12 Weeks Post Op, and doing SOME P90X

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I am a 36 year old mother of one who is very...

I am a 36 year old mother of one who is very petite. I considered myself very fit before my son, at just shy of 5'0" height I kept a healthy body weight of 95 lbs and exercised regularly and still do. I have a history of type ii diabetes in my family however and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes very late in my pregnancy (i was 29 at the time), but my diagnosis was really too late. I was practically eating bark and still gained weight. I think because my numbers always seemed in spec my OB never really thought my baby was that large.. 30lbs gained is a LOT for a 95lbs girl! well c-section and a baby 8 lbs 11oz 21 inches later, i was left with a 4 finger wide diastasis and suffered quite a difficult postpartum recovery. I tried EVERYTHING, PT, working out like mad, dropped all the weight would have a tight core (with the exception of the skin) but the moment i would have a bad spell of time consuming weeks at work and couldn't do my exercises my diastasis would return. I turned to the internet for help. I read you could have the laproscopic repair of the diastasis but I also had quite a lot of extra flap skin at my tummy. I researched and my insurance wouldn't cover the repair b/c you could do PT. Personally it has been frustrating me for years to be a size 0 but always had to size up in my shirts or my belly would look like i was couple months prego. Then when you have your tummy right my shoulders would look like i was wearing a trashbag like shirt because i'm very small chested too. I'd stare down and see a deflated baloon where I once had a cute belly button. I tried to ignore it, buying spanx, girdles, whatever to get my dresswear to look right, and always not feeling so great althought knowing overall I was as healthy as I could be without surgery. My husband could tell it was depressing me some, and encouraged me to research the options, save up and fix it while I was young if I could. I am so lucky to have such a supportive guy. He really was like "you don't need to fix it" but what he didn't realize is a lot of the physical anguish I was also experiencing from my diastasis. It is like a hernia bomb waiting to happen.. randomly lift something funny? ouch.. cough funny? ouch.. and I love yoga and was doing an armstand called "crow's pose" and gave myself a hernia in class and nearly passed out. (thank goodness for child's pose) I knew I had to do the surgery. I knew it would be a hard recovery, but after YEARS of battling the diastasis I knew I had to do something. And I read a LOT about how so many women like me had battle the complexities of a diastasis and finally got the Tummy tuck and were like what was I thinking waiting so long.

So I booked over the summer for October surgery. Fall was the right time, kid in school, cooler "baggier recovery clothing" like weather, out of bathing suit season. I nearly welled a tear when my doc was like "we can get you back in a two piece" as I had been so focused on fixing the diastasis, I forgot a lot of the cosmetic benefits I'd get from the surgery too. Friends were also very supportive, most not really understanding the challenges of a diastasis kept saying "you don't need surgery" but they understood once I further explained some of my challenges.

My surgery was Oct 9th and I am pretty sure this was worth the effort. Re: diastasis repair, there really is no repairing with physical therapy that will be permanent without constant exercise, you just DON'T have that tissue binding the rectus muscle together.. the scar tissue from the sutures is the only sure thing solution.

If you have had a c-section, recovery from tummy tuck is similar but not nearly as bad. I remember nearly wanting to pass out after sneezing coughing and that so isn't the case with a tummy tuck, its tight, that's just the overall feeling of tightness. It is very difficult to stand straight after surgery but each day I can feel myself getting stronger and stronger.

So far the outcome of my surgery is yet to be determined on the cosmetic side, but the medical side its been a success I think. I have quite a bit of bruising from some apparent lipo done on my left flank, but swelling is normal. I was off pain meds by day 3 and onto only tylenol, I did take some small 1/4 pain pills yesterday to help with a little cough going around from having school aged children running about.

My surgeon used a suture technique called the progressive tension closure that reduces need for a drain although I still had one in me for 4 days there really hasn't been much for fluid. My surgeon also used a substance called exparel which is like a 72 hr lidocaine at the suture sites and I really think so far I've had a successful surgery.

