few days post-op seem like a blurry dream - especially surgery day! When I read what I've written here, I'm glad that I wrote it because I wouldn't have remembered much otherwise! I'm also glad that I kept a pretty consistent log of my progress because others can read it to be prepared for the realities of this TT journey!

Today, mentally, I'm a whole new woman!! My body is still healing but my mind and heart are healed!! I'm still feeling the same elation I've described in earlier posts! I know when I look at my body each morning that I made the right choice for me! I didn't have much choice about WHEN to have a TT because I couldn't have afforded it until this year! Would have LOVED to have experienced this in my 30s though! No sense looking back!

I'm standing up mostly straight now. I determined just yesterday that I only get the ridiculous constant-crunch abs contractions while I'm wearing my binder! If I have it on, as soon as I stand or walk, the contractions hit, and are relentless! But yesterday when I took it off to shower and had to run downstairs for something, my core stayed loose and relaxed! Those few minutes were my best yet!! I'm in the binder til this Thursday 24/7, and after that I'm able to wean out of it over the following week! Can't wait to be done with my itchy skin, too! I've continued lathering up in Cetaphil lotion and taking Benadryl 3xday to combat it.

My overall swelling has really decreased! Only really underneath my new belly button and under my incision. I've regained a LOT of the sensation on my belly and up my sides. I'm still actually a little sore above my hips from my lipo, but oddly, it never bruised - luckily!

My insides are also coming back to life! When in the car, my insides kind of - vibrate - I guess is the right word. It's getting less and less uncomfortable! I missed belly-laughing most of all! It was brutal to start laughing and feel my muscle repair seize up from top to bottom! SO painful early on, but today, I had a good laugh with my youngest and barely even noticed the mild discomfort!

Helpful hint: I actually PRACTICED not sneezing for two weeks before surgery! When I'd feel a sneeze coming on, I'd plug my nose right at the middle, and the feeling would pass! THIS trick reeeeaaaaalllly came in handy the last 3 weeks! I only forgot once - OWWWWW OWOWOW! And never again!

I'm still wearing stretch yoga pants or drawstring flannel pj bottoms! I don't know why, but I'm nervous to try on my jeans! I might celebrate my 1 month milestone by trying them on! I don't know why I'm so nervous, but I am!

This past Friday night I got behind the wheel of my jeep for the first time since surgery! It felt good to drive! And I've been out with my family to dinners and we even saw a movie yesterday! The 5th Wave - Good movie! I recommend it! :)

I'm still taking it easy and can really feel it when I'm doing too much! My energy is picking up, but not back to normal yet! I've walked each weekday on my treadmill, a bit further each day. I started at 1mph for 10mins. Today I will have walked 3mins at 1.2mph on top of walking through my house my more. And I'm proud of myself!

I'm getting great, quality sleep, according to my Fitbit! Much better this past week or so than that first week po! I accidentally turned onto my right side in my sleep over the weekend and woke pretty uncomfortable around my middle. Last night, I slept partially on my left and it felt pretty good!

As you can see, it's the little things!

Daily tasks are easier, I bend and squat more easily and am looking forward to getting down on the floor and stretching again! And I'm desperate to get back to the gym! It was my stress release!

My next follow up with my ps is next Thursday. In the meantime, I've continued using a soft earplug to reshape/retrain my new bellybutton! It was a little too uptight for my taste. Now it's opening up and softening up! According to a plastic surgeon on this site, this ritual might have to be repeated for several months to a year overnight while swelling continues to go down! I'm pretty happy with my results so far! I clean my bellybutton, take a clean new earplug, pull my bellybutton open from just above it, insert the head of the earplug and then cover with gauze and tape it down with non-irritating paper tape. I'd advise putting the tape onto the gauze in advance. It's easier to handle with one hand while holding the earplug in place with the other. My optimal bellybutton is an "upside down u" so I insert the earplug at an upward angle. If your earplug is too long, they can be cut easily! I tried with a marble, but it was too hard and put too much pressure! I don't feel the soft earplug at all!

I know I'll be updating her less and less, which make me kind of sad. This website quite literally got me to and through one of the hardest experiences I've ever willingly faces!

I'll be forever grateful for the knowledge and insight I've gained here and truly appreciate all of the women who've shared, encouraged and supported me - even if they don't know they did!!

If you're approaching your surgery date and you're having second thoughts, think of me ... If I could do it, so can YOU!!

24 Days Post-Op

Today was the day my surgeon had told me I can start cutting back on wearing my binder and compression pad. Until now, I've been wearing it 24/7 except to shower. I've been looking forward to taking it off because I've had a theory that my abs are super-contracting much more often when I'm wearing it. I've been thinking this since a couple days ago when I had it off to shower but had to run downstairs to get something I'd forgotten. My core stayed nice and loose and I was able to stand so much more upright! In the binder, my core relaxes while sitting, but as soon as I stand and walk - BOOM - full contraction. And it doesn't break until I sit again.

So, I decided I'd cut back with a 3hrs on/1hr off schedule. And I was right about my theory! Half right anyway! Without the binder, my lower abs contracted while I was on my feet, but my upper and stayed relaxed! I did my treadmill walking this morning and this evening binder-free and I walked more upright with less stress on my back! I've built up to 20mins at 1.2mph 2xday, and I add a couple minutes each day. I'll increase my speed next week if all goes well!

This morning after my shower, I spent some time trying to pick some of the glue off of the skin around me incision. Not easy! It's really stuck on the, like ... well ... glue! Some of the scabbing is still really hanging on, too. I'm not picking at it at all! Since my incision is still pretty numb, I didn't feel anything.

I've continued to use the earplug in my belly button. Before setting it today, I used a toothpick to get some of the buildup out of my belly button creases. I'm taping the earplug in tightly so that it stays in place even when I have my binder off because it swells up quickly when the plug is out.

Overall, I'm still quite numb on the inside, which is a feeling I don't like. I don't like having no control over my abdominal muscles either. I'm starting to get used to it though. Nothing has really changed with my belly skin. Still numb around belly button and at hips near the end of incision, as well as around it.

Right now, I'm just debating whether to sleep without my binder tonight. I feel like is be more comfortable and will be able to roll onto my side with less discomfort. I'm up in the air because I'm afraid I'll swell overnight. Thinking it's worth the risk if I get a more comfortable night's sleep.

Speaking of swelling, I don't feel like much has changed this week. Still swollen beneath my bb and around and below my incision. I think! I'm really curious and excited to see if it really will flatten out even more over time, or if I'm just imagining that it will!

I made my first solo trip driving to the hair salon today! It's so good to get a little independence back!

The only other noteworthy thing happening now is that I'm experiencing a little of what I'd read described here as "phantom tummy" - when I look down at myself, especially when sitting, I fully expect to see a belly-roll there! And I'll take my hands, as if to grab what used to be there - and I can't believe it's really gone! I know that the sensation will pass, but it sure is real now!

So many many things to experience on this journey!

Still thrilled each day when I wake and realize it wasn't all just a dream!


This has been the longest, most challenging, most frustrating, most exhilarating 28 days of my life!

4 weeks out, and I'm realizing I still have a LONG way to go in this recovery!!

I'm still in very high spirits, though, I'll admit, staying positive was hardest this past week!

I keep trying to tell my husband how HAPPY I am and he keeps saying. "Mmmm." Men are so different than women!

The best way to describe how my BODY feels is to say that my whole mid-section (tummy) feels very uncomfortable, and semi-numb with a weird extreme-pins-and-needles feeling. I'm still getting the extreme contraction upon moving, which is the worst of what I'm feeling. My flanks above hips are still quite tender to the touch, so I avoid touching them! I'm not in any "pain" really. But sometimes it "hurts" when I move or turn quickly if that makes any sense! I don't have a lot of core strength back yet, but I do have a tiny bit more control of my abs... If I try, I can kind of tighten them/suck them in a little. It feels really weird to not have total control! And I also have moments when I'm sitting still that I feel totally normal and would never know I'd had major surgery! I like those moments!

This past week, I've also noticed that it doesn't hurt quite as much to laugh, and I've been able to laugh a little bit more like my old self! Every time I've laughed up to now, I don't recognize the sound that comes out! It's almost like I'm breathless.

My ps had me weaning off of my compression pad and binder this week, and I think it was too soon. I have worn it 3hrs on / 1hr off since last Thursday, and I've been wearing it looser to bed, which is waaaay more comfortable! Plus, some of my itchiness has FINALLY decreased! The downside is that I feel like I'm much more swollen than I have ever been. I just feel super tight - almost like my belly will pop! I've noticed that my tummy contracts the most when the binder is on. When it's off for a little while, my low tummy might contract with movement, but not so hard and I'm still able to stand mostly upright! Walking more upright has been a blessing for my poor low back! I hope I'm past that pain for good!

My belly button experiment is coming along well! I've continued with the earplug therapy each day without fail. I still have a lot of swelling all around and underneath my bb and I can't wait for that to be gone because the pressure is very unpleasant! I've been cleaning it with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide and drying it with a q-tip. Seems to work well! I've also been putting a little bit of Neosporin on the earplug each morning.

My incision is still pretty raw looking. I've basically left it alone other than to cover it with light gauze after my showers. A couple days ago, some of the scabbing and glue was flaking away so I peeled it away from the incision. There's still a good bit of glue stuck firmly on. There was one little spot that I've been worrying about because under the little bit of loose scab, it looked like a small hole! I've been cleaning it with HP and then applying Neosporin for a few days and it seems to be healing ok now.

My activity level has really increased this past week! Last week I was walking 1.2mph on the treadmill for up to 45mins split up over the course of the day. I was feeling so good this past Saturday that I walked a full 50mins. at one time. About an hour later, I was hit with some nausea, shakiness and extreme exhaustion. And instead of taking a rest, I went out to run errands with my husband. By Sunday, I was wiped out and did get off my feet. This week, I increased the treadmill speed to 1.4mph, and I'm breaking my walks into three times a day. Not pushing it, for sure!

I still haven't tried any of my jeans on! I'm so nervous about it and I don't know why! I think I'll save it for my 1 month milestone on the 11th... 3 days away!

One thing I'm also a little worried about is my appetite! I've been so hungry this week! And I haven't made the best food choices! I'm hoping that what I think is swelling isn't weight-gain!

I've been sleeping REALLY well, according to my Fitbit! I'm down to one pillow under my head and one under my knees. I stay mostly on my back, but have rolled onto my right side a couple times and I've woken very uncomfortable!

I'm still taking Benadryl and muscle relaxant 3xday, Naproxen morning and night, and 1 stool softener at bedtime.

Posting a few pics for my 28 days PO!

Finally, I'm still learning daily what I'm capable of accomplishing and getting glimpses of how I'll look 6mos from now! I like what I see today a whole lot more than I did 29 days ago! :)

One MONTH Post-Op! 1/11 - 2/11/16

I've been thinking a lot this week about what started this whole process ... Months and months of hard workouts at the gym that got me nowhere as far as toning my core ... giving up foods I love to eat too many times over the years ... and finally, scrolling past one too many memes on FB with pictures of Moms baring their saggy, stretch-marked bellies, proclaiming, "Your body isn't ruined... You're a God damn TIGER who's earned her stripes!"

I can't even describe how much I HATE that &%#@ing meme!

No, I'm NOT a tiger! I'm a mom of three great kids, and I'm damned proud of it, but my body WAS ruined! And I decided not to settle for that! I knew in my heart that I wasn't going to live with my excess skin for even one minute more than I had to! So, I searched local board certified plastic surgeons, found one who was spoken of very highly, scheduled a consult, scheduled my procedure, and the rest is HISTORY!

Here I am - ONE MONTH LATER!!! - and I can say without hesitation that this was the best thing I've ever done for myself!

I had my one month follow up with my ps today...

All went well! He came into the room carrying his open laptop and told me he'd been looking at my "Before" pics! Ugh! He turned it so I could look, and I told him I'd rather not! I remember it all too well! Lol!

He took a look at the two little areas on my incision that were still scabbed and stubborn to heal and knew right away what the issue was. He asked if it'd be ok for him to "dig around a bit" because he suspected there were little pieces of suture still left under the skin. I was grossed out, but he dug - which I didn't feel at all since my incision is still numb - and he did find and remove what he'd been looking for. Now it will heal quickly and properly!

While he was digging, his PA instructed me on scar care. They recommend New-Gel strips be worn overnight for at least 2 months, and that I massage Mederma on the incision and bb twice daily for the same timeframe. I'll include brochure pic. I'll have to order strips online, but Mederma is in stores.

I hadn't put the earplug in my belly button before the appointment so he could check it out. He seemed pretty impressed with the results and said it seemed to be healing well - also said the swelling around my bb had decreased a good amount.

He also pointed out the little dogears at the ends of my incision and told me they were nothing at all and that he'd "take care of them" down the road a ways. I wish I'd asked him to explain exactly how, but I'll save that for next visit, I guess.

I was surprised when he didn't seem to happy to hear that I'd been walking on my treadmill! He said that he advises a 6 week recovery with minimal exertion to avoid damage and excess fluid buildup. I explained that I'm only walking at a very slow pace (started at .5-.7mph last week and worked up to 1.4mph this week). I said that I'd actually walked at a faster pace to his office from the parking garage than I do on the treadmill! I'll continue to take it easy, doctor's orders!

Before he left the office, he said that my swelling is normal and will continue to go up and down for about 3 months or so.

Finally, I talked to the PA again about the strong muscle contractions. I told her that I've been weening off the binder this past week, as instructed. I told her that as soon as I put the binder on and stand or walk, my abs contract and that it seems the muscles are a little looser without it. I explained that I hadn't been on my feet much without the binder, but that I feel like my belly has been tighter and more swollen this week than it had been since surgery.

