Tummy Tuck Time: FINALLY! - Raleigh, NC

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Ok, I've scheduled my tummy tuck for December 17th...

Ok, I've scheduled my tummy tuck for December 17th. I'm very excited. I've been wanting this surgery for years.
Before photos to follow (after my pre-op appt.)
ANY and ALL helpful hints, comments, suggestions, etc. are greatly appreciated! I'm reading everyone's posts and browsing pictures--which means I'm becoming increasingly excited, nervous, scared, and impatient simultaneously. Based on everyone's blogs, wish I could fast-forward the 7-10 days post-op..... But it's all good. I'm tough. I got this. I think.

Pre-Op Pics, as Promised. Just Ick.

Ok, I'm posting my pre-op pics. I took some at home today and then again at the tanning salon right after I finished tanning (please, no lectures about tanning....) I'm also including pics in my clothes b/c when I tell people I'm having a TT, most of them act shocked and tell me I don't need it. They don't see what I see in the mirror. And yes, in clothes, I can PRETTY MUCH cover up the problem areas, but you all--my RealSelf family--can see the fat and flab I'm wanting to eliminate underneath my clothes. No, I don't usually go around flashing people my stomach to show them the fat underneath my clothes.....

I've lost 60 lbs., so I don't really need to lose any more weight, especially since I'm sure I'll lose weight after the surgery. I'm down to a size 6 from a 16, and I've worked my ass off to get to where I'm at. (And in case you're wondering, I'm 5'8" and 156 lbs.--formerly 216 lbs!) So yay me! I'm definitely proud of my success and the sweat and tears it's taken to get here. But this TT is my final hurdle. I can easily do 200 sit-ups, but I just can't lose that fat and flab and skin on my stomach. In fact, I can see the start of ab definition at the top of my abs, so I'm really hopeful that after this surgery, I can continue to tone up and maybe MAYBE get a six-pack. Even a two-pack would be ok! Definition would be AWESOME, but FLAT is just fine, too! I'm not looking forward to losing muscle tone and definition during the recovery time, but I just keep focusing on the fact that I will FINALLY have a flat tummy and I can certainly re-tone and re-strengthen post-op. I've done it once, I can do it again!

First 10K Today--Trying to Remain Busy to Pass the Time!

Yes, the TT seems all-consuming. The countdown until the procedure. Reading everyone's posts. Organizing all appointments and activities for post-op. It's pretty much all I can think about. So I'm trying to do as much as I can to keep me occupied until then....

Ran my first 10K today. Jeez, it was tough. I've got the 5K down, but 10K was pretty rough. Hats off to you ladies who run half and full marathons! BUT, every time I wanted to walk, I kept reminding myself that one month from now, I'm going to be flat on my back in considerable pain and UNABLE to run! It kept me going!

Ok, so I have a couple of questions for those of you who are on the Flat Side:
1. How much weight did you lose--both from the procedure and then recovery? I know you don't lose much from the surgery itself, but everyone's posts indicate you don't eat much for the first week or two.
2. How long without sex?? Any advice in this arena for making it easier and less painful when it comes time to start again? Yes, we have a very active sex life and this will be quite a shock to both me and hubby.... Thankfully he's very supportive! (AND, my husband is a NURSE, which makes recovery that much easier!)
3. For my runner friends... tell me what you're training has looked like post-op. How long before you were able to walk? Run? How far? How hard was it??

Holiday season creeping up on us! Yay! So much to do to make sure everything is ready before my surgery. Christmas shopping almost done. Decorations going up next weekend. So after surgery, I'll just be able to lay around and spend my time recovering. My one-week post-op is scheduled for December 24th, then we're having family over for dinner. No, I'm NOT cooking--planning on ordering from the local deli b/c I'm sure I'll be exhausted and still in pain. Any my husband knows that I may have to bow out of the festivities and lay down for a while. He's totally on board. Love this man!

Pre-Op Appointment COMPLETE! Countdown is officially on!

My pre-op appt. was yesterday afternoon. Dragged the DH with me (actually, he was more than willing to go...) I was fully expecting to get weighed, which I was not looking forward to, as I'd been on an ice cream binge the day before courtesy of Aunt Flow. Well, that's not true--I'm completely the one to blame for that, regardless of Aunt Flow--I've GOT to start taking accountability for my actions and stop making excuses (sorry, that's my internal monologue.)

So pre-op went great and I'm all paid for. And of course, I started having dreams last night about incisions and binders. I can't remember much about the dream, just that I'd had the procedure done and I was wearing the binder and kept trying to take pictures. I'm sure this is all part of the nervous anticipation.

