61 Years Old, Waiting for This for 40 Years. Fresno, CA

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My time has come! I honestly don't know if I...

My time has come! I honestly don't know if I would have had the courage to go forward if not for all the candid women (and men) on Real Self. I'm one of those that needs to know all the nitty gritty of what to expect so a heartfelt thanks to all of you! My consultation was November 21, 2014 and my surgery date is fast approaching this December 4, 2014. I guess I'm as prepared as I can be, I even watched the surgery on YouTube. I'm 61 years old, 5'5" and 115 lbs. My surgeon is Board Certified in Plastic Surgery. Dr. Kaye Riolo replaced my 30 year old ruptured silicon breast implants in 2004 and I was very pleased with the results and she always put my mind at ease. A few years ago my CPA told me that she had a tummy tuck and showed me the beautiful results and I found out that Dr. Riolo had performed the surgery. Like many of you, it took me a while to decide to go ahead with the surgery but seeing her results and after the consultation I was ready to go. I can't believe that this time next week I will be 1 day post op! I must mention that my biggest fear is my age. It seems many on this site are so young, more my daughter's age. As you get older, it takes longer to heal and the thought of complications frighten me. I am healthy, no prescription meds have ever been prescribed by my doctors and aside from lower blood pressure (which is normal for me) I think I'm good to go. I haven't heard back about my presurgical labs yet which included an EKG but I'm going to assume all is well. My concerns less than a week out are: surviving the anesthesia and surgery, scar placement as I don't have a lot of extra skin above the BB so my surgeon mentioned that I might have a small vertical scar in order to get a low incision which is my preference (trade off I'm willing to accept), belly button appearance which is very important to me. I checked to make sure my surgeon uses inside stitches. Also pain. I tend to be nauseated after anesthesia and don't tolerate pain meds well. Looking at my list of concerns I see that they are not any different than most...I have a dear friend taking care of me at her home for the first 4-5 days. I purchased an electric self lifting recliner that also massages and has heat from Craigslist for only $300. (less than the cost to rent one). It looks brand new. Also, the suggestions here were to get a shower chair and a toilet riser (both with arms), a walker, and a travel pillow to aid my comfort while sleeping in the recliner. I've got all the pharmacy goodies my physician requires and those items suggested by many of you on this site. I've got squeezable fruit/veggie drinks, crackers for nausea, etc. I think I'm basically prepared for the end of the world!

Just woke up day 1 post op

Wow! Just before 2am and so woke up feeling good. Hope this continues through the day. I know to expect ups and downs so right now I'll enjoy this. My anesthesiologist was like an angel of mercy! We talked at great length about my problems and I can't believe I woke up nauseau free and no uncontrollable shaking. This made handling the pain more bearable...and Holy Mother of God, it hurts! So difficult to move, dress etc. my surgeon left the urinary catheter in and what a blessing this has been. I have 2 drains and after yesterday draining about 20cc they have been basically empty so Ill call tomorrow and hopefully het them removed. They don't really bother me but if nothing is coming out they should go. I'm so grateful for my dear friend and caretaker. She takes care of me like a pro! Only problem is she is hilarious and makes me laugh ... Ouch ????????. Could not have done this without her. The supplies I purchased are invaluable .. The recliner is fab - it self lifts, vibrates/massages and the Comfy Commuter Travel Pillow (Amazon) has been worth every cent! A RS member recommended and I'm eternally grateful for these tips. Also a member suggested those organize squeezable veggie, fruit drinks ... Very cold - they go down easy and I've not gotten sick from the Norco. I must say, my dr prescribed Valium as muscle relaxer and I get the most relief from this! Today I've got to take the catheter out so I've been trying to walk to the bathroom as practice runs but haven't made it that far yet. But I will -I must today! My "head" is good so far...but Im prepared for the emotional roller coaster that will eventually show its face. Haven't seen my tummy yet but the staff said it looks fantastic so I'm optimistic.

