Tummy Tuck with Hernia Repair 2/22/12 - 3 months 3 wks PO

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I am 34 yrs old and have 3 children ages 6, 4 and...

I am 34 yrs old and have 3 children ages 6, 4 and 20 months. My pre-pregnancy weight was 143 and I gained 50lbs with my first, 40 with my second and 35 with my third. I am 5'7 and currently weigh 138. I am about a size 4-6. I carried all three pregnancies way out front causing a big separation in my muscles and a lot of extra skin. After losing all of my baby weight while running and taking bootcamp classes, I cannot seem to get rid of this extra skin. It hangs out over my jeans and you can always see it through my shirts / dresses. I am so self conscience about it that I think about it constantly. I am also frustrated that I don't have the body that I deserve after working out and eating well. Every doctor that I spoke with told me the only way that I would ever fix this problem is with a tummy tuck (after looking at the cost, I figured that it would never happen). I was trying to find a way that insurance would help me cover the procedure or at least part of the procedure. When I asked my OBGYN if she thought I had separated muscles she told me that I definitely did and I also had an umbilical hernia which would need to be fixed through surgery at some point in the near future. The hernia gave me the boost I needed to start looking into a tummy tuck. After a few consultations, both plastic surgeons telling me that I was a perfect candidate for this surgery and a few discussions with my husband, here I am. My tummy tuck is scheduled for 2/22!! I am really excited, nervous and anxious all at once. I definitely feel like cleaning and organizing everything in sight before the big day. My husband will be with me for the first 5 days and then I will have my mother here for the next week. After that, I will hopefully have a nanny that will be able to help me with the kids and some of the housework. I am so worried about my little guy and how he is going to react when I tell him I can't pick him up or hug him as much as I would like. I definitely go back and forth with whether this is the right time to be having an elective surgery like this, but I have been trying to tell myself that I deserve this and that there will never be the perfect time. I am so excited to be able to wake up every morning and have a normal belly! About 1 month to go!!

15 days until my surgery!! I had my pre-op...

15 days until my surgery!! I had my pre-op appointment this afternoon! I am so excited about having a flat belly for the first time in 6 years!! The doctors and staff answered all of my questions and really put me at ease with everything. I received all of my prescriptions and pre-op instructions. I also just found out that he will be doing any lipo necessary to my abdomen and my flanks. I am definitely still nervous about the recovery, but it will all be worth it in the end.

I am 1 day post-op today and everything went...

I am 1 day post-op today and everything went really well. I had a tummy tuck, MR, Hernia repair and lipo of the flanks. The surgery took 2 1/2 hrs instead of the 4 they told me. They ended up taking off 14 inches of skin!! So far so good. The percocet and valium are making me feel as if I have no pain. The hardest part is getting out of the recliner to go to the bathroom every 3 hours or so. I only have one drain and so far it hasn't been an issue. I have a binder on with white foam pads in the back. I am not supposed to touch it or shower until after my drain comes out which my PS said should be on Tues at my pre-op appt. The suspense is killing me...I definitely feel some swelling today because my binder feels tighter, but nothing too bad yet. We'll see how the next few days go. My husband has been awesome waking up with me to pee and setting his alarm for my pills. Thank you everyone for your support and prayers. I hope you are all recovering well.

Yesterday I was 6 days Post-op and I had my first...

Yesterday I was 6 days Post-op and I had my first appt with my PS. Everything went really well. I had my one and only drain removed which was a little uncomfortable, but only took a second. It feels so good not to have that thing attached to me anymore. He said that everything looks good so far and will continue to get better day by day. He was impressed by how upright I was walking and how well I was doing with the pain. He took the steri strips off my incision and said that he still has glue there for right now. I go in one week from today to see him again. My belly button looks weird but he told me that will get better with time as well. He told me that I don't need to doing anything in regards to care of my incision, belly button or drainage hole...just pat dry after a shower. I can shower tonight!!! WHOO HOO! I am ready to not smell anymore and get rid of the grease in my hair. I am still really swollen especially around my flanks where he did lipo. He said that those areas will be sore, hard and swollen for the next 3 months or so, so I shouldn't be alarmed. I am only taking Motrin, Arnica, Keflex and Bromelain during the day and then Percocet and Valium at bedtime. I will probably try to ween off of those within the next few days. I sat downstairs until lunchtime today (I hadn't left my bedroom since Wednesday!) so that felt good. I still need to wear my binder for 6 weeks, but he said I could switch to a softer binder or spanks if I feel more comfortable. So far so good with this binder.

