Goodbye jelly belly - Australia, AU
Hi I live in Western Australia, I am 44 and have...
I did it! 2 days Post Op
The evening before and the morning of surgery I was fairly scared and kept busy with making sure everything on my list was in my hospital bag. We arrived at the hospital and it all started happening fairly quickly. Soon I was waiting in pre op with a gown on and being processed for surgery, I wrote 'Low Sodium" on all of the meal sheets for my stay. After waiting there for one and a half hours, fiinally I was wheeled into the theatre area.
I had the lines drawn on me by the Dr. That's when it really registered to me that I was about to take the great leap of faith and surrender my emotional pain and pay the cost of a great deal of physical pain and recovery.
The next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery. I had a bit of a nausea reaction to the painkilling drugs and spent 2 hours in there getting things right. Dry vomiting was very painful in the internal stiches in the muscle layer around my navel. My temp was 34 so I had to be warmed with a special blanket which took a while.
I had a pain pump which gave me relief but was really suprised how little pain I was in compared to what I had expected. I Took laxative 2 days before surgery and ate easily digested food and no salt for those two days too. Having my tummy less full of food has helped I think. The painkillers instantly stop the bowel working.
Getting up to go to the toilet made me feel sick and each time I was dry vomiting or just water, holding a rolled up towel over my abdomen to brace. Oh that hurt quite a bit. We worked out I was reacting to opiod drugs so it wasn't too hard for me to stop taking them altogether. The pain of vomiting was way worse than the pain of the surgery. So I'm just taking panadol now every 6 hours and feeling ok. Its hard to believe I'm only on paracetemol on the 2nd day post op.
I have the strangest electric small nerve type of feeling on my right public area about an inch below the scar. Its like a tiny electric shock when I get up to move. I read other ladies stories who have said similar things, so not too worried. Again, really greatful that I found this site and all the tips and helpful info it contains. I borrowed one of those camping zero gravity chairs after seeing it recommended here and absolutely agree that it has helped immensely. So much easier to get up from sitting, its better on my back and really saves strain on the back of the person helping me up. Ours was a fathers day present to my father in law and cost only 89$ well worth investing in. It is keeping tension off my scar and the fluid that is present is not feeling heavy like it does when I walk or lean forward.
I'm finding it much easier to hold a pillow firmly to my abdomen when I walk, leaned over so as not to place strain on my scars. I have a bit of swelling but probably less than I would have had if I had not heeded the advice from others and haven't eaten salt. I wouldn't have even thought of that and no one else offered that info until I read it here.
Yes the compression garment is a bit irritating. I think it stops the gas trying to work its way around my tummy from getting to where it wants to, but it definitely feels worse without it. I bought two so that one can be washed while the other is worn.
I will post some before and after photo's soon when I have a few together.
Some photo's before and after
3 day update
I can feel the aching in my flanks a little where I had the lippo but not too bad. In the photo at 3 days my belly was quite swollen with fluid. Towards the end of the day it had gone down alot. Keeping onto elimination has helped the bloating and swelling to be at a minimum.
Thank God for Daughters
First post op check and dressing change
There is still quite alot of swelling but I'm really happy with the appearance of my scar considering it's only 6 days old. There's lots of yellow bruising coming out here and there. My BB has a tiny bit of pink around it, so I've started a course of antibiotics just to be safe. Walking and driving today caused me to have a bit more swelling and I'm still feeling tighter than usual tonight. It made me aware that I shouldn't overdo things in these first few weeks, even though I am able to move alot faster and with less discomfort. I feel a bit scared of getting a seroma and am wondering what is the best way to avoid one.
I've learned to love the pressure garment. It's like putting the saddle on, you do finally accept it and I actually feel unprotected without it now. On my flanks where I had the lippo I have two tiny holes with a stitch in each. A couple of days ago I had the most insatiable itch under the tegadern dressings over those holes. I rang my pharmacist and asked him if it was ok to take phenergan with the anti inflammatories, he said yes. So I took some phenergan over the counter tablets and it stopped. The added bonus was that it made me drowsy and I had a great sleep. My lower back is still a bit full of fluid and I have a bit of aching, probably caused by stooped posture. I've been putting on a small amount of voltaren gel, careful to avoid the lippo holes and it seems to help. Still taking anti inflammatories, arnica, vitamins, hair skin and nails vitamins, Inner Health plus and paracetemol every 6 hours. Not much pain at all, my back hurts more than the front. One of the photos looks like I have jaundice! but it just turned out that way for some reason with the light in the room.
I drove the car for the first time again today and found it ok as my car is automatic but I was driving like a granny and got a few toots and horns from people in a hurry when I was going around corners and roundabouts really slowly! Don't people realise that if someone is driving slowly there could be a really good reason. haha, some people just can't handle losing that 2 seconds from their day.
