Being overweight runs in my family. It isn't...
Being overweight runs in my family. It isn't something I've ever liked, but no matter how hard I tried, I could never get the weight off. Between hip issues and a seriously sadly performing metabolism, I was doomed to a sedentary life. About three years ago, I took drastic non-surgical methods to start loosing weight. Then about 5 months later I met an amazing orthopedic surgeon who took on the challenge of rebuilding my hip and the muscles around it. After that procedure, I could actually work out. More weight came off. My top weight was 235 pounds and I was in size 16. My bottom weight was 158 and I was in size 8. I am now at 170 and in size 6. (I am 5'8" and will be 35 in a couple weeks).
As you can imagine, 25+ years of being overweight can reek havoc on one's body. At my request, my husband began a crazy information gathering adventure for me on what my options are. He spent hours upon hours researching over the course of a year. Yes, it took me that long to even take the leap of going to a consultation. In the past 6 months, I've seen 7 plastic surgeons and some of those twice. I've even seen my GP to see what his thoughts were. You see, I've worked so hard to get into shape without surgery and, to me, a tummy tuck was cheating. Each person I saw was amazed at how well my skin did rebound from my past, but every person I spoke to confirmed that there was no possible way I could exercise my way into tighter skin. I had done everything I possibly could. So, after 22 months of research and 6 months worth of consults, I finally became comfortable with the idea and scheduled my procedure!
Now, choosing a doctor was quite a challenge. (My husband did his research well, which made it difficult for me to reduce the list!). I got along with each and every one of them. Not one of them gave me a bad feeling and I'm sure I would have gotten good results from any of them. Therefore, I couldn't use that as a limiting factor.
To prepare for my consults, I researched questions to ask and I took detailed notes. Each appointment would give me a new piece of information that would be useful at my next appointment. I would especially listen to their recommendations and preferences so I could understand why they did things the way they did.
There was no one thing I could point to that would reduce the list of candidates. So, we had to get creative. Going over my notes, we started looking for inconsistencies in the responses. What I mean by this is why they would use techniques such as: over the muscle vs. under the muscle for the breast augmentation or size/shape/length/location of the tummy tuck scar. When I started the consultations, I was seriously concentrating on the breast augmentation. I figured a tummy tuck, is a tummy tuck, is a tummy tuck. That is not the case. Make sure you ask detailed questions on where the doc is going to cut you and where your scar is going to be. Like I said, size/shape/length/location are very based on what your doctor thinks will work best. As you see the different doctors and you gain more knowledge, you will find that you'll want to talk to previous doctors again so you can get their opinion. As I mentioned earlier, I did that very thing. As I started noting the difference in their responses, I was able to slowly reduce my list.
I ended up choosing the doctor Whose tummy tuck products I fell in love with. While I had decided I was going to wear my scar as a badge of honor when this whole thing started, I realized that I actually had options. She has a very particular way of doing her scars which allows them to be located lower than most of the other doctors I talked to would do. Keep in mind that low isn't always good because if it is done incorrectly, you can end up with tugging on the mons in an unattractive way. So be sure you're comfortable with your doctor.
Just because I ended up putting a lot of weight on the tummy tuck procedure, I also needed to be comfortable with this doctor's breast augmentations. I actually had a lot of hesitation at the beginning on her BA's. The photos she had were really good and I liked what she had to say, but I was not comfortable with the size she suggested. Every other doctor I talked to would put me in 475-600 CC's, but she was only suggesting 375-400. The discrepancy was because she does not use sizers and we were only discussing a "look". She doesn't use sizers because she feels they give a misconception of what you will look like and they are not accurate. She also believes it can also skew a persons view on what their body will actually accept. So, when we are talking of cup size, I had asked for a full D. I had always been busty and had been as large as a G at my largest. That may have skewed my idea of size. I realized after doing a little bra shopping that I wanted a full DD. It turned out that what I thought I was telling her I wanted was different than what I actually wanted. She was giving me her suggestion on what would get me to the look I asked for. I just needed to up the size I requested. How I found this out? I made rice sizers and got my measurements done. The 500 CC's was definitely larger than what I was asking for.
