I am 5'4 and weigh 192lbs. My highest weight was...
I am 5'4 and weigh 192lbs. My highest weight was 250lbs back in 2000. In 2009 I weighed 236lbs and had lap band surgery. I did a liquid fast for 3 weeks prior to surgery and lost another 15lbs. On the day of the surgery I was 221lbs. The surgery went well and we finally found the sweet spot where I could use it as a tool and be comfortable. My lowest since that surgery has been 176 on my own scale and 186 at the clinic. I lost a bit more weight after not requiring any more follow up. Then my dad got really sick and I spent a lot of time travelling to Toronto to be with him in the hospital. I ate out a lot and did not really care about my choices. I just returned to my comfort food zone. Gained 15 lbs over several stressful months and have been unable to lose it again. Of course I refuse to diet after having dieted my way to 250lbs! I am quite comfortable at my weight and look good in clothes but I really really dislike my belly. Haven't been able to see my vagina in years! I do not want to live this way anymore. Even when I was down to 176lbs my belly was in the way of everything. Bending over is suffocating, buying pants that fit my legs is impossible and I live in long tops that cover my flap. I am so tired of it. A year after my lap and surgery the Plastic Surgery Clinic held a dinner for all lap band patients. We listened to speakers and got to meet other lap banders. It just so happened that one of the speakers was Dr. Frank Lista and I swore then that if I ever got a tummy tuck I wanted him to do it. My first consult was in August of 2014 and I brought my husband with me. Dr. Lista explained everything to us and I felt quite comfortable with him. Even my husband was impressed. I however, couldn't justify spending all that money on myself. So a few months ago I started thinking about how I was only getting older and it was now or never. I booked a second consult in early December, saw Dr. Lista again and booked a surgery day, paid the deposit and here I am. Excited and nervous. There is no question that I want this done. And like all of us on here I have read the difficult healing stories, seen fabulous results, not so fabulous results and one horrific pic of an incision that completely opened. That one fried in my brain. I see it clearly anytime I think of it! Lol. I think all of the pics we see are important. The good, the bad and the ugly. We have to be aware of all possible outcomes and know that the majority of times it all works out. Plus out of over 14,000 reviews, 97% feel it's worth it. That's a huge percentage. I will post some before pics as well. The only reason I am able to do it is because of all of you brave people before me have posted your pics! It also helps others especially when we are looking for similar body types to get an idea of what the results might look like on our own body.
Paid in full!
Just got confirmation that all blood work is good. All paperwork was sent in previously and is all in order. Feeling excited and nauseous at the same time!!!
The only thing I worried about was getting a cold before surgery. Silly me. Never even occurred to me that I would get shingles. On Frisay I had a splitting headache in half of my head. Could have split it right down the middle. Half my face was numb and tingly. I went to the ER and they did a physical assessment to see if it was a possible stroke, did blood work and sent me for a CT scan. Everything came back fine. The neurologist suggested it could be a tension headache or the beginning of shingles and that if I broke out in a rash to come back. I thought it was probably a pulled muscle in my neck. No such luck. Saturday the pain in my head was still bad. My hair even hurt on the one side of my head. That evening I noticed a couple of spots on my eye. Then a few more on my forehead. Sunday I went to our after hours clinic and yup, it was shingles. I started the antiviral Meds right away. So what really bites is that my surgery may need to be postponed. Still waiting to hear from my ps. I will be done the Meds a week and a half before my scheduled date of February 3rd. Kind of bummed at the possibility of being rescheduled but really there is nothing I can do. I thought the date was perfect for recovery. Hibernate in the winter for a few weeks! Supposed to hear tomorrow from my ps's office. In the meantime my head freakin hurts! Well, the right half anyway! Of course the rash couldn't be in a better spot. My right side of my forehead, my right eye, up into my hair. Looks just marvellous! I will let you know what my ps says. I am keeping my fingers crossed:))
Shingles have to be gone before the surgery so it has been rebooked to March 23rd. I am ok with that. A little disappointed cause I really wanted to heal in the cold winter months. At least it won't be in the summer. I am really glad about that!