I think my Dr did a fab job considering how much extra skin I had. Some of the stretch marks on my right side were nearly 2cm wide and 10 cm long. They are completely gone. I was wondering how on earth he could join that skin to the bottom skin because alot of that area was more stretched skin, which is a thin membrane really, than normal skin. Somehow he folded it all down and made it disappear!
I've been finding that the recliner chair is too hard now and I've set up my throne on the soft lounge now. I think once the major inflammation went down I can feel the bruisy feelings coming out in my lower back and the hardness of the chair was giving me a numb bum!. The couch is like a nice pressure mattress and I'm able to get up and down easier now so I'm preferring a softer place to rest. Hot tip of the day..If people bring flowers put them outside. I have only sneezed once, straight after my caring mother in law brought me some beautiful flowers and it hurt badly!
BB stitches out on day 12. Can anyone tell me much about putting a marble in your belly button and whether it works and if so when should it be done and for how long?
1 week update
Getting out of the house
I forgot to add that I was wrong in assuming there were no stitches under the vertical tape in the middle of my incision. I have a very short torso and had a huge amount of lateral stretching which made my surgery a bit of a challenge. The doc explained that when there is a risk of the tension being too tight and therefore wound breakdown that's the best option. The stitches are really fine like facial surgery and I'm still wrapped with my result. I'm confident that it won't be visible in time as the skin is well healed together and the wound so fine. Can't possibly be worse than what I've endured all these years.
Yaye a shower and 12 day photos
I'm definitely moving better and feeling much less pain in the internal stitches. I laid on my side for a few hours last night propped up with pillows but it felt soooo good. I can actually bear down very gently now which makes passing wind so much easier! haha. Trying to fart with a compression garment on is a challenging thing indeed when one can't even assist with bearing down. I had to get really creative!!
My back and flanks still have a bit of aching pain in them and I'm only taking paracetemol at night before I go to sleep as I find by the end of the day the pain is a little worse. Still taking an antihistamine each morning as a sneeze preventer as its hayfever season and I usually get a few bouts. It seems to have worked. Each time I do too much I get more swelling at the end of the day and have a horrible time trying to get to sleep, so I am accepting that the longer I rest the better I feel at night. Its really hard to accept help with things I know I can do, but when you add up all the little things that you can do and put them into to one day it equals a day of doing too much. Its like an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The feeling of being bloated and tight in the evening is horrible.
Pics day 15
I'm not taking pain relief anymore and able to stretch in places I couldn't which feels great. I've been doing the stretching exercises Kimmer suggests and getting more upright. Still have no lumbar back definition from the swelling and not being able to stand straight. I'm looking forward to being able to rotate my spine more as the muscles there feel like they haven't stretched in so long!
Dont laugh too hard
The Penny Dropped Today
I realized that I had changed my appearance for the rest of my life. Its gone, the thing that did my head in. The thing that no matter what I did or how hard I worked would only ever go away by having a very expensive, life threatening operation. I didn't die, I lived through the pain, Its going to heal nicely and I'm going to enjoy this new-found freedom that so many others take for granted.I just realized a life long dream.......
People say I wish I could be born again knowing everything I already know. Well that's how I feel today. Is it worth it? You betcha!!
This is me
Day 23 Pics
I took some pics of my incision today, I'm starting to get grossed out by all the overgrowth of pubic hair but not brave enough to risk doing anything with it until I know for sure that I have no probs with the incision. Started massage two days ago with silicone cream and rosehip oil which is what my ps suggested. The bruising on my front is taking a long time to go down, just trying to be patient about it! Its definitely true that you look worse before you look better.
My bowels are working by themselves now, thank goodness no more suppositories. So far anyway. I'm taking Inner Health Plus and vitamins, arnica but no pain meds. Still not quite standing straight. It seems worse in the morning and then after a bit of walking around the house, my abs feel less tight. I'm able to lift small things like the kettle alot easier and gave myself the best makeover in weeks. It felt great. Still have a fair bit of swelling in the front at different times and at the back where I had lipo. If I've been upright alot the incision looks pink like in the photos but much paler when I've rested.
I do get little tingling sensations in my incision sometimes which someone else mentioned also. Also other strange feelings in all sorts of places little sharp pains that come and go near my bb. You can see how the side of my waist that takes the zip and how it buckles, of the cg is a different shape to the other that has the smooth side. I fell asleep 2 nights ago with it off accidentally and woke up looking much more symmetrical. Even my bb looked better. It made me realise that you really don't see results properly until the time everything settles into its place without the CG. Some pics were taken in the mirror so a bit blurry..