Once I figured this out, I went down to the office, scheduled my appointment and put my money down. I did my pre-op appointment which covered what I needed to know about the surgery and recovery through the first couple post-op appointments. I've picked up my prescriptions and surgery is this Wednesday. More to come.
I had my pre-op appointment on the 15th. We went over a giant stack of paperwork and made sure all my questions were answered. We made sure that I still wanted to proceed with the TT and BA and confirmed what size I was looking for. We will do that again day of surgery. There was a long list of NO items to eat/drink/take. The shopping list wasn't too crazy (dial soap, easy on the tummy foods, get your prescriptions ahead of time, straws - helps you to drink more and that's very important, and a good multivitamin). Also, you can only take Tylenol for the two weeks leading to surgery. Other helpful tips have been a shower stool, hand-held shower nozzle, a walker (since you will be bent over for a few days), and a raise toilet seat. Soft pull on pants and shirts you don't have to pull on over your head are a must.
I've got a great support structure. My husband is going to be with me the whole time and my girlfriends are going to keep us fed and/or supply company. (There is concern my husband may kill me if he tries to cook so better safe than sorry). Food is extremely important for the body to heal. Make sure you have easily accessible foods that do not require prep. The companionship will be helpful too. Keeping your spirits up is just as important as the food in my opinion.
I will be out of the office for 19 days, but back to working from home after 12 days depending on how I feel.
Here are some before pictures. I just took these yesterday.
28 Sep 2016
Day of treatment
This morning got away from me and I didn't get an update done before going in. The nervousness did start to kick in this morning. I've been so busy with work that I haven't even really been able to think about my surgery; however, that was not the case this morning (or last night).
All of the staff were super supportive and very friendly. They made me feel very comfortable physically and mentally. The doctor came in and we reviewed everything one last time to make sure we were on the same page. I have lovely marker lines all over my body. It looks like a jigsaw puzzle. I really liked the anesthesiologist as well. We actually had similar procedures.
Once all of that was done and all questions were answered, I was wheeled into the operating room and my hubby had to go wait outside.
I do not remember the discussion after my procedure and have to rely completely on my husband for that information. Apparently, my muscles are too dang strong and it took a lot more effort to get my implants in under the muscle than expected but she got it done. She did minor repair work on my ab wall, more for aesthetics than anything else and some minor lipo on my flanks to help make that hourglass figure.
All in all they were very happy with how the procedure went and I was able to go home. Postop appointment is tomorrow and I'll have more information then.
Here are some pictures of me home resting in bed.
The great unveiling
24 hours after my surgery and things are going well. I'm keeping up on the meds and taking all of the assistance I can get. I don't want to risk something going wrong. I didn't have any nausea issues and I was ready to eat right away. I'm still being careful on what I eat though just to make sure I don't get sick. I also keep doing the breathing machine thing. It helps to keep the lungs open and forces you to take deep breaths. To keep the blood circulation going, I do a lap around the living room before going to the bathroom which is about every two hours. While in bed, I do ankle circles and wiggle my toes.
My first post-op appointment was today. They looked me over and put new steristrips on me. I got fitted for my bra and retightened down on my tummy. I'm actually not getting much out of my drains (only about 5-10 ml each) everyone 2 hours. My first drain could come out as early as Monday and the second on Thursday.
Doc went over the fact that my BA was much more difficult than she expected. My pec muscles didn't want to separate but she prevailed. I'll probably be more sore than usual because of that. I ended up with 445cc Natrelle Inspira SRM's in each boob. She also did a bit of lipo on my flanks. She didn't take much. The goal was to give me a bit of shape on the backside. The tummy tuck looks good too. I was a bit trepidatious about seeing the wound for the first time. I'm not one of those kinds of people who can handle extensive wounds. I could get sick. I'm proud of myself. I looked it over and didn't have any problems. She did a great job on the line.
