51, Two Kids, One Pregnancy (C-section), Substantial Non-surgical Weight Loss. Newport News, VA

Newport News Plastic Surgeon
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I am a 51 year old mom of 2 (one the old fashioned...

I am a 51 year old mom of 2 (one the old fashioned way by C-section, one through adoption so I can't blame her for my 20 year old baby weight!) and scheduled for a tummy tuck and breast lift w/augmentation on May 9, 2016. I have lost a significant amount of weight (~108 lbs) by using MyFitnessPal to track my food and working out at the gym twice daily. As expected, I have a good bit of loose skin around my tummy that I just can't exercise away. I am at a healthy weight for my height (I could lose a couple more lbs to get right in the middle of the healthy range but I figure the loose skin may account for that). We had consultations (hubby is very supportive) with a couple of recommended local plastic surgeons and selected Dr. Blanchard to do my procedure. I am nervous about putting myself through elective surgery but am also very frustrated that I can't fit into clothes right because of my pouch. I don't match up to any of the size charts. I've read through a lot of stories on here and really appreciate hearing about the whole process from people that have been through it.

My pre-op appt is April 25th, just a week from Monday. It's starting to get awfully real.

My biggest fear is that I will lose the gym habit I've established. I work from home so get up, throw on gym clothes, check my computer to take care of any work issues and head to the gym for my morning cardio. I finish work in the afternoon and when hubby gets home from work and teaching, we hit the gym for strength training. I usually take Sunday mornings off but have been going then too to get in the best shape I can before the surgery. The doctor indicated that being in such good shape (he even said I have "excellent muscle tone" which was very exciting to this previously 247 lb sedentary chick) would help my recovery. We'll see.

Thanks to everyone that has posted their reviews - it is so helpful to hear what others have been through.

Some before photos

I took some "before" photos - really hoping to see a big difference in the after photos in a few months.

5 days until pre-op appt, 19 days until surgery

This is starting to get close and more real. I'm starting to make my shopping list and gather supplies - I ordered a pill organizer and extra ice packs today. I've got my list of questions for the pre-op appt. I'm exercising even more than normal so I'm in the best possible shape - my body will really enjoy the break in less than 3 weeks. I'll probably go stir crazy pretty quickly but hopefully I'll be enough out of it the first few days not to mind missing the gym. Trying not to be nervous about all of this but not being very successful.

Pre-opp appt today - surgery in 2 weeks

Trying this for the second time - everything just disappeared and I was almost done. As if I'm not nervous enough.

Talk about information overload. I'm not sure I remember half of what we were told today but there were two of us listening and we have a large stack of paperwork to review. We met with the pre-op nurse first. She was a little stern at first but we loosened her up over time. We (me and hubby) both deal with serious things by joking around - even our wedding vows were funny (we promised to stay together for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, through thick and thin, 'till the cows come home, until pigs fly, etc.). We know this is serious though. She went over dos and don'ts, surgery prep, basic health questions, meds and supplements to stop. I had recently had bloodwork done for an annual physical and the nurse said I was so healthy, she didn't need to do any more tests. Me, formerly 247 lbs and sedentary, was so healthy I didn't need any more lab work done or an EKG or a chest x-ray. I still find it surprising when I'm told I'm healthy because I was so the opposite not all that long ago. So, we got some questions answered, got prescriptions and signed my life away with her (the consent forms seemed never-ending). Then on to before pictures and the patient counselor. She did the sizing part. I told her I didn't want to be huge but normal for my height and weight. I brought a bra I had worn at a more normal weight and we put sizers in that to fill it back in. We ended up with a range of 450 - 500 ccs (I think ccs is the measurement). She said that essentially everyone that is not happy with the size they end up is unhappy that they didn't go larger so the range starts at the size I was happy with and goes up 50ccs from there. The doc will make the final call when I'm under. We took care of ordering the Exparel at an extra charge of $350 (yikes but if it gets me up and around more quickly, it will be worth it) although we're not sure we'll be able to get it. Apparently supplies are short. And, we paid the surgery bill. Ouch.

I can't believe the surgery is in less than two weeks - I'm really finding it difficult not freaking out about this. I am nervous but also excited to get rid of the extra skin. It was warm enough to wear a sun dress today. While it wasn't fitted at the waist, I could still see the extra skin and can't wait to try it on again after the swelling goes down in a few months. I am looking forward to being able to wear normal clothes and to not have to worry about hiding the pouch of skin.

Prescriptions filled - getting even more real

I went to the pharmacy to pick up all of my prescriptions and ended up with a large bag. Pain meds (percocet), antibiotics, anti-nausea and injections to prevent blood clots. Now, if we can just keep the schedule straight! I ordered a pill organizer with 4 slots for each day that should arrive tomorrow - hopefully that will keep everything organized. It's getting so close. I think I'm just about set on supplies or will be after one more grocery store trip. This is really happening. Yikes.