So more about my pre-op.... I had a LIST of questions to ask, some which I've had advice/answers for on here, but I'm one of those people who have to have the "official" version from the doctor. So here's the list of questions I took in and the answers I received:
Q1. How long until sex? (Notice that this was my #1 question since DH was with me!) A: When it doesn't hurt, different for everyone, but likely about two weeks. (We were both good with that.)
Q2: How long for exercise? A: Again, when it doesn't hurt. Nothing strenuous for the first week, but Dr. Davis did say that the MORE light activity I can incorporate, the better--it tends to speed up the recovery process. NOTHING that will hurt and LISTEN to your body, but he has noticed that his patients who move around and add light activity (in other words, just walk slowly around the house) heal more quickly and have an easier recovery than those who plop on the couch and don't move for weeks. He emphasized, listen to your body and do as much as you can that doesn't hurt. LOVE this.
Q3: Sleeping??? Recliner? Bed? A: Again, whatever is comfortable. V-shaped sleeping, so if in bed, pillows behind head and under knees, OR recliner is fine. (I'm going to try both and see what is more comfortable--I HATE the thought of not sleeping with hubby, so I'm really hoping the bed will be ok.)
Q4: We are having a blood drive at school tomorrow, can I donate? A: Yes. (Ok, so this is specific to my circumstances, but in case anyone out there is thinking of giving blood, you're ok to do so two weeks out! :)
Q5: When can I drive? A: About a week.
Q6: What kind of special clothes/CG/binder do I need to purchase? A: Nothing right now, but Gretta (LOVE HER!), who is part of Dr. Davis's staff, recommended Dr. Rey's Shapewear--just like Spanx but not nearly as expensive. She showed me the website. AND, they are machine washable. Says they are very comfortable. She showed me one she was wearing and I thought my DH's eyes would pop out.... yes, she is GORGEOUS. lol.
Q7: Where will incision be? A: Dr. Davis showed me it will be VERY low. May go up a bit on my hips b/c I have extra skin there, too. Not excited about how high it will go on hips, but I definitely don't want him to leave extra skin/fat! He also indicated that I don't need extra lipo and my upper abs are all skin (not fat-yay!) but if there was any lipo to be done on the flanks, he would do it as part of the procedure and there was no added cost. Again, yay!
Q8: Explain drainless.... A: ok, this is a long one, but in a nutshell, it's a more advanced procedure where he sews the skin and muscle back together so there is no pocket for fluid to build up in, meaning NO DRAINS! And very very little chance of seroma. Another yay!
Q9: How long before shower? A: Since no drains, 48 hours. You guessed it--YAY!
Q10: How can I reduce/minimize swelling? Is ice ok? A: Yes, for the first couple of days, 30 minutes ice on, then 30 minutes off. Low sodium. Drink water.
Q11: Any special diet before or after surgery? A: Low sodium. Liquids only from 12 noon the day before to help reduce nausea. (That's ok with me--hope it will also aid with any constipation issues!) Which leads me to next question.....
Q12: Best way to ensure BM after? A: Miralax, MoM, stool softeners, coffee even. Advised me to avoid true laxatives UNLESS it became a problem b/c I'm already going to be sore and in pain, and sometimes laxatives give you cramps (UGH--can't imagine this WITH a TT) and the trots. I def don't want to be running to bathroom every 5 minutes!
Q13: Read about marbles or pearls to help BB formation...? A: No, shouldn't be necessary with the procedure he does--they explained it and he shapes the BB and puts something in there to keep it's shape and helps the incision heal and covers it for a week.... I can check at my one week post-op.
Q14: Scar treatment? A: They gave me a special oil/lotion that I can start using 3-4 weeks post op.
Q15: Pain management....? A: Stay ahead of it. Take meds regularly, esp the first three-four days. I'm having a full (rather than mini) TT, so I'll have a nice numbing shot injected directly into my muscles that will numb them for the first three days or so, so that will help tremendously. Once it wears off, though, I'll be able to tell. Great.
Q16: Can you weigh what you take off? A: (laughs a little) Yes, we don't normally, but we can. :)
Q17: Can I get Frequent Flyer discount points if I want to come back next year and get my boobs done? A: Of course! :)
Q18: I'll be by myself days 1-3 post op, will I be ok? A: Yes, you'll be sleeping and resting a lot; may have problems getting up to go to bathroom b/c it's hard to get yourself up from a reclined position. If a walker or cane is available, that will help a LOT. (and yes, I can borrow a walker from my mom-in-law, so this will work!) I'll just have everything set up on a table right next to me...... meds, water, computer, cell phone, ice packs in a cooler.... I'm good to go!

Yes, I know it's a lot of questions. Some are specific to me, but I hope it helps address some questions others out there in RS land may have. Other things I found out:
1. I can't shave the hoo hoo any more until after surgery. Whhhaaaattt??? I'm like a hygiene FANATIC. I shave EVERY day, and shower at least twice a day. I lotion, spray, spritz, powder, etc. like a fiend, so I think I'm more concerned about the no shave/no shower for 48 hours thing than I am about pain and swelling. lol. And no make-up during surgery....? Not sure how mascara might negatively affect my surgery, but ok. Sigh.
2. Dr. Davis encourages his patients to stand as upright as possible as SOON as possible. He explained that you will want to hunch over b/c it feels like the stitches are about to rip apart, but they WON'T, and the straighter you can get yourself, the less back pain you'll experience. He said he has more patients complain about back pain from hunching than he does about the TT. And this seems to be true from everything I've read on here. He ASSURED me that while it may feel tight, they won't rip--I made sure my husband heard this b/c I know myself well enough to know that I'm going to FREAK OUT that they are ripping, and I need my hubby to reassure me that they aren't.
3. So I ended up weighing myself while Dr. Davis was out of the room. Ugh. 159. Crap crap crap. I'm trying to get to 150 before surgery. But, this was with ALL my clothes and jewelry AND my Aunt Flow AND a day-after ice cream binge, so I guess it's to be expected. Sigh. And rather than be motivated to go out and eat better, we went straight to a restaurant across the street and ate fried pickles, buffalo cheese dip, and wings. Yeah, that's about a 3,000 calorie smack-down right there. When I binge, I binge. So of course I spiraled into the whole guilt and shame and "that so wasn't worth it" and "why did I do that" mind game. Gah, it's SO stupid and I hate that I get so obsessive all-or-nothing about food and fitness! I'm really trying to change my mentality about it and it's a constant internal monologue; some days I win the mind game, some days I lose. But I'm not quitting. Back on track today, staying strong, staying healthy. Ready for this battle! Good luck to everyone out there--love this site and your stories! Stay strong, ladies! We've got this!

Pics from Pre-Op appointment. Another big ICK.

Pics from pre-op appt. Notice my DH seems enthralled. Lol. Love that man! :)

Single Digit Countdown!

Wow, can't believe that next week at this time, I'll be drifting off to la-la land while my PS gets ready to start cutting away. For some reason, I keep poking at my belly at the oddest times, almost playing around with the fat roll. Slapping at it, poking it, squishing it up into weird positions. I guess it's the closest thing I have to a hated security blanket, and while I can't wait to get rid of it, it's sorta like my pudgy little friend right now. I keep humming the Wizard of Oz song "Ding dong, the pooch is dead; the fatty pooch, the NASTY pooch; ding dong the fatty pooch is dead." Poor little fatty guy--he knows his days are numbered. Weird, yes. Must be pre-op jitters.