Difficulting posting pic

Trying to post pic again

Feeling remarkably good

What a difference a couple of days make. I'm experiencing just discomfort. Can walk around easily but using my walker to remind myself to walk hunched over. I purposely missed the last 2 doses of Norco and doing fine with Valium only every 6 hours . Valium is great as it puts me to sleep but I don't feel groggy when I wake. My drains are empty but ps suggested leaving until Monday. No biggie, they don't both me. Don't know if I mention but took catheter out yesterday and its nice to have less thing hanging off my body. I haven't showrered yet so haven't had a chance to set doctor's handiwork. I'm taking photos but cant upload from my phone for some reason . Need to walk and then nap so more later. So far.....worth it! ????????????

Grateful things are going so well ????

I feel lucky and that ally preparation paid off. I was in decent shape going into this and always eat well but I think the biggy was that I did not have any Lopo - just muscle repair and extra skin removal . My 2 drains have been empty since the morning of post op day 1. I did have a couple of bad hours- my caretaker skipped a dose of pain meds one afternoon and oh Lord I was miserable till it finally kicked in. Never skip a dose until you are super sure you no longer need them.....OUCH!!!!

So far so good!

Had surgery Thurs Dec 4 1914... It's Monday after. My mind and fingers are coordinating well so please forgive all the typos ????. I'm off the Norco but still taking the Valium. First post Ofc visit is this Weds - drain removal will be great. Walking fairly straight but use walker to remind myself to stay huntched until I see the dr. Still haven't yaken a peek yet but tonight I'm going to shower so I'll take photos....here's hoping I'm thrilled to bits with what I see. ????????????. (By the way , do you all get the emojis that I insert? ).

Finally out of the recliner

The recliner was such a blessing and comfort but now I never want to see it again .... Awwww, first night in bed was heavenly and I was able to sleep on my side. I was going to shower last night but both my angel of mercy (caretaker) and I were too exhausted. Must today as my 1st post op is at 3:15 and I'd like to go in smelling like CoCo instead of 7 days in a recliner :-) I'm feeling good but get exhausted with every little effort. I am getting strength back every day tho. Must remind myself this is my time to rest and recuperate.

Photo Updates

I wasn't able to upload any photos until I arrived home so here are some updates. I'm feeling good but have been in swell hell since day 2 and it's not going down. I've lost 7 lbs since the surgery..tummy bigger and body smaller.

More Photos

And then.....I started to swell.

And even more!

Day 11

Not much change with the exception of bruising is started to fade. Still swollen. I found a new pair of spanx in the back of my drawer that had never been worn so switched out from the Marena body garment from my surgeon which is a size M and I feel with the 7 lbs weight loss it's not snug enough. In addition I'm wearing the binder I left surgery with on top of the spanx. Overall I'm pleased - BB looks good, long incision is nice and low and the vertical scar will fade out.

Still Swollen! :-(

Well here I am on day 25 post op....it's going by quickly. I'm still uncomfortable especially at night. I moved back to the recliner for a few days and then back to my own bed. At night I get these weird cramps (like those you would get in a calf muscle) in my abs but without the pain. It's like the muscles "freeze up" and it wakes me up and I have to get out of bed and walk around. Has this happened to anyone else? The swelling has never gone down. My lower belly is round and l look about 5 months pregnant. My upper belly is flat and tight. Any suggestions for reducing the swelling. I'm wearing long tops to cover it up. I guess I'm getting to that dreaded discouraged stages of recovery. Now for the good news, my scar is healing nicely and I've started the Embrace Scar Therapy. I've worn the strips for a week and half and go into PS tomorrow to have new one applied. I will have them changed out every week however with the holidays this first time is 10 days but they are still stuck on very tightly. I have to remove them tonight for overnight and new ones applied tomorrow. I wear 3 on the long horizontal scar and 1 smaller strip on the vertical scar. They are very comfortable. I'm posting a few photos from last week since not much change since then. Photos are dated.

Do I dare say the swelling is subsided somewhat?

