8 weeks PO feeling like a million bucks - Rhode Island, RI

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I have finally decided to go for it! I have three...

I have finally decided to go for it! I have three beautiful kiddos. #2 did a real job on the belly! I'm in good shape, daily yoga, and the extra skin, detached belly button, and diastasis keep me from feeling confident in my tummy. I've got abs of steel, shouldn't I be allowed to wear a bikini or cropped tank in the summer? I was going back and forth trying to decide whether to have a TT (the recovery scares the bajesus outta me!) or a breast life since those poor girls have had some serious nursing wear-and-tear.

After careful consideration, I'm confident that I'd rather put my money and recovery time into the surgery that will yield the most dramatic results, and for me, it's going to be the belly. I have a wonderful doctor who performed "miracles" on my mother and older sister. Even the lady who scheduled my blood work over the phone was so excited she confided she'd gone to him for her a TT and her results are amazing. I'm beyond confident that I'll get great care and results.

I'm less confident about recovery! Drains, being laid up, no yoga for months? EEK! I'm not afraid of it hurting (I had two of my kids at home and am no stranger to pain!) but I am OCD about cleaning, cooking, being active, etc. It's going to be a JOB to sit still! Plus, I'm going to have minimal help with the kids. My BF is bringing me in for the surgery and she and my hubby will be home with me for 2 days post-op, but then I'm on my own. I'm also returning to my part-time night job about 1.5 weeks post-op, depending on how I'm feeling. That's not really a worry as long as the drains are out. It's a *very* low-impact job.

I have my blood work and final consultation on 4/4, my birthday the 6th, surgery 10 days later! It's coming up so quickly I cannot believe it. A month from now I will have the belly I've been missing for the past 8 years!!!

a little snag in the plan ... and having second (and third) thoughts

So my BF texted me today that she won't be able to take me to the surgery. I'm kind of annoyed because her excuse is pretty lame, and she could totally get out of her other obligation. We set this up months ago. The plan was for my husband to stay home and take kids to school and not mess up their routine too much, and she was going to bring me to the hospital and then stay at my house with my family for a couple days for some help. I appreciate that she has a life too but come on, this is major surgery and I was relying on her. I do not have any family to help and honestly she's pretty much the only friend I trusted enough to involve. I'm private about my decision to have this surgery and am not telling anyone who doesn't need to know. So, not sure how we're going to get around this but my husband is telling me to stop worrying so I guess I'll just obey orders on that one ha!

I am second-guessing this whole thing, to be honest. It's so expensive and I keep thinking there are so many other ways my family could use this money...

Paid in full today - feeling real now!

Yikes. Every. Check. Hurt. (One written to surgeon, one to hospital, one to anesthesia...)

But, I am excited! I have it worked out with the ride situation and think I'll be OK for help. My best friend is going to come up after all, just not as soon as I'd hoped but better late than never! Hubby just called to say he found a "decent" recliner on the side of the road. So, I'll come home to some curbside luxury on the flat side! I can't believe I'm only 9 days away. Deep breathes!

Only a few days left with the pooch ...

... and I'm freaking out. I have already cleaned the floors on my hands and knees, done 97 loads of laundry, and overloaded on difficult yoga poses. I might actually be ready for a break now :-)

I am getting so scared about the actual surgery. What if I don't wake up? What if I get an infection? What if, what if, on and on ...

Oh and I'm posting another before photo of my belly. Why not? I'm going to miss it ;-)

safely on the flat side!

I'm still in the hospital so I'll keep it short, but everything went great! I only got a very quick peak with the bandage off (apparently I have a very early riser for a PS - he
checked on me at 5:30 this

safely on the flat side (continued)

So, the phone version of Realself isn't very user-friendly, so I had to abandon my update early. Now I'm home and can access a real computer.

So, my PS took the binder and dressings off briefly to have a look. So far, I think it looks great, although I was really out of it when I looked and it was only a glance really. I'll post a pic of my results as soon as I get to see them for real (probably tomorrow before or after I shower).

The pain is pretty bad (they always ask me at the hospital 1-10 and I don't know what to say so usually I just say 5) but the 800 mg ibuprofin works so much better for me than the narcotic painkillers.

I'll update tomorrow with results photos.

And then I sneezed

OMG. I forgot to set my alarm to take my motrin, and slept surprisingly soundly on my recliner, so 16 hours had passed since my last pill... and I had to sneeze. I never realized how much work your abs do while you're sneezing. I was in awful pain for about 40 minutes until the ibuprofin kicked in. I am relatively tolerant to pain, but this, woah boy. I'm planning a shower for later and cannot wait to see the results with a clear head.

ok what the h*%$ is THIS?