One week - this is getting scary and very real

I can't believe I'll be home recovering in a week. I set up my pill organizer for this week and for next week. I measured out food for all 5 dogs for the first 6 days after my surgery tonight - I'm trying to make it easy on hubby and daughter so they can take good care of me!! I gathered and washed button front shirts over the weekend. Final grocery list has been started. Trying to get loose ends tied up for work. I decided to eat really clean this week to be in the best possible shape for surgery and I'm keeping up with my workouts twice daily. Gathering some things to do while I recover (coloring books, Kindle and tablet all charged, charging station set up next to the recliner along with a table, Hallmark movies on the DVR). I'm sure I'm forgetting something but I think I've made a pretty good dent in the preparations. Better to keep busy rather than think about what's coming too much. We still don't know if they can get any Exparel - I may have a bit of a panic attack if they can't. I'm a planner and don't like monkey wrenches thrown into my plans. Best to all!

5 days and counting - good news today!

Surgery is in 5 days. Can't believe it's almost here. I had a rough day yesterday - I had a sharp pain in my abdomen in the lower left quadrant. I felt so bad I barely got through my workouts and didn't do very well. I was concerned that it might affect my surgery but I feel much better today and got two strong workouts in. I heard back from the PS office that they managed to track down Exparel - apparently it's in short supply locally. I'm really relieved about that. I keep reviewing my supply list and am sure I've forgotten something important. I really just want this to be over even though I know the recovery is going to be rough. Hope everyone's surgeries are going well and recoveries are smooth!

It's officially the day before surgery

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there. As I have stayed up way too late getting things ready for surgery day on the 9th, the calendar has now turned over to the 8th and my last day with my tummy pouch. Today ended up being a crazy day with a foster dog developing diarrhea so I had to drive him to another foster home because I want husband and daughter taking care of me, not a sick foster dog. Then laundry and running around to get last minute preparations done. I got two more 2 hour workouts fit in and dealt with, to the extent possible on a Saturday, a work crisis that still isn't quite resolved. Hopefully, that will be done on Sunday (I guess that's today now). It's probably good that it was crazy - I haven't had time to dwell on the upcoming surgery. Our son is coming home for a visit today - we haven't seen him since November so it will be nice to see him on Mother's Day. Hope everyone is healing well and I'm excited and nervous to join you on Monday. My report time is 6:30am - not a time I'm used to seeing these days but I figure they're going to put me right out so it shouldn't be too bad. At least I won't have much time to get hungry! Good night to all.

And we're off.

Didn't get much sleep but I guess I'll catch up this week. We're on the road to the surgical center - haven't been up this early in a while but at least I'm not starving yet. I'm very nervous, it's probably best hubby is driving or imight turn around. Good luck and fast healing to all.

Day 0, I guess.

I'm home and alive. I don't remember coming home. Basically got into the recliner and feel asleep. Incision stings. Tummy muscles hurt. Chest hurts like I did too many reps of chest flies. Not too bad so far. Was really nauseous coming out of anesthesia but that seems to have subsided. Had some applesauce and first batch of pills just now. Not hungry at all.

Two helpful hints so far:

Bring an extra bag for your shoes. I had to put my nice clean j clothes in the same bag as my shoes. Okay, dozing off so going to end this.

Day 1 post op

Day 1 hasn't been too bad. Still not in pain but muscles are achy. Hubby has me on a strict schedule - cough into a pillow every hour, walk every two hours, meds. Still not hungry but applesauce tastes good. Have also had a couple of bananas and some ginger snaps. All in all, it's the helplessness that is most frustrating. I'm really not used to relying on someone else for everything.

Day 2 post op

A little improvement. I can get out of the recliner by myself and make it to the bathroom. I guess it's the little things... I'm going to take a shower later today - I'm really nervous about that. I'm terrified to take the compression garment off because then we'll have to put it back on. I was worried about the stairs but made it up those last night. I really just want to fast forward a week.

Update and helpful hint

Had a BM this afternoon. Not the most pleasant experience but glad it happened.

If it's important to you to know the weight of what was cut off, make sure you check with the doctor before surgery. We just assumed they would weigh it because everyone seems to get a weight. My surgeon does not. If I'd known I would have requested a weight or gone with the other doctor if he refused. It doesn't seem unreasonable to want to know how much they cut off of you.

Day 3 Post op

Continuing to improve slowly. We went out to dinner last night. Our daughter was selected captain of her color guard team for her senior year of high school or I probably would have put that off a bit longer. It was just the local mexican place but it was nice to get out of the house.

It's hubby's first day back at work. He went in for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon but it's a full day today. Our daughter will be home at 2:30 and our son is here until the morning but recovering from his junior yeare of college so he probably won't be awake at all.