So I've tried to step up my exercise and nutrition this week since it's my last opportunity to exercise for several weeks. I've picked up an extra class to teach and I'm trying to hit the gym every day. Really getting some core in to tone those abs as much as possible. I thought it was kinda funny that the nurse at PS office told me to do about 50 sit-ups every day for three days before surgery.... I kept thinking, if I wasn't already doing sit-ups like a fiend, 50 sit-ups for 3 days pre-op is NOT going to make a huge difference in muscle tone. I mean, if all it took was three days of sit-ups to tone our abs, we'd all walk around looking like fitness models. But I guess every bit helps and since I'm an over-achiever, I'm trying to work in 150-200 each day. Ugh, but with every sit-up, I keep focusing on the big picture: flat tummy and sculpted abs!

Scale this morning: 151. Yay! My goal is to hit 150 pre-op (next Tuesday) so it's definitely within reach. Think I'm even more excited that I have lost 8 lbs. since mid-November. No holiday weight gain!! Yay yay yay! And since I'm REALLY not worried about overeating after my TT next week, I think it's safe to say I've mastered the holidays this year! This is the first time in recent memory when I haven't gained about 15 lbs. during the holidays. Lord, I feel SO much better about myself! I love being fit and seeing muscle definition. The feeling of being healthy and fit absolutely trumps any food or feast. (I've got to keep reminding myself of this, because it's a DAILY battle to make the right decisions!) Last night, I was so so so tempted to sit on the couch and eat ice cream and just have a comfort-food fest while vegging with the TV. It was a close call---I MADE myself change into workout clothes and hit the bootcamp class at the gym and ended up having a great workout. I'm so glad I did. I didn't want to--ice cream and TV sounded so much more appealing--but that's where that darn internal monologue comes in.....I'm not one of those people who can eat clean and exercise religiously and just LOVE doing it. No, I'd much much rather have ice cream and french fries and baked goods in front of the TV. The whole healthy lifestyle does NOT come easily to me; I have to work hard at it and make conscious decisions to be healthy. In a way, I think I appreciate it more b/c I have to work so hard at it. And I know how easily I can revert to my old unhealthy habits. Again: INTERNAL MONOLOGUE. I can't say enough how I truly believe any weight loss and fitness journey is as much a MENTAL and EMOTIONAL battle as it is a physical one. Positive self-talk. Key to any healthy lifestyle.

So that's my rambling for today. Just kinda in a holding pattern for the next 6 days and trying to stay busy and occupied. Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait!!!!

Fun with Fatty.... Crazy pics from 3 days before!

Yep, soon to be gone. So I had to get some crazy pics of the fatty belly since it's days are numbered. I had fun trying to get some of these selfies.... I would be totally grossed out, but I'm kinda having fun now that I know the TT is right around the corner. I especially like the one where I'm in a plank position. What IS that hanging from my body? A blubbery alien ready to explode from my body? A large pair of fleshy lips puckered up for some disgusting smooch? Just EWWWWWW! I cracked up when I saw that pic! Seriously, I've seen other plank pics from you RS sisters, but I just think mine might be the most obnoxious! I've named that particular pic "Magoo".

Tummy Tuck Eve

Well, it's the night before. I can't believe it's here. I have to leave my house at 5:30 in the morning, but since I don't anticipate sleeping a lot, this doesn't really bother me. I'm so excited. No nerves, just ready ready ready. Went to gym for final Bootcamp class tonight. Feeling really positive about all of this. I was part of a holiday challenge at my gym and today was our weigh out. I've lost 12.5 lbs and 10.5 inches since November 18th. Yay! Even better: 4 inches off waist and 6 off abdomen. So I really feel like I've kicked it into high gear this past month and I'm as ready as I can be for this procedure. My hubby has even started fussing at me and telling me not to lose any more weight. Never thought I would hear that or even agree with it, but I kind of am at that point where I can look at maintenance. Maintenance actually kind of scares me. I've become so good at the losing part, I'm scared of letting go just a little bc I'm afraid I'll slide back. But for the next few weeks while I can't workout, I'm going to have to continue to follow my diet plan.

So I've been on a liquid diet today: 3 protein shakes and lots of water. Had a cup of smooth moves tea last night and boy it did the trick today. So I feel pretty good about being "cleansed" for tomorrow. Nurse called this evening to see if I had any questions and make sure I was ok. All is good to go! She told me to drink lots and lots of water--extra water--so I'm hydrated for tomorrow. Did the whole mani/pedi today as a last minute treat to myself. Basically, just trying to occupy myself to help pass time (and ignore the hunger pains!). This time tomorrow, I'll be on the flat side. I'll keep you updated, my RS sisters. Posting pics from today as my final pre-op photo session.

Waist: 29
Abdomen: 33
Hips: 37.5
Weight: 150

Back home.

Procedure when really well. Got to surgery center at 7 but appt wasn't until 7:45. Can u say over anxious?? They had me in the back by 8:15. All I remember was the gas mask coming on and trying to have a convo about crossfit, of all things. I think I was under within 30 sec. Lol. Woke up about 12:20. Yes it hurt but it felt more like a giant gas bubble in my lower intestine that Wouldn't pass. Still have that same feeling. Not horrible more uncomfortable. Upper and still completely numb from local. NO DRAINS!!!! Love that! Stopped by mcdonalds for a fruit oatmeal on way home. Ate half. Just finished quest bar. Not really hungry but know the food will help with painkillers. No nausea which was one of my biggest worries. Very drowsy now. Hubby is helping like a champ even though he has got the worst head cold. Praying I don't get it, but not much I can do about that. Had prescription meds at 11:45, ibuprofen at 2:45, then taking more Vicodin at 5:45. I am NOT going to try and ride out any pain--staying ahead of it.