OK, so day 2 PO and I'm not feeling any love right now. Only taking Motrin because the Percocet makes me feel crazy and so I only get pain relief every 8 hours... ugh. To top it off, I really don't like the way my tummy looks at the incision line. I'm probably overreacting and it's probably mostly swelling and bunched-up skin from the glue/stitching, but I'm unhappy. I hope this wrinkly stuff isn't permanent,

3 days PO .... reality and depression setting in

So, I've been sleeping pretty well in the recliner, so I'm thankful for that. My husband and I tackled the shower together, which felt great, but it wiped me out. I've been feeling a bit light-headed since, but I'm glad I don't smell or have greasy hair anymore. I was pretty over that. I wrapped my belly in a t-shirt and then put the CG back on, as my PS suggested. I took a few pics with the CG off. To say I'm swollen would be putting it lightly. I can't wait to be free of these bloody sacks dangling from my hoo-ha. Uggggh why did I do this? I keep worrying about pulmonary embolism and having mini anxiety attacks over it.

holy anxiety batman!

I keep having one panic attack after another. I'll feel okay for a short while then suddently I am overcome with shortness of breath, a head-rushy, light-headedness, and overall feeling of panic. Usually if I get up and walk around and occupy myself for a few minutes I feel a bit better. This is not what I expected - I thought the pain would be the worst part! But for me, it's this anxiety. Calling my Dr. in a few to discuss a script for something to help me through this hump.

Panic attacked decreasing ... up and about more

Woke up very early this morning. I am just about done with sleeping in the recliner, especially now that I'm not taking pain killers regularly. You know what hurts the most? My hips, ass and lower back. This hunchback crap is for the birds. I was able to take a shower alone, toss my binder in the washing machine, make macaroni and cheese (not for me, for the kids, hubby made me a salad so I can eat my way to better health)... I passed on going to Easter dinner and stayed home watching Parenthood on Netflix. I missed my family but the alone time was rejuvenating. I didn't have any moments of panic all day until now, at night, as I'm typing this. I suddenly feel short of breath and a bit emotionally overwhelmed all at once. But I'm breathing through it. I didn't take any photos today since nothing has changed.

I thought my PS's assistant was going to call tonight for my drain totals so we could decide whether to take them out tomorrow or not... maybe they meant they'll call Monday for Sunday's totals? Eh, whatever. One more day with the saddle bags won't hurt I guess. Except that I did catch one bad on the cabinet handle yesterday and I'm pretty sure that ripped it out about 3/4".

Drains out = freeeeeeeeeeedom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It felt weird when they tugged them out, kind of like having a snake slither underneath your skin. I am so happy they're out! I've got a spring in my step (well, as much as I can in my delicate condition). I forgot to ask about something for anxiety. I guess I'll keep deep breathing. I posted a few more pics without the drains for your viewing pleasure.

Anyone get a cold post-op?

The reason I ask is because my son has been coughing like crazy for two days now. He is generally good about covering his cough, but he is just 6. I'm a bit freaked out that I'm going to get sick and tear out my sutures and wreck my MR - I can't have that! I didn't save for two surgeries! EEK!

My husband just got home from work and is now vacuuming/getting something ready for dinner. Not with a smile on, either. He's not liking working doubles.

One week PO! Feeling somewhat human!

Last night was my second night in the bed. I'm able to sleep on my sides and back (with some effort if I need to change positions). It feels like when you're 9 months pregnant and need to roll over - you need to make a three-point turn. Despite this, I am enjoying the bed immensely. I also had a couple anxiety attacks last night - can't wait for that to pass.

I noticed the swelling has gone down a lot since yesterday, and am wearing my Sweet Nothings romper instead of the binder. My incision line is still pretty scary-looking. In the shower today with my three year-old, she said "Eww. You should've kept that covered up." It's the only thing that I don't love about my new tummy - all that skin bunching along the incision line. Hopeful it'll smooth out.

Anyway, I'm noticing things are getting a bit easier. I no longer need to lay down after putting on pants, and I even shaved my legs (well, the lower part). I made a smoothie and grilled cheese for the kids and had to sit afterward because my back hurt, but I have a lot more stamina than I did even yesterday.

When can I expect to be able to bend over and pick something up off the floor without going into a camper's squat? I basically ask the kids to grab me anything I need from low drawers or if I need something off the floor. I'm looking forward to cutting out the middle man.