I cut back on the pain pills - I took one at noon yesterday in preparation for the shower but haven't had any more since then. I'm still achy but not painful. I'm really starting to get tired of the drains. The drainage has slowed a ton. I know I'm stuck with them until at least Monday though because that's my first post op appt.

All in all, it hasn't been quite as bad as I expected so far. It really helped to read everyone else's stories and get prepared so I wasn't surprised.

And another helpful hint - be careful when you put your compression garment back on. After my shower yesterday, we managed to get one of the layers turned over just a bit. I couldn't figure out why I felt something poking me in the ribs all afternoon. We took it all apart and got it right. We'll be more careful next time.

Happy healing to all!

Some photos

Comparison shots

So much easier to see the improvement in these:

Day 4 post op

Day 4 and all is, well, not "well" yet, but progressing well. Had my 2nd shower since surgery yesterday evening; it went better than the 1st. I still had some dizziness although less and I lasted longer before it started. I wasn't nauseous this time which was greatly appreciated. Hubby got in and did my hair because I'm still limited in how high I can reach my arms. Our shower has seats in the corners so I could rest as needed.

We went out to dinner for our visiting son's last night here and then a quick grocery store trip. I'm going through applesauce, bananas and almond milk more quickly than expected but that's what tastes okay.

Drainage has slowed way down to about 15-20 of whatever volume is measured per day and it's lightening in color. My first post op is Monday and I really want the drains out. It's so hard to dress with them in.

I'm still sleeping in the recliner; we have a water bed so it will probably be a while before I can sleep there. I have no problems getting to the bathroom or fixing simple meals. I'm not driving. I stopped the pain pills, except for before a shower, on Wednesday.

I'm reasonably happy with my pre-op/post-op photo comparison and can't wait to see how things settle in.

Two more helpful hints:
Make sure things you'll need are put where you can reach them and remind family/caregivers not to move your things. I can't lift my arms very high and someone moved my cottage cheese to a high shelf in the refrigerator and it was every thing I could to pull it out yesterday.
And I've forgotten the second - damned anesthesia brain.

Happy healing to all!!

Day 5 post op

Nothing new to report really. No improvement. Bored to tears. Frustrated that I can't go to the gym. Frustrated that I can't do much. Really sick of the damn recliner. I coughed yesterday afternoon and thought I tore my insides to shreds. My back is achy. I'm just little Mary Sunshine today, aren't I? I am getting a shower in about an hour, maybe that will help.

Couch company

My girls seem to like that I moved to the cough (field trip!) so there's room for them to snuggle. The white one is a retired greyhound named Diamond. The black one is Kira. She's a galga (Spanish greyhound) that I met when my mom, my son and I went to Spain to volunteer at a galgo rescue center in 2014. I fell in love with her.

Day 6 and I have a new best friend

Things have improved majorly in one way. After losing 110 lbs, all of my bones seem really prominent. I don't know if they moved when I gained weight or if this is where they always were but my tailbone has been especially prominent and the many hours on my back since surgery have resulted in significant pain where my tail bone is. I could not get enough cushioning under me to relieve the pain. We went to the drug store today and found a donut pillow. I LOVE it. I think I might be able to sleep longer tonight. I've been awakened by the pain every couple of hours the last few nights. My drainage has slowed to almost nothing. I'm going to be disappointed if they don't remove at least one of the drains tomorrow but am really hoping for both. That one little thing would make life so much easier. Physically, I'm doing a little better. I think I might be standing a little straighter but there's still a backache if I stand or walk for too long. My incision is really starting to itch. I've been off pain meds completely since Thursday (day 3) and that was just one in preparation for a shower. I'm starting to feel a desire to do something physical - I did some body weight squats while I was standing around. To go from working out 4 hours a day to being sedentary has been interesting. Time for my last shower before hubby leaves for a week. Happy healing to all.

Day 7 - 1st post-op appt

The day started well - I got up and felt like walking was easier. I asked hubby if I was standing straighter and he agreed I was. We grabbed breakfast and he was off to the airport.

My mom came and got me this afternoon for my first post-op appt. Doc came and went in about 30 seconds. He was the same way the morning of surgery, no time for questions. I'm a bit irritated. He's a little concerned about the BL/BA and said a revision may be needed 6 or 12 months down the road but I don't understand the problem. He said my tummy looked like it was healing well. He approved removal of one drain today but not both. I can go back on Wednesday if the output stays below 25ccs and have the other one removed. The nurse removed the drain - she had me do lamaze type breathing like it was going to be really painful but I didn't feel a thing. I asked her some of my questions but was so surprised by the Dr's behavior that I forgot many of them. I guess I'll try again on Wednesday when I get the second drain removed. I still need to wear the CG as much as possible. The weight I can lift was increased to 15 lbs. I can start wearing shirts that go on over my head. She even suggested wearing a camisole or tank top under the CG because of the rash.

I took my parents out to an early dinner to thank my mom for driving me and promptly came home and napped.