I have no idea what I look like. CG is on for next three days or so before shower. But I can shower as normally in 48 - 72 hours. He did I little lipo of hips while in there so my scar will be a little farther back, but I was fine with that as long as he got everything. Both dr d and his nurse said my abs were huge and very well defined under the fat and flab, so they expect I will be thrilled with my results. Yay! Can't wait to see my results! Posting pics of CG. Abiut to drift off again, so I'll check in again later. So glad to be part of the club!

One more thing:

It was 2.5 lbs of skin and fat. It always looked like about 10 lbs, but I still think that's quite a bit on my frame. Yep, can't wait to get thru the next couple if weeks and see these results!!

Night one

Did as well as can be expected. Slept in the recliner. Really wanted to try the bed but hubby has a horrible cold and is coughing like crazy and I don't want him coughing on me in the middle of night. I do NOT want to get sick, esp anything that will make me cough or sneeze. Recliner is fairly comfortable. Hate laying in the same position all the time. I'm a side sleeper so laying on my back isn't great. I have a heating pad on back and an ice pack on tummy so that's working well for me.

No BM yet, but not really surprised bc I haven't eaten a lot. Even tried a suppository last night and nothing came out so don't think I have much up there yet. Sorry for TMI--but know we all go thru this! Just drank a cup of coffee so hopefully that will help. My biggest problem right now is taking the pain meds and getting an upset stomach. I have to eat something any time I take a narcotic bc it tears up my stomach, and I'm taking one of the anti-nausea pills with the narcotics as well. So I'm keeping applesauce and quest bars on my table here and every time I have to take a pain pill, I'm eating that. Not loving that in the middle of the night but I want to stay on top of pain for the first few days and I def don't want to be vomiting!! The bars and applesauce are easy and healthy so it's not too bad.

Pain is manageable. Still haven't see my scar. I've taken off the CG but not the tape and gauze over the incision. I'm kind of scared to! I really want to see it but at the same time I don't bc I know it's still going to look fresh and gooey. I keep worrying that maybe I won't like it and it's like if I don't look, I can pretend it's all perfect or something. I don't know how to explain it well. I guess it's just like the anticipation may be better than the reality so I'm just waiting. I can shower either tomorrow or Friday so I may wait until then to unwrap. I've got some huge sticky tape over the gauze under the CG and OWIE it hurts to pull that tape off skin. Still numb in upper thighs. Still numb in upper abs.

Getting around really well. Not walking all over the place, but I can get up and down fine and get myself to bathroom. Changed clothes this morning and just kinda wiped off with washcloth. Made myself some coffee. Walking pretty straight and have not had the back pain some experience. It's tight but not horribly painful. More just uncomfortable. Feel much better already this morning but I'll see how day goes. Here by myself bc hubby had to work, but feel pretty good about how well I'm able to get around. Trying not to move too much so I can heal, so I try to coordinate bathroom trips with anything else I may need. Most of my stuff is right here beside me, but ice packs have to be in freezer so I get those when I get up for bathroom.

Whew. This was AGAIN wordy. Sorry my friends. Just rambling, as usual. Guess that's what happens when there's nothing else to do!

Scared to look....

Ok so I haven't taken off bandages yet and won't until tomorrow when I shower. But the upper part of my abs that I can see still look flabby to me. Like there is still a lot of skin above my CG. Will this flatten and go away? Now I'm scared he didn't get it all. Is this just part of the swelling? I mean I know I'm swelling but I hear everyone on here talk about how tight and hard their upper abs are and mine feel like it's still a bunch of skin. Normal? And I have this little crease in my upper abs just below my bra where it looks like my skin is being pulled together. Like a tummy dimple. Did anyone else have this? Will it go away and flatten out? See that's what's freaking me out and why I don't want to look--I'm afraid he didn't get it as tight or flat as I'm expecting. When I push on my upper abs I can actually hear water and fluid sloshing around. Again, normal??

Oh the gas pains!

I really really hate not being able to poop. I've done 4--yes FOUR--suppositories, drank some smooth moves tea, and took MOM. nothing yet except a lot of stomach cramping. Really trying to just use suppositories so I don't have the cramping, but let's move it along already. Not using the MoM or other laxative thing again. Stomach cramps were horrible!!! I'm sleeping really well in recliner other than above-mentioned cramps.

Took shower this morning and this was first look I've had at my stomach. The incision looks terrific and is really really low, but with the swelling, I don't look any different than before!! My tummy is just as big! I just want to cry. I don't feel like I'm on the flat said at all! My belly is just as poofy and fatty as before. But now I get the wonderful pain and cramping and constipation to go along with it. Wth??? I mean I expected some swelling, but when I look down at my stomach I don't expect to see it as big as it was pre op. And I can't even suck it in to make it look flatter like I could before! This just sucks. Some women on here say they look three months preggo after-- I look SIX months preggo!! I'm bigger now than before!!! Not lovin it today at all!

Question about swelling...?

Does it help with swelling to wear binder looser or tighter? Bc the pain isn't too bad but the feeling of tightness and swelling is what's most uncomfortable. I have one of the corset like binders with three Velcro straps in the front. Keep it snug and uncomfortable or loosen it?

Post op day 3

Hello my fellow Pain Princessess and Swell Sisters! Hope you all are hanging tough. I am getting there. Each day really is a little better. Celebrations today:
1. I can walk around and pretty much take care of myself. I've had to since hubby has been on shift, so for those of you out there wondering if it's possible, it most certainly is. Basically, you do what you have to do, and I had to do it on my own, so I did. It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be bc I didn't have a choice in the matter :)
2. Pooped yesterday. Yay. Enough said.
3. I've unloaded and loaded my dishwasher and done a small load of laundry. Just slow and easy, but again, manageable.
4. Drinking lots of water and trying to eat small meals several times a day. I think I've gone through an entire box of Quest bars already. They are my crack.
5. Even through the swelling, I can begin to see where I will be flat. It's hard, but I know it's coming.

