44 Year Old Single Mom of Three (All by C-section) New York, NY

I wanted to start this review pre op but my work...

I wanted to start this review pre op but my work schedule was impossible. So I'm three days post op right now and I will try to contextualize my journey. First off, I need to say a huge THANK YOU to all of the courageous ladies who have shared their stories and offered encouragement. I am 5 feet one inch and 155 pounds. I gained 15 pounds over the last year in a new job that requires long 5+ hour meetings frequently. I'll call it my freshmen 15. I have been frustrated with my weight loss journey although I make myself get out and walk or run as often as possible. So I have the normal complaint of overhang of skin from carrying three big babies in a very small torso area. The less visible side effect of three c-sections is the rigid scar tissue that holds my lower abdomen in a vice. Coughing, sit-ups, and little ones laying on me causes excruciating pain. My general physician told me that the only way to address it would be to cut around the scaring and remove the entire section. So I decided if I was going to having that done I might as well go for a full tummy tuck. Here are a few before pictures.

One day post op

These where taken by my mom during the first post op visit.

First visit post op

Four days post op. I have so much to share.
Day one post op was something out of a medieval times scene. Screaming pain! I was left speechless and breathless after every move. Also had to travel across boroughs for my one day post op. It was difficult but the cheers of the receptionist and nurses and Dr. Ginsberg brought tears to my eyes. So the visit was completely by the attending nurse who removed the dressing. The would was clean no leaking or oozing. After surgery the team or on the compression band but the suit. So the nursed began to put it on. There was allot of pain and while turning around I kind of lost myself and didn't realize I was leaning on one of my drains. The pain of the stitches pulling free bought me back. The nurse looked at it and determined that she didn't need to restitch them. Instead she put a Tagaderm patch over it. They got me into the suit and walked me out to my mom and car.

A few helpful things

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a support system. I was absolutely useless to help myself 2 1/2 days after surgery. The evening of the second day I tried to use the bathroom alone. Succeeded. ..and then threw up for 15 minutes. My sister saved me...again!

A note about shower safety.

Do not try to do the first one on your own. The bliss of warm water coupled with shaky legs could spell trouble. My sister came up with an ingenious way to keep the drain bulbs dry. ...wait for it...zip lock baggies! Place your bulbs in the baggies and seal them. Mine came out dry and unharmed.
Mom and sis also put a task stool in the shower so that I could sit. Again, it made a huge difference.

Cool compress.
Soak and refrigerate hand towels in a zip lock baggie. As the day and night progresses use cool clothes to ease headaches, swelling, and soreness. Super cost effective too.

If you can get your hands on a portable toilet. ..especially days 1-3. See Bed Bath and Beyond for $42.99 (Don't forget to use those handy 20% off coupons).

Your Unmentionables
Always Dicey Incontinence Underwear. .. $15 (my every now and again period decided to arrive the night before surgery).

Nausea
Great product called Angostura Aromatic Bitters 4 ounces $4.00. 3 drops in 4 ounces of water did the trick overt and over. I hold on to the nausea size effect from anesthesia.

Day four Post Op

Today was a good day...until. So the day started with an extremely full bladder and gas pain...holy smoke! I sat on the toilet and rocked back and forth until I delivered four amazing, outstanding, pressure releasing air bubbles (poots) into the atmosphere. Fell back on the toilet seat as if I had saved all humanity...lol I knew that gas was a sure fire sign that my internal machines were firing up (3 prior c-sections).
I wash off a bit and called my mom (the Day Nurse) her idea of a joke and my sister (the Night Nurse...smh) to tell them I had passed gas. Yep....mommy mommy mommy look what I can do! See, I should have known I was tweeking from that. Anyways, I've been a grateful captive in my sister's house this whole time. She insisted and the Big Guns, aka Day Nurse, aka southern mother said what, aka my mom decided.

Note: I prepped my house, called a friend to stay with me and was set to get this party started on my own. I'm a brave, ex-Army girl, lived internationally, do it myselfer. Absolutely none of that matters. Ladies PLEASE do not take this journey alone. Not worth the risk and there are people who love you way too much to let you.

Back to the story...
We decided to sit in the backyard to get some fresh air. 15 minutes on the deck and we were all out like lights. Woke up at 12 thinking about lunch. We sat out all day just enjoying each other. My sister's husband is a hoot and her five year old son is a ninja so lack of entertainment. At 4:00 my sixteen year old came over to check on me (my three are with their dad two weeks visitation in July and August (divorce agreement for the last 8 years, married for 12 years). He sat beside me and we talk and he purchased a sandwich for me "...cuz you have to eat, come on!" At 6 I decided to try a cup of coffee to encourage the poop machine. One hour later...Houston we have lift off! I have never been so happy to see the show.

