Almost 40, Empty Nester Now Living For Me - Paramus, NJ

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A little background: I've ALWAYS had a "thing"...

A little background: I've ALWAYS had a "thing" about my non-existant booty. As a latin woman, I felt I got cheated in life. Making matters worse, I gained weight and it's all right in the tummy. So no matter what I tried to wear, it always looked horrible to me. Jeans keep rolling down at the belly. Skirts just make me look pregnant, and some dresses just made me look backwards (more belly than booty). About 5years ago my office decided to do a Biggest Loser weight loss contest where I lost about 35lbs by diet and excercise. It was torture! I was always hungry (& still lost)! Then, not only did I REALLY lose whatever tiny booty I had, my breasts looked deflated and I actually looked sick. People I hadn't seen in a while actually started asking about my health, even though I only got to 135lbs at my lowest..... and of course, even with all this, my belly was still there... smaller... but still there. And I was NOT about to keep losing any more weight.

So call it a midlife crisis or whatever you may but now that both of my children are in their 20's and have flown the coop, I felt its time to deal with ME. I guess I went through a slight depression / empty nest syndrome and just started eating everything in sight, regaining those 35lbs plus a few more. I was currently at 176lbs. My hubby goes to the gym everyday and looks better now in his 40's than ever. He eats like a pig and says he only works out like this for his health and hopefully avoid any of the illnesses that run in his family. He says he has no problem with the way I looked chubby. He actually can't keep his hands off me if I pass by him naked. But I'm always self-conscient around him, sucking in my gut and covering myself up. I've always felt uncomfortable when we go out together, too. I can't seem to make myself look and feel great when nothing fits the way I want it to. I even tried a circuit training class last year and lost about 10lbs but once again nothing lost in the tummy... just everywhere else. At this point the number on the scale doesn't bother me, it's the location of my curves. As I've seen women that look phenomenal at 200lbs when the curves are in the right places and proportional.

So my true goal.... I want to be curvy in just the right places. I want to look good in anything I wear and not get asked (again) how many months pregnant I am. I've had several family members and friends who have had procedures done and looked great so I've seen the effects first hand and started to seriously consider my own early this year. Most of those I know have had surgery in Dominican Republic, Columbia, etc... All have recommended I go there because of the lower prices. It's also true that they are much more aggressive with the lipo out there, giving you and amazing shape. But in reality #1 reason I didn't go is I'm scared! Then realistically, if you factor the cost of the procedures, airfare, a recovery home and nurse, the price ends up being comparible to what I'd pay here. At least here I can make sure the Dr. is Board Certified, and have the added advantage of recovering in my own home, no worries about boarding a plane in such discomfort and I could take minimal time off from work. As I work in a dark office anyway, I can return in two-three weeks and stand, kneel or use my under-thigh roll.

This website has been an AMAZING help. I started by researching several doctors in my area... inspecting their work from actual patient photos & reviews, their own websites and consultations. After narrowing it down to about 3 doctors on here, I started following some of their patients to see how their recoveries have been. I was already leaning towards Dr. Gartner but our consultation pretty much sealed the deal. As others here have mentioned, he and his entire staff is great. He answered all my questions which admittedly weren't many, as I've gotten a lot of answers here from other patients and from my own friends and family experiences. He also makes you feel totally at ease... very chill, not stuffy and formal.

I've been debating with myself about whether or not to post reviews & photos on this site for fear of someone I know coming across them. I've been content just lurking around and asking a question here and there. But today, as I am laying here in MY room on my belly, alert and able to type all this on my laptop (which is propped on a pillow on the floor) having just had my Lipo and BBL this morning, I'm still feeling pretty good (could be the drugs). I feel that I should write about my experience to help others in my area trying to make this same decision the same way all of you other wonderful ladies here have unknowingly helped me. So this is the beginning of my story & there will be more to come.

BBL Day!

Well first of all, Dr. Gartner's patient coordinators are very sweet and very accommodating. We finalized a date for surgery for only about four weeks away. I explained that I would be traveling at the end of October and needed to make sure I had enough recovery time before that. The date was scheduled for Sept15th, I paid my deposit over the phone and also scheduled my pre-op visit for Aug 31. She mailed me the prescription to get all my blood work done prior to my pre-op and received it within just a few days. I had blood work done at my local Quest Diagnostics and results were sent directly to the Dr. before pre-op so they'd be available at that visit. During the pre-op I made the final payment, was measured for the compression garment / faja I would wear after surgery, was given instructions for the day of surgery, and was given my prescriptions for pain meds and antibiotics so I'd have them ready.