I felt a bit better today because I could stand up straighter. Hopefully every day will get better.

Post Op days 8 & 9

I had an update all written for yesterday but nodded off and it disappeared.

Two big achievements for yesterday:
I took my first solo shower. It took a little longer than when hubby is home and can help but I made it through with no dizziness or nausea so that's a nice improvement over the first shower that I barely made it through.
Second, I made it to the gym. I didn't do much but it felt really good to be there. I walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes and then did some very light (5 lbs, doc said limit is 15 lbs) arm work. I worked with the gym manager to find something I could do for my back that wouldn't use any abs. I never felt as much as a twinge in my abs so I think I was successful. And my head was much clearer after working out, almost like the slight extra effort burned off some more anesthesia.

All in all, a good day.

Today, the big news is that I'M DRAIN FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you tell I'm ecstatic? I am so happy to be rid of both of those things. I even managed to drive to the dr's office to have it removed. Driving wasn't bad but it was really difficult to get into my van. It's a large passenger van that's really high off the ground. I couldn't get my feet under me enough to not use my abs to climb up so I crawled in the back sliding door. I got clearance to stand up as straight as is comfortable and to stop sleeping with pillows underneath my knees as long as it's not painful.

Things are moving along and I feel pretty good. I even managed a small cough that didn't cause horrendous pain.

Day 11 post op

Not much new to report except that my swelling has increased over the last couple of days. My second drain was removed 2 days ago so my thinking is that the increase may be due to that. I've increased my fluid intake in an attempt to keep it moving out but I'm going to keep an eye on it. I really don't want to have to be drained with a large gauge needle. I've included acouple pictures. Really feel good being back in the gym. It's odd to me that it's more comfortable to walk on the tread than it is to take a shower. Hubby came home today after being gone all week. He hasn't said yet if he notices much difference.

I pulled on jeans today - they were a size up from my pre-surgery size to get over all of my layersurgery and the compression garment.

Hoe everyone has a great weekend!

Day 12 - getting back to normal

Today was almost a completely normal day for me. I woke up in my own bed for the first time since surgery. We have a water bed so I was concerned about getting out of it and of what would happen if hubby moved during the night causing me to move around. We piled up tons of pillows so I could get propped up on my back but I missed supporting my neck so woke up with a stiff neck. I figured out how to get into and out of bed without using my abs so I can permanently give up sleeping in the recliner!!

Then, when I woke up, I got up, got my work out clothes on and went to the gym for a morning work out - the first time I've gone in the morning since surgery. It was a very light work out but I am getting back to my regular schedule.

Then home and a shower as I would normally do. I did two of the things they say you shouldn't do after my shower. I got on the scale (depressing) and measured my waist which was down 1 1/2 inches since before the surgery so there was good news. It's Saturday so I did some light chores around the house and wait for hubby to get home from teaching. Then out for a bite to eat and to the grocery store to stock up for the week. Again, all completely normal.

Then home to let dinner settle, back to the gym for our evening workout and home to watch some baseball. All a completely normal day other than me moving a little more slowly than normal and getting tired and needing to rest my back occasionally.

This all makes me wonder how long it will take before life is really back to normal. When will this surgery no longer dominate my day and be the first thing I think of when I wake up? It's been at the forefront of my thoughts since we scheduled it and it seems like it is going to be there for quite some time to come. Not a complaint, just a curiosity. Hope everyone is doing well

Day 13 post op

Really nothing new to report. I'm up and around, still slowly in certain ways and still have some discomfort in my back if I stand for too long. Walking is fine but standing still results in discomfort. I got daring today and tried some sparkling flavored water - I've been worried about drinking a carbonated drink (I don't drink them often but found a grapefruit flavored one that I like occasionally) and it seemed fine. Then I got really daring and had some jalapenos with dinner - again, I was surprised they didn't irritate me. I guess every day gets me a little closer to normal.

Post-op Days 14 and 15

There aren't too many changes going on now or they're just subtle. I am standing a little straighter every day so the back pain is decreasing every day. I noticed my shower today was less painful than normal. I'm a bit stronger on the treadmill every day; I even worked up a little sweat today. I'm used to coming home from my morning workout with clothes drenched enough that I can wring sweat out of them; I miss that. I'm back to a fairly normal schedule and eating normally. Now, if I can get cleared to sleep on my side, maybe I can get a good night's sleep. I have my 2nd followup appointment tomorrow so I'm going to try to get cleared for that and see if I can get my weight limit increased from 15 lbs to 20.

I included some before/after pix with the after being from today. The picture in jeans is exciting - those are the jeans I wore right before surgery!

Hope everyone is doing well and healing quickly.