Surgery date now March 30th:))
I got a call from my ps office and was asked if it was ok to change the date from March 23rd to the 30th. I am so uncomfortable with these shingles the surgery has taken back seat. It is only a week difference and it really doesn't matter. I am very happy with the fact that the reason for the change is that they would like the surgeon that did my lapband, Dr. Chris Cobourn, to be on site in case they notice any problems with the lapband. I think that is awesome since I have had this band for years. Dr. Cobourn was awesome by the way. I love the Plastic Surgery Clinic. I have had excellent care from them from day one. Which was years ago! Anyway, I will be having two surgeons perform the surgery, Dr. Lista and Dr. Ahmad. I have not met Dr. Ahmad yet but he has excellent reviews. I feel really grateful that I have 2 great surgeons operating on me AND my lapband surgeon on site the same day. I didn't ask why I have 2, I just assumed it was because I am plus size and there is a lot of work to do. Anyway, I am not concerned about the surgery at all knowing I am in great hands. Recovery? Not looking forward to it. I will just follow all instructions and I have learned a ton from all your recovery stories. I thank all of you. You are all so brave to post pics and share from the heart to a world of complete strangers. Thank you!
Shingles are over!
I am really glad I have healed and there was no scarring on my forehead. I did have a problem with losing vision in one eye tho! That was really scary. I was in the ER and was assessed by the ER doc and was able to see an opthalmologist resident the same day. I have had great follow up and fortunately it wasn't permanent. My eye is almost back to normal now.
I have been eating better and cutting out alcohol but still struggle getting exercise. I don't seem to be able to kick myself in the ass to get going. I do enjoy the gym when I get there. It's just getting there that is the problem!
The surgery day seems so far away. I have what I need for recovery - I think! I purchased a lift recliner off kijiji which was only a year old and was in mint condition. Bought it right away because it was a great deal but have found it quite hard to sit in. We have been experimenting with pillows and cushions and I think we can make it work so it will be comfortable enough to sleep in. I have a toilet seat riser with handle bars, a walker, pads for the incision, polysporin, benefibre, protein powder and my husband and mom to help. All my meds will be purchased prior to the surgery and then delivered to the clinic to take home the day of surgery. I had all my lab work done, EKG, physical by my family doc prior to my first scheduled date but I may have to have it done again since they like the info current 3 weeks before surgery. I will find out about that at the beginning of March.
Well I just want to say thanks again to all of you for detailing your journey. It is so helpful and I am very grateful to have stumbled on to this site!
3 more sleeps!
Time has flown by. I feel calm about the surgery, it's like the best sleep ever! I am nervous about the recovery tho. I will keep on top of the Meds so I know it will be bearable. It's just the possibility of not healing well, swell hell and not having a clue how I will look after. I cannot fathom a flat abdomen. I am in awe of that possibility. Sometimes I feel it's crazy to put myself and my family thru this. Other times I have this absolute calm knowing that this is the perfect time. Everything has fallen into place without resistance from anywhere. I think this is what I will concentrate on for the next few days.
So I feel I should break down my $11,000 cost of this surgery. The actual cost of the surgery is $9,500. I included the taxes and costs of blood work, EKG and paperwork that had to be completed by my family doc. The other expenses have been a lift recliner (used and in mint shape) for $250, gauze, antibiotic cream, pads, underwear, cotton bras, pj's, slippers, housecoat and a Velcro compression garment for when I have to wash the one I get from the ps. I borrowed a walker that was stored in my moms basement and a used (and sterilized!) toilet seat riser for $10. I was investigating renting a hospital bed because my recliner is too firm to sleep on, I found a place in Mississauga that was very reasonable and was going to rent one but then I came across someone who was getting rid of theirs for free. Amazing. So we picked it up and will set it up the day before surgery. We will donate it to habitat for humanity when I am done with it. I am also going to rent a rolling over the bed table and a shower chair. $20 each for a month. I have lots of help as well. Forgot to mention, the Meds that were prescribed, including injections to prevent blood clots, came to $252. I think I have pretty much covered everything. I will let you know what I feel was needed, not needed and/or unnecessary a few weeks into recovery.
I think overall, I am hoping this surgery will allow me to look in the mirror without disdain, give me the freedom to choose clothes in the morning without changing 3 times before feeling satisfied and the confidence to feel comfortable in my own skin.
1st day post op!