In the bad news/OWIE department: tried to sleep next to hubby in bed last night. Bought a wedge pillow for my legs and had a bunch of other pillows propped up behind me, but when I tried to lay back, felt like everything was tearing. No no no. Thankfully hubby was right there to help and he scooped me back up and I cried (but tried really hard not to bc it hurt.). I really miss being next to him, but the bed just doesn't offer me the same support as my recliner. I am lucky in that we already had a really comfy recliner, so that's pretty much been my throne the past three days. I'll try the bed in a few more days to see if it gets better..... I'm sleeping off and on throughout the day, basically just trying to make my body heal. I'm fortunate in a sense to be by myself right now so I don't have to worry about taking care of my kids just yet. They are with their dad until next week, then I'll have them for a week when I'm 9 days PO. they are 9 and 11, so they can do a lot on their own too. The timing has worked out really well on all of this. I was originally scheduled for April 15, 2014, but I'm SOOOOO glad I moved the date up bc I def would not have been beach ready if I would have done it then. I'll be pretty close at this point and I can't wait to rock a bikini!

Trying to stay positive and focused and keep a good attitude. Whew, the swelling is unreal, and that's one of the trade offs of no drains. But I'm good with no drains bc from everything I've read on here, they are almost worse than the surgery and I'll swell either way. Bring on the Shamu belly if it means no drains! Lol.

Still taking my pain meds. I take one narc every six hours. May try to half it tomorrow, but I'm still quite uncomfortable when I feel it wearing off. I don't like pain and don't think I have a high tolerance for it, so I'm good with the drugs. I'm not worried about dependence bc I HATE that I can't poop well AND have to eat with them. That's a def down side to them and I'm switching to ibuprofen only in the next day or two.

Hope you all are doing well! Thank you to all the RS sisters out there for your words of encouragement! This site truly is a god send bc it reminds us there are others who are going thru what we ourselves are experiencing. Happy healing, fellow Surgery Soldiers! We got this!

Hello, water buffalo...

Ok ladies, I am seriously depressed about the weight gain. I'm UP 8 lbs. I'm about to lose my mind. I've worked so so hard to lose weight and went into this surgery as the "final touch" of that weight loss. Now here I am, four days post op, and my scale is 8 lbs heavier than when I went in. Wtf???!! Not one or two pounds--8lbs! And I've hardly eaten anything. I've tracked ALL my food in myfitnesspal app and I've had between 1100-1900 cals on any given day. I'm trying to follow the zig zag calorie plan so some days are low, some high. I'm completely discouraged. The doc weighed what he took off and it was 2.5 lbs, so I should have even lost weight. This is so disheartening for me and really makes me feel like this was not worth it at all. So now here I sit, in pain and unable to work out, eating very little, losing muscle tone, and gaining weight. Makes me postal. I can't believe I did this to myself.

Swelling in upper thighs?? Normal??

Ok I really am a little freaked out by the swelling in my upper thighs. It's bad. The water retention is visibly noticeable and it's very uncomfortable. Do I need to worry about this becoming dangerous? It's painful just bc it's tight. And some numbness there still. I know I did get a local that is wearing off in my stomach muscles and I'm really not in a lot of pain there any longer, but now the swelling and puffiness in my thighs is concerning me. Still wearing the CG and maybe that's why all the fluid is going to thighs? Anyone else have this?

The hills and valleys

Wow. Let's talk about mood swings. This is like being postpartum. I just had a little pity party for myself and started crying. Omg OW OW OW OW. Trust me, the pain you endure from crying is not worth any feelings of pity or depression. And unfortunately once I start crying, I can't stop. Then I cry more bc it hurts. Omg wicked, awful cycle. My husband had to calm me down. It didn't last long, but it still feels like I've ripped open my BB. And the thing is, I had a pretty good day. Got around really well. Didn't take pain meds as often--but think that was part of the problem. I kept thinking I was past the worst of the pain and so didn't need to take them as much and it snuck up on me. It's so hard for me to figure out when I'm just AHEAD of the pain or OUT of pain. Obviously I'm not out of the woods yet. I keep comparing myself to others on here who go for like ONE day on pain meds and then put them down. Seriously?! What am I missing?? Obviously that's not my pain tolerance and I need to realize it's ok for me to need the pain meds. But I hate them. I get headaches from them and all fuzzy headed and constipated. So I'm just trying to decide if the pain is worse than the medicine. Right now, yes. Ibuprofen just isn't enough for me yet. So I guess that's my advice to everyone else out there: take what the dr prescribes as long as you need it. Don't compare yourself to how others heal bc we all heal differently. And for crying out loud, DON'T CRY! It exponentially worsens the problem!

One week later

Hi friends. I haven't posted in a couple of days bc I have been having a hard time and been kind of down and didn't want to send out the wrong message to all of you who might be thinking of going thru this. So I'll be honest: I'm not loving it. But I had my one week post op yesterday and my doctor kind of chuckled and completely understood where I'm at emotionally and said it's TOTALLY normal. These were my concerns at one week post op:
1. Still very very swollen and actually look worse (in my opinion) than when I went in. One side is more swollen than the other. Look about six months pregnant.
2. Very swollen, bruised and numb in upper thighs. My PS said this too was completely expected and the bruising will even travel all the way down my legs to my calves. I'm glad he told me this so it won't freak me out.
3. Fever/some fluid in my lungs. Again, normal for some people. It's ok to cough and no, he promised I WON'T tear my stitches even tho it may feel like it. Fever has since gone and it's not any kind of infection with my surgery, but it made me nervous and feel like crap while I was running a fever.

He told me it would take four or five weeks for me to even begin to like any part of this and a good three or four months to even see the true results. Even longer to see the lasting changes. It's just been soo soo disheartening for me these past few days bc I really thought I would love it from the beginning. And even tho I knew it would take time, I really thought I would see progress and improvment daily. I don't. Each day is pretty much the same with swelling and fluid retention and sleeplessness. But hearing from my doctor that he PROMISES I will be a believer in a couple months' time has given me renewed hope. I'm holding on to that. He's done this hundreds if not thousands of times and he says nearly everyone goes thru this: feeling like it was NOT worth it to being an absolute believer within three months. He said I won't even recognize my before pics in several weeks. And he reminded me that the good days will soon begin to outnumber the bad. So again, I'm holding onto that.