Here's some pictures from the docs office.
Another 24 hours past
So I'm into day two of my recovery. I'm feeling pretty good but I am on a double dose of pain meds due to the extra work Doc had to do. She wants me to stay double dosed for a few more days then drop down. I do get sharp, needle pricking feelings along my tummy and less so under my breasts. The pain does seem to rotate back and forth from the two areas. At least it's not all sharp pains all over and it is also manageable.
I'm sleeping on my back for a couple hours at a time. I have tons of pillows under my back and my arms to prevent over extension. I go to the bathroom and do a walk around the living room each time I wake up. The idea is to get moving without doing too much.
Lots of water and good food.
I was surprised by my scar. I was very hesitant to see it. I've never really been good with those types of things, but I did look and it's really not back. I'm excited to stand straight so I can see where the scar will be and try on some clothes.
Day 3 of recovery
I cut my pain meds in half last night. I was itching so bad I started tearing holes in my skin. I decided I would see if I could handle the pain on the reduced amount and see if the itching reduced. I could and It did. Just so you know itching doesn't necessarily mean you are allergic, it's if you end up with hives or rashes that you need to be concerned. However, itching yourself to death just stinks.
I've been sleeping for longer periods of time now too. I think I failed to mention I was having some difficulties peeing. I could feel the pressure like I wanted to go but could only get the smallest amount out. Keep in mind I drink a ton of water (100-150oz of water a day) so I knew there was more that wanted out. So the pressure would build and my tummy would hurt which meant I was waking my husband every 1.5-2 hours to go to the bathroom. Now that my bladder is working normally, I don't have to get up in the middle of the night 5 times.
My bowels on the other hand continue to be a problem. This isn't uncommon for me. I've always had issues and recently had a colonoscopy to see if they could figure out why it takes 7-14 days for me to have a bowel movement. So going into this know between the anesthesia and the pain meds I would have even worse of a time, I've been taking a full cap of Miralax and two Senna tabs every night. It's helping. I got a bit out today.
My body is looking fine and I don't have any concerns at the moment. The pain is manageable and I'm not having any issues. So far good ????.
Adding more pics too. There is one of my back. You can't see much because I'm hiding my tattoo but I wanted to show the bruising from the lipo on my flanks. I did ask about the cavitation issues with lipo prior to allowing it and she was very confident that I shouldn't have any. She has not seen this to be a problem on the flanks. It is common on the hips, thighs and such areas.
Belly button worries on day 4
So this morning I unbound myself so I could take a shower and my belly button worried me. I know they will not look "good" but this was ugly. There is a long redish line going up the center and down the center of my body. Not only that, the coloring and mucus build up didn't look healthy. So I took a picture and texted my doc. She called me immediately to talk it through with me. I'm pulling the binder too tight. That is all. She told me to put a thick Maxie pad or gauze over it before putting the binder back on. It would help prevent the skin from folding over on itself. She said if the yellow ball falls out, just put it back in. She assured me it would go away.
She then went over everything else with me to make sure all else was fine. How do you feel? How is the pain level? How does the stomach feel? And the breasts? Yada-yada. Basically did a checkup over the phone. She made me feel so comfortable and I might be able to get one of my drains out tomorrow!
Day 5 and 6
I was a bit exhausted yesterday and forgot to post before I went to bed. So for yesterday:
We called the office first thing to see if I could get in. Both of my drains had fallen below 30ml's in a 34 hour period so I needed to get in to have one removed. They got me in after lunch and my doc took the first drain out. She was very impressed with how good I was looking. She was also impressed with my pain management. I'm already standing about 70-80% upright and my pain level is manageable. She said she pulled me very tight so was surprised at how upright I am. I'm also moving without aid although I still choose to use the cane if I'm going to be walking around. Doc wants me to start wearing the ace bandage to push my boobs down at night and says she doesn't have an issue with me going braless. She wants to get the lower skin to stretch. Wearing the bra keeps them up high. I'm still in the ad compression garment she provided as well. She also talked to me again about my belly button. She thinks it's going to heal up fine but it will take time. It will be a light scare then fade. She waded up a big ball of gauze and put it on my belly button before tightening down the binding. This filled the void caused by my belly button and will prevent the skin from closing over when the garment is on. So all in all, 5 days in things are looking fantastic.