I wished I knew beforehand, that you REALLY need to take about 2 weeks off at least for the surgery. I'm back to work on Monday and although I do work from home (so I took off less than a week), I can tell its going to be quite a push to go back to work so soon.

I think all the advice I've read here and online at other sites is right on the money, just mentally prep yourself for the surgery, know why you're doing it, know it is not an instant recovery and accept help from others because you will definitely need it! Its important to know you must be healthy before going into the surgery. Eat right, follow doctors orders and you'll be ok :) When in doubt, ASK QUESTIONS!

I just got out of my first shower today post op which felt wonderful :) I've had a very supportive network of hubby, family, and friends to help out and although looking in the mirror I know its a long road to 100% recovery, I would recommend this surgery to any fit healthy stable weight individual dealing with a post partum diastasis that does not plan to have more children. Get the best doctor you can, don't go on cost, this is not something you want to go for discount groupon like deals it IS major surgery!

One week post op... and I've nicknamed my flank...

One week post op... and I've nicknamed my flank "the eggplant"

I think recovery's been just fine, but curious why is my flank so darned purple compared to the rest of the surgery pics I see on here :) seriously looks like i was in a street brawl and I have a lot of solid colored purplish bruising that just is a tad disturbing when I pull of my compression garment. Most the folks on here don't seem to have nearly any bruising where they got any lipo.

Day by day things are looking great, my stomach looks so amazing compared to before. Hubby cannot understand my complete fascination with my new belly button lol. wish now I'd taken a few before photos like the rest of you pros :)

I'm also getting the tingling kind of sensation at my incision area..I believe this is normal with nerve endings slowly waking up again maybe? the whole numbness feeling of my stomach is very weird, thank goodness for all the great readups of what people experience during this surgical recovery.

Standing up straight is still really tough when I've been somewhat sedentary but seems to be getting easier and easier all the time.

Researching this whole concept of lymphatic massage..

Don't know about the rest of you, but nighttime...

Don't know about the rest of you, but nighttime rest had been a challenge. I think I've found a good solution for rest. And i think it helps with lymphatic massage too.

I had my 9 day post op appointment Wed am, my mom drove me, and I found it quite comical when she saw me out of my compression thing and immediately exclaimed how amazing my stomach looked.. "oh your tummy was a big prune before" lol, gotta love Mom :) She has been awesome helping me recover too.

Doc said all was well but I needed to keep on the compression garments and be mindful of the fluid I have currently in my belly she expects my body to reabsorb, its not bad at all, but I wanted to research as much as I could about helping my body heal. Lymphatic Self Massage I found a good series on YouTube that may help people, its pretty easy.. here's the 1st of the videos


I did this yesterday afternoon, then also at night worked on the lymphatic breathing before I went to sleep... not sure but I think its helping! I slept in this body position that's on the video, which is significantly different from the 3 pillows semi reclining everyone always says to do, however with a 1/4 pain pill sleeping in this position, I got a pretty solid 7.5 hrs of sleep last night which is pretty great for me. This morning I felt like my belly wasn't as 'watery' feeling and felt very well rested.

-----Day 12 from Tummy Tuck 10/9/2012, off the...

-----Day 12 from Tummy Tuck 10/9/2012, off the tylenol! ----

Wow, so, my pillow positioning pattern during nighttime seems to be working pretty well helping me rest still long periods of time, AND now I can say I've gone a full 24 hrs without any pain medication INCLUDING Tylenol!

I've finished my first week back at work, and it really wasn't too bad except for the few times I had some coughing going on during a conference call I'd dialed into. I sit at a desk and work on the phone and at a PC and work from home, so if you're wondering if you could go back to work after a week, I'm here to tell you yes its possible if you can get off your pain meds at least during the day which I was able to accomplish and have a work from home option. That dilaudid really does a number on your concentration! I would take it at night after dinner and before bed for the first few days back on the job, but even now I feel much better. If you are like me and work from home, your chair and ergonomics of your desk are CRUCIAL to getting back to work and being ok throughout the day. Make sure you have a good chair that does good lumbar support, have a footstool as you need and your monitor is positioned perfectly or you will be VERY achy after sitting for long at a desk. Set a timer and try to get up at least every hour. My PS had an activity she called wall "snow angels" that also seemed to help.. basically.. back yourself against a nice flat wall, and try to make snow angels against the wall with your arms for 30 secs or so. Seems so simple but it really helped with my back awareness.