Happy thanksgiving to all my US TT sisters!
One month tomorrow
I can feel that the skin on my abdomen is firmly attached to the underlying muscle now and I'm not swelling much at all. So I tried doing a house clean today. Started with dusting then got the vacuum out. The tiled areas were easy but my abs weren't quite up to doing it as quickly as I used to, when it came to the carpets. I think I've lost a little bit of fitness and muscle tone from doing nothing but heal for a month. I could feel my back muscles aching a little after the vacuuming.
Tomorrow I'm having a 2 hr lymphatic massage. Can't wait. I can still notice the fluid accumulated in my upper thighs and buttocks, so I'm hoping this will clear it a bit. I've been massaging my incisions and finding that the day goes quickly sometimes and I've only done it once. So I'm going to have to figure out a way to incorporate it into my routine otherwise it doesn't get done until I have a shower.
I've been seeing all the cold and crazy weather in the US and am thinking of you all trying to keep warm and recover at the same time. If its any consolation, think of me having to return to work in my CG in the humidity and heat we are having here!
Hope you are all healing well and looking at your lovely Christmas trees and RIP Nelson Mandela.
1 month pics
A little inspiration
I doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your hearts longing. It doesn't interest me in how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive. It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals, or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, yours or another's, without moving to hide it, fade it or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, your own or another's - if you can dance with wilderness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning yourself to be careful, realistic or to remember the limitations of being human. It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusatoin of betrayal and not betray your own soul. I want to know if you can be loyal and therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty,even when it is not pretty every day and if you can source your life from its presence. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours or mine and still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon "Yes!!" It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done for the children. It doesn't interest me who you are, or how you came to be here. I want to know if you can stand in the centre of the fire of life and not shrink back. It doesn't interest me where or what or with who you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you like the company you keep in empty moments and if you truly love the company you keep in empty moments....
Finally found a Camera!
I went for a night with hubby to a place that had a pool and spa and one in the room too. We had a go at 'throwing the leg' and I tried not to have too many expectations as I still feel slightly invalid and tender so wasn't going to be swinging from the chandelier that's for sure! Even though he has seen a few pics I emailed, he hadn't really seen me for 4 weeks and I did a little head case number about my scar grosing him out, only in my own head. Plus I felt a little on guard with my muscle repair stitches whenever I moved and whenever his hands went near them. All in all it was good baby steps. I stayed on top and in control of where I was moving. There is no way I was going to let Bam Bam my darling get on top of me! lol he is 6'4" and 120 kg of muscle that doesn't know his own strength.
I'm getting the usual swelling that's worse by the end of the day and great in the morning. The bruising is almost gone, there is just a shade of pale grey there now that I can notice but you might not from the pics. My bb is healing well but still quite pink at times and I can feel the hardness closest to the joins in the skin and the swelling around it comes and goes with the rest of swelling. I'm massaging it and putting a silicone earplug in it about every second day when I don't have to sweat!! Its been so hot here, winge winge winge!
I bought a bikini and wore it for the first time since I was 16! I get these moments when I'm having a mirror attack. Its like I can't believe that's me even though I know it is of course. It hasn't fully sunk in I think. Maybe that sounds ridiculous to some but its weird in a great way. Its like having to get to know yourself again
The spa didn't hurt me, the jets felt really, really good on my back flanks where I had lipo. I took some bleach and filled the spa with water then ran bleach through the lines as I was paranoid it had germs in it! I'm not usually OCD like that btw haha, but I could relax more once I had done that. There was one outside too and I was able to move slowly in it without any pain.
There are a few spots on my incision that are turning white already, it looks really pink if I've been on my feet a long time and pale when I've rested. Same with bb. Near the join in the T there is a tiny end of a stitch poking through that I can feel like a little cactus hair you can't pull out. It had been there since the beginning and has gone in deeper. You can see thr spot on the incision isn't fully fused around it. I'm just keeping an eye on it for the day my body has had enough of it and it either spits out or dissolves. I'm not putting the silicone sheet on that part. I put two pieces on that meet in the middle and I've been keeping the silicone off that part.
I loved fitandflat's last post about keeping her perspective on her body image. I've been having the same inner struggle at times, to not start focusing mow on my other less than ideal body parts. Its like before I felt, 'if I could only have a tt, I would feel so great!' and now I'm tempted to go down the track of turning my selfconsciousness onto another part. NO no no no no!! Yes yes yes yes yes! I would love to fix my clapped out breasts and I would just be happy to have a butt lift and then I would be content...or would I...... I could save lots of mountain gorillas with all that money.....I don't know the answers yet but I sure would never criticize someone for choosing to change their body , regardless of the cost.
