40 Y.o. Mom of 1- Tummy Tuck and Medial Thigh Lift. Orange, CT

This has been a long time coming for me. I have...

This has been a long time coming for me. I have been wanting to do this for 15+ years, and I finally decided that this year was the right time. A little bit about me: my kiddo will soon be 19, and I've had these issues since before he was born- he just added stretch marks! I've been up and down with my weight most of my adult life, my lowest weight was 128 lbs.

Another Pic

This a better pic of what I've been dealing with for years- the bulges on my inner thighs. My right leg is clearly bigger than my left leg! It's hard to wear a dress without Spanx or some kind of undergarment, because the bulges rub together, and its extremely uncomfortable, and can get painful!
I can't wait to have this done- 3 more weeks!

2 weeks to go..

Just about 2 weeks until surgery, and I'm feeling a range of emotions. Nervous, excited, and just praying that there won't be any complications and that I heal well afterwards.
I also have other feelings that I'm not sure how to process- I just found out yesterday that I am going to be a grandmother at the end of the year. And although I'm very happy for my son and his girlfriend, I'm also sad at the same time because I feel like, he's still my baby, and now he's going to have a baby! So, I've just been floating through the day, a little down, because I need time to absorb this news. But at least it takes my mind off my nerves about the surgery!
I've been slowly purchasing items for recovery, and I just have a few things left to get. I'm debating whether or not I should get a foam mattress topper; I don't have a recliner, but my sofa is a pull out bed, and the mattress is thin. Also, my bedroom does not have a TV, so while I'm recuperating I am going to want to watch TV.
I'm just nervous about napping on the couch and waking up in pain!
So, I have 2 full weeks left of hard core workouts. I've been doing Insanity since end of March, it's tough but I love it. I just need to decide which workout program to do when I get the go ahead to work out again!
That's it for now real selfers.. :)

9 days to go..:)

Nine days til surgery and I'm getting anxious! The more I look at my tummy and feel my thigh bulges rub together, the more anxious I get about finally, finally getting this done, after 15+ years of contemplating!!
I have to make a list of things I need to do this coming weekend to get myself ready, the fun stuff you know, like cleaning the house, grocery shopping, meal prep, that sort of thing. I ordered a gel foam mattress pad from Walmart Friday, and that's the last item to check off my list. And yes, I do have a list on my phone haha :)
I'm excited for the day that I won't have to sew the holes in my pants anymore, from my thighs rubbing together. I do have a favorite pair of yoga pants (yes I do, ladies I know you all wear them as well!!) I wear a couple times a week, and I've had to sew the holes a couple times already. So glad I don't have to worry about dress pants, etc because I work in a hospital, so I get to wear scrubs everyday!! So my wardrobe basically consists of cotton, stretchy everything- pants, shirts, undies, and I wear sneaks everyday as well. I don't think I've worn heels in like... 6 months??
Alright Real Selfers.. I'm off to bust my butt with Insanity!

Less than 24 hrs to go....:D

So today I'm taking it easy, getting some last minute things done. I'm not in any kind of rush, maybe because I'm mentally preparing myself for surgery. I went to breakfast with my mom this morning, and I was going to get one last workout in today, but..I left my damn Apple TV at his house last night!! I brought the only HDMI cable I have, which I need for my dvd player. Bummer...oh well I guess...:/
I'm going to do my weekly meal prep later today, and get the house ready for tomorrow, because I'm pretty sure the first thing I'm going to do when I get back home is sit on the recliner. And yes I broke down last week and rented a recliner for a month, taking the advice from another Real Selfer!! :)
I'm not anticipating I will have a huge appetite this week, so I'm keeping it light, bought a bunch of fruits and veggies, tuna packets, pitas, tortilla chips, rice cakes.. but I will miss my daily Dunkin'! I may have to have someone run out and get some Iced coffee for me haha!
Here are some last minute pics I just took, I'm glad my bathroom has a window, the sun comes up on my side of the house so I have good lighting! Also, side note, if anyone has Instagram, please feel free to follow my journey. My username is dessertarian75. I will post another update tomorrow morning if I get a chance!! Have a great Memorial Day with family and friends :)

On my way...

