40 Years Old, 5'6 180 Pounds. 4 Bio Children and 5 Adopted. I've Loved Taking Care of Others, Now It's my Turn! :)

I cannot believe this if finally happening! My...

I cannot believe this if finally happening! My consult is on April 29. Already have my finances in order for the surgery. I plan to have a TT with lipo. I've taken care of everyone else my whole life. My husband and I have 9 children. 4 biological and 5 adopted. 3 are special needs and our youngest,now 2 has had multiple diagnosis and surgeries. I've spent much of the last two years at Children's hospital with him. He's our miracle. Wasn't expected to live to his 1st birthday and here he is 2 1/2. We have been foster parents for 9 years. Just closed our home in December.

I've wanted this surgery for years! I'm so excited and nervous all at the same time. Don't know what to expect. I would appreciate any advice. Shopping list prior to surgery? What should I expect with recovery time? I have chronic fatigue syndrome so I do expect to add time to my recovery compared to others without fatigue issues.

Thank you in advance for your support! :)

Before Pics

One side is bigger and sags more than the other. I cannot wait to be rid of the hanging belly!

Weight Loss Tips??

I need proven weight loss tips that work with minimal exercise. I have chronic fatigue, working out hard isn't an option for me.

Changed Doctors! ...To Dr. Julio A. Clavijo-Alvarez

I've been reading reviews and I'm not very comfortable with the doctor that I made my initial consult with. I've done research further And have decided on Dr. Julio A. Clavijo-Alvarez. My new consult appointment is on April 25th. I am
Hoping someone who has experience with this doctor can share their experience with me. :)

My Wish Pic

This is the result I hope for!

Nervous! And considering having more done...

I've been reading through so many of your stories on here. As I get closer to my consult (April 25) the more nervous I become. First I'm nervous the doctor will not see me as a good candidate and I'm not at my goal weight. I'm nervous that he is going to say loose weight first. Having PCOS that is easier said than done. And finally what if I don't achieve the result I'm looking for? I've seen a few TT's on here the didn't end in a flat stomach. I don't want to go through all of this and still be thick around the middle on the other side. And my butt. I've decided it needs a change also. But not sure how to research that. I don't want a BBL just a smoother more firm appearance. What would that be called?? Here are more wish list pics...And a front view of me that I forgot to add.

Nervous!

Tomorrow is my consult. I'm so nervous! What should I expect??

Surgery Day Is Scheduled...

I went for my consult today. The doctor was very caring and informative. He took a lot of time with me. He said I am a good candidate! (Yay!!)

He will not do everything on my list but I'm happy with what we decided on. I'm having a full Tummy Tuck with Lipo of my hips and upper portion of my stomach. I weighed in at 187 so he wants me to lose 10-15 pounds before the surgery. That's only 6 weeks away! (Oh boy, I think I can, I think I can... )

He believes with that weight loss he can give me the flat tummy I want and with a little work after I will easily achieve a "sculpted".

So now to work on getting this weight off!!

Down 5 pounds and some worrying news...

I cut out carbs and sugars 2 weeks ago. Today I'm down 5 pounds. 2.5 since my appointment with Dr. Clavijo on Monday. I can thank the flu for some of that loss. I've been down with it for 2 days. I've used this time to read more stories of other Tummy Tucker's. You all look great after your TT! I cannot wait to post my after pics.

I had childcare all set up for at least 3-4 weeks for my recovery. Today I get word that this may not happen. The lady I had set up is having medical issues. I'm so stressed over all that needs to fall into place. I have special needs children. Not just anyone can care for them. I need things to work out! Praying hard!

Completed my labs...

I completed my labs and had my EKG. Next week I go to my PCP for surgery clearance. I'm anxiously awaiting test results. Although the lady in cardiology was nice enough to tell me "You have nothing to wordy about". So I already know those results. :) 4 weeks and counting...

Cleared for surgery!

All of my labs were good. My PCP wants me to repeat bloodwork after I finish this antibiotic. My blood counts were very slightly elevated (normal is up to 11, I was 11.9) I had just gotten over the flu the week of my bloodwork so we're sure it was that. I have an ear infection brewing now so she put me on a Zpack. After those results are in she will clear me. On Only 3 weeks away. My emotions are all over the place. Now that I'm not just dreaming about this I've seriously contemplated canceling and updating my kitchen and flooring instead. Many of our children are special needs and I am feeling guilty having an elective procedure that could potentially take away from them the support person they need most (me). Our schedule is full of therapies, doctor and counseling appointments. They are amazing little people. They teach us so much about what is important in life and how to overcome. I've never seen such bravery and joy in the face of great pain as we have witnessed with our adopted children. I am struggling with my decision. My husband is encouraging me to go on with it. He knows this is something I've wanted for a very long time. As anyone on RS knows to be confident (or not to be) in your appearance effects our emotional state and social interactions. For me this TT will help me to transition out of our season of fostering and raising little ones back into the real world with other adults. I've been "mommy" for so long I've lost touch with the world outside of Dora and Mickey Mouse. lol But I know a new season awaits. I'm doing this for Me and I'm trying to wrap my mind around the concept that this is OK...