Before bed last night, I took the damned binder and pad off! I slept without it and never put it back on until leaving my appointment at 1:30pm today - and GUESS WHAT?!?! Being out of it for a good amount of time, I had NO CONTRACTIONS and actually felt the best I've felt all month! I walked straight up with only minimal twinges of discomfort in a couple spots on my belly! As soon as I put it back on, BOOM, my core seized right up! They think I'm weird since the binder is supposed to have the exact opposite effect, but every patient is different!

I go back in another two weeks. In the meantime, I can wear the binder and compression pad as I feel it's needed. It's gonna be a trade off -- no contractions in exchange for increased swelling, or decreased swelling for a contracted core and stooped walking! I think you can see the swelling in today's pics compared to past weeks!

I'd been telling myself that today would be the day I tried my jeans on, but I'm not going to. I'm not going to set a date. I'll try them when it feels like the right time. I'm perfectly happy in comfy pants for now!

The last thing I'll mention is that I was finally able to reignite a little romance in the bedroom last night! I was feeling great being out of my binder, so instead of closing my eyes and sleeping, I convinced my husband to put his book down! He was more than happy to take it slow and the only thing that was really awkward was that he didn't know quite where to put his hands when I climbed over on top of him (which was the only way that was happening since I didn't want him on top of me due to belly-friction, and I can't lay on my sides comfortably yet!) - he'd normally hold my hips, but between my incision right there and my flanks being so tender from lipo, it became a game of trial and error! Overall, I'd call it a success! Poor guy had been so patient for weeks! But I truly had not been in the mood! It was weird that the insides of my belly still feel pretty numb and heavy, but everything else felt great! I'm hoping he'll put that book down again tonight! :)

I haven't spent as much time on this site as I did pre and post-op, and that's a good thing - it means I'm getting my life back to normal! But I do miss reading and commenting and sharing! There were moments that my connection to other women here was INVALUABLE! I hope to find time to catch up with everyone's progress! And as always, I thank everyone for the support I've gotten here! Above all, I've appreciated the humor the most! Even if I can only still laugh at about 50%!!

Stay Brave!!


Let me just say - again - that it's unbelievable how FAST post-op time is flying by!

Since my last update, not a whole lot has changed.

I took a few new pics today. My scar actually looks better in person that in pictures. It's not as raw looking. I only have two tiny scabs left from the stitch removal a few days ago and the swelling around the incision has gone down a bit. I can actually run my fingers along it now without feeling nauseated! I'd been avoiding touching it altogether because I was nervous. Time to get better acquainted with this new part of me!

I placed an order via phone for 3 months worth of the NewGel scar care product my ps recommends... Almost $300 later (!!!) ... and USPS tracking tells me it will be delivered some time tomorrow! After talking to the rep via phone, she explained that the Mederma my ps wanted me to use would need to be thoroughly washed off before applying the silicon NewGel strip to my incision. She recommended that I use their own brand of ointment which works very effectively with the strip. So, I ordered a 1oz tube of that instead of Mederma. She said that Mederma is a good product for moistening and softening skin, but it doesn't have any silicon in it, and silicon has been proven to work best for scar care. Who knows -- maybe it was just a good sales pitch, but I fell for it! I'll review it once I try it - and I'm excited to try it!

I've continued my daily walks on the treadmill at a slow pace and I'm happy to do that for one more week. The ps says he generally clears patients at 6 weeks without restrictions, case by case, obviously.

Today, my son was off from work and called to see if I'd like him to pick me up to do an errand at the mall with him and have some lunch! As luck would have it, I'd JUST eaten, but I did go along. My youngest came, too and the three of us had a lively, fun afternoon! Can't describe how much I needed that! I have NOT gotten out much so being among the living was great - but a little tiring. We walked to whole length of the mall and back, and my low and were contracting a bit. It's been better lately, but not gone by any means.

My swelling issues have been coming and going and seem to depend on activity level and time spent wearing my binder. I've worn it more often than not, but mild/moderate swelling is pretty persistent.

I've cut back on my muscle relaxant to twice a day. It hasn't made any noticeable difference so far. I have only three pills left, so that will be that.

Today was the day I tried my jeans on! It wasn't as exciting as I've built it up in my mind to be... Mostly because I'd just lotioned up well after my showe and they were really hard to pull up! Once they were up, between my uncovered incision and the swelling / tenderness from lipo at my hips, they weren't all that comfortable! They'll be fine soon enough, I'm sure. What WAS exciting was not seeing my belly roll hanging over the waistband!! THAT was a feeling I'll never forget!!

Speaking of feelings... Yesterday, after I'd showered and dressed, I had myself a good, unexpected cry! It hit me out of nowhere! I was actually crying because I felt overwhelming sadness for my PRE-op self! How could I have let myself feel so badly for so long?? Hiding under loose clothing, baggy sweats, etc. I'm glad I got that out of my system, but it was hard to feel that away about myself in that moment. It sure did make me appreciate how I'm feeling now that I've actually had the surgery!!

Overall, everything is going really well! My husband and I spent a really romantic Valentine's Night together, and it was much less awkward than it was the first time!

For now, I'm calling it a night! It's been a long, rewarding day!

So happy that there will be nothing but long, rewarding days in my near future!

I wish the same for all of the women here!


Leading up to my surgery date, THIS was the day that I was most looking forward to! My ps had told me in a pre-op appointment that 6 weeks was usually when his patients are "cleared" to resume all activity without restriction ... and all I could think was that it seemed like YEARS away and HOW would I EVER make it?!!

In MY mind, at 6 weeks, I'd be totally healed - feeling totally back to my old self and my usual routines and workout - minus my tummy! New, and improved!

Boy, was I wrong! Not in a BAD way ... Moreso, just wishful thinking, I guess! I did know better, too!

But here I am anyway! Just as happy as I've been all along! I've come a loooong way since PO Day 1! I've met a lot of milestones, and I'm still working toward a few!

Overall progress is still slow going. The big things are long behind me. The sores and blisters I got from the original bandage tape are all but gone, thankfully. The skin is a tiny bit discolored, but getting better daily. Except for one small scab from stitch removal a week and a half ago, my incision is fully closed. I received the NewGel+E Ointment and Silicone Strips I'd ordered, and I only just started using the ointment yesterday. I avoid the little scab and cover the long incision, the scar that's my old bellybutton, and around my new bellybutton. A tiny bit goes a long way. I'm doing this after my morning shower and again at bedtime. For best results, they recommended using the ointment during the day, applying twice, and then wearing the strip overnight. Can't wait to be able to start. The strip! I'll post pictures of this process so far, of course. When I touch the incision sites, they are all still completely numb pretty deep down. I remember my c-section scar was numb for months and months, so no concern there.

My bellybutton will be ear-plugged for the foreseeable future! Last week, for the first time, I took it out overnight, and by morning, it had swelled up tight again, just like that. It was frustrating and disappointing, but it is what it is and that's ok. I'm still quite swollen and hard to the touch under my bellybutton, so I'm not worried.

My stomach, as a whole, is coming back in stages. I have sensation back in all areas of my skin, which is reassuring. I still apply Cetaphil lotion all over, every other day seems to keep my skin soft and itch-free. The same lipo areas at my flanks, above my hips, are still really tender to the touch, so I'm still avoiding most contact there. That swelling has really decreased overall, though, and my waistline is coming back!

Swelling in general really comes and goes. There's a level of swelling that seems permanent right now, and that's what increases and decreases with activity. It's not always even, either! Sometimes I'm puffier on the right than the left, and vice versa. My ps had told me to ween off of the binder, but I haven't accomplished that fully. As soon as I feel like I'm swelling and hardening up, I put it on, nice and tight. It helps, so I'll keep doing it. Days, I'm at about 65% on/35% off. At night, it's about 50/50 on or off.

My abdominal muscles seem to be healing from top to bottom. My upper abs to just above my belly button have softened enough that I can control them now, kind of sucking them in and out just to see them move - but I avoid tightening them as much as possible. They are very tender to the touch, with one spot on the left and one on the right that will actually hurt a bit with exertion. But when I'm sitting or resting or distracted, my upper abs feel normal!

From my belly button down to my pubic hairline, I'm still almost totally numb on the inside. It's uncomfortable and hard to push in on, but it's not as bad as it was for sure! I no longer have the awful vibration feeling when riding in the car and hitting bumps in the road! I'm only just starting to be able to suck in and move it at all, and it's not much! But it's something.

Most of the crazy contractions I was getting seem to have calmed down. I've been off all muscle relaxants for several days now. When it happens now, it's mostly with activity, and still pulls me forward a bit. I'd say I walk totally upright about 85% of the time now and the backaches are mild and with lots of activity. I find the longer I sit, the more I contract and the longer it take me to get moving and straightened up.

Even this far out, I still have a LOT of pain from the muscle repair if I get laughing too hard or if I sneeze! Owwwowowowow. Luckily it passes more quickly now, though. I still can't cough at 100% and I don't have my own real laugh back yet - almost! Overall, I'd say my core is at about 40-45% there. Possibly less! No real way to tell though!

Sleeping is so much better! I can sleep pretty comfortably flat on my back, no pillow necessary under my knees, though I like one between my knees when on either side. And side sleeping is great, but sometimes I'll wake a little stiff. It's better without my binder because when it's on, it digs in to my hips and flanks. Again, oww. Also, waking up to a morning stretch is still something I try to shake myself out of.

The swelling has kept me from wearing my jeans, and I'm looking forward to getting back into them. So the stretchier the better for now. In all my usual tops - mostly tanks under workout jackets or sweatshirts for now so I can cover my binder easily. You'll see my usual attire in my pictures today ... Designed to hide! Today, as a 6 Week Treat, my daughter and I went underwear shopping. Nothing too thrilling, just went for comfort today! I'll go for sexy later! I've been to the mall a couple times now for other reasons, and last Thursday, I had another bout of happy tears as I walked past spring/summer tops and realized I don't have to only look at things that will hide my midsection!! I'm excited to shop for the first time in many many years! I plan to start shopping slowly and for one item per trip-- underwear today ... then maybe shirts ... then pants ... shorts ... etc! It feels so overwhelming! It was a HUGE accomplishment today to walk around in public with my sweat jacket unzipped! I kept looking down expecting to see my belly! I actually kept kind of pulling the jacket closed, and I'd catch myself! It felt good to feel good about how I look!

Sadly, my love life has been on hold between my husband traveling for business a few days last week and a few this week and then having my period during the time he was home! Horrible timing! So, no updates on that front! We were standing this morning, me a bit higher than usual up on the fireplace hearth, when he hugged me goodbye. We were actually up tight, belly to belly, and it was NOT comfortable! I can't wait til this passes and I can feel again! I really miss that special closeness...

Best thing that happened today was that my big sister, who's a nurse with a ridiculous schedule, was fiiiinnnnalllly able to come by and see me!! She was SHOCKED when I unzipped the jacket and she couldn't stop raving about what a great job my ps did, having seen her fair share of scars! She had me sit and stand and turn and bend and just could NOT get over my having my old body back!! She actually told me she's jealous -- and I thought she had nothing to be jealous of!! She has a little loose skin, but not near what I had! And she was happy for me and proud of me and gave me a big hug and kiss that I'd been needing!! Until today, she'd only been able to support me via phone and texts! My mom has been a support all along! And she's as pleased for me as can be! Makes it all that much better!

One last thing for tonight ... I did continue my walking this past week, 2 to 3 times a day for about 20mins at just 1.1mph. Today, I bumped it up to 1.3mph considering it's 6 weeks - though I won't be Officially "cleared" until my next follow up with my ps this coming Thursday! It's amazing how quickly I tire out! My endurance is most definitely nowhere near what it was pre-op! I was wiped out walking in the mall but pushed through it.

Fingers crossed my ps will clear me, even though, as usual, reality has taught me that 6 weeks was unrealistic for me! I will get back to the gym soon, but once he gives me the go-ahead, I've got my hand weights ready to go at home and I'll increase my speed and incline when walking. The rest will come in due time.

I have to say, as positive as I feel, and I feel REALLY POSITIVE, I'm kinda over this recovery! I do feel sort of trapped by it at times, and I've started to feel a bit claustrophobic in that binder! I'm hoping things pick up in pace, but I have no choice but to take it as it comes!

My biggest goal today was this post! Now that it's complete, I can get to bed and get on with whatever tomorrow may bring!!

Hoping all is well for anyone reading this!


Just a quick rundown on my appointment with my ps today...

No vitals taken today.

When the doc came in, he inspected my tummy and incision while I stood. Right off the bat, he noticed the tiny scab that's left on my incision from two weeks ago when he removed stitch debris that had been left behind. He told me he wanted to lift the scab and take one more look around in case there was more trying stitch to make its way out. So, I had to lay back while he took another look on the right and left sides ... Thankfully, I was all clear! He put bandaids over the site, so I won't see it til tomorrow. Hoping it finally closes up so I can start wearing the NewGel silicone strips!

He mentioned again that I have a little bit of extra skin on the right end of my incision and even a little more on the left end. (You can see it in this picture.) He said again that he can easily remedy that in his office at some point in the future. Again, I didn't ask how or when! Again, I wish I had! Ugh.

Finally, he asked how I was feeling in general and I told him about the vomitting on Tuesday and the residual discomfort. All normal. No damage done. I'll just have to wait a few days for it to calm back down, I guess. He told me I'm now officially cleared to return to the gym and can safely increase my cardio workout as I'm able! I didn't ask specifically about weightlifting, but I've read enough to know I'll be avoiding core and back work for at least 6mos!

I don't have to go back to his office for 2 MONTHS! He did say to give a call if I have any concerns and he'd be happy to see me.

Great guy!

Above all - I'm so happy I found him! And just how that happened is a story for another day! :)

Guess from here on out, I'll try to continue to post a weekly update with improvements and setbacks, if any, and pictures for the record!