Well this is it Real Selfers, the day I've been waiting on for over 15 years. It's time to make a positive change for myself, and for my hard work to actually show on the outside!
Hopefully I will be able to post again later today once I get home if I'm coherent enough!
Wish me luck!! :D

All done!!

Everything went well today! My mom and I got there at 6am. I signed in, got changed into a gown, and met the anesthesiologist, the OR nurse, and the PA Amanda. Everyone was very nice! My experience was very pleasant, and I wasn't nervous at all. Dr. Restifo came in and marked me up, he wasn't sure where he was going to do the insicion in my thighs, so he did 2 different markups.
I was walked into the OR, got on the table, and went off to lala land! I woke up in recovery, and came out of it much easier than when I had my gall bladder removed 10 years ago. For that experience, I was completely out of it for about 8 hours! So, my mom and my aunt were there as I was coming back to reality. From what I was told, when I initially woke up, I was laughing and smiling, and telling everyone I had some nice dreams, and I'm so glad I had this done etc.. of course I don't remember any of this! The nurses in recovery were also pretty amused by me as well :)
We got back home, and I've been just watching TV, eating light and drinking plenty of water, and peeing plenty as well! I haven't slept all afternoon, just been relaxing, I emptied my drains 2 times already, trying to stay on top of that every few hours, and also taking my antibiotic. I haven't taken any pain meds yet, I may take half a pill when I go to sleep later. My abdomen is sore, like I did a few hundred crunches, and my thighs are sore as well, but it's tolerable right now. So, I was very surprised to find that they put in 6 drains!! Oh my goodness!! I have them either tucked into my pants or under my shirt.
I got calls from both Amanda and Dr. Restifo earlier to check on me, that was great that they both called!
My legs and feet especially are swollen, I'm glad I bought compression sleeves for my calves! I didn't take too many pics today, I have my post op on Thursday, so hopefully all of these drains will be coming out!! I'll take more pics once the binder comes off :)
Happy healing!!

So far so good..

I had my first post op appointment today, everything looks good right now. I was hoping Dr. Restifo would remove a few drains, but he only took out one :/ Bummer because it's been a little uncomfortable sleeping at night trying to adjust them to my sleep position. I have 2 nice bruises on the inside of my thighs, they ended up doing lipo, and the incision goes from the crease of my legs from front to back. The placement looks great as well! I do have some numb spots, but he said that's normal and would dissipate so I'm not going to worry about it right now. I'm just so thrilled the bulges are GONE!! And I have a thigh gap!! I never thought it would be possible!
My tummy tuck incision is low as well, it's still under wraps right now, hoping to be able to clean it up at my next post op on Monday. The area around my belly button is kind of hard and numb, a little bloated, but since it's only day 2 post op I know my body has more time to heal. I had my first BM yesterday, and I'm able to sit on the toilet just fine. My incisions are sore, but not painful, so sitting down isn't too bad. I was happy to be able to take the CG off and just wear compression shorts, I got mine at Walmart, they were $13 :)
As far as sleeping goes, it's been good. I'm sleeping in my bed, and I'm able to sleep on my back and my sides, carefully turning myself! I have to grab the side of the mattress to turn myself, and I can lie down and get up fine on my own as well. I just need to be able to do these things on my own, since I live by myself.
When I got back home today, taking a shower was a big pain in the a@@! I had to redress my incisions, and then putting tegaderm on afterwards was a nightmare ugh... mostly because I had to wrap gauze around underneath my legs, and it kept coming loose, the paper tape I bought kept coming unstuck! I think this ordeal took me about 45 minutes! Anyone else have this issue?
Also, I had a hard time in the shower, trying to keep things dry, so I kinda took a half shower, then got out of the tub, dried off, then kneeled down on the floor and washed my hair under the faucet.
As far as taking painkillers, I've been taking half a vicodin at night to help me sleep, but besides that, I haven't had any nausea :)
I haven't gotten any really great pics yet, so I'm hoping by my next post op I'll be able to take better ones!

4 days post op...