Post-op Day 16

Okay, maybe third time’s the charm. I keep losing my post and this is the third time I’ve started over. Today was my second checkup following surgery. The doctor wasn’t as rushed this time so I got my questions answered. First we discussed the swelling in my legs. I was somewhat concerned about this after some research. He warned us about clots and what to look for but he doesn’t think that’s what this is because it’s symmetric and also in my fingers. Any pain in my legs or shortness of breath and I’m to go immediately to the ER. The nurse had the same issue, she said her legs looked just like mine and it resolved about a month after surgery so that calmed me down a bit. I am cleared to sleep on my side – thank goodness, I am so looking forward to a good night’s sleep. I was also cleared to try the recumbent bike and to increase my dumbbell weight to 10 pound dumbbells. I was not cleared for the elliptical; he feels that uses the abs too much. I asked how many pounds of skin he cut off. He didn’t have a weight recorded but took a picture. I didn’t want to see but hubby did. The doctor estimated it was about 3.5 lbs of skin. The nurse then removed all of the tape and checked my incisions. She seemed really pleased, even a little surprised, that there were no openings. She said they still could open up and told us how to care for them in case. My next check is in 3 weeks and the doc said that if everything continues as it has, I’ll be cleared to do whatever I want. I tried to get photos of the incisions for my TT and the BL/BA but they’re not great. I think the incisions look pretty good.

Day 20 post op

Not much changing these days. I am walking straighter - I can tell because my back pain is almost nonexistent now. I'm still on limited workouts per Dr's orders, walking on the treadmill doesn't burn as many calories as I'm used to but it's something. There are still some movements that are uncomfortable, mainly twisting or bending around my torso, this can make getting in and out of bed interesting. I included some new photos but I don't think there's much difference from the last ones. I still have a good bit of swelling.

24 days post op

Not much new to report. Getting stronger and things are more normal every day. It's getting to where I forget that I'm still somewhat limited. I got down on the floor to clean my mastiff's ears last night and had to get creative to get up off the floor because my ab muscles are still useless. In my case, the muscle repair has been the toughest part out of everything I had done (TT, BL w/BA). My swelling is coming down slowly which is bringing my weight back down. I'm still above my pre-surgery weight but not by much and there is still swelling. At least my feet feel better; that swelling was uncomfortable. My waist measurement is down 3.5 inches from before surgery - I'm thrilled with that. With the swelling, I might even get below a 30 inch waist. The first time I measured after I started on this weight loss journey, my waist was 51 inches - one of the pictures shows the tape measure extended out to 51 inches. I hope everyone is healing well!

One month post-op

I am now one month out from surgery. The time has gone quickly and slowly at the same time. I am feeling pretty good. The back pain is completely gone, thank goodness. The swelling is significantly decreased, especially in my hands and feet - there is still some in my tummy but, even with that, my waist measurement is down over 4 inches from before the surgery. I am still on modified workouts but quite happy that I can do something at the gym. I mostly do the treadmill and dumbbells 10 lbs and under as directed by the doc. He approved trying the recumbent bike at my last appointment but the treadmill feels better so I'm focusing on that. My ab muscles are still weak so there are still some movements that are impossible or awkward. I'm doing everything I can not to stress those muscles because I really don't want to undo the repair. My incisions look fantastic - they are completely closed and look really clean. I have a little bit of a dog ear on one end of my TT incision and one on one of my BL incisions. The doc said those can be handled in the office if they remain a problem as things settle in, probably at least 6 months after surgery. My next post op appointment is in one week.

I ordered a new CG and really like it. I posted some pictures of it in case anyone else needs a spare. It comes in 3 pieces and you can use 1, 2 or 3 of them depending on what you want compressed. I like how this one feels better than the one I left surgery with. It is really nice to be able to alternate them for washing/airing out purposes. It was $20 from Amazon - search on "3 in 1 Postpartum Support - Recovery Belly/waist/pelvis Belt Shapewear Waist Belts" if you're interested.

I hope everyone is healing well or, if you haven't had your procedure yet, I hope that you have a smooth procedure.

1 month post op pictures

The first three are photos of my incision as of today. The other two are comparisons between just before surgery and today.

Comparison of presurgery, 13 days post op and 1 month post op

I didn't realize how much had changed in the last 2 weeks.