Everyone have a great night!


This past week was my "No news is GOOD news" week! In other words, nothing much new - but nothing too bad, which is a relief!

Seriously, only very small, very subtle changes. And I've met a couple more milestones as far as exercise...

I seem to have recovered from the little vomitting episode I had last Tuesday. The pain I had in the hips and core has simmered back down to reasonable, though, for a couple days, it was awful!

I've copied a reply to paste here that I actually posted yesterday on someone else's post about concerns about her belly. Easier than rewriting it -- "I'm 7wks out today. My belly from the bellybutton down is still hard and tight to the touch and numb inside. I seem to be softening from the upper abs, down ... I DO have two very specific spots I can put a finger on that can randomly just kill! One to the right of my bb and up about an inch and a half, the other, an inch and a half over to the left, even with my bb. They've been there for at least the last 3 weeks. I'm just kind of dealing with it as all part of the healing process. I don't think it's anything serious. Just nerves reconnecting and upset muscles settling into their new location." That's basically sums it up for my mid-section!

I've continued to walk anywhere from half an hour to an hour this past week, no incline on the treadmill, and only at 1.4mph max. I was really taking it easy and still experiencing mild to moderate core muscle spasms both while walking and upon getting up after I've been sitting. In fact, I'm really at my best if I stay on my feet more, because the longer I sit, the stiffer and tighter I get, and it can be quite uncomfortable to stand and get moving! -- so, I went slow walking ...

... UNTIL TODAY, that is!! (And this would be the only big news heading into my 8th week po!) I returned to the gym this evening! I'd been so worried about going, but that was a waste of time and energy because, when I got there, I. FELT. GREAT!! I was so distracted by all the activity going on around me, and by having my iPod workout playlist back on, that I actually did a LOT more than I'd expected to do or thought I even COULD do! On the treadmill, I actually doubled my speed, up to 2.8mph at a 1degree incline, and I walked for 45 minutes! I wore my binder pulled pretty tight for the extra support, but I hardly felt my tummy at ALL! I was just so exhilarated to be there! After walking, I went into the Women's Only room and sat and did dumbbell biceps curls, DB overhead press, shoulder raises and triceps kickbacks, three sets of 20 reps each to ease back in! I wasn't prepared for how bad I'd feel at having to use only 5lb dumbells after having been using 10-17.5s! But I'll get there again! Today was all about trying to keep my core soft and loose while maintaining good, strong upper body form! It's harder than you'd think NOT to engage your core when doing ANYthing! When I finished the lifts, I sat down on the mat for a nice upper body stretch! Tonight, I'm starting to feel it between my shoulder blades. Tomorrow, I won't be surprised if I'm sore! I look forward to it, actually! I've MISSED it! That feeling of accomplishment!!

All the while that I was walking and lifting and stretching, I was glancing in the mirror just amazed that it was really me looking back! Every single time I was at that gym for the past few years looking into those mirrors, it was to be sure the front of my shirt was tucked in and bloused out to hide my belly! NEVER AGAIN!! It's GLORIOUS!! And, I can't wait to go back!

I'm sleeping well, and eating well, and my weight has dropped a little over the last couple of weeks, I assume from the increased activity. I've gone from about 133-35 post-op, down to 128. I'm not concerned about my weight, though. I want to keep focused on overall health and tonig these lazy muscles again!

After my shower tonight, I applied my NewGel ointment. Still have that one teeny tiny scab on the incision keeping me from wearing the NewGel strips yet! My incision has softened up SO MUCH. The ends of it are stingy at times, and they've been kind of itchy this week, too. The itchiness is not surface, it's deep under and scratching doesn't help! Hope this passes quickly! You also might notice that my belly button has swollen up again, I took a few days break from the earplug to let it get some fresh air! I'm wearing it pretty much every other day or so for a while!

Finally, my husband was away on business last week Mon-Thurs and he came home with a scratchy throat and low fever, so I steered clear! By Saturday morning, after a miserable night Friday, I made him a doctor appointment. He tested positive for Strep throat and has been on antibiotics since. We are having NO LUCK in the romance department! Hoping this ALSO passes quickly! I've reeeeeally been missing the intimacy!

Other than my new pictures, that's about it for today! (*For some reason, my pics aren't loading, so I might try with my phone, or try again tomorrow!)

I've enjoyed looking through the reviews of the women who had their surgeries around the same time as me! And I really enjoy watching the progress of their pictures, so keep posting! And best wishes to all!!

7 Weeks PO Pics

Site was down for maintenence last night when I tried to post!

MORE 7 Weeks PO Pics'

Hit post update by mistake! Lol


This past week has been much busier than usual!

I started working out at the gym again last Monday at 7wks po and went each day through Friday. It was wonderful, yet very discouraging - I originally thought I'd done really well, but by Wednesday, it was clear that I'd been overdoing it - The discouragement comes from knowing that I hadn't even really pushed myself all that much! Most swollen and tight I've been for a while. I took this whole past weekend off and I'm still feeling ... just ... not quite myself. Not sure I even want to go tonight, and I might opt for a walk in the neighborhood instead.

Anyway, at the gym, I wore just my wrap-around binder with compression foam around my tummy under my workout gear for support. I walked on the treadmill at a 3.3mph/2 degree incline max, which was more than enough for me! It felt so good being back that I got distracted by my music and kept increasing bits at a time. I kept my heart rate up there for between 45 to 60mins each day! That's way more than I'd pushed myself on my home treadmill up to then!

But for me, I was most excited to pick up some freeweights again! Let me tell you, this week has been very very humbling and frustrating. I wanted to be able to jump right back in, but there was no way. Too many lifts engage the core too much, so I ended up decreasing my lifts way WAY down! I focused instead on my breathing and maintaining good form while keeping my abs soft and relaxed, otherwise, it was too sore from my muscle repair.

Arms days, I did dumbell overhead press, DB biceps curls, triceps kickbacks, just 3 sets of 20 reps each with (ugh) 5lbs, and I did 3x20 shoulder raises with 3lb weights.

For legs, I did seated leg extensions (30lbs), seated leg curls (15lbs), 3 sets of 10 each, seated abductors (50lbs) and Adductors (60lbs), 3 sets of 15 each, and calf presses on the leg press machine (70lbs), 3 sets of 15. I couldn't believe how challenging it was, and I got pretty sore - but it was a good, productive sore!

I thought I was doing so well while at the gym, but it became clear pretty quickly that I'd really overdone it! Three nights, last W-Th-F, I came home feeling good, showered, and then it would hit! I got super light headed, nauseated and weak feeling! That feeling hasn't quite gone away yet. I will definitely be slowing it down and spending more time stretching this coming week, for sure! There's plenty of time to build back up, but I suspect this will be my biggest challenge. If you could see my pre-surgery workout set, you'd understand why! ACTUALLY ... you CAN see it! I'm gonna copy and paste it here! And generally, I'll spend at least half and hour or more on the elliptical, bike, rower or treadmill before doing my lifts, so you'll see why I'm discouraged!

Upper body Day 1
BP WU 20, 1x12 Bar, 3x12 & 2x15 Bar+5s
Indv. DB Rows 3x10 17.5lbs
Lat Pulldowns 5x15 40+5 (20plt+5)
Tricep pushdowns 4x15 30plt
Face pulls (high) 5x15 25plt
Bicep curls 5x20 20lb curl bar
Chest cable 3x20 5plts
Seated rows 3x20 12.5plts
Triceps pushdown machine 2x20 70lbs

Upper body Day 2
BP WU 20, 1x10 +5s, 5x8 +12.5s
Individual High Row 3x15 35lbs each
DB incline press 3x15 15lbs
Close grip Lat Pulldowns 3x15 55lbs
Face pulls (high) 5x15 25plt
Chest cable 3x20 5plts
Seated rows 3x20 (10indv/10both) 12.5plts

Legs Day 1
Goblet squats 6x10 35lb db
Standing glute kickbacks 6x15
Adductor leg lifts 6x15
Glute kick-ups 6x15
Glute bridges 6x15
Back extensions 5x12
Abductors 3x15 110lbs
Adductors 3x15 115lbs
XBand Walks 4x steps R&L
Leg extensions 5x8 50lbs
Hamstring curls (seated) 3x15 30lbs

I guess it's better to take it slow than suffer an injury or a setback, but Uuurrrrrrrrrrrrrggghhhhhhh!

Moving on ... I also went back to work part time this past Thurs and Fri. - a part of my week that was actually great! I work very part time in my brother's law office, and I know he's been needing me back but kind of nervous to ask me if I was ready! I felt PRODUCTIVE and helpful! And energetic! And, my Brother was great! If there were heavy files to move up and down the stairs, he jumped right up and insisted! I look forward to being there more often!

Saturday afternoon, I dug out my old belly-buster compression high-waisted bike shorts from pre-op. How many times did I squeeze myself into them to hide the jelly-belly under a pretty dress or dress pants?!? Now they can serve a DIFFERENT purpose for a change!! I like them because they're seamless! The brand is TAPEMEASURE. Probably from Target or Macy's. I wore them yesterday instead of my binder and other than making my flanks kinda sore, they really supported my tummy. I'll be wearing them more often I think.

I FINALLY started my NewGel silicone strips Saturday night! You can see the photos ... Yes! That one damned little scab FINALLY came off! So, I cut it to size and went to apply it and I'll say it's not the easiest thing to deal with! It's VERY STICKY! And bits of silicone come off at the edges and stick to your fingers! Once it was on, though, it was really nice! I'm glad I opted for the fabric outer. Flexible and soft and comfortable. The first night, I wore it a full 12 hours. I was a little nervous about it, because it cautions wearing too long if you have a sensitivity to adhesive, which I found out post-op that I clearly do! My husband, daughter and I were very surprised when I removed it Sunday morning! The color of my incision had REALLY lightened! So, we'll see how it goes from here. I'm wearing it strictly overnight and using the NewGel ointment during the day!

What else ??? Oh, other than just cleaning it with hydrogen peroxide and a q-tip, I've left my bellybutton alone this week. No earplug. I just wanted to see where it's at naturally as my swelling decreases. It seems to be pretty small with three little tissue bumps in there. Still have a ways to go with that swelling, so for now, it's hard to tell! I'd hate to have to alter it again, because it IS my original bellybutton, so I'd like to keep it as it's always been! We'll see!

Still quite numb inside from that bellybutton, down. And still, if I move/twist too fast or sneeze or cough or laugh too hard - it can really hurt! I still feel more normal today than I have, so it's all good, I guess.

Now that I've addressed the physical, let me take a moment to address the mental ...

Overall I am virtually mentally EXHAUSTED from this recovery!! It is present nearly every moment - both waking AND sleeping! Even BEFORE my tt, I was focused for a few weeks on how my recovery would be! And here I am, EIGHT WEEK LATER, and I feel like I hardly get a break from it! It's on my mind CONSTANTLY! How does THIS feel?? How does THAT feel?? Can I do THIS?? Can I do THAT?? PHEW!!! Thankfully, I haven't had much in the way of complications, and I feel absolutely BLESSED by that AND by how my body looks now and by the fact that this experience has been so damn POSITIVE!! But, HOLY SH*T!! I'm SO READY to be PAST all this!!!

Time to take a breather for now! I'll post a couple pics of the NewGel stuff, but on 3/11, I'll be 2 MONTHS PO... I'll share a few more pics then!

Read this quote this morning and it hit home, so I wanted to share!

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength."

TWO MONTHS Post-Op!! 1/11 - 3/11/16

So, since this past Monday, my 8wk update, I've had a hellish few more days, with all things physical taking a nosedive.

I'd taken last weekend off from the gym in an effort to listen to what my body was telling me, which was to dial it back a bit. I didn't realize Monday when I wrote that I'd be feeling much worse by Tuesday and beyond!

I had already been feeling constant nausea, weakness and general exhaustion since Friday last week, so I was dealing with that by munching on Tums and taking another antacid tablet. My appetite was all but gone, and I was eating just for the nourishment, without enjoyment. So, I'd already been spending downtime on my couch, with the full expectation that I'd be feeling much better by early this week... But, things took a worse turn overnight Monday when my sleep started being disrupted by a couple things. First, I began getting these ungodly core contractions that would cause my whole midsection and back to spasm and I'd actually wake with my feet planted on my mattress and my pelvis/butt lifted off the bed (just like glute bridges) with my back painfully arched, and I was literally stuck there until the contractions broke! This has continued all week long, night after night, at different levels of severity throughout the night! For one thing, it now has me terrified to go to sleep, which is a problem I've never had! For another, it f___ing HURTS! I'm not sure if I actually hurt my spine, but a few vertebrae just below the middle of my back have been sore to the touch! Also, the "tenderness" I'd had in my flanks, which I'd thought had been improving, has turned to actual pain. I couldn't even touch them earlier in the week! And I had a weird pain start shooting from inside my right hip, straight up my side. It's awful, especially at night! There's been no sleeping on my side, which I was so happy to have been doing again! And there have been other, random shooting pains hitting in my tummy, as well. I assume from straining during these nighttime spasms! So, I've gone back to taking extra strength Tylenol to help with the pain. If this continues into Monday, I may call my ps for a refill on my flexeril, which I've been out of for a while or I'd have been taking them again! These nighttime spasm have also been spilling over into the daytime. Like I need that! Not NEARLY as powerful, or as bad as I'd had them for several weeks after surgery, but persistent. Needless to say, none of this helps my queasiness!

The next thing that's been waking me from sleep is that I've started dreaming I'm going to wet the bed! Another thing I've never done! I don't know where this is coming from, but it's been going on for several days... And when I wake thinking, "What the hell?? DID I? DIDN'T I??" (which I didn't!), the damned contractions kick in and I'm stuck in the cycle all over again, PLUS, I have to somehow get to the bathroom post haste!