Hi everyone! Ive been doing good the past few days, and each day seems to get easier. I'm sleeping in my bed with no problems, I can turn over, get up, etc by myself, and I've been sleeping great! No pain, just my abdomen and bruises are sore. Yup, I have 2 beautiful, giant blue bruises on the back of my legs from lipo, which is fine because I know they will eventually fade! I'll take the bruises over the lumps and bumps anyday!!
I've been eating fine, no nausea at all, and I took another shower today. This time was easier, because I wasn't petrified of getting my incisions wet, I just changed the bandages after the shower and put on fresh ones. That ordeal was a little easier today as well, I think the biggest issue I have is redressing my thigh incisions, and I figured out that it's much easier to sit on the floor while I'm doing those!
I'm numb and bloated around my belly button, that hasnt changed, but I'm not going to get concerned about it just yet. I did put tegaderm over my belly button the other day when I took a shower, but ended up taking it when it looked as if a rash was forming on my skin. I found that odd because it was just on the skin on my belly? Hmm...
As far as standing and walking, I'm about 95% standing and walking straight up. I find that if I lean forward, it's bothering my lower back on my left side, so that's all the more reason to stand up straight! Everyday it's getting easier. My energy level has increased as well, I'm not sitting around the house all day because, #1 that drives me crazy and #2 I feel extremely lazy, and sitting around could make my muscles ache more from being in the same position for an extended period of time. I'm kind of a 'can't sit around at all!' kind of person, so the sooner I try to get back to normal, the better. Today, I went out for a little bit with my best friend, went and bought some groceries, etc. I did seem to get a little tired out, but it could be from the heat as well. When I got home, I cleaned the house, vacuumed, fed the dog, made dinner, so yeah I kinda hate sitting around!
So right now my only hindrance are these dang drains, I'm really hoping he's able to pull out more on Monday! I noticed 3 of the drains are not emptying as much fluid as the other 2, and I found out through my own self discovery, that the drain in my left leg pinches me, hard (!!!!!) if I move my leg the wrong way. At first I thought maybe it was a stich poking me, but since they used dissolvable stiches, that shouldn't happen. So I'm trying to be careful with my left leg! My bruises are starting to ache as well, as they're healing, and the numbness in my legs is going away.
So far I'm very satisfied with the progress my body is making repairing itself; I also forgot to mention earlier that my incisions look great, and nothings opened up or bleeding thank goodness!!

1week post op :)

Hi everyone! I'm a week out from surgery, I can't believe it's come and gone already! Wow... time flies!
I had my 2nd post op appointment yesterday afternokn, and it went well. He pulled 3 more drains (!!!) So now I have 2 left, one on each side of my hips. I'm hoping they will pull them at my next post op on Thursday :) Dr. noticed that my skin is irritated from the tegaderm, so he told me to let my skin breathe for a couple of days, no bandages at all. Yay! That was a sigh of relief, because of all the trouble I was having putting bandages on my thigh incisions. The Bacitracin counterracts with the tegaderm, making it not stick, so I was having to put another bandage, another tegaderm, ugh what a pain. So I'm happy to be able to let my skin breathe. And it allows me to check on my incisions easier! They do look good, the pics look worse than I do in person :)
Since I do have sensitive skin, and since it's been coming back alive repairing itself, the incessant itching has begun! Oh my goodness... I've been putting hydrocortisone on my skin to relieve certain spots, and it's been working good thing! The bruises on the back of my legs are slowly breaking up and changing color, I don't dare go outside in shorts above my knees because I don't want to scare the kids in my neighborhood! :0
Since I've been feeling pretty good, I asked if I could drive. At first I think he was going to say no, but I explained to him my need for independence, and I'm going back to work next Monday, and work isn't exactly close (over an hour drive), I want to get used to driving agaon because it will be a shock to my system if I go from not driving at all for 2 weeks, to jumping in and having to drive over an hour to work. That will completely wipe me out. So he said ok to that, but short distances for now. Awesome.
I'm standing and walking 100% straight now, and I've been sleeping great in my bed. Once the other 2 drains are out, I'm really excited about my body recovering :)

2 weeks post op!

2 weeks post op- continued!

