Athletic, 52 Year Old, Mother of Grown Twins

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I'm 5'9" and weight 142. My twins turned 30 this...

I'm 5'9" and weight 142. My twins turned 30 this year and I've wanted to have a TT since their birth. I'm in a place where I can do it. I'm athletic have run 7 marathons. My stomach area has always been an issue for me. I'm excited and nervous. Surgery is next week. I hope to get back to running as soon as possible.

June 14, 2014 (4 Days Pre-Op)

I'm loading some before photos of my tummy, so that I can have a record of before and after.

I'm approximately 5'8" and when I stepped on the scale yesterday, I weighed 139. I wear a size 6-8, depending on the label. I exercise regularly and love the fact I am a strong woman. I missed my Boston Qualifying Time by 8 minutes (4 hours 8 minutes) this past December when I ran in the California International Marathon in Sacramento. I hope to run a qualifying time once I recover from my TT surgery and get back to running/training in the fall.

It doesn't matter how much exercising and crunches I do, it will never take care of the sagging skin from my pregnancy 30 years ago. My twins weighed 7 lbs. 6 oz. and 6 lbs. 10 oz. (14 pounds of baby weight!) It was a high risk pregnancy with significant amount of bed rest; I was well over 200 pounds when they were born. The effects of that pregnancy were easier to mask when younger, but as I've gotten older, the sagging skin is much more pronounced. All I have to do is look at these pictures when I'm feeling a little nervous about my upcoming surgery.

I'm at a place in my life where I can take the time off from work (and afford to do it). Though my boyfriend loves me as I am and says my stomach is my beauty mark, I'm doing this for me.

During the almost three weeks I will be taking off from work, I hope to blog regularly to participate in the RealSelf community, gathering support from those who have gone before and providing perspective to those who will be having surgery in the near future.

June 16, 2014

I'm feeling excited and nervous but so happy that I finally made the decision after 30 years. Overall, feeling good physically. Some slight allergies which at first I thought was a cold. Got my prescriptions filled; hired a nurse for the first day; boyfriend will be working from home first three days; great support system in place too. I'll have almost 3 weeks off from work and I'm keeping my expectations of recovery time, etc.

June 16, 2014 (more)

Keeping my expectations of my recovery time for myself low. Plan on getting caught up on my reading, watching movies, and healing.

June 17, 2014 (1 day Pre-op)


June 17, 2014 (1 day pre-op)

Tomorrow is the big day. I thought I was coming down with a cold but it appears to be allergies. I didn't sleep that well last night either. I'm very excited and can't believe I finally made the decision after all these years. I have a huge support group of women friends who are cheering me on. I'm contemplating telling my direct supervisor today. I know she'll be supportive. There is a part of me that doesn't want to tell anyone because I don't want my decision or body to be the topic of anyone's conversation.

I want to wean off narcotics as soon as possible. But I will not ensure unnecessary pain to do so.

I believe things happen in life at a time when we are spiritually, physically and emotionally ready. Now is my time.

I am a healthy, athletic woman and for so long I felt this area of my body was out of sync with the rest. It's goodbye to remnants of a difficult pregnancy years ago and hello to the Tina of today: strong, successful and hopefully active well into her golden years.

June 18, 2014 (surgery day!)

Surgery went well. Home recovering. I hired a health care nurse for the day. Dr. Pousti inserted a pain pump which is helping with the pain. I found increasing Percocet from 1-2 mad a big difference in the intensity of pain.

I asked him to lipo hips so will post pics when I can.

I do notie that physical conditioning makes difference I how well I get around. Drains so full more quickly with increased activity.

The hardest part of this is allowing others to help and asking for help. It's a good lesson in humility.

I told my supervisor in comfidence prior to leaving work yesterday. She was very supportive.

June 19, 2014 (1 day PO)

Last night I had a lot pain. My boyfriend was the best: emptying my drains, helping me get comfy making sure I take my pills on time..

I felt very swollen in my binder and felt like I wa having a hard time breathing. It seemed that once I wa urinating more the swelling went down.

Dr. Pousti made a house call to check on me. That offered comfort.

In addition to the muscle repair, I had some lipo on my hi area.

I've made sure to get up and walk around, usually on my way to the bathroom. I'm grateful for the strong legs I have from ally running. It's really amazing how much one relies on the core/trunk area.

I may try to reduce my number of Percocet down to 1 every 4 hours.