New swimsuit

I just purchased this for after my surgery! We will be camping (in a 5th wheel) for the summer. I hope my swelling is down enough that I can wear it before the season is over...AND I want a tattoo to cover my scar after it heals. I've been looking for awhile. I LOVE this peacock! I'm going to have it moved up some on my side so the tail can start on my hip and then wrap around my TT scar. What do you think??

Second round of bloodwork and more before pics...

The second round of bloodwork was good. My doctor is comfortable clearing me! Yay!!! She is sending over clearance and I paid in full today.
Now I can get excited! :D Time to shop!

I've added a few before pics with clothes. Soon I'll be adding after photos!

Today is the day!

On my way to the surgery center. My TT is scheduled for 8:45am. Excited! Pics to come...

I did it!!!

At the hotel now. I am seeing the surgeon in the morning and then to my friends assisted living for a week. Absolutely NO paralysis or fatigue!! Yay!!

He said I will have a great result he was able to do more than he had planned for. My lower belly is gone. Doc said he took 5lbs off with the removal. I had lipo of my love handles and around the back. I will post pics in a little while. I did it! :D

After with binder...

I have pads and gauze under my binder. So I'm actually smaller. What do you think, flat or not flat??

Burning pain around belly button...

Day 2. I feel swollen today. I lot of burning/pulling pain around my belly button. I've been on meds around the clock. (Tylenol, Motrin, Valium and Oxycodone) I was aftaid to run out to soon so I backed off on the Valium and Oxycodone earlier in the evening. It is now 12:30am (on day 3) and the pain is unbearable. I feel like my belly button is ripping apart. My doctor advised me not to remove the binder until my next appointment on Thursday. Is this normal to feel like your belly bottom is tearing? ...so far nights are rough :'(

Fat Removal...

5 pounds removed from lower belly!

5 days post op

I am 5 days post op. The burning is my biggest problem. My belly button is the worst. At times I feel like it's ripping apart. I burn at the lipo sites as well. I don't feel the hip to hip scar other than some tingling feelings and a pulling sensation once in awhile. But no pain. The tingling just started yesterday. I hope that isn't an indication that I will be feeling more pain in that area.

Today I have more energy than I have had. Getting around seems easier although I am still bent over some. I've been having coughing spells which are TERRIBLE, brings me to instant tears and feeling like I'm going to pass out. I shake and sweat. Unbelievable pain in the muscle repair area when coughing. I hope I'm not damaging the muscle repair.

I've started having to take my meds with applesauce and eat only soft foods. I had my esophagus stretched a couple times in the past (hereditary condition) I think the tube down my throat during surgery flared this up again. Oh well, at least I'm losing weight. lol

I'm seeing results even with the binder on. It is cover more of my mid section because I'm shrinking underneath. Yay!! ...I cannot remove it until tomorrow at my follow up. I'm anxious to see what I look like underneath and to update pictures for you all.

Still no BM. I have felt today like maybe I need to go. The urge wasn't there prior. Is that to many days?

Happy healing all...

Follow Up & 1st Drain Removed

I had my 2nd follow up today. Still very swollen. You can see at the top I have a line doc said I will have a six pack at the end of this. Lower belly I will need to loose some weight to be totally flat. But doctor said I am going to have a great result even without much loss...My hips and around to back are also still very swollen from the lipo. The swelling is more than I expected. Especially on my sides atound to my back. I hope it goes down A LOT. He said he was generous with lipo there. I don't want to be boxy. Or "thick" looking. Hopeful but a little discouraged as well. I do LOVE my doctor though. He is amazing!

Before and After - 1 week

I don't have a good front before but here you can see the difference and how much of my belly was removed. More pics after my next shower :)

11 Days Post Op

Went to my surgeon again this morning. It appeared yesterday that Necrosis may have been starting but today the dark area is much better. I'm healing well. I don't have to go back now for 4 weeks.

I'm very swollen today, crampy and in more pain than the last couple of days.(got my monthly cycle, they've always been terrible) Going to the doctor wore me out. It's more than an hour drive so I'm spending the day resting.