Now for today: I actually slept a lot more than I anticipated. I have insomnia as a general rule so my sleeping has been pretty low even with the meds. I would say I've gotten 6-8 hours of sleep each nigh since the surgery which for me is really good. I haven't had naps during the day either. Also keep in mind that I haven't really pushed hard either. I want to do everything right so that I get the best results so I haven't been burning too much extra energy during the day. Today was a different story. I slept half the day away and I'm ready for bed again. I did do a lap around my street today. It was only about 1,000 steps but that could have been what did me in. I've been trying for about a 1,000 steps a day (all day) and I did them all in one swoop. Yesterday was a big day too with going out of the house so I think I just exhausted myself.
I think I'm getting antsy like everyone else and want to know what my final outcome is. It's way too soon to tell anything but I'm already second guessing my boob size. I initially wanted, going with the cup size concept, a D. after seeing several doctors and trying sizers, I jumped to 500-600 CC's. after really looking at that, I decided that was a bit on the big size for my active life style since I'd be pushing past DDD at that point. I dropped back down to the DD idea and gave my doctor leave to decide the right CC's that would fit my frame. My eyes are looking for bigger right now. My husband keeps telling me to be patient and wants me to be happy with the outcome so is trying to get me off boob size and looking at my profile. The idea is to like the way I look and not be stuck on numbers. I now know all of the previous ladies pain with the waiting process.
On my pictures, you will see little red "digs" in my skin, that's the damage I did when scratching. I still itch but not nearly as much. My belly button is already looking better. You can see it scabbing over. My boobs are also dropping well I think.
More to come.
Just saying hi ????
Not much to report today. We ate lunch on the porch and enjoyed the sun. I went to the store (my first outing not to the doctors office) and picked up a few things. It did take a bit out of me but that's alright. I walked mostly upright the whole time. That was nice!
There hasn't been any drastic changes in my body but we did take one week pics ????. I'm definitely wanting things to progress faster though. Impatience is definitely setting in.
I got my second drain out today. I am now drain free!!!! It is so nice to have those things gone. I'll be in the stage 1 binder for another week then I can move on to Spanx.
It's been two whole weeks!
So it's been two weeks since my surgery and things are progressing rather well I think. Starting from the top:
My breasts are definitely starting to drop and fluff. I'm actually softish all around, but they are still sitting up a bit high and the inframammary crease isn't quite there. I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but my nipples are so super sensitive. I'm one of those people who've never had that issue before and it has become quite a problem. Even my shirt rubbing against them can be painful. I'm continuing to wear the binder at night and my doctor says that it isn't a problem, even preferred, to not wear the bra they provided during the day, but I find myself wearing it anyway to prevent friction. My husband is enjoying teasing me by threatening to lightly touch them. His hand even gets close and I jump 10 feet in the air. It has been very entertaining. One thing I wanted to say is I tried on one of my old 34 DD bras and it fit rather snug with a bit of gapping at the bottom where it does quite sit on my ribcage. So, depending on how much more I go down from swelling, I got my size! I did start some online window shopping for some new bras, but I am not going to pull the trigger for a few more weeks when I'm closer to my final size.
My TT is healing nicely from what I can tell. The steri-strips aren't in very good shape. They keep rolling up on my left hip and they are very dingy. All the discoloration is from debris sticking to the adhesive on my skin. I haven't done a good job of getting it off, but I do not want to rub (specifically forbidden by the doc anyway since it can damage the healing process). Regardless of the discoloration, I have had no issues with the incision. You can also see that my belly button is healing up quite nicely from binder friction. I do not think I will have any long term issues with scaring and such. My exciting news..... I get out of the binder tomorrow! That thing is driving me nuts. If you have ever worn a cheap corset where the metal boning bends and cuts into your sides, then you'll understand. I get to start wearing Spanx tomorrow. Very excited.