Now, this doesn't mean that I'm healed, pain free and doing kartwheels.. I am still feeling a bit of discomfort. There is an overall itchy sensation feeling I'm constantly feeling around my belly button and randomly around my incision area. I know I can't scratch it, but I'm pretty sure this sensation is totally normal and part of the healing process. I am standing straighter, but not nearly as straight as the nice yogi like lumbar curve I had before surgery. The skin is still stretching, and it WILL get better. I realize now they do this so your cosmetic benefits of the surgery will be pleasing, so far no complaints.

My compression garment's getting looser by the day and I'm still dealing with some post lipo swelling. Something I find a bit funny as I'm now weighing about 92 lbs on the scale at the moment and

Woops, cut off the rest of my rant... odd! Oh...

woops, cut off the rest of my rant... odd!

Oh well just that I'm weighing less yet feel a bit bloated, anyways can't wait to get back to PT and finish up my healing.

Day 14 post op, back to work! So after...

Day 14 post op, back to work!

So after spending the first week back at work I was feeling like I was ready to get a little more activity. This weekend was the start of me back in the game right? Simple things, attended my son's weekend soccer game, and it was eye opening just how not ready I am to get back out there just yet. Thank goodness I went though, because Sunday he and my husband were going to a fun time out at the pumpkin patch, and I was delusional enough to think I could handle it at the beginning of the weekend, but changed my mind after going to soccer. Massive miles of power walking were avoided by me changing my mind :)

Its just tough at this point, the body is definitely still healing, and its extremely important not to over do it because it will only aggravate the swelling and healing process. I'm completely OFF tylenol, no pain meds which is just great.

Bruising is getting better and better on my flank, and 2 times a day I "try" to work on lymphatic self massage. I really have no clue if i'm doing this right, but in short you basically lay down, legs elevated and try to lightly push on your skin to stimulate lymphatic flow, there are tons of videos on you tube on how to do this, and they all seem very similar.

Hardest thing lately is wanting to reach for things and not being able to get to them because you're still healing.. cups just a tad out of reach in the cupboard, hanging shirts in the closet, and of course lifting anything. water in a coffeepot? just a smidge too heavy...

Day by day.. it's getting better :)

--TT 10/9/2012 - Coming up on 3 weeks! Post Op as...

--TT 10/9/2012 - Coming up on 3 weeks! Post Op as of this Tuesday 10/30/2012

We are edging on 3 weeks post op, had a follow up with my PS on wednesday just after 2 weeks, and she says my healing is looking very good, the swelling she thought I had from edema or fluid is gone and I just have normal tissue swelling that will still take a few weeks to go down. She warned me that this is the time that skinny people tend to get a bit depressed because their results are not as evident.

Its tough, I went into this surgery fully aware it would be 3 months to a year before I would see the best full results of the surgery, I dont' think I'm really getting depressed, just sometimes a bit frustrated because I'll feel GREAT one moment, then have some sudden twinges of nerve awekenings in my stomach reminding me not to over do it. Looking great but can't get into any of my pants comfortably. I usually wear low waisted jeans, and i have to hike all of them a little higher to not put pressure on my incision.

My belly button stiches are itching like mad! what's weird is the complete lack of nerve endings in the region, and totally feeling of numbness. My PS said to try aquaphor to help healing so i've started using that.

Walking, standing are all slowly returning to normal, but I notice I'm tiring easily. Attended my son's great soccer game and walked around Target a bit and by the time we got home I was totally beat.

Still worth it I think for both medical and cosmetic reasons. I know I wont' be able to fully go exercise for another 5 weeks, but I love how my stomach looks and will look once the swelling dies down :)

My Physical Therapist has never worked on a post TT patient, so I'm looking forward to seeing how he'll help realign things after being hunched over and sleeping funny.