June 21, 3014 (3 days PO)

The swelling seems to be coming down and the pain is more manageable. Going in Monday to get the pain pump removed. I've been doing 'laps' atoumf the kitchen with my walker.

I find it hard to rely on someone for my needs, like taking me to the toilet or getting me out of a chair.

Sleep is still a challenge. The chest/fever issue is resolved. I really want to take a peek. I did see my scabby belly button. Thought I should wait for my appt. Monday. Will post pics soon

June 22, 2014

Woke up of at and decided no more narcotics. It's Tylenol and antibiotics only. I certainly feel clearer headed. I still haven't had a BM which is causing discomfort. I took off the compression garment for a few minutes so I could take a deep breath. I saw m BB which looked like a big scab. I'd like to see the whole thing but thought I should wait until I see the doctor.

Impressive Aftercare Surgeon/Staff

I am very impressed with the caliber and professionalism of Dr. Tom Pousti and his staff. I received a house call the day after my abdominoplasty and regular follow up from him and his staff. All details were explained in great detail which assuaged any anxiety I had prior to surgery. Very pleased.

June 23, 2014 (5 days PO)

Today has been hard. Boyfriend back at work and I'm by myself. It might help if I could have a good BM but the pain meds constipated me.

I changed my dressing and saw my tummy for the first time. It's flat but all the dried blood, bruising, stitches, swollen areas made me sad... Or maybe 8 just woke up the way. I didn't want to take any pictures of it looking that way. I don't know why I feel so tearful. I have no appetite either but just had some granola and blueberries.

I knew it would be difficult not being able to do anything but sit and sleep. I stepped outside and the Sun felt so good.

The love and support of friends has really helped. I'm a giver and I'm in a position where I have to allow others the gift of helping me.

I believe the fact I feel so physically helpless in a way. It was just a few weeks ago I ran a half marathon. Now I do laps with my walker around the kitchen.

I joked with my boyfriend the other day as he walked with me to the bathroom and sat me on the stool. I said, 'honey, this is a vision of our golden years.' It hurt to laugh.

I will work up energy to take photos and post them.

1 Week Post Op

Yesterday was very difficult. I'm trying to stick to Tylenol only. One of the wonderful women on this site suggested I take a picture and look at before and after. I did and was pleasantly surprised, despite all the tubes and extensive bruising. It cheered me up a bit.

I go to the PS tomorrow to get the pain pump removed; one less tube to will be nice. I hope it won't be too much longer for the drains since the output has been minimal.

It's nice to have made it through this first week. I am amazed at the lack of energy this once very energetic woman has. Takes a lot to heal this body.

Oh, I also took a suggestion to wear a light t-shirt under the compression garment. Feels much better.

Fuzzy Math (It's Tuesday)

For some reason I was thinking it was Wed. but it's only Tue., or 6 days post op. I can't express how deeply grateful I am for the women on this site whose experience, strength and hope have helped me these past 6 days. I ran a half marathon June 3 and feel so weak today. I have so much more respect for my body today.

I know myself pretty well and will need to respect this recovery process, not pushing myself too hard too fast.

I am so happy I did this for myself.

1 Week Check-up / Pain Pump Removed

I went to the PS today and had the pump removed. Looks like I may get the drains removed next Monday!

Every day gets better. I am sleeping more than ever. Could be the fact I'm not downing my Venti Starbucks or taking Trazodone to sleep. I hoped during this transition I could ween myself for these vices.

I put on this tight white T-shirt I've has for years but didn't wear much because you could see my extra twin skin and I didn't like how it looked. But when I saw myself in the mirror, no bra, flat tummy, it made me smile and I liked what I saw.

I always felt like my body was a little out of sync with the active, marathoner that I am. I feel more in sync and am loving the results so far.

I have much more respect for my body. It has been through so much this past week. I'm really trying to be gentle with myself and have patience with the process

Morning Pain

I woke up this morning in quite a bit of pain. Maybe I did a little too much but it does seem early morning is the worst.

From what I know about my runner's struggle with plantar fascitist, this seems similar to some of the early morning muscular foot pain associated with that syndrome.

I have very little drainage this morning, probably less than 5cc in each. One popped open and leaked onto my white T and sheet.

Blood removal tips??

Good news is that I stepped on the scale and weighed 137. My hope is that I won't gain too much weight during this time of inactivity and healing. I have my FitBit device which monitors calories expensed and how well I'm sleeping. It syncs nicely with My Fitness Pal.