Here is a new pic from before my shower this morning. :)

Oops here is the pic

2 week post op

Here are my 2 week post op pics. I'm swollen but this is also the end of the day just before my shower. I don't see much difference between this week and last. My right side is puffy above the incision. The tightness is still unreal!

Comparison Pics

Huge change in swelling....

Yesterday I was so swollen my binder barely would close, I was in a lot of pain on my right side (not sure why) but this morning it over laps and I have to pin it at the top. Crazy how my body changes from day to day.

Comparison pics

More comparison pics. The before helps me realize how far I've come and makes the swellon belly feel less discouraging. These are before, and 1 week, 2 week and today.

Recovery complication :(

Well tomorrow I am at 3 weeks post op. I had to see my surgeon again today because I have a small place along my incision that has opened and an area of skin that is not looking so good. He is keeping an eye on it. Hopefully the opening doesn't get any bigger. Some of the pics I've seen on here are scary! :(

After shower pics

Yep incision has separated. Do they close this back up for a good result after or will this heal/close on its own? (Pics straight on and side view)

2 wks to 3 wks pics

I'm not seeing much difference from last week to this. There is more smoothing taking place. Less bumpy from the lipo. The opening in my incision didn't look to bad today. I'm feeling bloated. Up 2 pounds this morning, I suppose this could explain why the pics don't show to much change. I woke up with a cold this morning. Muscle repair is still tender but thankfully this isn't the first week. That would have been brutal ...How are all of you doing?

Before & week 1, 2, 3

Week 4

I'm looking great but this hasn't been all fun and games. My necrosis appears to be getting larger. It will be months before we will know if I need a scar revision. This has delayed my recovery. The swelling will cause the opening to open more so I stay off of my feet. I still have a sitter coming while my husband is at work.

I have no idea what to expect. Healing time? How long I will have to sit in this chair! I feel great now. I'm ready to get back out there and enjoy life with my new body! Heal body, Heal!!

Necrosis

Here's the ugly side

I can look down and see my lap :)

Worsening Necrosis :(

So tomorrow I am 5 weeks post op. However I'm still dealing with set backs. My necrosis is widening. I now have 2 holes. I go back tomorrow to my surgeon. anyone out there experience this? How long before this closes? What is recovery time after this? Should I be doing anything at all or just sitting all day. It seems any swelling pulls so much. Ugh :'(

Back to Surgey...

The doctors office just called. I am going back to the Hospital on Monday. The doctor is going to clean out the wounds and pack them. Will stay overnight in the hospital and then nurses will come to our home to redress and pack wounds every other day...I'm starting to regret this surgery. :'(

CORRECTION! Not Necrosis...And...

I'm not sure where I got that it is necrosis. Maybe seeing it on here? I don't know but either way my surgeon said I do not have an infection. My skin failed to hold the incision. (Makes sense to me. My grandmother had a hysterectomy years ago and her body rejected all of the stitches) He said it is not common and he is disheartened I am going through this. He gave it time to close on its own but after it opened more yesterday he must now be aggressive and "take the bull by the horns". He is doing a wound vac....Thank you for all of the support. I appreciate every comment or word of encouragement.

In The Hospital...

I was admitted last night to the hospital. My wound is larger and painful. I was not feeling well. I'm on IV antibiotics and had blood cultures drawn. The doctor will be in soon to do the wound vac...At least my view is nice.

The Wound Vac...

I am back in my room now, all hooked up with the wound vac. The doctor was able to close me back up some on the ends. I haven't "seen" what he did. I just know the stitched area HURTS! Thank goodness I am on pain meds. And these leg things are like a constant gentle massage. I'm going to sit back and relax for the evening. Thank you all for the support!! <3

P.S.
There is NO infection. My skin failed to hold the sutures above the pubic area. This is the highest tension area. From what I've learned my grandmother went through this after her hysterectomy. Must be hereditary.

6 weeks & Update

Well I'm back. Week 5 was discouraging. Being admitting into the hospital for five days and having to get the wound vac I wasn't up for five week pics. I called the doctor discouraged yesterday. So to make me feel better he sent me all of my before pics. (He is so compassionate). He said he has not had a patient yet encounter the recovery issues I'm enduring. He has been wonderful through it all but this is difficult. I'm 6 weeks out with a huge hole in my stomach, hooked up to a wound vac with nurses coming 3 days a week to change dressings. Ugh...pics did help though I took 6 week pictures today. I have more definition on my upper abs than you can see in these pics. Overall I am pleased with my progress. At 4 weeks I looked smaller in the pics but I was hunched over, I think this gave me a more sunk in appearance. I'm going to share before and afters for today and then all of my before pics in another posting. I'll share my wound pics also but be warned they are graphic.