The day was great. We returned to the living room and talked and watched an episode of the Lip Sync show on cable Taraji and Terrence (Empire) were guests. By 9 I was exhausted and decided to go upstairs to bed. It takes awhile to climb a flight. I use my arms to pull and walk on my toes the whole time.

I gathers some supplies (period still amazingly vigorous...always had a heavy long flow) and went to the bathroom....
I was gripped by such a feeling of fear when I pulled the suit away from my bandages that I started shaking and crying. My sister, must have sensed something because she showed up like Houdini. I couldn't even speak. I wanted her to look at the bandages because I felt such fear. I remember saying that the day was too good. I was scared. She called in my mom and they went to work, pulled off the compression and tapped my drains on my shoulders out of the way. They turned on extra light and my sister pulled out her (surprisingly substantial...like I'm a emergency responder in my spare time) medical supply kit. She took my temperature, used sterile gauge to lightly press the incision to check for moisture, cleaned and re wrapped my dressing and declared no infection. My mother, a retired pharmacist, did her review and declared the same.
So what happened? Looked up side effects of Vicodin. Anxiety, sweeting, headache, feeling unwell or in danger...the list goes on.

Ladies, please careful with meds, I and you NEED these for recovery but I was not prepared for that emotional pendulum swing I experienced. Have people with you around you watching you for at least the first four to five days.

Need advice.

Anyone having trouble with bladder control?
I am barely...making it to the bathroom before the flow begins. Trying kegels, but obviously no bueno. Any suggestions?

Day Five Post Op

So, I slept a little later than usual even with my 3:30 to 5:30 eyes wide open thing going on. Woke up at 9:00 and felt ok. My sister's house was busy today and lots of people needed her for one thing or another. I got a chance to babysit my nephew ninja for a few hours and that was great. Yes, I got hella tired and my crazy emotions got the best of me when ran to me frantic over a necklace he and his mom share that he lost. We looked for an hour up and down stairs, front of the house, back of the house...no necklace. He was visibly upset about his lock and key necklace that symbolized the great love between him and his mom.

Talk about holding back tears. I just gave him a huge hug and an icee and promised we would find it when we got a little more help.

Laughed a little tonight and it hurt so bad. Don't think I want to try that again.

Noticed some wetness and puckering near the left side drain. I think the compression suit is rubbing against it.

Can anyone suggest a solution? I taped a panty liner vertically across it so the site can breath and the tape would not hurt my incision but covers the area being rubbed by the compression suit zipper and clasp.

Day Seven Post Op

The word for the day is swollen. Everything...is swollen and tight.
I changed my compression garment in order to wash the other and the band. What started as slight quickly progressed to edema like swelling in my abdomen, legs, and feet.

I walked around to block to a salon that gives decent massages and got a thirty minute leg and foot massage. Relieved the pain but not the swelling.

Also, the backup compression suit rubbed up against my incision and slightly puckered the insertion sight of the drain on my left side. Do you all think I have anything to worry about?

Day Eleven Post Op

So, the pain is getting better. I haven't had much of the toe-curling, teeth-gritting kind in a few days. I'm starting to worry about my second follow up on this coming Friday. My doctor should take out the drains at this visit. I'm planning to take meds one hour before so that it will help with the pain. Anyone care to share this experience?

I'm keeping a close watch on my drain sites...something still doesn't seem right. One looks and feels like the skin around it is trying to heal and everytime the drain moves the skin pulls open. It also looks to be forming a scab...idk? The other is still leaking some mustard yellow fluid onto the abd bandage I have covering it.

I'm back at my apartment and there is no place like home. I miss my sis though...no 3am how you doings.....

My son caught me crying in the bathroom last night...smh. Hope I'm not scarring him for life. He seemed to handle it. Was extremely comforting asking me about pain and the meds I take. I love that kids so much it hurts sometimes. He was really my 16 year young man last night.

I'm including side views this time...have forgotten twice before. I'm happy to report ZERO hang time. My back on the other hand...is swollen making it hard to see results. I know it's improved because there are fewer roles. My hips and butt have taken a beating from all of this. They are swollen and still very bruised. Big butts seem to run in the family, this swelling makes mine look colossal.