Difficult Morning

The pain is so strong first thing in the morning. I got up and took an Ultram, which was recently prescribed, and went back to sleep more. When I got up and was emptying my drains I began to feel like I was going to pass out.

I am now back in bed. It has been 9 days since the surgery. I did quite a bit yesterday and may have overdone it. My drains has about 12 cc in each.

Though I knew this was going to be a slow process, I am humbled by it and the incredible amount of time I can see that it's going to take to feel normal again. I also am aware that because I'm older I'm not bouncing back like I used to. It is not that I can't handle the pain, it is the weakness and lack of energy with which I struggle.

I don't want to lose all the physical conditioning I developed, but right now I can't imagine how long it will be before I can run again.

Day 10

I'm having very little output in my drains, about 10-12cc in each. I see my PS on Monday. I'm hoping the drains will be removed.

Still struggling with intense early morning pain. It occurs right before I get up. I thought leaving my CG a little loser might help but it did not. In fact, I woke with pain and got up to tighten it which helped a bit.

I'm taking Tramadol/Ultram for pain. It works well for pain without side effects of narcotics. The worse side effect is dizziness. I've felt near passing out on a few occasions but realized I'd not taken food with the meds. Very important.
I'm still hunched over, as requested by the PS. I guess this keeps the incision from stretching. It's hard on the back.

Still no regrets!!

Day 11

Woke up with less pain this morning though I did have nausea and dizziness and felt like I was going to pass out. Went back to bed and got up a few hours later.

Feeling the blues today. just plain uncomfortable and mentally a little off. A bunch of friends are coming up to visit, which I know will be good. No appetite. Go from constipation to diarrhea.

I feel whiny and then I my head tells me I did this to myself. I know there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel better about myself/my body and that this procedure is a good thing to help me improve a trouble area of my body. I am very happy with the results. I think the lack of activity is affecting my mental outlook today.

Anyway, this too shall pass.

2 Wks PO

Still struggling with low energy; sleeping a lot. I'm supposed to go back to work on July 8 but will probably ask to extend a few days.

My BF wheeled me around the fair today. It was nice to get out. I did a little bit of walking but tried to listen to my body.

Still on 2 antibiotics and take Ultram at night because I still have a lot pain at night and early morning.

Took pictures. Don't know how I feel. The incision is pretty gnarly and angry red/black. The BB is not as red as yesterday.

Hope I begin to cheer up and have more energy soon.

16 Days PO - Back to Work

Went back to work today. Though I would have liked an extra week to recover, it was nice to get back. I made certain to heed all the great advice I've received from Dr. Pousti, a terrific surgeon who I feel really cares about his patients.

The scab fell off my BB and is revealing a beautiful new one. The scabbing has really improved, as has the swelling. I am starting to see how nicely it will look once completely healed.

I overdid it a bit yesterday, walking to much. I feel, however, that I'm doing very well considering my personality. I'm definitely utilizing my endurance running skills: I am very in tune with what's going on with my body; I'm listening to it and taking care of it, not pushing myself and having patience with what my body is capable.

The sensation that my skin is sunburned is dissipating; some

16 days - continued

(IPhone autocorrect issue cut off my last update.)

Some feeling is returning to areas that are numb.

I'm taking Ultram on occasion which seems to be the only medication that can address the pain I sometimes have. I've also had days when I don't need anything. I anticipate needing it less and less.

Incision Drainage

Having a little drainage from my incision line on the right side. It's the side I sleep on so I think I may have aggravated it during the night. I spoke to my PS, who assured me there is no issue. I have great confidence is what he tells me, so I will do as he says and send a picture.

In three days, it will be 4 wks. since my surgery. I have a tendency to expect more of myself than I am capable of delivering and comparing my recovery to someone else's. Intellectually, I know that we all recover at different speeds and that I don't heal that quickly.

4 Weeks, 1 Day PO

Feeling much better at 4 wks PO. I finally finished my antibiotics; now is the time to start a good probiotic. I walked quite a bit yesterday. Had the energy and found that the increased activity these past few days has improved my mood.

I have some tenderness along the incision line still and have two spots that have rescabbed or are still not completely healed, one of which I am hoping does not leave an indentation on the corner of my hip. It looks like the suture split but the doctor assured me it should heal ok.