I had a funny thought the other day. That the pain and recovery from a TT is like a long drawn out childbirth reverse! Just like childbirth its soon forgotten and changes your life forever. BUT... great thing about a TT is that you never have to teach it to drive!!lol..
Go well sisters, we already have all our Christmas's come at once this year! But Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. xx
Almost 2 months
I had my 3 month appt with Dr Cooper today. All is well and I don't have to see him until one year now. I do have a small firm lump on my incision where the T section meets it, where some scar tissue has formed around the deep internal stitch. Its shrinking with continued massage and I'm happy to leave it longer before we go cutting it out. Its about the size of a baked bean. If it's still there at one year I will have it cut out.
For me this has been just as much an psychological/emotional journey as a physical one. Having the TT has brought up lots of self worth issues for me in my relationship with my dear Bam bam. The money we spent didn't make the relationship better than it was to begin with. If anything, me looking and feeling better about myself has brought certain challenges that neither of us expected. You know the saying 'be careful what you wish for'...Its easy to be really focused on getting rid of the ugliness and blaming the ugliness for everything, then it happens, its gone.... then you're left with what lies beneath. I used to have moments of feeling so ugly and sexually unappealing to both myself and the opposite sex, before the surgery and they are still there now and I'm really wondering whether my brain just hasn't caught up with the change or its something much deeper within me, or maybe its just that I'm partnered to a Cave Man!
I'd love to hear from other women about their psychological adjustments after their TT. Of course I look in the mirror and am so happy with my results and feel every bit of pain and suffering during the recovery was totally worth it. My broken belly was like a malignant tumor that infected my whole being and I feel like I've had it amputated but its interesting to me that the feelings of ugliness haven't really gone as quickly as I expected. If you really think about it, a TT is a massive amputation. People who lose limbs can even have phantom pains where the limb once was. The mind is an incredible thing. There are Doctors who do amputations on peoples phantom limbs to stop their brain feeling the phantom pains where their original amputation was. So my body is drastically better but my self esteem hasn't had the same extreme makeover.
I wonder how our brains adjust to a TT and other Mommy Makeovers over time. I've trawled the internet for information and there is so little out there other than what is here on RS. So much of what is here is really focused on the physical side and not many people openly write about their emotional journey beyond the obvious 'I fell so much better than before' but not much about their wobbles along the way. We're all supposed to feel wonderful and greatful, so I think the pressure is on to be really positive and not be a 'Debbie Downer". I'm just really curious to hear any one else's stories about their adjustment to being repaired on the outside and how the inside feelings have adjusted or not and how long that has taken. If any of you have a story to tell please do send it to me by PM I'd love to hear it. The longer the better.
Thank you so unbelievably much to every one of you who encouraged, complimented and supported me through the terrifying early stages of my surgery and recovery. This website has saved us all from so much stress and anxiety, which made our recoveries so much better.
I will post a couple of photos from my recent trip away into nature where I wore my jeans and a fitted singlet... without a part my brain tied up with occupying my midsection for the first time in my life. I haven't worn the CG since about 8 weeks po, and was only wearing it when I had to do vigorous exercise even then. Halleluijah for that! Since we have had so much hot weather here in Australia. I still get a little bit of swelling near the end of the day and when I eat too much sodium. My energy and strength still isn't back to what it was 3 months ago but I can tolerate exercise again and am continuing to get my muscle tone back to pre op levels by working out on my home gym.
If I sit down for a while, the internal abs are tighter when I stand up. I can lift my 1.5 yo grandaughter and hold her on my hip with no pain. I am 6 kg lighter than pre op now. That's something like 13-14 pounds. I gained some during the recovery and its starting to even out again now that I'm burning more calories again. I've found a belly dancing class which starts soon and goes for 15 weeks. I can't wait to get good at it. Love to all and please do send me a story if you want to. Maybe together we can write a book because there just isn't one out there.
I've almost forgotten what it felt like to have the jelly belly. I still look in the mirror sometimes in awe of what I achieved and how different it feels to look in the mirror now and like what I see instead of cringe and look away.
So far I really like him. He is kind, professional, centred and calm. He also does alot of charity work for children with cranio-facial abnormalities overseas. I like that, it says alot about his care factor and values. Watching him in action on the morning of my surgery and the zone he was in, gave me such respect and awe of people who can perform major surgery. It made me realise that as well as the fact that I'm trusting him, he is also trusting me with his reputation and work out there for everyone to see. He was caring and gentle in pre op and I have every faith in him. Now at 3 months I can see that not only did he do a great job of cutting and stitching me, he also artistically sculpted my belly fat and flanks to give my mid section the appearance of the natural fat distribution that women have around their bb's. He is all and more than I hoped he would be. Thankyou Dr Cooper.