Can't believe it's over. Yay!!! I feel terrific, a little stiff and sore but far less than yesterday. I get my pain pump removed this am so that might make a difference in my pain level. I am in no rush to look tho. Well the tired comes on berry quickly. I started typing this and felt a little energy. 7 sentences later I am ready to sleep! All the best to everyone and happy healing!
Still day 1 post op!
I cannot believe how good I feel. Now I understand why people tend to do too much too soon after their surgery. I got up to pee without help and was then going to go down to our main floor by myself. Then I got this mind flash of how that probably wasn't a good idea! Am taking pain Meds every 4 hours, just 1 oxy, and will start to spread them out in a couple of days.
Went to the clinic today and had my pain pump removed, was given another compression garment to wear and I asked the nurse if she would take a pic! I will upload them now. I can see my vajayjay!! Woohoo!
Ok. Barely into 2nd day postop and OUCH!
So I guess all the anesthetic has worn off from my pain pump. It freakin hurts! And I am keeping on top of my Meds! I won't have any problem with trying to do too much for the next few days. Looking forward to turning the corner as so many of you have described. I have to have a shower today. I am supposed to wash my incision with mild soap and water. Ewe. I have staples and stitches and I have to touch them. Not one of my strengths! Thank goodness for the shower chair. I feel faint just thinking about it! And then, how the heck do you get back into this cg??? Haha. It's going to be interesting. Hubby is a fabulous help tho. I went from being able to grab the crotch of my cg after going pee and doing it up myself to not being able to reach it and struggling to do it up. I am so grateful for this site and all of the shared experiences that go on here. I am confident this is normal but damn, I was feeling soooo good!
Day 4 post op
I had a really hard time getting comfortable yesterday. My back was sore and nothing seemed to help. By the end of the day I was pretty teary and felt like there would be no end to this. I got up and went downstairs for a while, still hunched over, abs sore and back aching. It helped tho cause when I needed to go back to bed I was able to get comfortable and ended up having a good nights sleep. I really became swollen yesterday too. Even the tops of my thighs! Felt like I was bursting out of my cg. I don't plan on weighing myself or putting on regular clothes for a while. Not until I feel like things are getting better. So all in all, day 3 was kind of a crappy day. Day 4 tho started well. Had an uneventful bm in the night and again this am. Glad that is working again. Will continue taking pain Meds to help with the pain. The pain isn't unbearable so much as just really uncomfortable. Getting in and out if bed is still a challenge and I still depend on a walker to get to the washroom and back. It's just added security and that's ok. I am not going to be hard on myself for deciding to be so gentle with my healing process. Part of me wants to push thru this and then I think 'yea, good luck with that'! Well cheers to all those recovering from surgery, those waiting for their surgery and those who are thinking of having the surgery. It really is a lot to go thru! Worth it in the end tho! I am still thrilled I can see my vagina! Lol
Day 5 post op
Today seems to be much better. It isn't agonizing to get in or out of bed! Went to the ps Clinic and had my staples removed. It didn't hurt, just a small pinch now and then. I don't need to wear compression socks anymore which is great. I just need to wash my incision and bb with mild soap and water but I have to start massaging all around my abdomen with arnica lotion. Not my bb or incision though. Supposed to press hard so it hurts to break things up. I don't like to feel anything strange in my body. This will be a challenge. Lol. I will attach a couple of pics from today!
Day 6 post op
Well, yesterday I felt I had turned a corner. Today I hit the wall. I am so tired of being in pain. Had to cough today. Torture. A friend called to check up on me and I broke down crying- even before picking up the phone. I get up and walk with my walker and can't wait to lay down again. (Back and feet raised). I get back down and want to get back up again. I go downstairs and only last an hour and then just have to go back upstairs. I am tired but I can't sleep. I feel like I've lost my mind. I am up and down like a toilet seat today. Well I am just going to roll with it and hope one day soon it starts to get better. Hope all are well and just hang in there if you are struggling! We've been told by thousands before us that it is worth it. And I am sure it will be. But right now?? It sucks. Lol.