As the day approached I was getting a bit nervous but started getting my things together for recovery.
I'll get back to those items and how I used them in a few. First... Surgery time! Surgery was scheduled for 730am and was told to be there by 630am without food or drink and without peeing, since they require some urine for test as soon as you walk in. The nurse who attended to me was such a sweetheart. I talked very little to her as she took my vitals and set up my IV. I guess it was mostly nerves. I'll have to get her name because she was just so great with me afterwards. She claims its her job to clean up the mess we make with fluid dripping all over as she helped me into the bathroom but I just felt so horrible making all this work for her.

Dr. Gartner came in just a few minutes after to take pictures and draw all over me (that tickled)... and I'm still a ball of nerves! I told him that I expect pain AFTER surgery but my biggest fear was of the anesthesia wearing off just enough that I'd feel him working on me. He assured me that hadn't happened. Still nervous.... I was taken into surgery room soon after. Anesthesiologist was very nice and put me at ease (kind of). The last thing I remember was them putting the compression boots on my feet and legs before my lights went out. When I woke up I was back in recovery, on my back. Not feeling much pain, just a lot of discomfort on my butt. I guess the body has to adjust to the extra luggage back there. This is when I asked the same nice nurse to use the bathroom. Felt like I really had to urinate a lot. This is when the murder scene occurred. As I stood up a ton of that bloody fluid leaked out during the entire walk, down my legs and to the floor. I felt so bad for her cleaning all this mess up. After that she changed all my dressing, put me into a waist trainer style of garment for now & helped me get dressed to go home. I was home before noon.
A few recommendations: Bring a few old towels and a pillow for laying down in back seat of car. My wonderful nurse placed a few of those chux over the towel just in case I kept leaking. My wardrobe consisted of an easy to pull up or over your head strapless sun dress, a sweater in case you're a bit cold and to cover you up as you're leaving because the bra and panties won't make it back on you, and flip flops. I brought with me a light carry bag to throw everything in.

As far as the pain goes, I either must have a very high tolerance for pain, have very good drugs still in me, or I'm just plain crazy. I expected SOOO much pain. This was another one of the reasons I hadn't done this sooner. To describe what this feels like: It feels the way one would feel on day two after taking a two hour circuit training class at full blast after not having been to a gym in a year. I feel like I did a thousand sit ups two days ago. My butt feels very tight but I wouldn't say it hurts at all since I'm staying off of it. As of around 8pm I was starting to feel a bit more sore around my upper back. None of this soreness has been intolerable, though. I'll take pain meds before sleeping just in case it gets worse in the night. I've experienced absolutely no dizziness and I was able to eat a normally with no problems just standing at the kitchen counter. My only problem is the amount of fluids leaking every time I stand up...

This is where I am so glad I ordered the products I did in time. They've come in soooo very handy right now. I thought I'd only need a few of those disposable chux pads but am so happy I just went ahead and ordered the whole case of 150. I place one on the floor next to the bed for when I stand. I place one on my bed right under me. I've even perfected a way to fold them the long way, I put one the long way between my legs with the bulk of it folded over at the drainage hole. Then I put another one folded the same way across the front on that one across my entire lower abdomen, also over drainage hole and hold the whole thing in place with the adult diaper. This helps a bit with the leaking down your leg. I am lucky enough to have a walk in shower so I just go inside there to change everything then I can hose any bloody mess down the drain. I've also had to use the P-EZ as it was easier to move the entire diaper/pad package to one side at the crotch while putting pressure over the drainage area and then just standing over the shower drain or toilet when I had to go.

Well, I think this is it for now. I'll try to get more pictures and updates as I go along. I included just one photo while laying down. The bump is definitely an upgrade. I'd included more but with all this leaking, it's not very flattering with this giant diaper and pad concoction in front. Tomorrow should be interesting... Finally a shower and if the leaking lightens up, the full compression garment goes on!

The Day After

One day post op and the pain is all here now. I woke up VERY sore all over and VERY nauseous. I could barely get out of bed but needed to stretch my body out. After walking around a bit, the nausea went away. Later in the morning I noticed I was no longer leaking fluid so I finally took a shower and peeled all of the tape & bandages off while the water hit them, making it a lot easier to peal off. I did get a bit light headed and nauseous again while in the shower from the heat of the water. Felt better as soon as I cooled down a bit.