Here are my celebrations and challenges as of today:
1. I can sleep in my bed with hubby for several hours at a time. It's usually back pain that sends me back to the recliner.
2. I can get out and about and drive as needed. Shopping is tiring and causes a lot of eventual pain still, but it's doable.
3. Pain is def manageable. I take the prescription meds now only if I've overdone it (like yesterday when I had to go to post op appt, finish up Christmas shopping, wrap presents, then get ready for family dinner). Yeah, I overdid yesterday.

1. Swelling. Still. A lot. Enough said.
2. Back ache from only being able to sleep in one position. Dr has given me clearance to sleep however is comfortable, but side sleeping still not working for me.
3. No relations yet! Hoping for this weekend. I miss my hubby....
4. Progress is very very slow. It's difficult for me to accept this, tho I'm trying to have more reasonable expectations of my recovery.
5. Coughing. OMG coughing. It feels like my bb is about to split apart. It helps to have the pillow there to clutch onto, but seriously, nothing is going to prevent pain from coughing. And I'm coughing a lot. I've caught my husbands cold and it's miserable. But frankly, even though it hurts enough to bring tears to your eyes, you even get used to that.

So I think that's it for now. I'm not posting any new pics bc I don't see any changes yet and it just depresses me. So ladies, if I had to decide right this minute, I would say this was NOT worth it. But I know I'm only a week out and I'm not making that final decision for another several weeks bc my doctor and my husband both say I'll love it when I get through this and to the other side. I think I will, too. I had foot surgery several years ago and was MISERABLE when I was in recovery and kept thinking it was the worst thing I had ever done, but now I'm so glad I did it. I know that's how I will be with this surgery. My husband keeps telling me to stop being a Negative Nelly. Lol. I'm trying!! I really don't want to complain since I chose to do this to myself, so if you don't hear from me for a couple of days, it's bc I'm trying not to share my bad mood with everyone else :). But I guess one piece of advice I would share with everyone: make sure you have realistic expectations for your recovery and don't be disappointed if you don't have the "this is fabulous and the best decision I've ever made!" reaction during your journey. Bc I've felt like there is something wrong with me that I DON'T love it. But I truly believe I will, it's just going to take me longer to get there AND THATS OK! :) Merry Christmas to all you RS warriors and may you continue to have happy and healthy healing! Hugs!

(Almost) 2 weeks

Hi RS friends. Well it's been almost 2 weeks since my TT. I'm not gonna lie--it's been rough. I think my recovery has been more challenging bc I got sick on top of everything. For the last couple of days, it's been the cold/flu virus that has been more miserable than the TT. Yesterday was the first day I felt somewhat human. Took down all the Christmas decorations with a lot of much-appreciated help from hubs. I've slept in my bed next to him for the last two nights and that's been wonderful. Still no sex, but a big part of that has been bc of being sick on top of surgery. Hopefully soon! I miss the intimacy and I know he does too! But he's so patient and willing to wait until I feel better.

So the cold is on it's way out, which is terrific, but now I have this wonderful intense burning pain on the right side of my stomach just above my incision. I called the doctor and spoke to them quite a bit about it--apparently quite common and it's nerve endings trying to fire back to life. I can expect this on and off for the next six months and it will come and go in different spots. Oh yay. Seriously. It's short lived, but at the point if pain, it feels like someone is sticking a hot poker in the spot. It's awful.

Swelling still. This is expected to last until about the 6-week mark, at which point I should start to see some improvement. I look very boxy right now and when I talked to the nurse about it, she said it was very normal, esp where they did the lipo at the flanks, upper abs and hips (love handles.). She said there would be extra swelling to be expected there bc of lipo. And bc it's a drainless TT, there's more swelling. So I continue to feel like a Vienna sausage. Or maybe the Pilsbury Dough Boy. Either image is appropriate.

What else...? Not much else has changed. I don't know how to describe what I'm going through emotionally right now... I looked forward to this surgery for so long, and now that it's over and there is no magic INSTANTANEOUS transformation, I'm just kind of blah. I think I'm going to like my results. I'm still not there yet, but I do trust my doctor and hope that once this swelling diminishes, I'll have the positive results I'm anticipating. So now it's just a waiting game. And that's boring. Life just goes on as normal. For me, there hasn't yet been that huge life alternating change that I guess I was expecting. Still can't wear my pre-op pants--still too much swelling. So that's disappointing too. I go back to work on Thursday and can't even look forward to workouts. Blah. Blah. Blah!

(Almost) 2 weeks, take 2

Lord I had a total breakdown this afternoon. I was able to get a prescription for the nerve pain in my side. When I went to pick it up and read through the label, I saw it was for treatment of the herpes virus. So I'm sitting in my car thinking everyone at the walgreens pharmacy thinks I have herpes. I started sobbing. And once I started, I couldn't stop. Had myself a real little pity party. There is no part of this that I like right now, and since it's something I've done to myself, I feel like I can't even share my depression and disappointment with anyone around me. So that made me cry more. And then I cried because I was being such a whiny baby and crying, for crying out loud! (There's no crying in baseball!!). AND to top it off, I got home and read the possible side effects of this medication: increased chance of serious depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. Seriously?! Yeah, I really need to feel more depressed, anxious, and potentially suicidal. Jeez. But on a positive note, the burning pain has subsided!

Does anyone feel like you're in a nightmare of your own making? I truly feel like frankenstein--a monster of my own making!

2 weeks--and it's been a GREAT DAY!