I haven't posted as there wasn't much change in appearance until the last day or so. The swelling seems to be less - Thank God! I had to go back to taking a muscle relaxer (Valium) as the spasms at night woke me every 2 hours or so and I wasn't getting any sleep. Insomnia is a major factor in my life so I'm constantly concerned. Yesterday I went to my ps for the third round of Embrace Scar Therapy strips. I've been wearing them now since December 19th (almost 3 weeks) and the rep suggested a minimum of 8 weeks. PS says my scar is healing very nicely but we really don't know if this is as a result of the Embrace or if I would be healing this way on my own. I really believe the therapy is making a difference and I love the secure feeling I get from having them on. The first time removing them was a bit of a challenge as I tried to remove them dry with just a bit of Aquaphor and alcohol. Now its no problem - warm shower, creamy soap (Dove) and a gentle wash cloth. I remove them the night before and then they are reapplied next day at PS office. Has anyone else used Embrace? I'd love to know your experience.

Update - Embrace, Swelling & Bromelain

Thought I'd give some photo updates with regard to healing and progress of Embrace Scar Therapy. I'm 7 weeks post op and a day shy of 5 weeks with Embrace. This last week a portion of the vertical scar where my old BB had been has all but disappeared - Yay!! With regard to swelling - still dealing with this. I started taking Bromelain (Jarrow Formula 1000 GDU 2x a day) and it seemed to help the first few days. Like many of you, swelling is much less in the morning than later in the day. I have never been flat however so I'm still looking forward to it and trusting that it will eventually happen...

Sorry - photos will not load.

I'll try later.

photos 1-21-15

Embrace Packaging

19 Weeks Post Op (4.5 months)

It's been awhile since I updated as there didn't seem to be too much change. I've been using BioCorneum+, another scar therapy, for the past 56 days. I have another post op with PS on Wednesday and she will most likely suggest that I continue for another 30 days for a total of 90 days. It's only been in the last week that I've seen some results. I didn't start this therapy until about week 10 post op and I believe it's usually started at about week 2 post op but I was using the Embrace. I'm still swollen in the lower ab - either that or this is my final result. I'm not sure. I am 61 yrs so my skin elasticity is not what it use to be. My upper ab skin was really tight for awhile and now seems to have relaxed a bit. I really wish everything was a bit tighter. I have to admit however that I have not been back to the gym and I did gain a few pounds. Still overall it has been so worth it. Loving my waist (24.5"-25" now - presurgery it was 28") and my new BB. I'm posting an up close of BB, vertical and horizontal scars and also some swimsuit photos - YAY!!! I haven't worn a swimsuit in over 20 years. I went a little crazy and bought 7 bikinis. Whether I ever wear them or not remains to be seen :-)

Protein Rich Plasma Therapy for Stretch Marks

Today on The Doctors tv show they highlighted a therapy for stretch marks that they said is very promising. It uses your own blood and separates out the protein rich plasma and a device with tiny little needles. Apparently this plasma stimulates the collagen and lifts the stretch marks making them flatten out and appear less. Has anyone tried this?
Fresno Plastic Surgeon

In 2004, Kaye Riolo MD, a board certified plastic surgeon, removed my 30 year old ruptured silicon breast implants and replaced with the new and improved version. At that time, she was in practice doing mainly reconstructive surgeries (breast cancer, etc.). I was referred to her by my primary care physician who is extremely meticulous about his referrals so I really never had a doubt as to her skills and experience. I guess I always thought of her as a "boob" doctor so she didn't initially come to mind when I began thinking of a TT. Then my CPA told me about her TT performed by Dr. Riolo and I saw the beautiful results. Fast forward almost 10 years and I have chosen Dr. Riolo for my TT surgery. Not only is she one of the best in her field but she also brings with her a strong team, a board certified anesthesiologist, Dr. Tara Chandhari, and her own surgical nurse. Surgery will be performed in an outpatient surgery center, Renaissance Surgery Center in Fresno, accredited by Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. I've tried to cover all my bases for the best outcome. Dr. Riolo is warm and funny and puts me at ease. Her office and staff are the same and have been ready and able to answer all my concerns. I never feel rushed and never have to wait in the office for my appointments. I get the feeling that they are "there just for me"!

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