6 week post op visit

It hasn't been 6 weeks yet but the doctor called it my 6 week post op visit so I guess I will too. It will be 6 weeks on Monday. All still looks good. My incisions are healing well. He said my swelling will go down and reduce my waist measurement at least another inch - I can't get over how much smaller my waist is already and it's going to get smaller? Yay! I asked about one side of my tummy being slightly more swollen than the other and he said that's normal. I was concerned that I might have done something to one side of my abs but he said it was no problem. I asked about the compression garment. He said I should wear it as much as I can stand it but that I can take longer breaks from it than just for a shower. I left it off after my shower for a bit today - it was odd, I felt naked without it. I think it's good to air get to my belly button for a little while though. I plan to continue wearing it for workouts and at night, at the very least, for some time to come. I asked if I should be taking a break so I don't get too dependent on it and he said it's perfectly fine to wear it as much as I want so no need to wean myself from it. I was cleared to slowly start ramping up my workouts. I'm looking forward to getting back to my strength training but will take it slow. My daughter and I were planning on getting seasons tickets to the local Busch Gardens and the doctor said I can go and ride the rides now. The only remaining issue is that one of the implants hasn't fallen like he expected. He said it still could but it may require going back in. The explanation for this is that because the skin was stretched tight underneath as part of removing the excess, this caused the implants to start out up high. Normally, and on one side in my case, the implant drops to its expected position during healing but sometimes the breast tissue heals before the implant can drop. He says it's a pretty easy fix, he goes in and opens up the same incision so the implant can drop like the other one. There is also a little bit of excess skin at the ends of the incisions on each breast so he'll clip that at the same time. He wants to give it 6 more weeks to see if the implant will drop but if it hasn't then, we'll schedule the procedure. He says it's minimal - if I have it done on a Friday, I'll be find to work on Monday. I'll take pictures when it's officially 6 weeks on Monday but did take some photos of me wearing the jeans I had just gotten into before surgery - they are quite loose now!!

6 weeks post op - for real

Today is 6 months from my surgery. I continue to feel better and better. I can do more and more at the gym. Oddly, today has been the worst day of swelling in quite a while and it was after cutting my morning workout short to have lunch with my mom and daughter. I'm not sure what's up there. I took some photos today but the swelling makes me look worse than I did in the last photos. I still feel really tight in the stomach area but I am able to raise my arms over my head more easily every day. I still have no strength in my abs - I was trying to lay down on a bench this evening and had to find something to hold on to in order to lower myself to a flat position. I am still wearing the compression garment pretty much 24/7; I've taken a few short breaks from it but it feels weird to not have it on. I went clothes shopping with my husband and daughter on Sunday and left it at home to make it easier to try things on. I got a new pair of jeans shorts in a size 4 - I can't believe I'm wearing a size 4. I also bought a bikini (I haven't even owned a bathing suit in 20 years) and a slinky sheath dress that surprised me with how decent it looks now that my tummy pouch is gone - now I just need to find somewhere to wear it!

My journey, so far

Thought this would be an interesting comparison. Losing 110 lbs and having skin removal surgery makes a big difference.

7 weeks post op

Today is 7 weeks since my surgery. I'm continuing to recover. About the only thing holding me back now are my abs. They are still weak and still uncomfortable with certain moves but getting better. I'm experiencing the swelling that many others do around the 6 or 7 week mark - I look 3 or 4 months pregnant. The swelling is above and below my waist. The swelling in my legs is all but gone and all of my rings fit back where they're supposed to so my hands are back to normal. My cardio workouts are about where they were before surgery. I'm finally able to get my heartrate up enough so that my resting heartrate is on its way back down to presurgery levels. Strength workouts are coming along as well but lagging a little bit behind cardio which is to be expected. I lost a bit of muscle mass during recovery but am working my way back slowly. I'm really excited about the inches I've lost around my waist - I'm down about 5 inches. I even bought a size smaller jeans (a four!!). Now, if the swelling would just go down, everything would fit well. I posted some pictures showing my first bikini in a hundred years (or so) and the pooch from my swelling. I'm not ready to go out in public in it but I think I might be at some point. Hope everyone is healing well!

8 weeks post op

Not much new to report. I still have some swelling but it seems to be getting a little better. My workouts continue to get stronger and, according to my scale, my muscle mass is back up to where it was before the surgery. I'm still wearing compression most of the time but I bought spanx and something like spanx to try and the non-spanx one seems to provide sufficient compression so I may get a couple more of those. My resting heart rate is still working its way back down to pre-surgery levels but it's not there yet.

I was daring today. We got seasons tickets to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. I haven't been to either in a very long time because I was just too heavy to ride most of the rides and get any enjoyment from it. We went to Busch on Friday and Sunday and I had a blast. I even rode roller coasters so my husband would have someone to ride with (roller coasters aren't my favorite). We wanted to go to Water Country today but the weather forecast was awful - they even cancelled our local fireworks by around 8:00am today because the outlook was so dismal. We kept an eye on it though and things cleared off earlier than expected so we decided to try the park. It was empty and we didn't have to wait in any lines. I haven't even owned a bathing suit in, probably, 20 years and today, I ventured out in a bikini. I was surprised to feel comfortable in it. I was also surprised at my energy level. Some of the rides are 700 feet in the air and you have to climb steps to get to the top. With no lines, there was no resting - you just climb straight to the top. I had no problems. I could never have done what I did this weekend just a year ago. The only bummer was that I couldn't wear my FitBit so didn't get credit for all of those flights of stairs!

I hope everyone is healing well. If you're early in the recovery process, I promise it gets better every day.