And OBVIOUSLY, because I didn't need this either, I've been swelled up like an overfilled ballon! I'm cinched back into my binder full time and it's got me so claustrophobic that I can hardly stand it! I took pictures of the swelling today because, even though it's down a little, it's been SO uneven! I'm just praying and praying that these contractions aren't doing damage to the nerves trying to repair themselves! I also don't know if I caused this myself with just the slight increase in exercise last week, or if the timing was just bad and things are starting to come back to life inside and are just firing to test themselves! I'm still numb inside, so I'm thinking I did this. Either way, I'm so upset by it all! This is the first week that things went BACKWARD instead of forward, and in my mind, that wasn't supposed to be!

Fortunately, even though I just started back to work with my brother part time last week, he was on a scheduled vacation this week, which means, all his office calls were forwarded to me, and I was able to take his calls and schedule his appointments from the comfort of home!

With the exception of today (FINALLY!) I was off my feet and on my couch! No gym, no home treadmill, barely 1500 steps per day! Today was the first day that I actually woke feeling like I WANTED to eat vs like I HAD to., even after a rough night! By afternoon, my mom convinced me to take a ride with her to the mall to pick up birthday gifts for my sister for this Sunday. While there, I exchanged a couple pair of undies I'd gotten at Aerie couple weeks back that I didn't like, and picked up a new bra and free undie at Victoria's Secret while getting my sister a gift card there because the sale was too good to resist.

I came home and planned to rest late this afternoon while my husband and daughter went to a softball pitching lesson they run. Before they left, my husband told me that maybe the lump under my pillow was what was keeping me up nights ... so I knew he was up to something, as that's where he often hides me little tokens of his love (yes, even after almost 27yrs of marriage!). Sure enough, I found a little box with an Alex and Ani Shamrock bracelet for me - a pre-St. Paddy's Day gift, since he'll be traveling again this coming week! He told me that he knows it's been a hard week and he just thought I deserved a reminder of how strong I am and what a great job I've been doing - even if he doesn't tell me all the time!

That one gesture of love somehow pulled me up and straight out of a really dark mood and has me feeling SO much better emotionally!

This week has taught me to maybe give up any and all "expectations" I might have of this recovery... like the crazy notion that things will just get progressively BETTER and never worse! Lesson learned!

I'll be going to bed soon, but I'm gonna let go of the fear tonight. I'm too exhausted to be worried. Whatever happens, happens.

I can handle it.

Because I'm brave.

This week, I just forgot!


Quick update tonight ...

I finally seem to have turned another corner from bad to good, thank God! Slowly but surely, my appetite has been returning and I haven't had any of the lightheadedness or weakness I'd been hit with last week! Still a little low on energy, but that's ok.

I really took it easy and limited my activity to just what was necessary to get through the past few days, and it seems to have worked.

I was feeling pretty good by this afternoon, so I got back onto my treadmill for a slow walk. 1.8mph pace for 30mins while listening to some good music - it was very relaxing. I know it's a step backward a few weeks, but I don't care.

My swelling is still up and down, but I don't feel as super tight, and without the upset stomach to go with it, it's actually tolerable for now.

The extreme core contractions have continued, but mostly toward the morning hours instead of all night long. I just kinda go with it and breathe through it. What else can I do?

The only other real issue I've had the past few days is WICKED itchiness on and around my incision. It hasn't been this bad in a while, but nothing unexpected.

So, for now, I'm feeling a little more positive about things again!

Just missing my husband. He left yesterday afternoon and is traveling the territory he oversees for work and holding annual meetings along the east coast, working his way home from Virginia to NH by Thursday. Just makes for some long days... and nights. It's hard to sleep well when he's away. And I need the rest.

I continue to be thankful for my experience and my results and I'm still sending prayers for the rest of you here!


Life is so very much back to normal! This past week, I've been working a bit, running errands, out shopping, out to dinner with family and friends a couple times, had a few drinks to celebrate St. Patty's Day at a party ... It's really pretty great!

My body, on the other hand, is still far from back to normal -- ESPECIALLY on the INSIDE!

Overall, I'm feeling good, eating well, sleeping better (without the weird dreams most nights!) and I'm VERY VERY HAPPY with my overall results!

My biggest downside is that I'm still holding off on working out - even moderately - because of the dang swelling! I've been walking only, and on the treadmill only, just to say my body is moving, but still at just an easy pace and incline. I don't want to start putting on weight, or feeling down, so I move.

Today, 10 weeks, was my "hold-off-on-lifting-until" date, so tomorrow, I plan to pick my hand weights back up. Wish me luck, because starting and having to stop this past couple weeks has really sucked!

I've been back in my binder pretty much 24/7 this week because, as soon as it's off, boom - I puff & tighten right up. I've been pulling it pretty tight and feel supported, yet trapped. Seriously can't wait to be done with it. I prefer wearing it to bed for now, for sure, because it helps me with that morning stretch / contraction issue I've been dealing with. I really do think I hurt a couple vertebrae due to the extreme back arching. They're still kind of tender to the touch, so I'm being careful of them. Anyway, the pressure is the only thing controlling the swelling for now, so binder it is.

I took a few days off from using my NewGel ointment and silicone strip. The itchiness last week got to a level I'd call "Insanity Inducing" (ESPECIALLY at the incision ends!) so I couldn't deal with it and thought these products might have been the culprits! It very well could be that I have a slight allergy because, when I used only Cetaphil lotion, or Shea Body Butter, or Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Lotion on the incision, the itchiness would subside. In any event, today I reapplied the ointment for the day and I have the strip on tonight. I might use them on a different schedule - maybe 3 days on / 1 off for the break. Either way, the scar will fade over time, and I have plenty of time!

I also haven't had the earplug in my belly button for at least a couple weeks now. The tape was kind of irritating and the results seem to be only temporary. If it's out for more than a day, the tissue inside just puffs back up. I've actually gotten used to how it looks in its new natural state for now. I don't love it, but I don't hate it because at least it's mine! I'm definitely still pretty swollen underneath it, so I play the waiting game.

Finally, like I said above, NOTHING inside of my tummy feels normal yet! It's very wearing on me that my entire abdominal wall is still totally numb! My upper core is still softer than my lower, and I can kinda suck my stomach in now. I had a really hard time with the numbness this past Thursday while out clothes shopping with my daughter ... Yes! I went clothes shopping! ... I'd been trying on a few tops and soft stretchy skirts, but when I got to the jeans I'd really wanted to try, they felt so gross buttoned across my numb belly that I took them right off and that was the end of that! I was discouraged because I really need new jeans! I'm still in the same damned loose sweat pants because pants feel so uncomfortable! But, there IS a plus side, I was trying on a longer cotton pencil skirt and when my daughter came to my fitting room to show me what she had on, her mouth literally dropped open when she saw me! I was already standing there, hand over my own mouth, just staring into the mirror at my reflection! I ended up buying 3 of those skirts, a denim shirt, 3 lightweight, open sweaters that I don't have to hide under, a t-shirt dress, a white denim jacket, a high waist bathing suit bottom (which I'm not sure of) and 2 pairs of sandals! For ME to have this much success on a shopping trip is almost UNPRECEDENTED! We also went back to Victoria's Secret for more underwear and bras! I can NOT believe that I'm having actual FUN clothes shopping!!

That's it for this week! My only last thought is for all of the women who've just started healing ... It may not seem like it now, but in the blink of an eye, you'll be 10 weeks out and asking, "Where the hell did the time go?!"

That's a GOOD thing!!

11 WEEKS POST-OP!! "Tummy Tucker'd Out!"

77 days post-op. So weird.

(*If you're not up for a lengthy read, scroll down to the bottom for the abridged update!)

I posted in the tt forum toward the end of last week (3/24), and to make it easier on myself right now, I'm just copy/pasting that post here.

"Good morning all - hope you're all doing well! I'm gonna title this post "Tummy Tucker'd Out!" Today, I am SO OVER my recovery! My healing is going pretty much as expected... Biggest problem has been the increased swelling with any increased activity, so I'm having to limit the activity, but NOW I'm having a hell of a time with middle of the night / early morning hours involuntary muscle contractions! I'm about 10.5wks PO, and for several weeks, as soon as anything starts to wake me, as soon as my legs move or stretch, or I begin to stir, my entire core goes into a tight, tight spasm. At first, it was just aggravating but tolerable ... but it's gotten progressively worse. For the past week, they are so strong that my knees bend up and my feet literally push into the bed and lift my butt up off the mattress, which painfully arches my back and pushes out my abs! Not only has it increased in intensity, it's happening 3-4 times before I finally get out of bed. I've now actually hurt a couple of vertebrae in my back. Yesterday, I spent all day with some serious abdominal wall pain - like it felt in the first few weeks PO when you'd sneeze or cough! But all day! It's the first time I've had to take Naproxen for the pain. I was actually scared to go to bed last night! So, I have a call in to my ps and am waiting to hear back. I'm thinking I may need to go back on the muscle relaxants. I don't know what else to do to break this weird cycle now. Waiting it out sure doesn't seem to have helped! I was pretty informed going into this surgery/recovery, but I hadn't read ANYthing about something like this! Trying real hard to hang on to my positive attitude today! When I look at my results in the mirror, I know it's all worth it, no doubt ... But this is just mentally and physically exhausting! If you wouldn't mind sending a quick prayer or good thought my way, I'd sure appreciate it! Thx! ...

[...Later that day...]

Thanks everyone for the happy thoughts! My ps actually called back and they had me come right in so he could assess. He said my healing seems to be going really well, overall! He can't really explain what's happening with these contractions, but says he doesn't doubt what I'm explaining. He didn't see any damage, per se, but wanted to help. He asked about my activity and I told him I'm not even really exercising, just walking slowly, and he suggested I not even do that for now! That's a disappointment! But, he did prescribe me more muscle relaxant to take 'as needed' for now! I'm really hoping this gives me some relief because I'm so tight! Filled that prescription immediately and took one about half an hour ago. We're on the road, traveling to CT to take my father in law out to dinner, so - it's NAPTIME! I'll keep you updated! Thx again"

So here I am, 4 days later, updating.

I started the muscle relaxant right away and took one pill Thursday afternoon and the next at bedtime. We were traveling about two hours to CT to take my father in law out to dinner for his bday and that first pill knocked me out. I slept the whole ride and felt very drowsy through dinner.

Since Thursday night, I've only taken one pill per night at bedtime. The first night, I still had a couple of spasms, but not quite as extreme. Each night has been a little bit better, but it hasn't stopped completely. I think as it happens, I'm more conscious of it and am at least able to keep from arching my back and aggravating my spine. I'd love to be saying it was a success, but it hasn't been. It still hurts to sneeze, cough or belly-laugh, which sucks! My basic mantra has been, "You'll survive." Not too enthused!

Today, I also got back on the treadmill at home, still at a 1.8mph pace, at level 7 (so, 1.5-5 degree incline, which is nothing), and I did the same light arm workout I'd recently stopped. I know I'm supposed to be taking it easier, and I'm a terrible patient, but I can NOT sit still another day, feeling all of my hard work just melting away and losing muscle mass! I figure, I'm not straining or hurting myself, so eventually, swelling or not, I'll heal - whether I sat still or got a little exercise!

I'm still in my binder most of the time. I'm resigned to it.

I also started my NewGel ointment and strip back up. Almost immediately, I got itchy as anything across my incision! So I'm doing 2 days on / 1 off so I don't go insane!

Beside all of these minor setbacks, I'm still so very happy with my choice! I've enjoyed some excellent times with my family and friends (Easter in CT was lovely yesterday!), started some home improvement projects, and am looking forward to even HAPPIER days! (days when my innards have feeling again!) I've also very much enjoyed some great, intimate moments with my husband.


Yet another week has FLOWN by! Just a few things to update today...

I've continued walking on the treadmill for at least a half hour to an hour per day (today I walked an hour fifteen). I break it up into two times per day if over 45mins. I've been feeling good while walking. I do part of the walk with my binder on and take it off about half way through. I'm forcing myself to keep only a 1.8-2mph pace so I don't over do it, and week by week, I'll just increase the level. I'm now at level 8, and my treadmill has 20 levels, so the incline varies on random between just 1.5 and 5.5 degrees. My swelling still comes and goes as activity increases, so I deal with it by staying in the binder longer. The dang Velcro is starting to go. That could become problematic!

This past Thursday, Friday and Saturday were my best days to date! I had virtually ZERO core contractions during the daytime! Normally, my tummy will contract on one side or the other, or all over, at least a few times per day - especially when standing after sitting for a while. It was such a nice feeling. Aside from my insides still feeling heavy and numb, it was the most "normal" I've felt all day long!

It was also the first time I wore a pair of jeans since January! None of my own jeans fit me comfortably yet, but my niece had dropped off a bag of clothes for my youngest, and there was a pair of jeans in there that were the answer to my prayers ... at least until I go shopping and try to find new ones of my own! For the first time, they didn't feel too weird (accentuating the numbness) across my lower belly! There's hope for me yet!

My nighttime/early morning muscle spasms/contractions continue, as well. It reeeeeaaaalllllly sucks. I've only been taking one Flexeril at bedtime, and it doesn't seem to do much. I had some success earl last week trying to maneuver my body as my core starts to contract to try to protect my spine, but the last two nights were awful. After those three great days, I actually had sharp pains in a couple places on my tummy Sunday. That was so discouraging! There is still a definite area on my spine that hurts to touch or stretch. Tylenol isn't touching it. I'll be really pissed if, after all this recovery, I really did damage to my vertebrae!

Tonight, I did a full-body stretch for the first time in almost three months! It took me about an hour and felt fantastic, other than my back. It was the first time I've tried to pull my knees tight into my chest or lay flat on my back on the floor! That was weird, but at least I know I can do it and my flexibility wasn't as bad overall as I'd thought it might be! Anyway, I'm hoping maybe this will help loosen me up before bedtime. I'm considering propping myself up again to sleep because I'm feeling a little desperate.