Hi everyone! I can't believe it's 2 weeks already! Time flies when you're having fun healing, right?! Anyways, I'm a slacker haha..I had 2 post ops since I last wrote so here goes..
At my post op last Thursday, everything went well. Dr. Restifo worked some of the scabbing off my abdomen incision, which he told me the scabs could interfere with proper healing. He didn't remove any drains, so I still had 2 left to go, 1 in each hip. Well, the next day a small part of my incision turned red and hard right underneath my skin. I sent the office some pics, and they called in another antibiotic for me. It's ok now, it hasn't really changed much which is good, I hope that it dissipates soon though! My bb is still crusty, it's a hard area to heal apparently, Dr. Restifo said it's kind of like an 'anchor' for the abdomen which makes sense!
I didn't do much this weekend, the usual errands, laundry, etc. But I did notice that my thigh incisions under my legs weren't coming together as well, so I did some neosporin and gauze protecting those areas for a few days and it seemed to do the trick, because they are coming together nicely now!
I went back to work yesterday, and my coworkers were thrilled to have me back! I've been wearing my binder and compression shorts throughout the day and night, except for the shorts which I take off depending on how I feel. My energy level is back to normal, which is a good thing!
Over the weekend I noticed the drain on my right hip was getting increasingly irritated, so much so that at my appointment this afternoon, I practically begging him to pull it out. My skin around the drain site was irritated, but no oozing or bleeding thank goodness! So, I have 1 drain left which hopefully he will pull that one next week.
Overall, so far I am very happy with the healing process. I know everything takes time to heal, I still have bruising on the back of my legs from lipo, and some numb spots on my tummy, but in due time those should go away. So far so good! ????????

A little bit of a scare today...

Hi everyone, So I check my incisions twice a day, once after my shower, and once again when I get home from work. Well, last night, I had a little bit of a melt down, to put it mildly. I've been keeping an eye on my thigh incisions since last weekend when I noticed they weren't closing up as quick as my abdomen. The tops of my thighs were closing fine, underneath my legs however, different story, particularly my right leg. It felt kind of strange all week, and it was hard to tell if it was closing because it was scabbing over in a few spots. Well when I checked it last night, I noticed to my horror that it wasn't closing, it was in fact opening up, whereas earlier in the week it appeared to be closing. It was also leaking a clear fluid, not pus or blood. I called my doctor and got his answering service, they put me through to him, and he told me to come to his office today. So, he checked me and said it still had some time to heal, and we could wait 2 weeks to stitch it. I think he changed his mind when I voiced my concern, and noted my panic (I was crying, believe me) but I also let him know that I trust his judgement. So he decided to go ahead and stitch me up. It already looks so much better. I kept apologizing to him, not only because I woke him up at 1:45am, but also because I feel like I failed, myself and his direction. Of course he said not to worry, and not to apologize. I'll be honest- this is stressful. Not only caring for the incisions, but also there's the fear in the back of my mind that, if I get some kind of infection, u could be out of work, can't my bills, etc, my mind jist keeps going, but I have to put the brakes on, stop the negative thoughts, and trust God and my doctor that I'll be fine. I freaked out last night, honestly, and pretty much cried uncontrollably for about an hour, mostly because I feel like, as much care as I've been putting into myself to make sure i heal well, my body is telling me I'm not doing good enough. I know that's not the case, and we just can't control how our body is going to react to a major surgery like this. So right now I'm trying to think positive. Now I get to deal with achiness in my leg again, yay!

3 weeks post op ????

Hi everyone!
Today I had my 3 week appointment. My doc checked the incision under my right leg, and it's doing well. I mentioned to him that the drain hole on my right hip is having trouble closing, so he said he may have to stitch that one closed as well. Ehh I don't mind it...just because the healing process is so unpredictable, and i'm just trying my best to take care of myself, it's understandable that hiccups will happen :) So Im just rolling with it at this point. He said everything else looks good, save for those 2 spots!
I'm feeling pretty good, this is my 2nd week back to work, and the only times I get uncomfortable or sore is if I'm standing for a long period of time, or sitting, go figure.. my core gets sore and/or numb. When I sleep it's fine though. I sleep great by the way! No trouble whatsoever. I'm still on antibiotics, but the only sucky thing is this dang last drain! He didn't pull it because its still putting out 60-75ml a day. So, hopefully at my 1 month post op next week, it'll slow down enough for him to pull it out. And I did have a little scare (again :/) last night when I got home from work, it was one of those WTF moments, surprising..well, my drain all of a sudden decided to pull blood out, and not Kool aid color, I'm talking dark red, day after surgery color. So I told my doc about it, showed him the pic I took, and he said its normal. It did go back to draining the light yellow fluid it's been draining the past few days!
All is well for now, just chugging along healing....:)