I hope you all are enjoying your results. Have a great weekend!

Before Pics

Doctor emailed my before pics. Such a difference!

Warning! Graphic ...Wound

Another before & after side by side (6wks)

Wound Healing Process

I'm doing better. I think wound vac is healing the wounds quicker now. Three pics are 1 week. Last Monday to Monday (yesterday). 3 dressing changes. Nurses say a couple more weeks and wound should be closed.

With Clothes!

I've lost 11 pounds since surgery. I have no idea what size I am now but definitely NOT a 12/14 anymore :D ....Today my stomach is FLAT (even sitting) No bottom belly swelling at all. This is the first time that has happened. I had to show you all!

4th of July Dress

This was the Dress I booth for the 4th that came after. So it looks like next year I will be wearing this to the lake. I have curves!

8 weeks

Today I'm at 8 weeks. My wound is healing well. I'm doing more. Light house cleaning and I've gotten out of the house a couple of days for a short while. I got into a junior size pair of jeans yesterday! I haven't worn those in years. They were my "hope to get into after surgery" jeans and they fit! No muffin top, even sitting no belly. My mother saw me in them and she said "wow, I've never seen you with no bottom belly, even before kids. This surgery has completely transformed your body." ..Big smiles :D .. How encouraging that was. I didn't think to take a pic. Next time I'll try to remember.

I hope you're all doing well. A new school year is just around the corner for those of us with school age children. Can you believe this summer is almost over?

Before and 8 weeks

Wearing Jeans!! 8 weeks

Wound Update

Some of you are asking about my wound progress. Here are new pics. Last Friday (7 weeks) to today (8 weeks) The wound is healing from the inside out so even though it is still open it is no longer a deep hole. The inner skin is coming to the top. It will close completely on the outside once it fully heals inside. Overall it is much smaller. We are seeing big changes every wound care change.

9 week Before and After

Wound Update

Here are pics of my wound healing. I am a month out. I added the first dressing change and today's. My wound is almost healed on the one side and is closing. The middle closed. The inside on the other almost finished healing. It should start closing soon. It has been a very long road. But I would do this all over again even with the complications. This surgery has given me confidence in my body that I've never had. I've lost 15 pounds since my consult day and I still have work to do but I am so motivate to work hard at achieving the body I want to have after I'm cleared to exercise. The added bonus to all of this self confidence...after 20 years of marriage my husband has a new wife who isn't hiding herself from him and locking the door even just to pee. He hasn't seen me without at least something to cover my belly for more than 2 years. All of this freedom I have in front of him has my 50+ year old husband acting like a young man again...Yeah I would say well worth it!! ;)

Saw my surgeon today and good news!!

...My wound has completely healed on the inside!! No more wound vac! (Doing the happy dance!!!) I'm to go back to the Medical Honey with aguafore and dressing change x2's a day. Showers with antibacterial soap until the wound closes...I can drive!! Activity as my body tolerates because I do have some Seroma (fluid in lower belly). As long as the swelling comes and goes I don't need it drained. I go back in December.

Also to add to all of my excitement for the day I stopped to try on jeans on my way home. Surgery day I was wearing a size 14 with muffin top. I took a 12 and a 10 into the dressing room swelling had already begun because I had been on my feet a lot today so I was thinking I would be happy to be in the 12 with no muffin top. Nope! The 10 fit comfortably with NO muffin top!! Wow! I bought 2 pair.

Oh Happy Day!!! :D

Ab muscles :)

Still having pain...

I'm healing very well. But I'm still in pain when I roll over or use my stomach muscles. I still need the binder, without it I swell and my belly feels numb. Still fluid and swelling at my lower belly. Is it normal to have all of this going on this far out? How long does the numbness last?

(Btw I do have curves on both sides but the angle of the pic doesn't show it)

Update...

Hello ???? It has been awhile. I am back into the groove of life. Busy, Busy! My wound is closed. I am sure I will need a revision as it is not a pretty sight. But that's ok because I plan to get more lipo done. Lol ...How are all of you?

P.S. Blk/Wht photo was a boudoir pic I took for my hubby. He loved it of course. :)
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon

I had my TT/with lipo of flanks yesterday (7/3/16) with Dr. Alvarez. He has an outstanding bedside manner. Truly cares for his patients. I was comfortable from the first consult with him. There was no doubt in my mind that he was the right surgeon for me. His staff is kind and quick to reply with any questions or concerns. Actually most replies were from Dr. Alveraz himself. He replied to my emails and called my home several times to answer my preop questions. He gave me his personal cell the day of surgery and called to check on me that evening. I cannot say enough about 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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