I started cutting my food intake this weekend. I'm a little worried that I'm more plump than swollen. I seem to be holding a little extra soft weight at my hips and even my upper tummy and I don't like it. The goal is to lose just 5lbs. I don't want to set unreasonable goals, as I am still healing.

One last thing ... The BEST thing that happened this past week was that my Victoria's Secret package arrived! Can't believe my good luck! The week before last, I got an email from Victoria's Secret. Big online bathing suit sale!! So, even though I don't generally shop online because I prefer to try stuff on, I took a look. Found a bikini bottom I kinda liked, and at $10/pair, I couldn't resist! I ordered one in every last color available, hoping they'd fit and not wanting to miss out on the sale, but assuming they wouldn't fit and that I'd be returning them at the store. (Did I mention I never shop online?)

Anyway, they arrived Thursday ... And they FIT!!

I now have 8 bottoms, and no tops to match!

So, if you're looking for a bottom that will hide your incision, VS Heavenly bikini bottoms ($32 reg. price) should do the trick, plus they don't leave your whole butt hanging out, just enough!

I've tried to keep up with the Jan/Feb 2016 tt page, but I'm definitely behind and a bit out of the loop! I've been busy this week continuing to work on some home improvement projects we have in the works! That's a nice (albeit expensive!) distraction!

Hope you're all well on your way to being the best version of you that you can be!

A Little Ray of Sunshine!

Yesterday was a gray day here in NH... until the mailman knocked at my door!

Over Easter, my sister-in-law-equivalent listened to me complaining about not having any truly comfortable jeans that fit and don't feel awful across my numb low tummy. She must have felt bad because she sent me a care package!

Inside: a pair of GAP Demi-rise maternity jeans (in 2 sizes incase one didn't fit) and a note that simply said, "You're Welcome! =)".

At first, I was like, "WHAT?! Maternity?? NO."

Then I tried them on...

Ladies - These are NOT you're Momma's maternity jeans!

They are so perfectly comfortable, I just had to share! They don't have a full tummy panel! The Demi-rise is like wearing a mid-rise Jean, only much softer! (They have an even lower rise available as well.) They sit at my hips and end about an inch or so under my bb. Very forgiving! No buttons, no zippers! PERFECT!

I messaged her to thank her right away! She's a manager at GAP, and asked her to get me any other styles/denim colors available! (There are MANY!) With a shirt over them, no one is the wiser!

Just wanted to share this with anyone else who's struggling with swelling and fitting into clothes right now! I never would have thought of maternity!

Have a fabulous day!!

I'm going out in my new jeans!

13 WEEKS / 3 MONTHS POST-OP!!! 1/11 - 4/11/16

Not a whole lot of change in the last week!

Physically, I'm feeling pretty good. I've been massaging my belly every time I shower for a few weeks now. I don't think I've mentioned that. I soap up my hands and start at the center of my incision. I work my way out to the ends of my incision in small circles with moderate pressure. From there, I go straight up my obliques and then back down, moving inward to the center of my core. I find that I am better able to feel what's still numb inside, and what seems to be getting a little sensation back. I'm still mostly numb.

I wrote in the Jan/Feb forum yesterday about hurting my core just by laughing at a comedy show Saturday night - That was NOT FUN! Today, I feel better but still have a couple sore spots! I've noticed that my flank areas are much less sore now than a couple weeks ago, so that's progress!

Sleeping has been pretty good. I am still having the overnight spasms and still take a Flexeril at bedtime. When it happens, or when I turn from side to side, it's still putting pressure on my spine and really hurts the area on my spine that I think I did some damage to a couple weeks back. So that really sucks. Each night, I'm very aware of it happening. My Fitbit confirms that my sleep is disrupted at least 3-5 times per night.

This past week, I've tried to wear my binder less during the day. I've really only put it on by early evening, and I wear it to bed every night because I like the support. The few times I didn't wear it to bed, I woke up swollen. If I wear it, I wake up flat and stay flat longer into the day.

I've continued walking slowly (1.8mph) on the treadmill and just keep increasing the workout level/incline weekly. Today, I'm at level 9 of 20. I'm doing 45min walks once or twice per day. I've hit 10,000 steps most days this past week. I'm also doing my upper body workout with dumbells. The front of my left shoulder has been bothering me, so I'm taking it easy. I'm also continuing my full body stretch before bed, which is so relaxing!

I took a couple pictures today to post because I need to see for myself that when I sit, my belly has no more rolls! This week, a couple of times we were out with friends and I felt like my belly was sitting in my lap - that same old insecurity crept in and I actually tried to cover it by pulling my jacket closed. I would have bet anything that it was really there! Phantom belly is no joke! I'd felt it a little before, but this was such a strong feeling! I can't describe how relieved I am that the roll is gone, (I'm sure most of you know the feeling!), but for some reason, I'm afraid I'm going to get it back! (Maybe it's the guilt over eating a couple of brownie sundaes recently!) High stress days, I feel my will power slipping! Gotta work on that!

I'm off to do my stretch now!

I'll be checking back in if anything exciting happens before next Monday!

Take care for now!


A few subtle changes this past week...

First, I'm still having a hell of a time with my overnight muscle spasms causing my spine trouble. I'm to the point where I'm thinking I might need an MRI to see if the crazy half-asleep back arching has caused a herniated disc. Still very sore when it's happening and sore to touch or stretch. So aggravating.

I'm still walking daily. Moved up to level 10 today. Sticking with the 1.8mph pace other than to pick up the pace at the end of my walks to hit an even mileage before cooling down. I'm also picking back up with my upper and lower body workouts. I tried to do a plank. Lol! Even on my knees, I was unable to do it. At all! I'm starting to get really impatient! It's doing me more harm than good putting off exercising. If I swell, I swell. F it.

Speaking of swelling... It's now a way of life. Two days ago, I ditched my binder. I think I got too reliant upon it and I want to see if it really makes the difference in swelling I've convinced myself it does. So far, the swelling I have at the end of the two days has gone down overnight. I'd like to say I'm totally done with it, but I'm not throwing it away just yet! I've also been taking my measurements every few weeks to see where I'm at post-op. I haven't gained any weight, but I haven't really lost any, either, and have been continuing to fluxuate about 2lbs. But, I've been feeling like my upper abdomen is bigger around than even just a few weeks ago. Sure enough, it had increased a full inch from last time I measured! And I don't think it's swelling because everything feels soft, not hard or tight!

I did some yard work at home and at my Mom's over the weekend. It felt good to be outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air! I made my way around my pool picking leaves and acorns out of the rocks, and I raked and picked up brush with my brother at my Mom's. I did have some twinges (tearing sensation/electrical shock-like) if I twisted or bent. It's tiring having a numb core!

My incision is looking pretty good now that the redness is finally starting to decrease. I haven't been wearing my NewGel products for several days. I couldn't take the itchiness! I know it's only bad because my skin is so fair and sensitive. I'll wear it now and again, but it might be sporadic. Under the pink discoloration that's left, the scar, itself, is a paper thin white line! Within a couple of years, I probably won't even notice it anymore, just like my c-section scar! I look forward to that day! It does still gets itchy and tender, or burns and feels like it's pulling at times, but nothing major.

I see my ps for a follow-up this coming Thursday. It's been a few weeks now, so we'll see what he thinks! Mostly I want to solve the problem of the contracting abs! Maybe he'll let me try taking 2 flexeril overnight, because 1 does nothing!

Other than all this (and I know it sounds like a lot of negatives and complaints) I'm really doing quite well and am loving being rid of my jelly-belly! I'll stand and just look in the mirror some days and still be amazed at the change! I have so much more mobility and flexibility than I had early on after surgery. It's so nice to run up and down stairs with ease now! I'd say, for the most part, daily life is pretty normal. For that, I thank God!

For now, I'm taking a day at a time - one challenge at a time!

And that's ok.


Only a few things to update this week..

I went to my scheduled ps follow-up appointment last Thursday and he spent a good deal of time with me, letting me describe, once again, what I've been going through with my overnight muscle spasms and contractions.

I told him that taking the flexeril at bedtime for 30 nights didn't seem to make any difference whatsoever. We agreed that if it wasn't helping, I wouldn't continue to take it.

He did a thorough exam of my core and thinks that my healing is going well. I assume there's no damage done to my muscle repair, and I know my incision / scar has come a long way. (I'm still only using the NewGel ointment and strip now and then, and being less itchy has been so nice!) He told me again that the little dog eats at the incision ends will be repaired "months down the road."

And then he had me show him just where on my spine I'm having pain, which I did. I appreciated his honesty in telling me that it would be best to follow up with my primary doc as well as an orthopedic doc about the back since he's no expert there. But, he did ask that I keep him in the loop if I see another doc, and I appreciated that also. I'll see him again in two months.

So, for now, the spasms continue. I don't know if / when I'll see another doc. I'm just trying to manage each contraction as it happens. Sometimes I can, and sometimes it just take me. Pain and all. It's been really hard.

This past week, I've also been totally binder-free, and I second guess that choice every day.

I'm walking daily, with maybe one day off, if that. I finished the week of level 10 and increased to level 11 on Sunday. Max incline is only 7 degrees and min is 3.5, and I'm sticking with my 1.8mph slow-but-steady pace. 45mins-1.5hrs/day total. I didn't do a lot of upper or lower bod work this week, but that was more out of sheer laziness than anything else.

I also overindulged this past weekend ... with food ... with drink ... And in the bedroom. ;) You know how too much drink clouds the judgement, and although it was very VERY much worth it at the time (my husband would agree!), I've been paying the price with some achiness and some seriously lopsided swelling of my tummy! I was a little less careful and a little less inhibited than I've been, for sure! I've gotten some electrical shock-like pains in random spots. Late day to bedtime is the worst. And oh my GOD, my hips around my incision have really been pulling and burning when I lay down for bed! That had settled down a long time ago. Back with a vengeance!

The core numbness continues. If I bump the counter doing dishes or on the grocery cart, it really grosses me out! Shower massage also continues.

One last suggestion. I commented to a fellow realselfer recently that I think a FitBit is a must-have for this TT recovery! It's been pretty cool looking back at how little I could walk early on and seeing it improve via the Fitbit app. It's also helpful to see how many times I'm really restless / awake overnight! Sometimes it's less than is thought - sometimes more! I really do recommend picking one up!

That's it for this week!

Blessings to all!


My husband and I celebrated our 27th Anniversary yesterday!! He surprised me with a little shopping at our local outlet mall!! Forget the cooking supplies in the pic!


(That's more pairs than I've bought for myself in the last decade! Lol!) (Also, they still felt dreadful across my numb tummy, but it'll be great when the feeling comes back!!)

Happy Friday to all!


Short & Sweet today!

Core: Numb.

Incision: A little lighter.

Scar treatment: Not this week.

Hips/Flank Lipo: Tender.

Tummy Nerves: Zapping.

Swelling: Less all week!!

Exercise: Treadmill Level 12, 1.8mph, adding back upper and lower body work slowly.

Muscle Spasms: relentless overnight.

Spine: Can't rest or heal due to continued spasms.

Frustration level: meh. 6.

Satisfaction: 10! T E N!!

Had a really great Anniversary Week with my husband! And I know I'm much happier overall and much more confident in clothes!!

Regrets: Nope!



It's been a pretty busy week!

Last week, I did a lot of running around town helping my daughter and husband prepare for a comedy night fund raiser for town softball. On Friday, I was helping carry a stack of tablecloths over my arm, and the plastic packaging shifted, so I brought the stack across the front of myself to secure them ... Within ten seconds of them putting pressure against my tummy, I started to feel physically nauseated! I HATE HATE HATE when anything touches my midsection because the numbness is just so awful feeling! I called out to my daughter ahead of my that she needed to take the tablecloths because I thought I was going to be sick right there! As she grabbed them from me, I literally gagged! (Thank GOD that was the worst of it!) My daughter had herself a pretty good laugh, though!

The comedy night went off without a hitch and was very successful, so I guess it was worth the effort! Also, I was able to laugh throughout the whole night without "pain" - just had a few spontaneous little electric shocks here and there. Last comedy show I went to last month was dreadful from laughing, so I'll call this improvement!

Last week's update was minimal, so I'll just add a bit on the lipo/flank tenderness I mentioned... Since week 1, is say the level of pain and tenderness hasn't changed much AT ALL. They can really hurt if I rest my hands on my hips, and especially if I lay on either side in bed. The ends of my incision also feel like they're pulling/tugging/tearing when I turn in bed. It stinks.

NOTHING stinks as much as my dreaded overnight muscle contractions, which continue to continue with no relief or end in sight! My poor spine. I can't even talk about it. :(

I completed my week of walking at level 12 on the treadmill and increased to level 13 yesterday. Same low speed. I try to do an extra half hour at a lower incline bit quicker pace, so we'll see how that goes.

Tried to see if I could do a plank today - - - Even on my elbows and knees, it was impossible to hold it. My entire core started burning immediately. I'll continue to try each new week!

I shared Mother's Day yesterday with my husband - it was his 49th birthday! It was pretty special! Our three kids treated us to the movies (Captain America: Civil War in IMAX 3-D, which was AWESOME!) and then dinner at the Outback! We finished off a great day with gifts and a DQ ice cream cake!

Each day brings so many things to be happy about and grateful for


Well, my update decided to post automatically before I could finish writing! WTH!

Maybe it was a sign to wrap it up with a few pics! Not much else has changed in a week anyway!

4 MONTHS Post-Op!! 1/11 - 5/11/16

In oh-so-many ways, I am a much happier woman today than I was just 4 months and a day ago!