New pics :)

4 weeks post op :)

Hi everyone!
Well I've made it to 4 weeks, yay! I'm so happy because not only my first month is down, but... my last drain is out!!!! Wahoo!!! I feel more normal now haha! No really though, the drains were definitely necessary to aid in my healing, but after a while, they became a pain, mostly because i was always worried about getting caught on something (doorknob, etc) and getting one ripped out :/ Thankfully, that did not happen!
The drain hole on my left side looks much better than the right side, which Dr. Restifo said he is going to stitch, since it hasn't changed or scanned over since he pulled that drain out. It's is 'sealed' shut though, but it's not a scab, it's a yellowish tissue which formed a clear covering over it. I'll have to take some more pics for you all to know what the heck I'm talking about! It doesn't hurt, but it's not very attractive. I told my doc it looks like ground hamburger. Yuck. Sorry for the visual, folks...
As for my incisions, everything looks great and healing nicely. I'm noticing they are slowly settling down , and not as 'puffy' as they were last week. I'm using tegaderm on my scars to help them which seems to be working, which is what my doc is having me do for 3 months.
My energy and activity level is great, I feel fine. Im still wearing my binder and compression shorts most of the day and night, occasionally I'll take them off to give myself a break. I've also noticed the 'stretching' feeling in my core, the sensation is slowly coming back, and my skin is feeling tight, which I know over time will ease up. All in due time!
I will try to post some updated pics tomorrow, have a good night!


Well this sucks... yep, I have a seroma right under my incision line. I noticed it this morning in the shower, I was pressing my skin, checking it to make sure it bounces back, but when I pressed on the mons area, I saw wobbling back and forth. So, I called the doctor, and they want me to keep an eye on it to see if it changes overnight. If it gets bigger, I'm going to call them in the morning. Just another setback on my road to recovery...:/

6 weeks post op!

Hi everyone! I missed an update last week, sorry! Anyways, not much new to report, just looking forward to getting my right hip restitched next week. Can't wait! Other than that, I'm feeling pretty good, my incisions are almost entirely closed except for a tiny scab here and there. My belly button has been scabbing on and off, and it's taking everything in my powerpower to leave it alone! Yep, I'm a picker... I can't help it!! My incisions are looking good, I have tegaderm on them right now to flatten them out per my doctor. My thigh incisions are a pain though because the tegaderm keeps rolling up with the friction of my walking, etc, so I keep having to trim it with scissors. Eventually I will have to go all the way around my thigh incisions with the tegaderm, I haven't done that yet.. as far as wearing my binder, I wear it at work, trying to go without it other than at work, and I'm doing ok. My tummy is still hard around my belly button, but that's to be expected. I know eventually it will go soft. No swelling at all (yay!) But I do have fluid buildup in the mons area, still.. my doc already drained it twice, so I k kw he'll do it again next week.
I'll post more pics later!!

Week 6 post op pics :)

More pics :)

Week 7 Post Op :)

Hi everyone,
I'm 7 weeks post op as of Tues 7/19, and I'm still feeling good :) I went to Dr. Restifo yesterday, and he fixed my right side, and I can tell you now it looks 100% better! He removed about 3/4" of skin at the end of the drain site. The whole process took about 10-15 minutes, and I was fine the whole time. I don't mind needles, scalpels, sutures, etc, because I see those things on a daily basis at work.
My other incisions look great, still red but I know over time they will lighten up. I have tegaderm on them still, and it's working because they are flattening out. I'm also researching which scar therapy cream, strips, etc to use next, there are so many different kinds! If anyone has suggestions, pros and cons, please let me know. I also don't want to go broke either! I'm looking at New Gel as the best bet.
So.. my doc also said 'no' to working out.I'm seriously bummed about that. I've been feeling very lethargic lately, and I'm havung a hard time getting up in the morning. At least when I was working out, I got up much easier, and earlier!
I have new pics of my scars, take a look :) Also before I forget, I've slowed down my use of my binder, and I'm doing pretty good. My tummy is still hard around my bb, but I'm not too concerned about it. I do still wear light compression shorts during work as I feel more comfortable with them on. I do still have a very small amount of fluid buildup in the mons area, but my doc said my body will eventually absorb it, since the amount of fluid hasn't changed in a few weeks.
Alright everyone, have a good week, my next appointment is at 10 weeks post op :)