I was not offered an epidural and not really sure what happened. They put me on the surgical table and the next thing I know I was in recovery. I am still having some crying spells...not sure why.
When my back hurts, I use a heating pad. My PS said that it hurts from the lipo in those areas and because I am using my back muscles more since I can't use my abs yet. I have been sleeping well at night, but that may be because of the Percocet and Valium.

Here are a few Day 6 Post-op pictures - Keep in mind I am still VERY swollen and my belly button looks pretty funky.

So annoyed - I am Day 11 Post Op and still cannot...

So annoyed - I am Day 11 Post Op and still cannot get my pictures to upload. I am doing better every day. I am still taking my Bromelain, Arnica and Motrin or Tylenol when needed, but I feel pretty good. I am standing straight and have been since Day 7. I still get winded after walking up the stairs and standing for too long, but every day I get stronger. I have been able to fix my own breakfast and lunch all week and help out a little more around the house. I have been very lucky to have a lot of help from my husband and mom so far. I am going to drive to my dr appt on Tuesday for the first time which is scary and exciting all at once. I am actually going on my first outing today besides my dr appt last week. My nephew is turning 2 so we have his birthday party which is about 30 minutes away. Not sure what the heck I am going to wear yet, but am very excited to get out of the house. I am very antsy and tired of sitting around in the house for the last 10 days. I am shocked at how little pain if any I have being only 11 days out. Every once in a while I get some pain or some burning when I move the wrong way, but my recovery has been much easier than I was expecting. I hope to get pictures up sometime soon. My belly button still looks a little funky, but I am hoping with time it will get better. I am looking forward to begin walking or using the elliptical again...I miss being active. I hope everyone is having a good recovery.

I am 13 days PO today and just got back from my PS...

I am 13 days PO today and just got back from my PS appt. I told him that I thought I over did it a little the past few days by standing too much and cleaning and definitely felt it in my abs. I also explained that I bought the waistnipper and had a rough time getting it off me. He said that I am probably a week or two early for the waistnipper because I am still too swollen, but he thought that it was a good product for this. He said that my incision scar looks great - right now it looks funky because he has tape and glue on it to keep it from separating and becoming infected. He said that he also uses this method because there is no gauze or dressing changes that I need to keep up with. He said that in a week or two the tape/glue will start to separate and flake off and that it when he removes it. When that happens, my incision should look like a line drawn with a pencil and I will begin using the silicone strips called New Gel.

My belly button is a different story. It began to ooze yesterday. He had told me the day of surgery that he had trouble with my belly button, but it should be fine when it heals. When he saw it today, he said that my belly button kept wanting to go left when he needed it to go right, and he thinks he pulled it too far to the right. He said that I am going to have to have a revision done on my belly button, but not for a while...I am guessing 6 months or so. That sucks, but I would rather do this right than be stuck with something that looks like it does now. He has me putting neosporin on it until my appt next week.

As for exercise, he said that I can walk slowly inside or out, but not to go crazy. He said that he allows his patients to start briskly walking at 4 weeks and then slowly get back to exercising at 100% by 6-8 weeks. I think I am going to lay low for the next few weeks and then worry about that. I might take a few walks outside when the weather is nice, but my neighborhood has a lot of hills.

As the day is going on, my abs are feeling better. Once I moved back to my recliner last night, I slept much better. Maybe the bed is not the right thing for me right now.

I hope everyone is feeling a little better today. This recovery is hard...for me not so much with the pain, but being frustrated that I can't do the things that I feel like my body can do on the good days. Feeling good and having energy back is very deceiving in this type of recovery.

Good luck ladies and thank you so much for all of your comments and support!!

PO Day 21 - I have made it 3 weeks!! I am feeling...