I feel VERY swollen. Hubby helped me get into the compression garment that the Dr provided. It fits comfortably but it seems to be folding in just under my armpit on the side that the zipper is on. All in all its been a very painful day. My appetite is good. Hubby made me breakfast and dinner and I've been trying to drink a lot to stay hydrated. The Pee-EZ has once again been a Godsend. So glad I have it since I really am having trouble bending at the waist to even sit on the toilet. Not much else to report so I leave you with a few photos taken today.

Days 3-4

All is going ok. Still very stiff, swollen and even itchy. Today is my first day home alone, as hubby had to go back to work but at least I'm a bit more mobile and my sister should be stopping by in a bit to check up on me. I was a bit concerned yesterday morning when I woke up. My eyes and lips seemed to be swollen but as the day went by it all went back to normal. Dr's office called me and when I asked about my face swelling they said it may be from sleeping face down constantly. Which brings me to my other issue... I am usually a belly sleeper anyway, but this is getting ridiculous. I'm starting to hate it. I wish I could at least lay on my side a bit but can't, as Dr put a little fat in my hips as well. I can't wait for the day that I can just finally lay on my back again!

Yesterday morning I struggled into the garment I purchased on my own (Verox Slim RD1222). I didn't think I'd be able to get into it as it was so tight but I finally got it over the bubble butt with Hubby's assistance again (he's been so good). This garment actually fits pretty snug and comfy except for one thing... It gave a monster of an atomic wedgie that I just couldn't take anymore. Even though it had a slit for ease of bathroom use, it was hard to keep pulling it out as it was so tight down there. I finally grabbed a pair of scissors and cut the crotch part out at about 4am today and let me tell you, this is now awesome! Now, the original garment Dr gave me, I tried to hand wash but all the tape residue from surgical tape stayed on it, making the inside very sticky. Does anyone know how to remove that?

Today I feel much better. My concern now is that I haven't pooped since day before surgery (4 days now) How long has it taken some of you other ladies? I don't feel any discomfort, or feel like I have to go then can't, or anything like that. It just feels like I should have gone by now since I've been eating normally and admittedly probably not too healthy, though. With hubby cooking that means him grilling up some burgers and veggies for dinners and maybe cereal or toast and eggs for breakfast.

All in all, no regrets... a few minor concerns that I hope will resolve in time. Mainly the ugly belly thing. Before surgery I asked Dr if he thought I would need a tummy tuck after. He said he didn't anticipate it, as I wasn't TOO big to begin with and my skin had plenty of elasticity. I hope he's right... I guess I've just spent too much time here on Realself and see some of these other ladies' amazing results, with bellies looking so flat and tiny waists on Day 1 and unrealistically expected the same. I have to remind myself we all heal different. Of course I also spend a lot of time scrutinizing the booty... wondering if one cheek is bigger or if it's dented. Oh well, only time will tell... I'll keep y'all posted.

Day 6

Some things are better... some worse. I'm starting to get antsy and bored just laying face down in bed most of the day or wandering (more like shuffling) around my property. I can't see how some of the other Realself ladies have had enough energy to get dressed and go shopping a week post op. I can barely get up enough strength to take selfies!

On a brighter note, I finally pooped yesterday! I don't know exactly what did it. But it was somewhere between the pineapples I had for lunch and the oatmeal I had for dinner.... Man, that felt great! Other than this, I'm finally getting a little more than an hour sleep at a time during the night. Up to around two hrs at a time now. Seems to most comfortable placing pillows under me from the belly up. Every time I stand I feel a sting down my sides though as is everything needs to resettle. Strange, and hope it goes away eventually. The belly swelling seems to have gone down a little but I hope there's more to go. And I still see what I hope is just a lot of swelling at the waist. I'll just keep documenting in the meantime...

Day 12

I went to my first post -Op appointment a few days ago. Dr said everything's looking good and allowed me to start sitting with the roll under my thighs and to sit normally in car for no more than 30 min rides. So after a bumpy ride, laying in the backseat of the car going there, I decided to sit on my precious tushie on the way home..... Very uncomfortable! It felt weird, like sitting on two bags... but I made it home!