Day 10 post op
It's really true. Our sisters have not lied when they said each day gets better! I think I may have misunderstood that at first. Lol. It means each day will get better but in little bits. Not by leaps and bounds. Once I realized I was expecting way too much and just relaxed about the healing process things have come along very well. It is still impossible to cough - just try to clear my throat, doesn't always work but I try really really hard to clear it that way. I have only sneezed twice. Each time it just snuck up on me. Wasn't sniffly or anything. That hurt. But it wasn't till day 8 and 9 that it happened and the pain didn't last long. My tummy is swollen and hard, I have a little bit of discharge on one part of my incision and I have this burning ache in my left groin. I thought it was from the compression garment rubbing my skin and really irritating it. I was putting cream on it but noticed it wasn't red or inflamed. I looked up tummy tuck and groin pain on this site and it looks like it could be a stretched nerve. Well I am really tight and swollen down there so I will go with that. I have an appointment at the clinic next week so I will mention it then. I swear this site has reduced countless panicked calls to to the ps's office. I did email a pic of the drainage spot and was advised to
Wash it 4 times a day. Does not look infected or anything. The nurse did mention not to soak the incision when washing... Oops. I had started letting the water just pour on my incision when showering over the last few days. The first few days couldn't stay in the shower long and by the time I could stay in longer I just let the water run directly on my incision. Hey it felt good! But after that is when the leaking started. So that is now clearing up. I still sleep in a hospital bed. My bed is high and I am not ready to struggle getting out of it. My routine is simple. I wake up and just doze for an hour. Then I get up, use the washroom, brush my teeth then go downstairs for a coffee. I take my garment and jammies off and hubby throws them in the wash. When they go in the dryer I
Hit the shower. When I am done my shower I dry off, Put my cg and jammies on and go back
Upstairs to bed. I usually read till
I nod off a bit. At some point later in the afternoon I go back downstairs to the recliner for an hour or so. Then back up to bed. I don't sleep much in the day but i do get a lot of rest. My appetite is low. I continue to have two protein shakes a day ( total 80 mg) a piece of toast with jam
And then a small amount of dinner. The past couple of nights I have taken a mild sleeping pill to sleep. Otherwise I am exhausted but can't sleep. I don't expect that will continue for long. Have watched tv and Netflix. Now I have read of people who seem way farther ahead at this point in recovery. I just am where I am and it's ok. I am giving myself permission to be as gentle to myself as I need be. I am still a little hunched over and continue to use the walker when I get up to go to the washroom. I don't need it all the time nor do I ever have it on the main floor. It just gives me a feeling of support when I get up. Once I am ready to get on with things I just park it and don't use it again. Obviously age and fitness makes a difference in recovery. I am no gym rat. I talk myself out of going to the gym on a regular basis. Yet I wouldn't dream of giving up my membership. Just a tad whacked. And I am 56.
I have written all this down in the hopes that it helps someone who has yet to be at the 10 day post op mark. Whether you are ahead or behind at this point, it doesn't matter. Our bodies will heal at the pace they heal. Different for everyone. Just relax and be gentle. You do not have to push it. The need to push push push and go go go will still be there when we have recovered! All the best everyone, wherever you are in your journey!
Day 12 post op ramblings
11 Apr 2016
2 months post
This recovery is really tough. I keep feeling new sensations in my abdomen and I have a stitch in my side like I have run a mile. It has been with me all day. Then my incision looks like it has a bit of pus going along it. Sent a pic to the clinic but it was sent after hours so I probably won't hear anything till tomorrow. My getting in and out of bed is more fluid which is nice. I am thirsty all the time and only want water. I keep drinking it and then am up every couple of hours in the night. My compression garment is squeezing then end of my incision and is quite irritating. It is pinching skin already puckered from stitches. It has hooks and zips up on the left hand side. Otherwise I don't mind wearing it. I actually have a waist! I have had an apple torso for so long it's rather shocking to put my hands on my hips and feel curves. That's cool. I still haven't been out of the house other than the clinic since surgery. Weather has been crappy but when it clears up I will venture out for a short walk. I am tired of being so uncomfortable that's for sure. My husband and son have been amazing throughout this whole recovery experience. They have been available 24/7 (husband mostly) and I am truly grateful. Hubby and son are both out today and it's the first time I have been on my own for any length of time. It's been fine. Just want all the aches, pains, zinging, pinging, pulling and swelling to GO AWAY! There, that's telling them! I had this terrible burning sensation in my groin for a few days, like an inflamed nerve, but that has subsided. It seems some discomforts go making way for new ones to appear. Are we having fun yet?? Just rambling. Rather bored. Tired of tv that's for sure. Looking forward to fairer weather, less discomfort and being able to sleep in my own bed! All of which will happen, in time! All I can say at this moment that this has been brutal - and everyday is another inch to getting better. All the best girls, hang in there!