I'm even more excited by the before and after pictures. Such a difference. I did some did-by-side comparisons so you can see the difference two weeks (and some surgery LOL) makes. Those will be on the next update (posting right after this) since I can't have more than 10 pictures at a time. I think I just might take too many pictures.....
Two week update continued
So as promised, here are the before an after comparison shots:
I still have swelling on my tummy too, but the progress is promising.
Well I'm 3 weeks in and feeling pretty good. I did start back to work in the office on Monday this week. Of course it has been the busiest week ever. 16 hour days are a bit crazy, just a bit mind you, but I've managed to make it. I'm very happy tomorrow is Friday. I'm ready for the weekend. I'm so tired I don't even know what to write. My tummy has been tight and getting up after siting for a few hours tends to be a bit of a chore. I also find myself starting to slouch as the day goes on. I have to think about standing upright. My breast also feel like the bottoms are going to fall out by the end of the day. What I'm wearing daily: a Spanx Assets body suit in small, the doctor issued bra and whatever else I need to make myself presentable that day.
I am still doing the strap across my breast at night and I've decided to continue wearing the doctor issued binder at night. It does make it easier to use the restroom at night instead of dealing with the crotch hook and eye when I'm barely awake to stumble to the bathroom.
I'm sure I'll think of more but I can't think straight right now. I'm sorry. The pictures this week are also not the best since I had to do them myself. Hubby away. Sad times.
It's been one month (and a few days!)
So this update is coming a few days late. It's been an exhausting past two week. I started back to work two Monday's ago with a bang. I worked 74 hours in one week. Yes, that is no exaggeration. Then this past week, I was at it for 50 hours in 4 days since I had Friday off. I should mention I notice that my stomach tightens up the longer I sit so when I stand up, I almost have to re-stretch the skin until I can stand upright. Make sure you move around; especially upon returning to a desk job.
I've just been so warn out and wanted to sleep my weekend away but I couldn't do that. It's Halloween weekend! Got to have fun with that. I love dressing up in costumes and having a good time. My husband and I went out to a Halloween party last night and had a good time. I'll admit I was tired though. It was rough standing that long so I did find myself stealing seats periodically.
But I should tell you of my progress. I'm doing really well. A week ago, my doctor released me to light exercise. I continue doing my walking but I can pick up the pace. I can also ride the bike and use the elliptical (although at a slower pace so I am not doing the running motion). She still does not want me doing the bounty motions. So this week, I have walked 2 times and road the bike 2 times. I'm happy to be working out again. I am feeling very..... blah. Working out was huge for me before all of this. I told myself I needed to watch what I ate since I wasn't going to be able to rely on working it off, but that didn't quite work out. There is a noticeable reduction of muscle on my body and I know some of the stomach expansion is no longer just inflammation lol. I'll get back on it, but only at the pace the doc lets me. I am not willing to risk my results.
I also can stop wearing the Spanx during the day unless I am working out. I still need to wear it at night. I've also stopped binding my breasts. The are settling nicely on their own. I am still a bit tender there, but not too bad. My stomach is still numbish below the navel. Above the navel it feels like that almost numb feeling where it's almost painful. I hope that makes sense. I did express some concern regarding the scare placement. It is high. She explained that it will settle lower. She did pull me very tight so as the stomach starts to stretch into place, it will slowly lower.
I am to use Mederma for scar care and only put the silicone strips on if I start noticing keloids forming. The scars will feel like there is a rope, but that is normal. If it starts raising, then that's when the extra care is needed.
Doc is happy with the progress. She excited that I'm doing these reviews and impressed with my progress shots. With that being said, here's some more!
2 months down
So these pictures and this review are a bit late. The pictures are from last week on my 2 month mark. Life has been super crazy and work is kicking my butt but enough about that.