10 weeks post op

Well, maybe second time’s the charm. I had a long update post ready but the web site decided to crash.
Anyway, I’m a little over 10 weeks post-op and doing well. Life is getting back to pretty much normal. I’m out of the bulky compression garment. At my last PS appointment, the doctor said I could switch to Spanx or something similar so I tried a couple of options and found one I like. It’s so nice to get rid of that bulk, especially with the heat we’re getting now.

My workouts are just about back to where they were before surgery – cardio is going great and the weights are just about back to the level I was at. According to my scale, my muscle mass is actually higher than before, as is my water weight (I’m guessing from the bit of swelling I have left). My weight is right about the same as before surgery even with some swelling so I hope to lose a couple more pounds which would put me below my goal weight. I’m getting to where none of my clothes fit but I don’t want to buy anything else until the swelling goes down so I know my final size. I did break down and order a couple of new workout tank tops – the bigger ones are rubbing because they are so loose. Going from XXLs and 3XLs to ordering smalls is really weird; I still don’t see myself as small. I’ve attached some photos showing where I came from to now and some showing the progression following the surgery.

It looks like I will have to go under the knife again. The left implant still hasn’t fallen and there’s a little bit of extra skin at the inner edge of the incision under each breast. I’m not looking forward to it, particularly because I’ve just got my workouts back to where they should be. I really don’t want that derailed again. The doc says it’s a pretty simple procedure and that I’d be back at work within 3 days so we’ll see. My next appointment is in 2 weeks and that’s when I’ll find out for sure.

I recently passed the year anniversary of starting all of this weight loss/fitness program. My energy level is great. We got Busch Gardens seasons tickets this year for the first time. I can run all over the park, climb hills and stairs and ride all the rides without getting tired. It’s so much fun to be able to do this for the first time. I hope I’ve made this all a permanent change – I desperately don’t want to go back to where I started.

Hope everyone is healing well!

Almost 3 month post-op recheck

I had a follow-up dr's appt this morning. Tummy is still looking fine. There is still some swelling; the doctor said it would resolve and things would look great because he could feel my "rock hard" (his words!) abs underneath the swelling. He said I no longer need to wear compression garments unless I want to. I think I'll continue to wear them when I'm working out or at Busch Gardens. I am cleared to do direct ab workouts now so I guess I no longer have an excuse to avoid crunches.

He is still not happy with how my implants are settling. I'm scheduled to go back in for revision to allow the implants to settle better, remove some more extra skin and raise the nipples up a little. I'm not thrilled to go back under the knife but he said after a week, I can go back to all normal activity so hopefully this will be an easy recovery. All of this is covered under the money we already paid. Hubby is relieved. He was a little alarmed at my current shape being the final one and questioned whether it was money well spent. I'm less concerned but I don't really look directly at them so...

Everything else is going fine. Energy level is great. My workouts are going well. I'm at full strength and completely back to normal activity. We're having a blast at Busch Gardens. I even ventured out to Water Country in a bikini and didn't feel too self conscious!

All in all, things are going well. I hope this next surgery doesn't set me back too much. It is scheduled for August 15th. We'll see how things go after that.

Beware the revision.

I'm home. We got a late start because an emergency had to be fit in before me. I woke up in pretty significant pain which surprised me. They gave me IV dilaudid and toradol on top of oral percocet and instructions to take another percocet at home. I haven't looked yet; I sure hope it was worth it. That second percocet is kicking in so nap time - at least I won't be in pain. They said the reason for the increased pain during a revision is because they can't use local because it interferes with getting everything just right. I sure hope it's right this time; I'm not sure I can do this again. At least I'm not nauseous.

Day 1 after revision

The pain is better, but not gone. I've taken as much percocet after the revision as I did after the original procedure and I may not be done. I'm experiencing the same issues with being tired and bowel movements - yippee. It seems worse because I was expecting this to be no big deal, based on what the doctor said. I took a shower today and was dizzy/nauseous afterwards. I think that was mostly in my head again, after seeing the bloody bandages and new incisions. At least I'm able to sleep in my own bed!

Despite the doctor telling me it was okay, I did not feel up to walking on the treadmill today; I'm not even sure I will feel up to it tomorrow but we'll see.

And, after seeing my "revised" breasts today, I'm really frustrated. They look much worse than before. One is shaped like a cone and the other like a hook. I hope they will settle - I'm not sure I can do this again.

Day 3 after revision

I'm feeling pretty good after the revision. Physically, I am doing pretty much my standard cardio workouts, just a little lower intensity on the treadmill and bike. Per doctor's orders, I am not doing any weight workouts right now. I am still very concerned about how my breasts look. The surgical sites are healing fine. There is some bruising and swelling but that's to be expected. The right one looks like it might settle into something reasonable but the left one looks awful. It is shaped funky and the nipple is hook-shaped. I just can't see how it's going to look decent. I feel like Frankenstein, like I've been put together from spare parts or something. It looks way worse that it did before the revision. And, I'm so swollen from the surgery that my waist has increased by 2 damn inches. I guess I should have realized but I didn't think about a breast lift revision affecting my waist line. I've been off the percocet since Tuesday and everything else is fine. I am feeling quite depressed about all of this. At this point, I wish I hadn't agreed to the revision. I could have dealt with what I had before but this is just ugly.