Ok, just curious...

Anybody know what this stuff is floating through my drain? It was clogging them and I had to force it through by pinching the drain near my body and use my fingers to squeeze the tube pushing the clogg through to the bulb.

Also...look at the yellow discharge from my left side drain. I have no fever and there's no smell.

Day Twelve Post Op

Got ONE drain taken out today. What kind of torture is this? I was up all night worrying about it and now I have to do it again? Crazy.

Another thing...I'm officially a damsel in distress. Almost past out in the office after she pulled the drain out (no pain by the way). I felt hot and a little nauseous and then felt a little loopy. RN helped me sit and brought me a glass of water. And...because...I'm a woman...of a certain age...I took off my clothes to cool off. When the nurse turned around from entering notes in my electronic file...(probably something that included the word "crazio")...I was naked! Lolololol
she said, "Oh... Ok, do you feel better? "Yes I do" I replied.

Second drain comes out on Monday. I will be offering tickets if anyone's interested...lol

Day Fifteen Post Op

Today I got the last drain removed. No pain just felt like a scene from the movie Alien when the monster starts to move along the guy's stomach and then busts out...yikes! The nurse said my incision looks good and she did not see any signs of infection. I now have two angry holes, one in each side. (I'll take pictures in the morning) I asked about scar treatment and was told that I can't start anything until my steri-strips fall off. And no, she would not take them off. She said if they do not drop off by the one month mark she would remove them. She did ok using scar treatment on my navel.
I'm trying to walk as much as possible...which shockingly has not been much. I get really winded and I have to remind myself to stand up straight and keep moving.
I go back to work tomorrow and I've planned to ride my office chair, period. I have a full day full team meeting on Thursday...crossing my fingers with that.

I have worn my comprehension suit and an abdominal band every day since the tt , today I took off the band for my walk around the block...when I came back I was swollen. So I guess the lesson is to keep both on all the time.

My mind is really all over the place with going back to work. Pray for me ladies.

Day Fifteen Pics

So I took some pictures since both drains are out. I think the edges of my incision are really high. What do you all think?

Cool to take some with underwear...peeking into the future.
Oh, also look at the damage from the drain...sad.

Day Eighteen Post Op

Itchy incision!

Back to work and figuring out how fast I can move...I move fast pre tt. Now...not so much.

Ok, so the incision is itchy and prickly. I think that may be a sign that the steri strips are drying out and getting ready to start falling off. I have localized swelling around the incision and just under my breast. It's worst after eating...anything. I've been trying to drink all but one of my meals during the day and eating a lot of pineapple (thank you RS family for the advise). My drain holes are closing and the fluid that was leaking out of the left one has stopped. I had my flanks lipoed and my dr also pulled some back fat (not sure how much, will ask next visit), but that area is still really swollen. Crossing my fingers for good results.

I miss taking vitamins. I'm in and out of schools for my job and I've not gone into one yet because I feel vulnerable without my GNC Ultra Mega Women's vitamin shield...lol. Dr said I can resume after my four week post visit.

My thighs look terrible like they've lost all elasticity (post swelling effect I think). Anyone know when I can anticipate improvement? Or any suggestions safe for 18 days post op?

So Emotional...

This feeling tired all the time is making me an emotional wreck! Left work a little early because I was out of energy...I mean about to lay my head on the keyboard tired. I get home and my landlord is getting ready to walk her dog. "Hello, how are you...wow you've lost weight!" I bust out crying. And not a cute single tear trailing slowly down my face cry, oh no, mine was a snot filled I just broke my favorite toy cry.
I'm talking and crying about not dieting. Telling her I had surgery and still can eat without painful swelling and no appetite and my eczema is acting up and why do I live on the third floor of a walk up.

Fairly certain she thinks I'm crazy now. Smh

Took a two hour nap. Feeling much better...could someone help me unsnap all these buckles? Who puts me in this jacket, backwards with all these snaps and buckles...hmmmmmm.

Swell Hell!!!

Trying to finish a project for tomorrow, but I thought I'd make you all laugh. Check out my Day and Night...smh...hard.

Day 24 Post op

I had my one month chech up a bit early today. I finally got a few technical answers from questions I kept forgetting to ask because of the fear gripping me everytime I went in for a check up.

So the doctor lipoed one liter of fat from my flanks and back, that's about two pounds. Not a lot I know, but I had the same areas lipoed last year and they took the same amount then from my flanks and stomach (upper and lower). Dr. Ginsberg removed almost two pounds of skin and fat from my left side and one and a half from my right. Oh shucks...I forgot to ask about muscle separation and repair....ok, next time.