I'm am rid of an emotional struggle and pain that I'd been burdened with for far too many years. All because I'm rid of some extra belly skin and a few stretch marks! It's amazing, really. Am I perfect? No. I was never going for perfection! I'd always known I was "not good enough" ... "Good enough" is good enough for me!

But, underneath the joy and relief I feel overwhelmingly, there is also the hourly, daily, weekly and monthly reality of a really very challenging - not always easy - recovery.

I don't always love how I look. Swelling can play nasty tricks on your mind. "Is that a belly roll I feel when I sit down or lean?" "Am I gaining weight in my upper tummy?" "Where did my waistline go?! It was JUST THERE the other day!" "Was this all just a dream?" And I'd SWEAR TO GOD sometimes that my entire belly roll will be there if I look or reach down for it! That phantom-belly feeling is the worst! I'd read about it, but didn't realize the feeling could be so STRONG and real!

And I HATE how I feel physically! I want it to be OVER. I'm tired of the numbness. I'm tired of the burning hips, I'm tired of the areas of hardness under my incision and the redness around it...

Mostly, I am WIPED OUT EXHAUSTED both mentally and physically by the core contractions I'm living with. I've developed such an anxiety about bedtime all because I know they're coming once I fall asleep --- and sleep has NEVER been an issue for me. Tonight, I'm going to try to take one of the Xanax tablets I have left from pre-op. It can't possibly hurt to relax a bit, and I'm praying that maybe it will actually help me get through a night contraction free! Fingers crossed, anyway!

Tonight, I'm having a rough night. Funny how moment to moment feelings can be so different!

Each passing milestone leaves me amazed that I've come so far - and I know there's a long way to go still!

Digging deep for that bravery I'd discovered within myself and constantly holding on to the fact that "the best is yet to come"!

I treated myself this week to some new bikini tops to match all the dang bottoms I bought several weeks ago! I had to do a little SOMEthing to celebrate ME at 4mos po!

Well wishes to all!


Well, I don't know how many of you wear a Fitbit, but I've been wearing one since just before my surgery in January. This week, for the first time, I got suckered into joining a "Workweek Challenge" and I got so caught up in the fun spirit of competitiveness of it that I really pushed myself too far, and by the weekend, I was paying for that with swelling and general body soreness! But I came in 3rd overall and am pretty proud of that, no matter how stupid! The problem was that I didn't decrease my treadmill level (13) and I increased the time I spent on it daily to get more steps in! I averaged nearly 15,000 steps a day, and a couple days was at almost 18,000! I should have really dropped the incline way down because I was working twice as hard as the people I was up against! This week, I was challenged again, but declined to join! I'm just gonna stick to my own pace, 1.8mph at level 14 since Sunday (5-8.5 degree incline). Too much pressure! Lol! I'd love to say I've lost a pound or two with all the increased walking, but my body has been quite stubborn and weight loss-resistant these last few months. I'm still hangin at about 131 and it's SO frustrating! My son tells me to give myself a break, that my body is trying to heal. He's right! Also this last week, I've been trying to have my husband touch and lightly rub my stomach a little bit more. Up to now, the numbness and concrete feeling of it is so gross to me that I've been restricting where he can actually touch me! Generally from the ribcage, up (as my hips are STILL tender from lipo) and my back! It's been kind of nice (though, still weird) to feel someone's hand beside my own on my skin! Poor guy is so paranoid about touching me because of my prior reactions! I've been feeling bad about that, so this has been good for BOTH of us! I'm posting my new bathing suit pics tonight with my updated incision pics because I just can't believe that I'm going to be wearing bikinis again this summer!! A year ago, I'd have NEVER believed it!! NEVER! Very cool stuff! One day closer to full recovery!! Life is so good!


What a busy busy week it's been! I've been running many home-improvement-projects-related errands with my husband, (today, for example, we rented a cement mixer and mixed and filled 6 sonotubes for footings for a new deck, stairs and sunrooms - a couple times, I didn't have enough core strength to pull the cement out of the mixer and into the tubes, and it was kind of sore, so my husband helped me out!), so there hasn't been a lot of time to just sit and rest! And I need to just sit and rest!

My nights and mornings are still disrupted by core contractions. As usual, I'm too emotional to go on about it. And I'm one week closer to being convince this will last forever.

This past Thursday, I had a happy little breakthrough ... I'd worn jeans with a button, and for the first time, I actually went for a couple of hours without giving it a second thought! They were pretty comfortable and didn't really bother my numb belly like they have! That's HUGE for me, because I can't wait to just be comfy in soft jeans again!

I also had a revelation while walking on my treadmill and watching tv this past week ... For the first time ever, I tuned in to the show "BOTCHED." I'd never seen it before, but LET ME WARN YOU RIGHT NOW ... if you haven't had your procedure done yet, DO NOT WATCH IT!!! Oh my GOD!! I am so thankful that I hadn't seen it before my tt surgery, because I can GUARANTEE that I would have CANCELLED!! There's NO WAY I could have gone through with it!

Speaking of my treadmill, I completed my week walking at level 14 and increased to 15 on Sunday. I've also been walking outside more often in the evening because the fresh air is glorious!

All week long, I've been looking down, still expecting to see a new belly roll - I can feel it so strongly like it's actually there, and I get so nervous about it. I've checked the mirror much more often this past week than in any previous week! I need to break this pattern asap!

Time for bed! Lots to do this week, and not enough time to do it! I'm happy that my energy levels are nearly back to normal!! Still swelling with activity, but I'm ok with that for now!

Wishing you all good health and self-acceptance!


Got so busy with the Memorial Day activities today that I almost forgot to post!

Straight to it, these insane contractions I have every night and morning have gotten WORSE in the past week. It's infuriating, and painful and all the emotions I don't want to be feeling when I could just be feeling happy! The weirdest thing that's happening now is that my legs sort of freeze up on me as I'm waking up - especially after one or two waking-up-contractions. It's as if my mind is telling them to move, whether they're knees-bent, or straight, or I'm on my side, and they just won't! They kind of creep slowly instead of just moving where I want them to go! I know this sounds crazy - and it is! I wish I could video tape it as it's happening, but it's too disturbing. It's like the nerves at the fronts of my legs at the hip are sending all the wrong signals now that they've been disrupted! Literally as soon as my legs start moving, they stiffen up and contract with the rest of me. It's KILLING my spine and low back! And the wackiest thing is is that as soon as I get out of my bed, which is a chore in itself, this all stops for the day!

As usual, I'm just going with it for now. I see my ps in June, but don't expect he'll know what's up with this.

Because of the intense core contracting, I'm almost always sore still. This week, the random pains are more intense - especially around my hips and flanks. There's that tearing, burning feeling, and it hurts to put my hands on my hips to feel it.

I'm also having a lot more swelling and feel as tight as a drum! It's almost as if my inner organs don't fit in my new tightened tummy! I look down and feel like everything is pushing outward! I tried to show it in this week's pics... This contributes a LOT to the phantom belly feeling that I hate so much, and I'm checking almost all the time to be sure it's just in my head!

I walked on the treadmill as usual this week, (this week increasing to level 16 at just 1.8mph) but Idid a whole lot more walking outside at night for the fresh air and solitude! Saw my first firefly tonight! I'm averaging about 10,000 steps per day right now, which is down from the last few weeks for sure!

We had our kids over today for a small cookout and my eldest brought her two toy poodles... I love them both, but the smallest one would just melt your heart! He jumped into my lap after dinner and the world started to spin! The pressure of his little body on my cement stomach was so gross that I had to hold him out and away from my body. Again, my stomach got queezy for a few minutes. It made me so sad! I really could have used the cuddle!

I've done no scar treatment for several weeks now and mean to start using my products again, but keep forgetting! (Maybe it's just that I like being itch-free?!)

Well, I'm exhausted so that's that. I appreciate the supportive comments from some of you ladies! I'd hoped to have made better progress than this by 140 days out! I keep praying for healing! Still, looking a heck of a lot better than I was 20 weeks and a day ago!!

Goodnight all!


Not much new to report this week - both fortunately & unfortunately.

Days have been good. I backed off incline walking the past few days to give myself a little time to recover in general. Still trying to get in outdoor walking, which I love, but I was back on the treadmill tonight. Level 17 this week, 1.8mph and then some low incline/2.mph sets. Feels good!

I've not made the healthiest of food choices this week and am paying for that. My weight stays basically between 131-133, but MAN do I feel full/bloated! Can't get that weight to budge, but I'm not making my best effort either. Again this week, my pics show my tummy relaxed (puffy) and tightened. I actually took my measurements tonight for the first time since 14wks po, and I'm up across the board. It's so weird! Sticking with my son's advice to go easy on myself and feed my body to nourish and heal it. Not sure if it's become an excuse at this point! Lol

Still having random shocks/pinpricks across my tummy. Still sore to the touch at hips and flanks. And still suffering through brutal a.m. contractions. As it happened at about 5:30 the other morning I made my husband feel how hard my core gets. He was pretty impressed! I literally can't even tighten it on my own that tight!

My spine is a mess. About 6" of it is all achy now.

But I will survive! Too much to do! Big things happening at home this week... Central air and new furnace today, and sunrooms/deck addition starting Weds! Plus stuff going on at work giving me longer hours!

Well, gotta post before midnight!

Hope all is well, friends!

22 WEEKS / 5 MONTHS POST-OP - 1/11/16 - 6-13-16

Today, I won't be posting a weekly/monthly update or photos.

Today, I'll be thanking God for the gift of this life, and counting each and every one of my blessings.

This past Saturday night, we got a call that one of our very good friends had just died suddenly while working in and around his yard. He was just 39 years old. His 32 year old wife is left with their 2 kids (2&5) and her husband's two boys that he brought into their marriage (11&13).

I can't describe how insignificant all of my worries and fears and pains and happiness about my tummy tuck seem today.

So, my post today is simply to wish all of you the ability to keep things in perspective in this crazy life. We live but once, and only for the blink of an eye. Do what makes you happy. And realize that, in the grand scheme of the things, the things we think are the "big" things in life, are really way smaller than we make them.

Love and peace and strength and healing to all.


First, let me thank the ladies who offered their condolences and support for the loss of my friend last week. It's been a rough weekend - the wake and funeral were just draining. Physically/Emotionally.

Any yet, life goes on...

So, this week, I will update for my record.

I had a follow-up appointment on Thursday, and Dr. Chatson says I'm ready for the dogear revision any time I'd like to schedule it. I was a bit surprised that he won't be performing the revision himself, and that his assistant, Kelly, will be doing it. I'm not too concerned though. If he trusts her skills, so do I. He said the right side is smaller than anticipated, while the left was more what he'd expected. On both sides, my scar will be extended another inch or so, but I also knew that going in. I'll be waiting until after a vacation to Spain this September. No swimming for a couple of weeks after revision, so this summer is definitely out of the question!

I asked again while I was there about removal of the extra tissue in my belly button, but this visit, his answer was different... He said he wouldn't do anything more to it. I WAS disappointed at this news, but I hadn't really set my mind on having that done anyway. So, looks like I'll have to accept that which I can not change.

I commented on someone's update this week that I was never expecting perfection with this surgery ... just improvement! I've had more improvement than I'd hoped for, so I'm thrilled!

I also updated the doc about the ongoing issue of the uber-contractions I've been living with. Again, he had no real answers about that. It's nothing he can repair surgically, so his hands are tied. To update, over the past couple weeks, the sensation has changed yet again. It went from being my entire core tightening as my legs moved upon waking, and feeling like it was starting under my belly button and radiating outward, to feeling like the tightness was starting at the fronts of my hip flexors and shooting up either side of my center abs ... That was VERY uncomfortable and I'd be sore all day, feeling like my abs never had time to really recover. NOW, as I wake or change position, it's primarily only the right center of my abs that contracts -- and its gone from being uncomfortable to being outright PAINFUL! Almost a ripping or stabbing feeling, and sometime I cry out from the pain.

Then I go through this awkward attempt to stretch and straighten my legs for several minutes. The contractions happen maybe 2-4 more times before I get out of bed. Once up, it's over. No more contractions at all. Only mild tightening or little zings here and there as the day goes on and I get more tired or sit too long. It's bizarre.

Overall, I still don't have a lot of core strength, but plenty of muscle tone thanks to the contractions! I can't plank for more than a few seconds, but that's an improvement. I can get up and down from bed much more easily, but with some tugging of the muscle. Getting there.

I haven't walked for 12 days now. No particular reason I stopped, but I'd intended to start back up last Sunday - then the news of our friend dying halted my plan. I have no excuse this week, so I will start back up.

I'm feeling discouraged because I'm still holding on to weight I don't need. I've been eating too much and feeling guilty, yet not making changes.

I need accountability, and I really have none. Since my son moved out last November, exercise has gotten to be a chore and not fun anymore. He recommended that i try some Yoga with Adriene YouTube videos... Might do that.

My spine pain has eased up just a little bit. It's still sore when I really bend forward or roll back on it on the floor. It hurts to push on. Basically just crossing my fingers it resolves. The back arching from the contractions isn't as bad, so I've had a small break.

My flanks are just exactly as there been since surgery... Tender, bordering on sore/bruised feeling. That's taking a long time to calm down.

Swelling seems to be more under control lately, but that could be because my activity level has definitely been lower. It comes and goes. Mostly it's just a tight tight feeling - especially if I eat too much. It feels like I'm just stretching my tummy out again, but when I look in the mirror, everything looks ok. Still get a lot of phantom belly. A couple times I actually reached for my belly to wrap my arm around like I used to to kind of comfort myself, I guess. I hadn't even realized I'd done that....

I give little to no thought to my scar anymore. It's just become a part of me. I haven't used my products in months. All natural healing but for a few short weeks.

For the first time today, I sat out in the sun. I'm waaaay behind schedule on that, and I'm so white! I used a 30spf spray over my belly button scars. We'll see how tanning goes! I usually only spend a few minutes a day in the sun - and always with sunblock. I get good color. Hoping my scars don't darken.