Oh, and I'm starting to get "zingers" in my middle abdomen, and some twinges of pain here and there where before I was just numb. Also, the top of my belly where the drains stopped, that spot's irritated. I am pretty sure I'm getting my son's cough, so I'll let you know how that goes.

I think that's all for now.

I posted a couple more pictures.

Swell Hell

Now I get it. I seriously felt and looked like I was pregnant last night. My belly was round and just full of fluid - I was worried a little that I would get new stretch marks! Did the drains come out too soon (5 days PO)? They weren't doing much, honestly, less than 35 cc total in 24 hours... I guess I should trust the surgeon. But really, when the heck am I going to not carry a basketball of fluid around my abdomen? I'm supposed to go to work in 4 days. It's an easy desk job, very little strain as long as I let others lift books for me (library). The chair is not super comfortable though, so I'll probably bring a back pillow at least. Adding some more photos.

Belly feels weird.

I keep getting these "zinging" sensations. I know the nerves are probably re-awakening, right? The other weirdness is that I almost feel like I have this bowl of jelly attached to my belly. I can't think of another way to describe it. It doesn't hurt, but it feels almost detached. Has anyone else experienced this? Also, anyone else get cold rushes? It feels akin to taking an ice-cold drink on a hot day, and you can feel the cold wash over your belly. I get these feelings at night mostly, originating in the upper belly and rushing up toward my chest. Creepy!

Otherwise everything's normal. I still haven't ordered the bromelain. Slacker.

I can bend!

This morning I got out of bed (which is still rather difficult, just getting upright from a lying down position) and noticed some dirty clothes on the floor by the bed. Instinctively I bent to pick them up and I noticed - I can actually bend! Before I only picked up stuff when absolutely necessary and then I was squatting (putting a lot of uncomfy stress on my knees)... today I leaned forward and it felt OK! I won't do it regularly, don't want to pull anything out of place, but that little bit of progress made my morning!

Hope all my TT friends are feeling good today!

10 days pic

2 weeks tomorrow ... yesterday was a nightmare day but today is better!

Went to my post-op appt. yesterday and the doc took one look at me and said "I do not like that swelling." I was like, really? I didn't think I was much worse than usual, and also I was on day 4 of my period, and I always bloat up. He drained me (which was weird). He did this by numbing an already numb area just above my incision and inserting a tube (which I couldn't see because I was lying flat) and then pushing around on the swollen area to release fluid. Only 5 cc came out, which displeased him, and he had me schedule another appt. in 1 week. That was fine and good. The only annoying thing about the draining was that the nurse put a band-aid right on my incision, so when I removed it later, I had to remove about an inch of scab along with it. Hello, you'd think she would avoid that ...

The day was fine, until about 4 p.m. when I started to hemorrhage from my vagina. I was passing huge clots and had a constant trickle after the initial deluge. I took an ambulance ride and spent the next 4 hours bleeding and being poked and prodded by a PA. The actual Dr. came in, did not examine me, and diagnosed me with "Dysfunctional Uterus Something-or-other". He also told me that I should consider having the Esure procedure, so that I could stop having my period. I looked at him, stunned, and said "Isn't Esure a method of sterilization?" He told me point-blank that no, Esure isn't to avoid pregnancy, it's to stop your period. Thankfully he never came back and I only had the PA for the remainder of my stay. After receiving fluids and ensuring the bleeding was slowing, they released me. It was awful though. I had an 18-gauge IV from the ambulance ride that was hurting the entire time (I didn't mind the IV at the hospital, which was in my arm for over 24 hours, nearly as much as this one). So, this was not a great experience. The funny thing is, I haven't bled at all today. Period is just abruptly over. I am wondering if maybe when the nurse and the PS tried to aspirate me and were pressing on my lower abdomen, they might have loosened up some of the uterine lining? That, and the compression garment might have inspired more bleeding. I dunno. At any rate, I have had enough of hospitals for a looong time, fingers crossed.

Today I have been up and about, even made lentil soup for dinner, my first post-op cooking endeavor!

Adding a couple photos. I don't think the swelling is anything spectacular and am not sure why my PS was freaked out.

2 weeks - swelling down a ton from yesterday

I'll keep it short since I feel like I'm boring everyone with my tales of woe - I am adding some pics I took first thing this a.m. I think I'm looking a lot less swollen after the fiasco that has been the past few days. I'm going to start being even stricter with what goes into my body to avoid water retention and promote better healing. I'm a little sad about the stretch marks below the belly button, but we can't have it all, right? I suppose it's OK to retain SOME battle scars from having kids :-)

Finally looking flat!