Day 13 and I sprung another leak!
12 Apr 2016
2 months post
Does this ever end?? Lol. Sent a pic to my nurse last night who forwarded to my ps today. He ended up ordering a script for antibiotics. I am also able to squeeze in and see him tomorrow. So I have a bit of an infection, a leak above my pubis and when I took off my cg tonight to wash my incision I noticed I had sprung a leak on my incision near my hip bone. I felt liquid dripping down my leg. I hopped in the shower to wash my incision and clean up and then used a very long maxi pad that I stick to the inside of my cg. It covers the infection and both drips. And all are far enough apart that there will be no contamination from the infection. I had been struggling to get the maxi pad in place once my garment was on. Then I thought I would just stick it on the cg before putting it on and it works perfectly. Just a little adjustment needed cause the garment stretches and the back of the pad is sticky and much easier than putting it on after the cg.
Heal well everyone!
16 days post op
15 Apr 2016
2 months post
Well it's been a few days since I have posted. I have been on antibiotics since Tuesday, saw my ps Wednesday, I started leaking more Thursday and when I checked my incision it seems to have opened up a little more. Oh joy.... My doc was great Wednesday. He was pushing hard on my belly checking for a seroma. The leaking in my case is good cause there is no fluid build up. After all the pressure on my belly tho I am leaking more. That's ok. It's coming out not building up. My doc was great. I had 2 surgeons and this one was Dr. Ahmad. He spent quite a bit of time with me explaining things and giving reassurance. I am really happy with my docs and their staff. They have been amazing.
I can't see my incision because my belly is swollen and I have to say I really don't like looking at it. It's beautiful and straight and very low but it feels hard and numb and strange. Every couple of days I will lay down and take a look with a hand held mirror. Yesterday I looked and it looks like it's opening wider. I am not worried about infection cause I am on antibiotics but am a little concerned it will get bigger and/or deeper. I go back to see my ps next week. In the meantime I wash it with mild soap and water 4 times a day per ps instructions. I have taken great comfort from reading so many of your stories on this site where healing has been a little bumpy. It will get better and it will heal. That's what our bodies do. They heal. If I hadn't read so many of your stories I would probably be freaking out. I can honestly say I am not tho. Everything will be fine. In the end I will have a beautiful flat stomach!
On the plus side, I have been losing weight steadily. I have lost my appetite. The thought of wine - which I love - or scotch - which I love even more- holds no appeal. I am even turned off by the smell of anything chocolate. I love chocolate!! I had a bit and the smell made me nauseous! I will enjoy these benefits as long as they last cause it is making a difference! Today I weighed 175 lbs. The day of surgery I was 186 lbs and when I was to have the surgery back at the beginning of February I was 192 lbs. I find that amazing. I wanted a kick start and I sure got it! The tricky part is keeping it going in the right direction or even maintaining where I am now. One thing at a time tho and all I really want to focus on is healing.
Heal well everyone!
Day 16 continued...
15 Apr 2016
2 months post
Wow, I had sent in a second pic yesterday because my incision looks like it's opening more. My nurse forwarded it on to Dr. Ahmad and he asked that I come in Monday instead of waiting till Thursday. So that was fine, i was corresponding with my nurse by email and I was really pleased to be going in earlier. Well I just got a call from Dr. Ahmad checking up on me, reassuring me and was told to call him on his cell over the weekend if I run into any problems. Wow. I am so impressed with his care and concern. The Plastic Surgery Clinic, Mississauga ON. If you are looking for a surgeon, check them out. Consults are free. They are the best!
21 days post op
20 Apr 2016
2 months post
I have been feeling really good for the last 4 days so I decided to go back to work a week early. That was today. Exactly 3 weeks post op. I got tired pretty quickly and lasted 5 1/2 hours. Came home and slept for 4 hrs! Now I am back in bed and it's only 9:30. I will see how I feel in the morning about going in for the day.