PO Day 21 - I have made it 3 weeks!! I am feeling better each and every week that goes by. This week I have been walking around a little more and helping out around the house with the little things. My life is getting more and more back to normal. I walk my daughter to the bus stop and bring my 4 yr old to preschool. I also took my kids to the park the other day (with my mom, of course). Luckily, I still have a lot of help with cleaning the house, meals and taking care of my 22 month old. My poor little guy is having a hard time with me not being able to pick him up and give him a big hug (I am having a REALLY hard time with it). Thankfully, he will not remember these weeks when he gets older. My 4 year old kind of gets it, but is definitely acting out more than usual which is understandable considering my lack of involvement and the many different people who have been helping out. My 6 year old has been great!

As for my husband and I, we are doing better now then we were a few days ago...both of us were overtired and out of our element. I am used to doing everything around here and he goes to work and then plays with the kids when he gets home. For the past 3 weeks, he has done everything around here while taking care of me AND going to work everyday which includes an hour and 30 minute commute to NYC each day. And I have been resting and healing which is not the norm for me. It is such a crazy emotional experience. I am sure this is TMI, but we decided to "GO FOR IT" on Monday night for the 1st time since surgery and it was great! We were very careful in our positioning. It got me so excited for a few weeks down the road when I have recovered even more.

I had a PS appt yesterday so that he could look at my belly button again. He said that it is getting better, but not healing as fast as he would like. He is going to schedule a revision for it in about 6-8 months when my body has totally healed. The one side is too flat and the other side has a hangover. There is also a weird line going from my belly button down to my scar. He said he is almost certain that the line will go away in time as well. He also finally took the tape and glue off of my incision so that I could see what it actually looks like and I am excited!! I think it is going to heal really nicely over time. He said that it is still a little bumpy, but that will settle down in a few weeks. He said that there was no way that he would be able to make me 100% perfect because I had so much excess skin hanging, especially once they tightened my muscles. He said that there was a 2" separation in my muscles. Even though I am still swollen in my love handles from the lipo (he said might be there for at least 3 months) and I won't be able to wear my regular pants until it goes down, I am SO EXCITED to have a flat belly and no more excess skin!!!

I uploaded some 3 weeks PO pictures, but keep in mind my belly button will be getting revised and my tape and glue have just been removed on my incision. I am also still pretty swollen.

As for exercise, I am still not allowed to briskly walk until next week, but I have been trying to walk around outside a little more with the nice weather. The fresh air makes a huge difference in my mood throughout the day.

I hope everyone is healing well.

Week 4 PO - I am feeling great! I can definitely...

Week 4 PO - I am feeling great! I can definitely do more and more each day. My belly button and incision are healing pretty well considering I have to get a revision on my BB. Today was my first day with the kids without help - I am exhausted and it is only 1:46pm. I am heading in for a nap. My 22 month old has just gotten tall enough to be able to open every door and unlock every door. The minute I turn my back he is gone. I just can't keep up with him right now. I am hoping it will get easier when I can lift him again...hopefully, in a few weeks. I have my 5 week PS appt next week so hopefully, I will find out when I will be able to lift him again.

Otherwise, I feel good. I am back to a pretty normal schedule minus the exercising. I still get stretching pains and pulls in my stomach from time to time, but that is how my body is telling me that I need to slow down. I can suck in my stomach muscles a little, but still have the numbness. My lipo sections are still really swollen and numb, but I was expecting that for about 3 months per my PS.

I uploaded a few 4 week pictures. I hope everyone is feeling well.

Week 5 PO - I feel like I am almost back to...

Week 5 PO - I feel like I am almost back to normal! I had my 5 week PO visit on Tues and my PS said that I am healing very well. I do need a few revisions. My belly button, which he mentioned a few weeks ago, and now he thinks that I will need a little evening out with the lipo in my hip area. He said that I have a bit of Scoliosis so my ribs on my left side are lower than my right, therefore my sides look a bit different in the way that they are settling. He said that there is definitely still swelling there so we won't know for sure until that goes down, but the revisions would both take place in about 6 or 7 months. Other than that, he started me on my scar treatment, which is a silicone strip called Metipec. So far so good. He also said that I was free to pick up my 32 lb son and start exercising again. For the exercise, he told me to stick with cardio for now (elliptical, treadmill, running, etc...) and start at 40% of my pre-op intensity and work up from there. He said that I can basically resume all activities and just listen to my body.