I really can't believe it's been only 2 months. I really feel like it has been longer. I feel really good and barely have any issues. Every once in a while I'll feel a sharp tug (unpleasant feeling) on my belly at the base of my incision but other than that I'm doing really good. My stomach does still feel right and I can feel it pull when I stretch. I'm still a bit hesitant to do too much stretching. Don't want to pull too hard.
I did see doc 1.5 weeks ago and she released me to all exercise except nothing ab related. So we decided that was pretty much everything! LOL we agreed I could do upper body weights and start working in bouncy (like running). Starting tomorrow though it's on! Full release. I have a tendency to go overboard so doc wanted me to take it easy a bit longer which is why she held me to restrictions a bit longer than 8 weeks.
I'm wearing the Spanx half days and definitely when I work out.
I do have to say this past month has been very hard to treat my body right. I've been eating too much and not being able to work out like I'm used to. I'm hoping to be able to remedy that now.
I'm also now using the silicone scar care strips. I was using mederma but my scars started to raise so on went the strips. Doc had me get the c-section specific ones and cut them down the middle. I am noticing a difference even after only a week. I'd recommend just starting with them as soon as you can (wound has to be healed).
My tummy scar should still settle lower according to doc and I'm hoping she's right. It is still sitting higher than I wanted but it's hard to complain when she did such a good job.
My breasts have settled completely too. My hubby took me belated birthday shopping and bought me a ton of new "boob covers". It was very entertaining and all the ladies at the store got a kick from him.
Also wanted to really get into my sleep. I did continue to sleep on my back for the first 5-6 weeks. It didn't get comfortable on my side again really until the last week plus a bit. I started removing pillows from my inclined state at 4 weeks until I got back down to my standard 1 under the knees and 1-2 under my head position at week 6. That's the only way I can sleep on my back so I'm really happy my side is starting to work out again for me. I probably could have moved this process along quicker but I did not like the tugging feeling on my belly.
Anyway. It is very late and I need to get some sleep. I'm sure I'll remember more and post again soon.
5 months down
So it's now been 5 months since my surgery. I've actually managed to put on 15 pounds - very disheartening considering how hard I worked to get it off. Just a reminder that I had a zero net gain/loss front this whole thing in the beginning. I know the holidays got to me like they get most people, but my exercising is still not up to where it used to me. My husband used to call me a beast.... now I'm more like a pussycat. Very sad. I know things will be better once I get back into it but it's hard when you're bummed about where you are. I had so much motivation before and it's seemed to abandoned me.
Enough lamenting my increased weight... now onto the healing process. The scaring is doing okay. Not as good as I had expected, but could be a lot worse. The biggest upset is the scar on my belly button. It is fading a bit but I'm afraid it's always going to stand out. (For those just joining, it was caused by my bonding being too tight in the beginning. The skin rubbed raw leaving a wound). My tummy scar is also roping a bit in the middle and there are a few almost raised sections. I've been using the silicone scar strips and Mederma. I'm really not sure if they are helping. I'm also not sure if I'm just being over sensitive LOL. The breast scars are going great though - small, unnoticeable, and soft. I expect they will continue to fade nicely.
I think the healing process has been good overall though with only my own impatience to blame. About a month ago, I was having mass constant pain in my right breast. I'm really sure that was an issue with me trying to use my peck muscles too much too soon since the pain would occur most eminent the following day. My muscles didn't like the procedure much so I'm sure it was my body trying to get used to the implants.
I've also had a few weird pain issues that creep up at odd times. Along and around my incisions I'll get a VERY sharp needle stabbing pain. It feels like the fine tip of a needle but more like a dagger stabbing me. I've had the sensation along my tummy tuck scar and on my left breast. These have been happening on and off for the past couple months.
I do have another follow up next week. Supposed to be picture time. I'm also going to go over the items I mentioned above. I did not get a hold of the doctor with my concerns above because I'm stubborn and while they were concerns, I was not concerned there was anything truly wrong.
Until next time...