I saw my ps on Monday and although the incision has opened a bit it is healthy tissue and will continue to heal. He removed some stitches that he saw in the wound and said it may get a bit worse because the stitches were removed but that it was ok and not to worry. I just need to wash with mild soap twice a day. I was given another week script for antibiotics to prevent any infection. I see him again Monday for follow up.
I continue to get muscle cramps in both the lower and upper abdomen. I am still swollen. I still resist massaging my belly because it feels so weird. I have to keep working on that. I use a maxi pad to cover my open wound as it wicks away moisture and keeps it dry. Not much has changed with the exception of feeling a lot better in my third week compared to the first two.
The pic of the wound is ugly but I will post it anyway. The scar will probably be wider in this area once healed and I have to say I doubt I will get it fixed. What if it happened again? I am so over being uncomfortable that I will be happy with a wonky looking scar as long as I am healed. Lol. At least that is how I feel today. Maybe I will feel different 6 months from now!
All the best in your journey's no matter what stage you are at!
24 days post op
23 Apr 2016
2 months post
Well I didn't go back to work the next day. In fact I slept the the next day and a half. I cannot get over how tired I am. I had a burst of energy for 4 days, decided to go to work, lasted 5 1/2 hours and I have been exhausted ever since. Doesn't make sense to me. I felt better last weekend than I do this weekend. What is up with that?? I am still on antibiotics so I don't think an infection is brewing to bring on this exhaustion. It sucks. I go back to work this Wednesday which is exactly 4 weeks from surgery day. The thought of it makes me want to go back to sleep. Just this moment it occurred to me that I might be a bit depressed. Everything seems a bit overwhelming at the moment. Anyone else feel this way this far post op??
4 weeks post op
28 Apr 2016
2 months post
Started back at work yesterday and it was fine. I was concerned that I would be totally exhausted today but it was fine too!! Yay!!!
I still get muscle spasms in my abdomen and of course am still swollen. I am seeing a lightest the end of the tunnel tho. I know it can take up to a year for final results but just the fact that I am feeling so much better is enough to see the light for me! The opened part of my incision is healing. I continue to wash it twice a day with mild soap and water. Finished 2 weeks of antibiotics so I will keep a close watch to make sure it doesn't get infected. Dr. Ahmad continues to see me weekly to keep an eye on it. I have to say that today is the first day day I actually feel happy about having this done. It's not that I regretted it, it was just more difficult than I imagined. I am glad I did it and I am glad I will never have to do it again! Take care and all the best in your journey's!
6 weeks post op
18 May 2016
3 months post
Well my wound has pretty much healed. Just have a small scab that needs to fall off when it's ready. I am wearing silicone strips on the rest of my incision. I have been given the go ahead for cardio and I can ditch the garment! Tho Dr. Ahmad said that I might feel more comfortable wearing it 1/2 days for a couple more weeks. My abdomen feels strange with it off so I will definitely wean myself off it. For the first time in decades I tucked a shirt in! It was so amazing. I am so thrilled with the results. As time passes the most difficult parts of the recovery is slowly going to the recesses of my mind. I won't forget it but the distance is making it fade from the forefront of my mind. Thank God!
What I did become aware of was that instead of being thrilled with where I am right now I started getting discouraged about the rest of my imperfections. Back fat, bra fat, saggy skin under my neck etc. I had to
smack myself to stop it. I am so fortunate to have been able to have had this done. First the lapband and then the tt. I believed that each procedure would make me happy. Then I started in on myself as to what else I didn't like. When I realized that if I really believed that these procedures would make me happy. Then when done kept thinking I needed more work to make me happy. How sad is that!! So f**k that! I choose to be happy with my body right now in all its glory and imperfections! I am so happy not having this overhanging belly. I really do look great! I still end up changing 3 times in the morning tho. Not because everything is too small to hide my belly but because my clothes are too big and they hide my flat tummy!! I can live with that. I am slowly adding new clothes to my closet. Having a hard time finding things I really really like. I have worn the same style of clothes for so long. I really like that style but I don't need to wear clothes down to my thighs! Lol. All is good tho and I will slowly but surely build up a new wardrobe.
Take care and all the best in your journey's.