Anyway, if your doctor says you need a revision, make sure you're prepared. It might be worse than what you already have. And, it will be rather uncomfortable to get that outcome.

11 days post revision - surgery recheck

I had my first recheck after my revision surgery. The PS seems happy with my progress. He said abdominal swelling I noticed is normal. He still believes both breasts will settle into what we're looking for. I'm feeling better about the right one but the left one is still wonky. The discomfort level is zero now. I needed pain meds for the first two days but the pain level was low enough after that to discontinue them at that point. My next check is in a month; hopefully there will be some more improvement then.

He cleared me to do anything that doesn't hurt. I'm going to slowly ramp up my weight workouts - I moved all the way up to 8 lb dumbells. I think I'll finish this week there and move up to the 10s next week as long as it doesn't hurt. I also started slowly adding some stair stepper time - I made it 20 minutes today although not at my pre-surgery resistance.

I really hope this is the last procedure. I guess we'll know in the next 1 - 3 months.

2nd post revision checkup

I had my second post revision checkup. The surgeon is still not happy with how the left implant is sitting. He's worried about capsular contraction - apparently tissue builds up around the implant too tight and prevents it from settling. He put me on Singulair (normally for asthma) - it's supposed to help with the contraction. He also showed us some massage techniques to try to loosen things up. I go back in a couple of months for a recheck - if there's no improvement, we'll have to schedule another procedure to open up the scar tissue again.

At least the right one is much improved and acceptable. And, the left one isn't so ugly anymore but it's still a little funky looking. Fortunately, under clothing, everything looks fine. Poor hubby is the only one that has to see the weirdness.

I hope everyone is healing well.

3rd, and hopefully final, post revision checkup

I had another revision recheck. The surgeon feels better about the left implant. He, and we, think it has dropped some since the last checkup and he thinks it will continue to drop. I'm supposed to continue on the Singulair for another month and get back in touch with them if I have any other problems or if I'm not happy with how things settle out by the spring. He advised me to make sure I wear supportive bras so I don't undo the work he did. I asked about the area above my belly button as I wasn't sure if that was still swollen or if I still had more work to do to lose the rest of my fat. He checked it and said the swelling is 90 or 95% down, that there was a tiny bit of fat under the skin but that if I lost enough to lose that little bit, my face would lose too and I'd look odd. He says it's just some extra skin from being so overweight. He said the only way we could get rid of it would be to do a fleur de lis skin removal and that would leave a large vertical scar. He doesn't think it's worth it because there really isn't much excess skin. I'm fine with that - I'm comfortable in a bikini with the small bit of extra skin so no reason to cut me open again.

I hope everyone is healing well!

One year

1 year update:

My first surgery was 1 year ago today. I am quite happy with the results. I no longer think about the surgery every minute of every day like I did at the beginning. I’m still thrilled with how flat my stomach is. Surprisingly, because I did the breast lift more for my husband than for myself, I’m really impressed with what the doctor was able to do in the lift and implant placement. My breasts look better than I even remember them as a twenty-something, although I’m the odd one that wishes I was a D rather than a DD. I’m continuing my workouts and keeping the weight off.

My recommendations, after a year of experience following my surgery:
1. If you’re going through weight loss, have most/essentially all of the weight off before surgery. Surgery only took 2 ½ lbs of skin off for me so I’m glad I was essentially at my goal weight before surgery.

2. Be in really good physical shape before your surgery. I did a lot of cardio and strength training very regularly and ramped it up in the month before surgery. This helped me immensely; I was back on my feet relatively quickly. I went out to dinner with my family two days after my surgery – I was slow and needed a stool to get into and out of the van but I made it. It did me good to get out of the house.

3. Make sure you have great support at home. My husband was a drill sergeant and followed the doctor’s orders to a tee. He had me up walking as often as I was supposed to, there’s no way I could have done it on my own if only for the fact that I wouldn’t have woken up to walk as often as I was supposed to. I think this is another reason I was on my feet relatively quickly.

4. Exparel is a wonder drug. I had to pay extra for it and it was worth every single penny. I was able to move without too much discomfort and I was able to cut back on the pain meds

5. Get active after surgery as soon as your doctor allows. I was back in the gym 8 days after surgery. I was only walking and very slowly but I was back, keeping the routine.

Just my thoughts, based on my experience. Hope everyone is doing great and is happy with their surgery.

Haven't had the procedure but so far, we're very happy with him. He's direct, down to earth and we felt comfortable with him during the consultation.

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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