As for my daily activities, I am back to cleaning and cooking. I actually vacuumed for the first time yesterday. I took it easy and did not feel any pain. I still have not actually carried my son around or picked up anything extremely heavy. I figure that if I can get someone to do it for me for a little longer, it can't hurt to wait to do that. I plan on getting back on my exercise routine on Monday and little by little working up to where I was before. I pushed a cart at Target the other day and had no issues. I am sleeping better and was even able to roll on my side yesterday which felt great!!

The most exciting thing that I did today was a little shopping!! I told myself that I would not do that until I was further along and less swollen, but I couldn't help myself. I went into the GAP and they were having a 30% off sale. The dresses that are out right now are so cute and there was no way I could wear them before with all of my extra skin. They looked awesome and I was so excited that I bought 3!! I am going to be in big trouble with the shopping once I am totally healed!! I couldn't wipe the smile off my face!!

I know I am rambling. I hope everyone is healing well. I don't go back to the PS until the end of April!! I am excited to see the difference a month makes. I have uploaded a few pictures...not too much different than last week.

Week 6 PO - Feeling great. Still wearing my...

Week 6 PO - Feeling great. Still wearing my compression garment. At my 5 week PO appt I forgot to ask my PS when I should stop wearing it. It doesn't bother me right now so I am going to continue wearing it until my next PS appt which isn't until the end of this month. I figure that it can't hurt.

This is my first week on my own with no help and my three kids have spring break. So far so good. I feel back to normal for the most part. Every once in a while I sneeze or move in the wrong way and I get a little twinge of pain, but nothing too bad. I can sleep on my sides now which is a huge help. I still have some pain in my lipo areas, but that's really it. It is amazing how quickly this recovery went...I can't believe that it has been 6 weeks already! I would do this again in a heartbeat even though I still need to get a belly button revision. I was going to start exercising this week, but since I have all three kids full-time (my husband works long hours), I figure that I am getting enough exercise and my real exercise will begin next week. I still have some swelling, but nothing major.

I uploaded another picture just to look at the difference from week to week. It is definitely not a major improvement each week, but I definitely see changes. I can't wait to see what I am going to look like in 6 months!!

I haven't updated in a while. I am feeling much...

I haven't updated in a while. I am feeling much better and have returned to running outside and doing some P90X videos over the past few weeks. I am pretty frustrated with my belly button. I need to get it revised and I am pretty unhappy about it. It doesn't even look like a belly button and the skin hangs over causing a lump in the middle of my abdominal area. The other weird thing is that when I eat too much or drink too much, I get bloated above where my belly button is. Overall, my body looks much better than it did, but between my belly button and my stretch marks returning, I feel myself having doubts about my choice on doctors. I loved my PS and felt very comfortable with him in regards to bedside manner, skill level, experience, etc... But every time I go in for my follow-ups, he kind of looks at me with a grin and shakes his head saying he knows we need to do a revision in October for my belly button, but he is not exactly sure how he is going to fix it. He also said that he will try to pull my skin a little tighter since it has started loosening up again. I should only need to pay for the use of the tools needed and not the office fee, but the last time I went in, he mentioned possibly having to go back to the hospital to do this revision...he said the pain may be too much for me to handle in his office. The problem with that is that I would have to pay the hospital fees AGAIN! I am not sure if I would have had a better outcome with a different doctor, but after spending this much money, I can't help thinking about it and second guessing my choice on doctors. I definitely would have done the surgery again and do not regret it in any way, but I guess I was hoping my results would be a little better. It probably also doesn't help that I am gaining a little weight. I believe that it is going in my thighs. I also still have some swelling in my flanks where I had lipo, but the doctor said that that should go away in a few months. We'll see. I was 138 pre-surgery and went down to 134 post-surgery. Now I am back at 140! I really need to focus on the eating because I have been exercising 5 days a week. I have posted new pictures...not much difference.
Morristown Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Pyo and his office were amazing pre-op and during the surgery. They answered all of my many questions and made me feel very comfortable going into my surgery. Dr. Pyo's bedside manner was great and I would recommend him to anyone going in for this type of procedure.

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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