I woke up feeling good this morning...stiff...but good. I decided to take the train to work today because the last time I combined work (at this location midtown) and a visit to the doctor it cost me almost $50 to park my car in two lots. So today, I rode the iron horse. Up stairs, downs stairs, up stairs again. It was bananas, but I'm happy to say I did. Time is doing its work I guess. But so is swelling...omg!

The doctor removed my steri strips and gave me the ok to began scar treatment. I'm using Scar Away long strips. They are $40 for a three month supply and I ordered them from Amazon.com. Here is the info: ScarAway Flex Silicone Scar Treatment Sheets with Flexisil Technology, 1.5 x 7 In., 9 Strips. I'm also using Scar Guard which is a cream for my navel. I bought this at my doctor's office for $19 for a 1 or 2 ounce bottle.

I was told to begin light exercise...not sure about doing more than walking...think they are a little ambitious there...what if something falls out!!!

Cautioned to continue wearing my garment to avoid seromas or incision issues. You couldn't pry this thing off of me if you tried. It is truly my bestie. Nurse pulled two hidden stitches...idk...thought they were all dissolvable.

Anyway, things are getting better. I'm posting pics of the skin removed and the Scar Away. I was too tired to shower when I got home tonight, made dinner, checked homework and heard about my children's second day of school. Beside, you'd probably appreciate me washing the dried blood we found until the strips. I'll post incision shots tomorrow.

WARNING!!!

Don't, I repeat...DON'T believe your body when, hours after chugging milk of magnesia it says,..."I just want to pass gas."

Smh....

Day 28 Post Op

Sorry ladies if this one feels a little complainy...but I've been in a little bit of a funk these last two days. I feel a little impatient with the healing, I'm spitting stitches everywhere...even after having several pulled by the nurse, and my left side drain site looks terrible. I thought these stitches were suppose to dissolve??? They feel like fishing wire.

I will admit, I'm feeling better day by day. I have very little pain except when stretching my abdominal area. Swelling is still ridiculous but I can anticipate its arrival by midday and after eating anything more hearty then soup.

My mother looked at my incision and told me I should wait before starting the scar strips (there are two or three small areas that have not fully closed) because of soft scabs that do not seem fully closed. So I'm waiting for the scabs to dry and flake off before applying the scar strips.

In any case, I'm thankful to be alive and healthy and healing. God bless you ladies. Keep me in your prayers.

Including a few pictures post steri strip removal.

Day 30 Post Op

Let the scar treatment begin...

So, I read the entire pamphlet for these silicon strips. They stay on for a minimum of 12 hours. You remove them, wash them with a mild no moisturizer soap, dry and reapply for 7-14 days and then discard. Start with a new set of strips.

Had to cut two strips to fit the slope of my incision.

Today was a great day!

So, I've been quietly worried about a promise I made to a friend a couple months ago. The promise was to walk in the Down Syndrome Buddy Walk in Central Park today. I was nervous. I have not shared my surgery with them...not sure why...maybe didn't want the challenge of answering the why questions. Anyway, I did it and it was completely doable. I even reached my 10,000 steps goal today yah..

Good morning RS

Getting dressed this morning...grabbed a pair of undies and put them on and they sagged down to my hips...too big! Wow!!!

Found these in the back of the drawer.

6 weeks post op today...

Well RS, I made to week six and I'm excited and worried.
Ok, so I went out to a comedy club on Saturday because I needed to do something to convince my brain that I'm getting better. Show was very funny, laughed a lot and had one drink. An hour later I was so nauseous I couldn't figure out what to do. I decided to drink water...lots of water. Went to bed holding a pail. Horrible! But it got better. Woke up Sunday super tender and swollen above my bb. Stayed swollen all day...still swollen today. Idk.

Scar strips are now in week two. Really hoping for a little scar miracle. Let me know if you guys have tried anything else that's worked. I do feel like my scar is more sore than before. Maybe that's the healing process.

Emotions are stabilizing...being back at work...going hard is definitely great for staying focused. Just wish I could get a few people to undertand that sitting for 4-5 hours straight is not healthy.

8 Weeks Post Op

Hello everyone. It's been a few days since I've been on...life has picked up with a vengeance. So I had my two month check up and I've gotta tell you...I was less than happy with the outcome. The staff and facility continues to be outstanding. That's not what I'm unhappy with. It's my scare and the area below my breast.