7 weeks post op pics :(

8 weeks post op :)

Hi everyone! So I've officially hit the 2 month mark, it's gone by quick! Everything is changing but staying the same haha.. anyways...
I didnt mention the booboos I accidentally gave myself a few weeks ago, but you can see them in my pics. I was using a realky strong tape to hold my bandages on, which resulted in sticky residue on my skin. Well, I read a few tips online to remove the sticky, and saw that nail polish remover works well, which it does because ive used it at work. Needless to say, I ended up with square 'burns' around my drain sites where the bandages were. So now it looks kinda messy. I've been using Aquafor on my skin, and since last weekend, it's a noticeable improvement which I'm happy about. Note to self- no more sticky tape!!
My incisions look great, all closed up, save for a couple of small areas on my tummy incision that needed some help, so Aquafor and gauze to the rescue! But, I do feel the pulling on my tummy, and my thighs, I'm hoping this will dissipate eventually because it is uncomfortable. Not painful though which is good.
Other than that, nothing new to report, anxious to start working out again because my backside is a whole lot of yuck! I already know what's on my workout agenda- squats, squats, squats.... ;)
Until next week....oh and some pics as well.....

8 week post op pics

9 weeks post op!

Hello everyone! Wow... 9 weeks post already... I can hardly believe it!
Well, a few small changes- my tummy decoded to swell up last week, which was surprising since I hadn't had any swelling whatsoever since surgery. But what's interesting is it usually swells at night, when I'm at work, and it will also contract and my tummy hardens up. I cam feel this; it doesn't hurt so much as it is more of an annoyance haha..so I decided to wear my binder to sleep again for a while to see if it makes a difference. Honestly, I don't think it is but it's worth a try I guess!
So yesterday I started using hydroquinone cream on my groin incisions, and I'm hoping my skin pigment will lighten up so that it matches the color of the rest of my body! I've added some pics for you all to see the difference in color. The cream is a yellowish color, and I noticed it rubbed off on my undies yesterday. Of course, not thinking, I wore white undies when I usually wear black. Murphys law strikes again!
Other than that, the Aquafor I've been using on my sides has definitely made a difference, was really surprised and happy! I can still see the 'squares' but they've faded a lot which is good.
Alright everyone.. drop me a line! :)

18 weeks post op!!

Hi everyone, long time no update! Everything's going well, no major issues.. my incisions look great, I'm using Scar Away strips to lighten them, and yes they do work!
So...my thigh incisions... my last post op was in August (yes I know, I'm a slacker) and Dr. Restifo expressed concern about my thigh incisions. He was not happy about where they are sitting on my legs (you read that correct!), and he will be fixing them so the incisions will be in the creases of my groin. I go back to him next Tuesday so we'll see what he says next.
Also, I have a fat lump on the inside of my right thigh which I will be addressing as well. Unfortunately it's an obvious luml, not swellong, so I'm hoping he will go in and lipo that as well.
Other than that, I do have a few remaining numb spots which don't bother me too much. My tummy gets hard and swollen after I eat, especially after dinner!
Anyways, I will post again after my appointment next week! :)
Orange Plastic Surgeon

I have to say I am quite impressed by Dr. Restifo and his entire staff. Going through surgery of any kind is difficult enough, but when you have a surgeon that cares so much about not only aesthetics but also post op care, I find that amazing. I would absolutely recommend him to anyone considering this type of surgery. The level of care that he has shown for my well being is above and beyond my expectations. I had chosen him based on his experience and his excellent reviews which are very important. And just a side note, if you are seriously considering plastic surgery, do your research! It's so important, and when you go for a consult, ask questions! Dr. Restifo answered any and every question I had for him, and I had a whole list (not kidding!) not only when I went for my consult, but my pre op, post op, etc. He is also a very kind and soft spoken doc, but also very honest. You will find doctors that are only in the business for their own pocket so to speak, but he isn't one of those. I highly recommend him!

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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