Yep, you heard it right. After the super low of last night, today I'm on a huge upswing. So I'm def celebrating today's hill on this roller coaster ride! Went for a two mile walk, completed three loads of laundry, made beef stew, finished taking down outside decorations. And planning on seducing my husband tonight (if aunt flow will cooperate and hold off for just one more day!). I'll let you know how THAT goes!

But just a quick update on walk: today is two weeks and I was able to complete two miles at a fairly good pace. It didn't hurt at all, except at times my back, and that's when I knew I was hunching. Once I straightened up, back pain went away. I tried a light jog--the colonel at the ROTC program at school calls it the "marine shuffle"--but this hurt my hips, off all things. I think it's from where I had lipo. It wasn't terrible, but uncomfortable enough that I knew I wasn't ready for a jog yet. But walking was great. No pain, just complete numbness. The best way I can describe it: felt like I had a huge wooden board super glued to my entire abdomen. Not painful, just a weird sensation. Oh, and I was not wearing a CG. Which leads me to next paragraph...

Haven't worn my CG since yesterday morning. It was rubbing against the part of my stomach that had the nerve pain and was killing me. Honestly, I am so much more comfortable without it. I asked the nurse at the PS office if I had to wear it, and she basically said it was up to me and whatever was most comfortable. It supposedly helps reduce swelling, but honestly, I haven't noticed a difference either way. I'm a Vienna sausage with or without it, so I'm going without it. Slept without it last night, too, and was so much more comfortable. So for those of you who are wondering, you will NOT be struck down by lightning if you ditch the CG.

The medication that they prescribed for the nerve pain has been amazing. Anyone who encounters the burning, hot-poker-stabbing-you sensation at different points around your procedure: ask your doctor about neurontin. It's for nerve pain and it has worked great for me. It's worth a shot! I still have some pain when I move a certain way, but it's def less intense and manageable with the medication. I would highly recommend it for anyone suffering from this pain.

At two weeks, I'm not experiencing any pain in my stomach anymore. I still have severe tightness and swelling, but no pain. Swelling is still ridiculous. My waist is still 5 inches bigger than pre op, which is CRAZY since they did both a TT and lipo at this site. That's some serious water retention. My pants are still tight at the waist, but I can at least button them now, when a couple of days ago I couldn't even do that. So I do feel like I'm making progress. Nurse at PS office said it would be at least 6 weeks until I saw noticeable improvement. So I've just become accustomed to waiting. I'm not expecting any huge changes for several more weeks, so I guess I've just become used to where I'm at. It's just going to take me a little longer to get the results I want.

Thanks to all of you for the encouragement and support!! This site has been a HUGE help as I continue to go through this process. We truly are a community of cyber-sisters and understand one another in a way others who haven't been down this road can't and don't understand. Happy healing and happy new year!

Gasp! Two great days IN A ROW!

Yep, another good day. Went for a 2.1 mile walk and was able to even get it up to a "marine core shuffle" for about a mile! The difference: I wore my CG on the walk today. Ok, I retract my statement from yesterday: it DOES offer additional support and DOES reduce swelling somewhat. I'm still more comfortable without it, but on days where I'm going to exercise, I need to suffer through it I did notice a difference. Sigh.

Nerve pain is gone today. Nurse did forewarn me that it would come and go. So apparently it's decided to go today. Fine by me! I'll take pain-free days as often as I can get them! No pain at all in my tummy still, just the never-ending swelling and tightness. I sometimes worry I'm going to get stretch marks FROM this procedure, when it is designed to help get rid of some of them! Swell Hell seems to be a permanent fixture for me at this point. I've just kind of gotten used to it.

I did do some arm exercises today as well. Bicep curls and shoulder presses. Sat in a chair and was able to do three sets of each (8 lb weights) without pain. Feels good to get the arms working again.

Heading back to work tomorrow. Not nearly as worried about it as I was a couple of days ago. I feel almost normal, even though I'm not looking it yet. I still can't wear my size 6 pre-op pants, but I'm able to wear my size 8 pants and I have plenty of skirts and dresses, so at least I have some work clothes I can squeeze into. I'm looking forward to the day when I can finally see the flat tummy and wear all my clothes again! I am down in water weight-- I'm now only 2 lbs heavier than pre op weight, when a week ago I was about 10 lbs heavier. Baby steps! And since I know there is still major swelling, I know these last few pounds will come off eventually. Sooooo frustrating that it takes so long.

There is a light at the end of this long tunnel, ladies! It's going to take me a little longer to get to my destination, but every day I'm making progress and feeling better. For those of you who are unlucky enough to be on the long road (like me!) don't give up!! We will get there!

Holy cow, how did I forget to tell you about the S-E-X?!

I can't believe I ended my last post and didn't give an update on the "seduction of husband". Well, really, after two weeks, it didn't take much of a seduction. He was originally really worried about hurting me, but I assured him and REassured him I was feeling great and not in any pain. No, I won't post any seriously raunchy details--you can message me if you want to know more--but let's just say, it was a huge success. Happy ending for both of us :). No pain for me! Ironically, his knee was killing him, so I was feeling great and he was in pain. Huh--who would have thunk it??!! So that was a great way to ring in the new year! Yay!

19 days with updated pics

As promised, I'm going to post pics. My scar looks GREAT and that's probably what I am most pleased about at this point. I'm still very swollen. You'll be able to see the swelling in my pics but it is not as bad in the morning obviously. I took these pics first thing this morning. My right side is still much more swollen and I still look preggo from that side. My hips and flanks are also very swollen and I look very boxy still--I have no definition in my waist and I'm still UP about 4 inches from my pre-op measurements. Swelling. Ugh.

Went back to work this past Thursday. It was harder than I thought jist bc I was EXHAUSTED and sore by th end of the day. I don't have a strenuous job physically, but it takes a lot out of you just to be "on" for that long a period of time. I had felt really really good for two days before going back to work so I thought it would be a piece of cake. Whew was I mistaken. I ended up working only half a day Friday. I go back tomorrow for a full week, so I'm resting up as much as possible today. Basically, it's not painful really (though I do have more pain now in my hips, I think from the lipo)--it's just exhausting bc my body is just not back up to 100% yet.