I'm including pictures of both sides of my scare. Remember the left side drain I've talked about? Well it's improved but will require a revision. I did not realize how much different the left side scare is from the right. I took the attached pictures with a regular hip height pair of panties on. The right side scare cannot be seen but the left...almost a full inch higher! Yes, the scare is looking better...but it's not attractive and I do not believe it will improve to the state of the right side.
I was also told, when I asked the nurse about the swelling below my breast that it was from the original fat under my breast pre surgery. The nurse said, they do not like to get too close to breast fat when they lipo...so I may have to live with the protrusion in that area...I don't think (idk...) if I want to undergo lipo again.

I have another follow up with the doctor in a few weeks. At that time (3 months post) we will schedule a revision of my left side. I don't know what I want to do about the fat under my breast.

It's been awhile...

I guess life has returned to normal...well my new normal that is. My body seems to be healing nicely. I still have no feeling below the bb, but I know that will change in time. My clothes fit in new funny ways. So the tightness in the waist is obviously gone but my hips feel just as tight as before the tt. Still clothes look great...and these are not new, so I'm happy about that. I wear some form of cig and my binder everyday because I feel weird without it. There's some swelling in the evening but not too much usually. My "package" has gone away leaving my normal mons where it use to be. So happy about THAT.

I broke up with the boyfriend...healing just gave me no tolerance for neglect. I don't know if I found myself more alone than not because of the surgery, but he just fell off, our multiple daily contact turned into every other other day...idk? I think it started in July before the surgery and then recovery and his impending deployment just demoed our connection. So I'm navigating getting comfortable in my new skin without the help of physical intimacy. In any case, it's all good. I'm at peace and open to love...especially given the fact that this body looks damn good!

This surgery has meant so many changes and a good friend asked if I was happy I did it. I'm able to heartily respond YES. I wish I'd had it years ago. I turn 45 in a few short months, I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation (so I have a new title) and I'm determined to live life like the gift it is. I'm thankful for each and every one of you Real Selfers. My mother thinks I'm addicted to you all. My iPad shares my bed so any time I can, I check in on you all. I have my three month check up next week. I'll check in after that. I'm including a few picks of my scar progress and my Saturday running errands outfit (the top was pulled down for going outside)...lol.

Three month Follow Up

Hello everyone, I had my three month follow up and the scar looks good for the most part. I've noticed that the incision line is very light...which seems to make the scar more visible to me. I don't know...I'm still using the silicon strips and will use them into the new year. That would give me four months of application...I may go even longer, I want a good result. I also use bio oil and the scar treatment serum purchased in my doctor's office.

My doctor wants to do a small revision by liposuctioning under the two drain sites. He thinks that will pull the areas down more effectively than opening the incision and re closing it. I want to do a bit more research and ask a few more questions before I go through with it.
Could you guys look at my pics...especially those of you who've had revisions. I don't know that lipo will lower my left side. The doctor said that lipo will smooth the area and reduce the way it seems to protrude out. I thought that opening the incision on both hips and angling it lower was a reasonable solution. I think he's concerned about my previous issues with closures (I sometimes have a hard time closing...hence all of the scar tissue).
Pics are from a couple weeks ago...no time to take new ones this morning...they give you an idea of how the scar protrudes a bit.

Post 6 months

Hello RS family,
It has been a while since I updated, though I have enjoyed reading about your journey throughout this process. What can I say, I'm still all in and happy I made the decision to have my tt. It has been interesting settling into this new me and figuring out how to be comfortable in my skin. I've discovered some things about myself along the way. I think, perhaps, I have always been thoughtful about this body from my earliest memories. I remember watching my mother, aunts, grandmothers wear girdles and being told..." This is what a woman wears." Well grandma, a woman also takes control and does something about needing all those girdles! Go US!

I'm including some pictures...in collage. You'll see the progression of the scar left from the drains. I am planning to have the revision in April being I'm out of two half of March. In April I will be 8 months out so that feels appropriate.

I still wear my binder and suit often, 3-4 times a week. I wear silicon tape over my scar almost constantly. I'm going to start putting it on my navel...I think the scar is looking a little puffy. Still swell some in the afternoon and evening. But I'm happy with my results, with how I look in clothes now...no girdle!
New York Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Ginsberg was personable and extremely attentive. No pipe dreams. He told me what was realistic for my body and promised to put forth his best effort.

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
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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