I feel SOO much better, my doc has said my...

I feel SOO much better, my doc has said my compression garment is now optional but to monitor my swelling and not leave home without it. Had to go and get my BB stitches removed due to an issue called "spitting stiches" Basically your body attempts to shoot out the stitch.

Wow, I am amazed how radically better I'm feeling...

Wow, I am amazed how radically better I'm feeling every day. It was almost becoming habit getting up from working at the computer and feeling this overall achyness for a good 10 minutes or so just adjusting from sitting for so long. I realized without thinking about it hey i'm not so sore yesterday. Until I tried to shoot some basketball with my son, then I was quickly reminded I'm still healing :)

The belly button is healing well, and I'm able to wear regular underwear (non granny panties) without feeling like clothing is digging into my incision, no longer wearing a compression garment now for days and wearing regular sized jeans.

So far, the swelling is very much under control and improving constantly. I was showering this morning in absolute shock of how amazing my stomach looks now compared to before. Everything seems to so far be going very well, although I haven't been one to push an exercise regimen just yet, trying to wait for 8 weeks or so before I really go for it.

For anyone just post op wondering when it will get...

For anyone just post op wondering when it will get better, it really seems like that 8 week time is magic. I'm now 10 weeks post op as of Tuesday and followed up with my doctor this week. After many weeks of very light activity besides walking, I definitely feel weaker than before, I still get a little tightness in my tummy at night, but in general you're able to really stretch, yawn, stand straight like you did pre op. Would I go doing wheel yoga pose? (bridge on hands and feet only?) not quite yet, but a little stretching on the resistaball, sure thing.

My belly button incision is healed but very dark, my scar lines on the incision are dark. My doc said its just part of being asian, (I'm filipino) that it'll be a dark red, and lighten over time, but it might take a long time. Again, the surgery was more for just the ab repair, getting shirts and clothing to fit right more than bikini time so no big deal.

I can feel all my stiches under my skin still and I think that'll take a few months to fully absorb, swelling almost never happens but I do still feel a bit more swollen at the end of the day than I do at the start of the day, (minimal)

However, there is no better feeling though than getting back into all my tighter sweaters that fit my belly before kids and post kids made me look 2 months prego, but now, i just look like my old self again! Jeans I'm back to my old size too and just so happy with how things look and feel.

My husband noticed.. its a nice feeling when I asked him, "can you tell my belly looks better" and he's like "oh my goodness your clothes totally fit better now"

One odd thing about the surgery, I think its helped my overall confidence. I guess I was a mom that really 'let herself go' if there is such a thing as that. I stayed fit, but stopped caring about my face. Once I felt ok about my stomach, I started looking at my face and was like "wow, i really need a facial" Joined a hand and stone nearby, got a facial, taking better care of my skin and hubby even noticed that! Now i'm looking and noticing my hair needs to really be cut and colored.

I guess I never realized how much my stomach's appearance was mini-depressing me, was this surgery worth it? You bet it was, hang in there fellow abdominoplasty peeps :)

12 Weeks Post Op, and doing SOME P90X Happy New...

12 Weeks Post Op, and doing SOME P90X

Happy New Year fellow post ops!

I hope everyone had a nice safe happy holiday, I ended up having my sister visit for a few days and with the rainy cold dreary weather in Richmond, she and her husband encouraged me to workout with them during their stay. I'd heard of P90X a lot from coworkers and friends but never tried it. I can say the workouts are VERY intense, but not terrible if you're in some decent fitness shape. I have only been lightly walking and of course building up my house duties and never did much working out until this holiday. I was so pleased to see the workouts were intense but I felt very healthy doing them (not like I was about to pop a stitch or hurt myself). I emailed my doc, who said I'm out of the "danger zone" for potentially harming anything that was repaired in my surgery, so I'm now working on the p90x Lean schedule.

I'm on week 2 of P90x, and man I cannot do the full "ab ripper X" routine, but I'm not feeling horrible either. Its not the most comfortable exercises, but its been great so far.
Richmond Plastic Surgeon

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