On the intimacy front: My husband told me that this past weekend was the first time since my surgery that he wasn't thinking about or worried about where he could touch me during sex, so that's big news! I hadn't even realized he was still worried, so that was news to me! Lol

Happy thoughts to all! And Happy First Day of Summer!


This week was about getting back into routine. Still feeling a bit down, but trying to shake it off with some sunshine and fresh air. Spent much of this week outdoors...

This past week, I started walking a bit again! Amazing how two weeks off can zap your endurance, but I've made a pretty good comeback. On the treadmill, level 18, random hills for an hour. Still at a consistent 1.8mph.

I've also been in the pool a bit! I'm a swimmer, but when I stretched my body out to do a few strokes of the crawl, I felt it straight down the center of my core ... and not in a good way! That will take some time I guess! So I opt for side stroke, or just walking. Felt nice to be in the water again!

Also played some frisbee with my son over the weekend while cooking out. I had sore abs and arms from that, but the good sore! All things in good time!

Bathing suit pics this week! I've finally got a tiny bit of color, so I feel much better! I'm so thrilled that my tummy doesn't touch the deck when I lay on my side now! Wanted to share!

Happy thoughts til next week!

25 WEEKS POST-OP!! - Monday, July 4, 2016

Had a great 48th Birthday/Independence Day weekend with my family and friends. Spent most of the time hanging out by the pool and playing yard games! Perfect combo ... Just add Birthday cake!

I'd been wearing my bikinis when with my immediate family for a couple weeks now, but I took a leap and wore one at our cookout for the 4th yesterday! No one said anything negative, and in fact, I got a couple compliments, so I'll consider that a win for Dr. Chatson! (confession: I am totally self conscious more so of my thighs than ever before and I hate that!)

Fresh air and pool water and compliments are good for the spirit. I highly recommend it. That is all on that subject!

I'm still having issues with sleep being disturbed by severe core contractions. This week, it's back to being more balanced on left and right side together vs mostly painful on right. And, oh, my poor spine. :(

Posting a few natural light pics along with my old bathroom standard pics tonight. You can really see my belly button and bb scar a lot better. I've mostly gotten used to the fact that I'll be living with it forever, and I'm pretty ok with that ... this week, anyway!

Hope you all had a glorious 4th.

God Bless America ... especially after the miscarriage of justice and dereliction of duty by the FBI Director today! And that is all on THAT subject!

26 WEEKS / 6 MONTHS POST-OP!! 1/11/16 - 7/11/16

Just a quick post today, as I'm short on time ...

This past 6 months have FLOWN by. I thought it'd be fun to take pics to compare the Befores to the Afters ... That'll be a project for tomorrow, though!

It hasn't been a perfect recovery BY FAR! But, I couldn't be happier with my decision!!

I've loved following so many other brave souls through their journeys! You've been a source of strength and support that's been INVALUABLE! My most sincere thanks and best wishes the each and every one of you!

Life is short. Why should we spend it unhappy, self-conscious, or worse - with self-loathing! If there's a fix, and the means to fix it, I say trust your gut (not pun intended) and take that leap!

It can be a life changer!

It was for me!!

6 MONTH "BEFORE&AFTER" FUN!! - 1/11/16 - 7/11/16

Ok ladies! I'd thought that taking / posting some comparative photos would be fun ...

But I had NO IDEA how MUCH fun!!!!

This morning has been such a pure confidence boost!!

I HIGHLY recommend you try it!!

Make a great day!!


Up to now, I've been posting weekly, but things have slowed down ... So I'm gonna do every two weeks for now.

Just a few updated incision pics tonight since it's been a while. I'll post about my physical healing and ongoing challenges at the 7mo mark!

Wishing everyone well! So good to continue reading how everyone is doing!

7 MONTHS POST-OP!! 1/11/16 - 8/11/16

The healing continues! Though I'm still not 100%, I'm well on my way!

Not gonna lie ... I've enjoyed waaaaay too much summer bbq and ice cream treats! I've gained about 3lbs since surgery, and I know it's not muscle! In fact, this is the most I've weighed in the last 15+ years! I was at 134.4 this morning. I'm a little down about it because of it being swimsuit season and all, and my weight shows in my thighs and arms, but I'm not too worried. Healing is hard work, and requires food! I'll get a handle on it!

For now, I continue to stay active. Most recently, I've been really spending a lot of time in the pool. I do 80 laps on foot around my 27' round pool (2 forward, 2 backward, 2 sideways facing out, and 2 sideways facing in x 10sets). It takes a good 45 mins and I really push myself. Then, I do 1000 strokes of tethered crawl, which takes about another 40mins. I'm feeling much stronger swimming now than I was feeling even in July, so that's improvement! I sure will hate to close the pool next month! The treadmill just isn't as fun and refreshing! I'm still not able to plank without real core discomfort/pain, and when I make a quick move that requires my core to stabilize me, I can get a real jolt-like contraction!

As I've said before, all of the sensation is back in my tummy skin, other than directly over my incision, but everything underneath my skin is STILL totally numb! It still feels like a cement block under my skin. I'm quite used to it, but still don't like how it feels when something touches my stomach. I'm trying to maintain hope that the feeling will come back, but the more time goes by with zero improvement, the harder it gets! It's a real weird feeling for sure!

Speaking of zero improvement, I'm STILL experiencing the involuntary core contractions overnight, and toward early morning as I wake up. Brutal doesn't describe it properly. One small change, I guess, is that my legs don't feel like they're freezing up anymore, which is great. It was horrible to feel like they weren't taking orders from my brain when I told them to stretch or move! On the plus side, my abs are rock hard when I tighten them, so it's like getting all the core work I need!

I've really enjoyed this first spring/summer of wearing clothes that don't hide me! I've gotten a lot of compliments on outfits I would never have worn pre-tt!

I still haven't called my ps's office back to make an appt to have my dog ears removed. I've kind of decided I'd rather the ps do the job vs his sidekick. That's why I paid the big bucks. But I haven't gotten up the nerve to say that yet! Plus, I'm not real sure when a good time to do it will be. A have a busy fall of vacation, weddings and holidays! Gonna be giving it more thought!

Hoping all of you are still well!!


Quick photo drop tonight for 7.5mos po. It's been an extremely busy couple weeks, months, summer! I'll update at the 8mo mark on Sept. 11, but for now, all is quite well! Hope everyone is happy, healthy & all good things!!

8 MONTHS & 8.5 MONTHS POST-OP - Jan. 11 to Sept. 11 & Sept. 26

Pics only tonight ...

Update to follow soon!

Been so dang busy!!

9 MONTHS POST-OP! - 1/11/16 - 10/11/16

Sorry to have not posted more for my 8 & 8.5mos po other than a few pictures! Life has gotten so crazy! In fact, this is my craziest week (plus) to date! I'm actually posting this from a HOSPITAL ROOM in Benidorm, SPAIN! Yes, SPAIN!

We arrived here a week ago this past Sunday for a work-rewarded vacation with my husband's company. By the end of Day 1, my husband had an upset stomach and low fever. Of course, as we wives do, I told him he should get checked out. And as our husbands do, he figured he'd be fine and he decided that "pushing through" would work better! It didn't. Despite his best attempts to ignore the worsening pain and high fever, he ended up in a local ER where he was diagnosed with a massive intestinal infection! It's been a nightmare, really! He was admitted right away and has been on IV fluids and strong antibiotics since. They only just added puréed foods yesterday to see how he'd tolerate it. Seems to be doing ok. Based on today's bloodwork, we're hoping he'll be released today, but no guarantee!

Meanwhile, I've been shuttling back and forth from resort to hospital via taxi each morning and night. Being alone is NOT my thing! I'm a real home body, not a bold, independent woman! Lol! I laugh at how well I'm actually doing! And to think, I didn't even want to come on this trip!! The rest of the work group all flew home Saturday. To surprise me, my husband had booked us to stay alone and enjoy some romantic time together - we were scheduled to fly out this morning! FORTUNATELY for us, his company is phenomenal and they've been staying in close contact, helping to extend our hotel and flights until my husband is cleared to travel again! I can't believe how amazing and very supportive they've all been - and at their expense! I've been thanking God a LOT!

I have time to kill sitting here all day, so here (finally) comes my update!

I could not be MORE THRILLED that I had my tt!

All the flank pain and tenderness from my lipo dissipated by maybe the 7th month on. If I'm sleeping on my side and turn my body, I can still feel them stretch, but without real pain. They're fine to touch now, and that's good because it used to be so sensitive and I didn't like that at all!

My core is STILL ENTIRELY NUMB beneath my skin! I'm a little nervous that feeling won't come back! I still hate the feel of anything bumping up against my mid section! It's just a gross feeling - but not as bad a feeling as looking down for years at a flabby belly roll! So, I deal! I'll run my hands up and down my tummy to try to get used to it. It's still weird!

Almost all sensation has returned to my tummy skin other than right over incisions.

For those who've been wondering and asking, I AM still having the damned overnight contractions, but they are very recently waaaay less severe- only in this past month ... Still happen each and every morning, but the duration is less and I can deal with it better! They don't pull me up off the bed anymore and arch my back, so my spine is FINALLY getting a little chance to rest! It's still quite sore over the original 2 vertebrae that were hurt. I'm hoping the rest will settle that down. If not, I'll get that checked. I don't need ongoing spine problems! As far as those contractions, that was the most hellish thing I dealt with as a result of this surgery. I really thought it would NEVER end! And I pray it doesn't return!!

My core strength is an issue. I'm still not able to plank or do crunches or ab work without some discomfort or outright pain! That's frustrating because it limits my entire workout routine! My abs are still quite toned just from those damn contractions, so that's the only upside! I just miss the hard work! I'll get there! Muscle repair was more ass-kicking than high-rep cable crunches, I guess!

My incisions themselves have softened and lightened so much! No more itchiness! There is still some purple discoloration around them, but that takes time! I do have a consult appointment scheduled for Oct 20 to meet with Kelly, the ps's assistant. SHE will be performing the dog ear revision in his office IF the consult goes well. I'm not thrilled the doc won't be doing it, so I want to talk to her directly before the procedure. I'm not completely convinced I want to do it, but there IS a little bump on the right end of the incision. I also scheduled time on Oct 27 to have it done should I decide to go ahead.

As workouts go, i spent the summer enjoying my (now closed) pool and other outdoor activities! I was able to run and play frisbee in the yard and at the beach with the Fam, which was awesome! Mostly now that it's cooler, I've gotten back onto my treadmill and picked up where I'd left off. After losing our good friend suddenly in early June, I had no desire to walk - or do anything, really. So I stopped. Now I've worked back up to 45mins on random incline, level 20. I stick to a 1.8mph pace and just watch tv as I go. I'll usually add on several minutes of lower incline/higher speed walking at the end if my show isn't over! Lol. I've also gotten back to doing a full body, yoga-like stretch! It's been awesome to really open up my core again! Takes me about and hour fifteen from head to toe! I take it slow, holding each stretch for a count of at least 30. I use a metronome to count the 60beats per min. It's SO relaxing! I will get back to the gym. At least, that's what I've been telling myself! I know I've lost muscle tone all over, which sucks, but that's an easy fix, when I'm feeling it!

My weight has pretty much stayed between the 131 of surgery day to 134 max. It's frustrating because 128 had always been my high until the last couple years. I know a lot of that was muscle gain, but still. I have my share of fat here and there that can go! I think I might be down a couple pounds here in Spain from the stress of all this though! The upside to stress!

On an unrelated note: To celebrate / commemorate my friend's life, a little over 2 weeks ago, I went with his wife and family and we all got tattoos! I am NOT a tattoo person, but had drawn a tiny angel years ago that I've always wanted on my shoulder. I ended up putting her on the inside of my ankle so she can walk with me always! Glad I did it!

Well, that about sums it up!

I really WAS having a great vacation lounging by the pool in pretty bikinis with ZERO self-consciousness!! I actually got an "Ooooh la la!" from a group of foreign men as i left the pool area last week, so THAT didn't suck!! Hahaa!

I'm trying to catch up on all the comments and the updates of all my favorite women here and hope that ALL of you are as happy as I am!!

I'll post a few pics now, and my usual tummy pics when I can take some later!


Quick update!

Last Thursday (10/20) I went to see my ps for a consultation about dog-ear revision... He told me said I'd only need one end of my incision revised and that the dog-ear was about as small as a dog-ear can be. He marked where the revision would be and told me it would only be about a half inch long and take about 6 stitches to close. His assistant, Kelly, would be doing the revision, and that was fine with me!

I didn't "need" to have it do it since it wasn't bothersome or really noticeable under clothes, but I figured, I've come this far, so I might as well have a totally flat incision. Besides, a half inch incision is NOTHING compared to this whole journey!

So, today was the day! I went in at 11am. My husband came along for moral support. It was super quick and painless. I felt a bee-sting sensation as she numbed the area. Other than that, just a little pressure and tugging. She was finished in about 7 or so minutes. So far, I feel zero discomfort. OTC pain relievers are recommended should it start to hurt.

I have to keep it covered for 24hrs, but after that, I can shower as usually. I'll have to sutures removed next Thursday and it's all over! They recommend the same scar care products I used post-tt and I have plenty left, so that's a plus!

*I did point out that, though I can't see it in the mirror, when I take these photos, my left hip at the end of my incision looks almost "squared" - Kelly did say that she could see it once i pointed it out. Don't know if I'll ever address that with my ps...

Took a few Before photos and an After with a bandaid on. I'll post more this coming week as it heals!

Hope everyone is well! I'd posted a loooooong 9mo update a couple weeks ago, but it didn't show up in the newsfeed as it usually does, but you can scroll up and see it on my profile!