I'll try to update more as I progress. It's becoming more routine now--things aren't changing much. Still trying to get in light exercising. Did a 1 mile pool jog yesterday. That was a great way to exercise with little impact on joints, muscles, etc. Highly recommend pool exercises if you have access to an indoor pool in these winter months. Was going to walk again today, but it's raining so not sure if the weather will cooperate with those plans. I do think light activity has helped with my recovery. I know there's a lot of debate about how much activity and exercise you should incorporate post op, but being active has def been a benefit for me. Just listen to your body and STOP if anything hurts.

Continued happy healing, RS sisters!

(Almost) 5 week post-op--WARNING: Graphic pics!

Hi ladies. It's been a while since I've posted, so thought I'd give everyone an update.

1. Swelling: not much has changed. Still very very swollen. In fact, have noticed the swelling has gotten worse the last couple of days, but from what I've read on here, that's to be expected.... a lot of women have posted that it peaks at about 6 weeks. I'm experiencing that exactly. Had my first "ken doll" moment. Ewwwwww. It's pretty bizarre to see the va jay jay that puffy and swollen. Kinda killed the mood for me and hubby the other night. It doesn't hurt, but it's definitely weird-looking. Even at over 4 weeks post-op, I still can't wear most of my pre-op pants b/c of the swelling. And the best part: I can expect this "new normal" for at least 3 months. Not quite what I anticipated prior to having this surgery. I'm hoping the end result will be worth it, but right now I'm finding it very hard to be happy about where I'm at. I was expecting swelling, but not to this degree and for this long.

2. Exercise: I'm pretty close to "normal" when it comes to working out. I went for a two mile jog yesterday. Much slower than I was pre-op and I tire much more quickly, but I'm not in much pain. NO pain in my tummy, just some discomfort in my hips and thighs from the lipo. And the exercise definitely contributes to additional swelling. I'm also more sore at night in hips/thighs when I exercise that day. It's frustrating b/c I feel like I'm starting over with exercise and I feel very out-of-shape even though I've only been out of the gym for a month. But I'm determined to get back to where I was pre-op, so I'm counting on that muscle memory!

3. Sex: No problems in this arena! Well, let me qualify that: sometimes the swelling in my lower abs makes it uncomfortable in the traditional missionary position. I feel like my husband is either going to bounce right off me OR pop me and I'll deflate like an over-inflated balloon. But really, we work around it and just have fun in different positions. So other than the ever-problematic swelling, sex is not a problem! :)

I'm adding pics my doctor's office sent me that were taken from DURING my surgery. I'm really encouraged by these pics, b/c when I see how much skin was taken from my body, I don't see how I CAN'T be flat once the swelling subsides. It's just going to take time......

Scar revision done today. 4 mo PO

Hi ladies. Yes it's been a while since I've posted. Here's my update: I've been working out like crazy. I do crossfit four-five times a week, and I'm rocking the sit-ups. I have no problem with ab exercises and I'm loving the definition I'm seeing. I don't know if I'll ever get to the true six-pack, but I am LOVING my tummy. I had to go in for revision today and Dr D was able to take off another couple of inches of skin and fat. I'm posting pics that I took this morning when I woke up and then ones I took right after surgery a couple of hours later. I'm definitely more flat. I look back through my posts and it's taken me longer to get here than most, but I'm def on the flat side and I love my new tummy. Even if I wouldn't have had the revision, my stomach is so much better than it was. I wore a bikini to the beach this week and felt amazing and confident and happy with the way I looked. It's been a looooong time since I've felt like that. I'll post the bikini pic, too, but realize I've had the revision just today, so my tummy is even flatter than the pic. I do think exercising and working out are a crucial part of this entire process. I think I am happier with my results bc I'm adding in regular core exercises. So anyone out there contemplating this surgery: it's not "magic." You still need to eat properly and fit in exercise. It just enhances the results. So yes, four months out, I can say this was definitely worth it and I'm excited about my results.

Bikini photo

Didn't want to include husband in the pic--wasn't sure he would appreciate it. This was taken this week at the beach. Prior to today's revision. So the tummy is even flatter, which makes me very happy!

What a difference!!!!!

Wow. So I just reread through all my posts and looked at the progression of my pics. I haven't been on the site in a while, so I apologize for the gap. But HOLY COW what a difference a couple of months has made in the journey. I look back to how flabby I was pre-op. And how unhappy I was those first few weeks post op. I'm in a completely different place now. As expected, I have made it through to the other side and I LOVE my results. As I said earlier, even if I had to live with the tummy and NOT had today's revision, the results are still worth it. Don't get me wrong--I'm super glad I had the revision today. I mean, you pay this much money for something, you want it to be as close to terrific as possible, right? But jeez, I have come a long way. I'm really glad I posted about my journey here--it's helpful to go back and reread where I was compared to where I am now. Time makes the memories fuzzy, but being able to reread everything brings it into a little more focus. So anyone out there considering this kind of surgery: chronicle your journey, whether privately or on a forum such as this. You will appreciate it as you get farther and farther from your procedure. I hope my experiences have been helpful to others. It's not all good and pretty along the way, but I tried to keep it real. I still can't believe how much better my tummy looks now than it did pre-op. Yes, yes. This was definitely worth it.
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon

My consultation was wonderful. Dr. Davis was very patient and explained the procedure very carefully and answered all my questions. His staff was very professional and helpful. I have my pre-op appointment in a couple of weeks. Surgery is exactly 4 weeks from tomorrow. I'm trying to lose about 8 lbs. in that time, just so I can be at my ideal weight prior to surgery. I expect to lose 8-10 lbs. because of the surgery (I carry almost all of my excess weight in my abdomen) so I don't really want to lose any more than that. Dr. Davis even explained that I don't really need to lose additional weight because most of what I'm dealing with would need to be surgically removed, but I figure a few extra pounds won't hurt! Very positive experience thus far!

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