I woke up this morning looking good. I think I finally turned that famous corner (that and my period ended and I'm taking the bromelain/tumeric). My BB isn't much of an innie, but I guess in time I'll know for sure.

4 weeks! Wahoo!

So, not a whole lot has changed as far as how the belly looks. I still get pretty swollen at the end of the day, but not nearly as bad as in the first 2 weeks. I have been getting the burning sensation in the muscles and if Iet loose on a sneeze it still hurts a lot (I have trained myself to reign in the sneeze and break it into two manageable mini-sneezes that don't hurt so much and still give me relief). Last night at work I began having a feeling like there were little trolls in my underwear yanking on my pubic hair - that is the best way to describe that pain. I thought it was my incision but when I went to the bathroom to investigate the pain was well below the incision line. So, yet another weird side effect.

As far as activity goes, I am pretty much back to normal although I do need several short sit-downs throughout the day as I tire easily. I haven't vacuumed or lifted anything heavy, but I'm changing sheets and washing/folding clothes and making dinner (sigh, vacation's officially over). I went grocery shopping with kids on my week 3 anniversary and vowed to not do that again for a while. It was too much. I am so not ready to exercise. I can tell I won't be ready for another 2-3 weeks at least to even consider it. Over the weekend I walked the neighborhood with the kids. It was unexpectedly warm out and when I got home I felt whale-like and uncomfortable. This really is a very slow recovery process, and as I learned with my recent knee surgery, I am a slow healer already. My back has been starting to hurt a lot from overuse. It keeps asking my abs to help out but they ain't listenin'.

Still taking the bromelain/tumeric. I'm totally addicted and can't wait for my nighttime pill (lol) because I just feel so much better after I take it (as if the swelling from the day instantly washes away :-). I drink a smoothie a day which always includes fresh and frozen fruit and some form of leafy green. I have been a little less careful about my salt intake (have been eating out) but I make sure to not go crazy. If I have a salty lunch I make up for it with a dinner that is less-so. I also eat a cup of frozen yogurt every night. Can't help myself.

I still have to get around to looking at everyone else's updates. I'm attaching a bunch of pics to celebrate my 4 weeks PO. I had planned to dig up a bikini (haven't put one on yet) but I got lazy.

5 weeks!

I'm feeling really good these days, despite the evil bloating and swelling that comes with the need to make up for lost time on all the housework. I seriously over do it everyday, and by the time bedtime comes I am bursting out of my CG (I've just started going to bed without it, but wear it every day religiously). The hell that is my period is due next week, which adds to all the fun.

I've been doing it all - eating salt, vacuuming, watering the garden, cooking, playing outside with the kids. I do tire easier but I feel almost back to normal energy-wise. I would like to start exercising but I think my belly would not appreciate that. I have noticed my muscles getting sore after particularly busy days.

I have to say, I'm still not in love with my results. I like that above the belly button, there's no more nasty skin, but below it, it's as bad as before (well, maybe not AS bad, but it's still lumpy and the stretch marks make me sad). Maybe I need to get a little sun on those stretch marks, make then less noticeable? I'll add some pics from this a.m. when I was looking surprisingly flat, considering how huge I looked before bed last night.

2 of my pics didn't post...

trying again

8 weeks PO today!

I feel so great this past week. I got the OK at week 6 to resume all workout activity (Dr. did say I should avoid twisting activity, not because of damage but because it might cause pain. He said my internal sutures by that point would be about 97% healed). I immediately jumped on the elliptical. I felt a little slow at first and only did 20 minutes.

Over the weekend my family and I went to New Hampshire for some hiking and I was able to hike 2 miles without any issues (much of it uphill). Later that same day I ran a 1.5 miles on a treadmill at the hotel gym and did about 20 minutes of yoga. I was a bit more swollen the next day but nothing like the swell hell of the earlier weeks. I have since been using the elliptical and doing some yoga daily. I can't do much in the way of backbends yet because my tummy feels like it's going to rip in half when I do, but otherwise I'm really regaining strength and stamina.

Had someone told me at week 2 or even week 5 that I'd be feeling this great 2 months post-op, I'd have balked. It's amazing how much I've improved over the past couple weeks.

I still am dealing with the heavy menstrual bleeding. Had an ultrasound which showed a large fibroid. My Dr. plays it off as if it's no big deal, but it's ruining my cycle. I literally cannot leave the house for 1 day out of the month and the raging hormones give me nausea, irritability, and general suckiness for 3 out of 4 weeks every month. Luckily, this is my good week. So. I would like to do something about the fibroid. Have any of you had experience with this? If so, please share!
Pierre Michaud

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