Thanks for taking the time to read!! :)

24 Hours Post Dog-ear Revision - 10/28/16

Removed bandaid just after the 24hr mark and it's looking pretty good! Nice and flat!

It stings and itches a little bit, but nothing bothersome!

So far, so good!

1 Week Post Dog-ear Revision - 11/3/16

Got my stitches out this morning! It was really quick, but it pinched and was uncomfortable. Now, it's OVER!! In one week, I can begin scar treatment if I want. (Using the same products I used on my incision.) And I have a follow-up appt in one month!

SO CLOSE to the Finish Line!

That's it!!

Have a great day!

11 MONTHS POST-OP!! & 2 Weeks Post Dog-ear Revision - 1/11/16 - 11/11/16

Not much new to update. Things haven't really changed since last monthly update!

My revision is healing nicely, but MAN is it ITCHY!! Now that the scab is all gone, I'm going to start using some coconut lotion to moisturize it. I may or may not use my silicone products left over from my tt.

I'm continuing to walk as often as possible on my treadmill. Maxed out at level 20, but I stick with 1.8mph pace. I may pump up my speed, or add some interval running in there soon.

Over tired tonight!

Wishing all of you well! Enjoy your Thanksgiving celebrations! I can NOT believe Christmas will be here soon!

11 MONTHS POST OP! - 1/11/16 - 12/13/16

Just noticed the typo in last month's update title! It should read "10 MONTH PO UPDATE!!" I just passed the 11 month mark on the 11th. I'll be posting pictures with this update, as usual. I'm happy with the visual results, but overall, right now, I'm feeling down. It's a mix of the holiday stress, and a healing setback I've been dealing with since Thansgiving...

As we all do, I was cleaning house before Thanksgiving company for a couple of days. Nothing at all heavy or out of the ordinary. Just vacuuming, sweeping, and I mopped the floor. I didn't feel anything on usual at the time. But, I woke up on Thanksgiving morning with a sharp, stabbing pain at the top of my right center ab along the midline and across the top of it. It felt like a pulled muscle, so I took some ibuprofen. I figured it would settle down over the next day or two, and that I must've just twisted or bent or exerted a little too much. Well, I'm still dealing with the same pain today. Every time it starts to feel a little bit better, I sneeze or laugh and a ripping pain shoots across that top ab!

I had a routine follow-up with my PS last Thursday, November 8. He assured me during the visit that I don't have a hernia or anything serious like that. He feels it's just a bad muscle pull and will take time to heal. So, I continue with ibuprofen and have been heating the area with a rice bag each night.

Here's the worst of it…

That small irritated muscle seems to have disturbed the rest of my abdominal wall and the painful and strong contractions and muscle spasms that I thought I was finally getting past Have returned with a vengeance. Same deal, overnight when I change position in bed, or early morning as I start to wake, as soon as I feel that one ab tighten up, the rest of them going to involuntary spasm. So, I'm just really sad and frustrated to be dealing with that again. The sooner I can heal this one little muscle, the faster I can get past that.

Overall, I've been doing fantastic as far as my results are concerned! I still couldn't be happier with how my stomach looks now compared to how it looked a year ago!

Ever since vacation in October, I've sort of lost my ambition to exercise, and I've definitely been enjoying too many holiday Foods and desserts! My weight is the highest it's been in a long long time. I'm sitting at about 136 pounds. That's 5 pounds heavier than I was the day of my surgery. I seem to be carrying it in my legs and arms, not so much my stomach, although I feel like my inner organs don't quite fit inside me some days! It's a weird feeling and can be a little freaky. It's not quite like feeling bloated, but sort of. So January 1, yet another New Year's resolution will kick in! I'll be back on my treadmill, And I'm pretty excited because our son bought us an amazing rowing machine for Christmas with his first ever work bonus! He keeps telling us to set it up now, but I can't row yet anyway. Not with this pulled muscle.

I still have no feeling in my abdominal wall from top to bottom, and when I mentioned this to the nurse at my PS appointment on Thursday she said that it could be permanent. From what I've read it can take up to two full years to regain the feeling in the muscle, although some people never do. I'm going to hold out hope that it will come back slowly but surely. If not, it's still worth the trade-off.

When my cord does contract, it's most painful and a donut sized area around my belly button. It feels so tight under there and it really pulls! As I run my hands over my stomach, that's where it feels the weirdest.

I have super minimal if any pain or sensitivity left about my hips were my flag lipo was performed. I don't feel it at all unless I give it a good poker pinch to see if it will hurt! LOL

Prior to pulling this muscle in my core, I am still not able to plank for more than a few seconds, i'm unable to do crunches or any core exercises. I still have to grab behind one knee to pull myself up from the laying position. I read a lot of women talking about how they're doing sit ups and crunches and core work eight weeks out, 12 weeks out, six months out… It makes me feel jealous. One year ago on 14 December, I stopped going to the gym with every expectation that I would be back to my old self and at least 100% by now. I am most definitely not.

I need to learn to be easier on myself. I feel myself getting very critical of my lack of ambition, and it's unrealistic.

Like I said, this setback really has me down, so I'm going to chalk it all up to that.

Unfortunately, I have no alternative but to vacuum and dust again later this week because I have about 60 people coming to our family Christmas party here on Sunday! I'm going to really try hard not to aggravate the pulled muscle, and hope for the best! I actually look at my compression garment the other day and thought of putting it on just to stabilize for a few days, but the thought of that is so unappealing!

For now I wish you all good health and healing and happiness and a blessed Christmas season!

I'll be checking back in January 11 for my one year Update! I. Can. NOT. Believe. It!

ONE YEAR POST-OP!!! - 1/11/16 - 1/11/17

I don't want to sound cliché here, but I seriously cannot believe it's been one year since my surgery! I woke up this morning so excited to celebrate this day by reflecting on how far I've come since last January!

I read back over many of my posts throughout the year, and looked back over my photos… Took some new photos to celebrate this day that I'll be sharing, but most of all, i'm just so damn happy!

I haven't spent much time on the realself page lately because I find it very frustrating! My old newsfeed which included posts from women that I chose to follow has somehow disappeared and now I just see a general newsfeed of all of the women with past and upcoming tummy tuck surgeries. It's too overwhelming scrolling back trying to find people I had connected with. So my apologies if I'm behind on my comments and support of you wonderful women! I think of you always!

But it's time to look back less, and look forward more!

As a quick update, I will say that the pull that I suffered in my upper right center ab area at Thanksgiving time has settled down and the pain is gone. Gone as well, for the most part anyway, are the crazy full-core contractions that reappeared with the injury. To be free of them is so liberating!

Now that my abs are feeling better, as of January 1 I've started a new exercise routine which includes the treadmill and the new stationary rower that our son got us for Christmas! I had been particularly excited about that one and it has not disappointed! It's challenging, because to use proper form, the body has to lean back a bit which relies upon the core for strengthen and stability. I can really feel some painful spots in different areas around my abdominal wall, particularly down low and up around my belly button. But I push through. I hope that over time, the rest of my core strengthens enough to offset the little bit of pain elsewhere! So I remain optimistic, energized, and dedicated! As of January 1, I also started a YouTube yoga 31 day challenge! I HIGHLY recommend it to all of you ladies! It is the "yoga with Adriene" video series and it's worth your half hour a day!

It's funny because looking at my "before and one year after" photos today, I realize I am 4 solid pounds heavier today than I was a year ago, yet I look so much better! I'm hoping this extra body weight from excessive eating over the holidays will drop off with all of this exercise! So I'm not sweating it!

I guess there's not much else to say! Just been busy living my life and loving that my belly doesn't hang out and over everything anymore!

I still have not regained any feeling in my abdominal wall as of today, other than a little twinges of pain when exercising or exerting. I know there is a risk that I may not ever regain that feeling, but for the most part, I have gotten used to the new feeling of not feeling now, and I wouldn't trade having the feeling in my core back for having my jiggly belly back, that's for sure!

Best. Decision. Ever.

And I mean that with the deepest sincerity! As rough as this recovery has been to go through – especially the first few months! – I would do it all over again!

I do have one last follow up with my PS in early February because he wanted me to check in about the pulled muscle. He'll be taking my official "after" photos at this appointment, so I'm going to ask him to send me his "before and afters" to post here, just to complete my album.

I want to thank all of you wonderful women who have taken time out of your own recoveries or preparation for your own surgeries to stop here and comment with a kind word of encouragement or to thank me for documenting my journey! That has meant the world to me!

For now, continue to be brave and be well!!

1 Year + 1 Month Post-Op' - 1/11/16 - 2/11/17

Real quick update tonight and the usual pictures to show my progress.

Since last month, there have been improvement and there has been one setback. I continued with and completed the 31 day yoga challenge which was a HUGE sense of accomplishment, and brought me a lot of inner peace and flexibility! I also continued to use the new rowing machine and have been loving it and feeling the benefits!

A week ago this past Thursday, my youngest got hit with the flu (or at least a horrid stomach virus!) and I had to take care of her. I knew it wasn't going to end well for me, and I was right! About 4 AM last Sunday morning, I woke up with the same stupid stomach virus! The worst of it was over within three days, But the residual effects stuck around until maybe two days ago. I had a hard time getting my appetite back, and I love to eat! So it stunk! On the plus side, I dropped a solid 4 pounds! On the downside … It was probably all the muscle i work so hard for! What the heck! Fortunately, this concludes the "setback" portion of my month!

Under 'progress', I can feel that my core has gotten a little bit more used to doing a few crunches and planking again. It hurts the most around my belly button, almost like I can feel where it's anchored deep within my stomach whenever I really engage a crunch, and it's not a good feeling! Sometimes I feel like it's going to come untethered! LOL But I soldier on!

Now that I have a little strength back from having an appetite again, I look forward to getting back on the rower and the treadmill. When the 31 day yoga challenge ended, my son recommended that I go back and do the Yoga with Adriene Yoga Camp, which she released last year and is 30 days long. I follow her page on Facebook as well and she posts many individual yoga practices. Good stuff!

Most exciting thing of all… I THINK I might be getting a little bit of feeling back along the outside edges of my core working toward the middle, particularly in my upper abs! It's hard to tell using my own hand to feel my stomach because I've gotten used to it. But if I rub a pen over my stomach, I swear I can feel it! I'll have to keep checking this one!

I had had a follow-up scheduled with my PS for this past Thursday, but had to reschedule for this coming Thursday because of a snowstorm. You'll be taking my final "after" pictures, so I'm actually glad I'm down a little weight! Good timing I guess!

I'll be checking in again in March, and until then, as always, I wish you ladies all the best! <3

1 YEAR 6 MONTHS PO! 1/11/16-7/11/17

I'm gonna make this short and sweet ...


This year and a half has both flown and crawled by! I'm exhausted tonight, but realized it was a milestone date, so I'll upload the last few months of picture through today so I'm current then I'll write a bit asap! I'm still waiting on my ps's office to send me my Before&Afters to share, and come to think of it, it asked back in February at my final follow up!

I hope all is better than well with all of the ladies who supported me on this adventure and for whom I've been rooting for so long!
Dr. George Chatson

There's not a single negative thing I can say about my experience with Dr. Chatson! From my first consultation, to the multiple post-op follow up appointments I've had with him, it's been nothing but very positive. I find him to have a kind, caring, easy-going, yet confident personality. He's knowledgable, highly professional, and he's skilled through years of experience. He's answered all of my questions and concerns. Most importantly, he's made himself available to address any concerns, should they arise, between scheduled appointments. Thankfully, I haven't had to take advantage of that! When I set out to find a plastic surgeon after years of wanting to have abdiminoplasty, it was fate that brought me to his website. I'd been sitting in my car that morning, parked on Prospect Street in Nashua, across from the old YMCA building. I'd been feeling badly about myself and my body, having just left the gym around the corner, so I was sitting there in my car to say a prayer to my dad. He'd been the Physical Director at the Y and had suffered a heart attack and died there early one October morning in 1983. His name was George. I was 15 then. Anyway, I asked him to help guide me to just the right surgeon who could help me get my old body back. From there, I drove home, dropped my workout bag and picked up my iPad. I googled "Nashua Plastic Surgeon" and the very first name and photo to come up was Dr. GEORGE Chatson ... Located on ... wait for it ... PROSPECT STREET in Nashua! Little had I known I'd been sitting literally a few hundred feet from Dr. Chatson's office just a half hour earlier! So, I called and booked my consult and the rest is history! (Thank you, Dad! You were right!) After I had the initial consultation, I felt confident enough to book my surgery date. I was thrilled to finally be moving forward for myself, confident in my choice of surgeon, and both excited and nervous about what my outcome would be. About a month before my procedure, I had an annual appointment at my OB/GYN. When I told her I was scheduled for abdominoplasty, she asked who my doctor was. As soon as I said, "George Chatson," she told me that I'd be "in EXCELLENT hands" and that she'd seen his work and that she suspected I'd have great results! Now that I'm 9 weeks post-op, I can fully say that I have ZERO regrets about my choice to have the surgery or for having selected Dr. Chatson to perform it! He and his staff have ALL been considerate and kind, and I couldn't be happier! All follow-up appointments are covered in the overall cost of the procedure, including any future minor revisions - which is GREAT! ... I do have small 'dog-ears' at the ends of my incision, but Dr. Chatson told me in advance of my surgery that it was a possibility, so I was informed. And at my follow ups, has assured me that they are easily revised right in his office within a few months. At my pre-op appointment, I'd also asked Dr. Chatson to draw on my tummy where he thought my incision might be so that I could kind of get used to seeing where my scar would be. It was pretty much right on, and I also appreciated that he told me in advance about potential surgical complications. I felt I went to the surgery canter well prepared. I look forward to continuing to see Dr. Chatson, and would HIGHLY RECOMMEND him to other patients seeking plastic surgery!

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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