Since then I've finally been feeling better by the day! Still a little stiffness and slight pain under my arms where I have stitches from the back lipo. I felt well enough to finally go out and about yesterday. But first, I had to get over one small issue... I can't find anything to wear. I can't get into jeans, all my leggings kept coming up short on the ass and it was just a casual type of day: I didn't feel like wearing a skirt or dress. I finally found a pair of leggings that fit ok but then couldn't find a top long enough to cover all this extra junk in the trunk. And I know y'all are thinking, "But why cover it up? Show it off!" Well, I must say, pictures don't do it justice. I'm not used to all this. I was even getting worried that my booty wasn't as round as I've seen other other ladies on here. Here I was thinking that after all this expense and pain and torture I'm kind of looking exactly the same to me. I don't see a HUGE difference. Well let me tell you... even though my lower abs and vaginal area are still swollen, my waist is starting to cinch in a bit and with the compression garment tightening & lifting everything up, I feel that everything I throw on makes me look like Jessica Rabbit! My booty is HUGE (for me)! Not a bad thing if I was going out to dinner with hubby. Not too good to just go run a few errands. OMG! Don't know what to do about work clothes now either as everything I throw on just looks way too bootylicious for work in a room full of men (& hubby)!

So after over a week cooped up in my house on my belly and wandering around aimlessly in my backyard, it was quite refreshing to be out. Threw on those leggings... found the only top long enough to cover "the goods", grabbed my yoga mat and off I went. I had mom pick me up since I felt I was still a little bit too stiff to drive properly. First stop: Diner. I walked in with my yoga mat on a sling over my shoulder like a pocketbook. I slipped it into the seat of the booth and then slipped myself right onto it. Didn't seem like anyone noticed or even cared but it was my usual spot so I was prepared to tell the waitress I slipped and fell & just had tailbone surgery if she asked about it. Next stop: supermarket and my local Marshalls to see if I could find something to wear suitable for work. Picked up a few skirts, thinking this should look better than super tight pants.... Got home, tried them on and um.... nope. Still too darn hot! I guess I'll be a cardigan / blazer wearing type of girl for a while.

I plan on going back to work on Monday (14 days Post-op). Unfortunately, I work in an office full of men where my hubby also works and most know why I've been out. We're all pretty cool and like family. Some of them are looking forward to my return, curious of the results... They find it hard to believe that you could be flat one day and then have a booty the next... (They also believe Amber Rose and Kim Kardashian are all natural). It's a fun group of guys. But I'd rather not go in there with the VAVAVOOM look right away because I've never been like that before. Gotta ease into this (& don't want to embarrass hubby)! Bad enough I have to spend most of the day standing at my desk where they get a full view all day long.

No pics this time. But promise to add soon as I return to my daily routine. Take care ladies!

7 Weeks in.

So it's been about 7 weeks since my operation. I know I haven't updated my posts in a while but everything's been ok. I've just been very busy with work and actually just returned from a short stay in Key West, Fl during their Fantasyfest celebration. We had a pretty good time.

Now, I know its still early, but I've still been disappointed in my belly area. It feels like it's created one hard roll right at the waist, where my pants seem to roll when I sit. And I still have a lot of swelling as the day goes on. I'm a bit late on this, but I just found therapist near me to give me lymphatic massages to try to work out that kink. I just had my second one today and DAMN, do these hurt! I can't even imagine trying to get these massages as early as a week post-op as I hear other ladies here doing! I didn't even want to be touched then! Hopefully it gets better. The therapist even fitted me for a new faja, as she thinks that my current one is too loose on me... and here I thought it was a just right, but what do I know?!

My waist looks better as it is finally visible from a front view instead of looking totally squared. But my booty & I are currently experiencing a love / hate relationship. I feel that it's gone down significantly (in my eyes). Maybe its just my imagination since my family thinks it still looks huge. I guess I feel different about it depending on what I wear. Some days I think it's not round enough or big enough. It seems like its the same as before surgery.... Then other days I feel great about it, like yesterday when I took these pics. I have another post-op appointment with Dr Gartner tomorrow, so I'll see what he thinks. I'd love to see the before and after pictures he takes to compare.
Paramus Plastic Surgeon

He and his entire staff make you feel at ease as soon as you walk in to their very nice office suites. They all have such a pleasant attitude and willingness to help. Even after my consultation, I never felt any pressure from them to follow up. It took me over a month to make up my mind (only because I'm a chicken) and amazingly his patient coordinator called me to see if I was still interested in the surgery on the very day I was trying to call them. I love this Dr. and as I continue to get old and feel I need more work done, he will be the one I call. Very highly recommended.

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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