The mornings are sometimes a little rough. I have the burning skin sensation a bit still and think there is some nerve sensitivity under the skin.

I am pleased with the results and bought several new dresses and loss summer pants to be more comfortable at work. I just hope that over time the incision will look better. Since I already have several tattoos, I may explore a tattoo cover for the incision down the road.

This is something I've wanted for a long time and I have no regrets. I am, however, amazed at the amount of reflection and introspection I've gone through this past month. I love my twins and will always have the reminders - the raised rib cage for my breach son; the stretch marks -- carrying them to almost full term. It was a high risk pregnancy that gave me two of the most beautiful people in my life.

I have also noticed an increase in my menopausal symptoms which I know my running helped mitigate. I don't want to start up too soon and set myself back. The walking will be a gentle transition back into running come fall.

4 wks., 1 day photos

As each day passes, I see more glimpses of what my final outcome will look like. I'm so happy! Had my 4 week follow up with my PS and just think he is the best! He is always so reassuring. Had some sutures that were along the hair line removed. I need to remember not to push myself because I'm feeling so much better.

More 4 Week Photos

Standing Tall

Tomorrow I'll be 5 wks. PO and am feeling better every day. I added a waist cincher to my Spanx and feel a little more support, especially when I'm doing my walking. I can still get by fine with nothing at night which helps me get a good nights sleep.

I walked on the trail behind our house up to the view point that looks out over San Diego. I walked gingerly and made sure coming back up the slight incline that I monitored how I was feeling. It did a lot for my mood and attitude. I had the best sleep I've had in some time.

I'm shooting for 7-8 wks to transition back to running. In the same way I come back for an injury, I will start up easy with jog and walk and work my way up slowly.

I think the infection I had set me back some but now that I'm over it, I have found little need for any type of pain medication.

I'm feeling hopeful. As long as I head the suggestions from my PS, I do well.

Will post 5 week photos tomorrow.

Turning Point

I had my 6 week appointment with my PS today. I'm trilled he cleared me to run and exercise. I've been doing quite a bit of walking the past 1-2 weeks. I feel strong every day.

I do have a few scabs on the incision but he said they will be fine.

I'm so happy with the results. I have the body I've always wanted. Religiously watching my calorie intake and healthy food choices has enabled me to maintain a 7 pound weight loss. At 135, I'm at a good weight that I feel comfortable with. I always felt the extra pounds slowed me a bit in my running. If I keep my good habits up, start off running slowly, listen to my body, I can start training for my next marathon, with a goal this year of qualifying to run in the Boston Marathon. I missed it by 8 minutes in December.

This has been an amazing experience on so many levels. At 52, I look in the mirror and feel that my body is in alignment with the rest of me. The only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. But I don't think I would have had the patience this recovery has required.

I'm so happy I went with Dr. Pousti. He and his staff are so amazing, compassionate, genuine and caring. I never felt that I was alone after the surgery. He or one of his staff checked on me regularly with a simple call. It meant a lot!

I'll post pictures this weekend.

First Run Post TT Surgery

I was cleared by my PS to run yesterday, so I decided to go out and run today. I ran 3 miles; I made sure to shorten my stride, slow my pace by 1 1/2 minutes per mile and cut my normal distance in have. I'm 6 weeks, 2 days PO. I ran a half marathon almost 8 weeks ago, so I knew I hadn't lost much of my conditioning; I was actually trained up to a full marathon at that point but knew that if I ran it I wouldn't be running much afterwards. I wanted to be able to run up until the day of the surgery so that I wouldn't be away from it for too long.

I felt good on the run; it was a little warm but overall I felt good. The compression shorts I normally wear work great. I had the support my incision needed. No areas that are still healing were aggravated by the running.

I'm hoping it will help my mood and sleep.

I may go out tomorrow too. I'll have to see how I feel.

8 Weeks PO

I'm 8 weeks PO today. I still have a few areas along my incision line that have scabs and are not healed. One area on my right side that will possibly need scar revision in particular bothers me because it is still pussy and no scabbing over. It seems interminable. There is no pain when I'm in the showery so I'm assuming it's healing on a deeper level. It's just taking a while.

I am back to running regularly, though not every day, usually every other day, and not at the same intensity. It feels good to be active but I've also found my muscles get very sore and tight the day following a longer run of 5-6 miles. No half marathons or marathons for a while. I do hope to start training again later in the fall.

The only tim I wear compression anything is during my runs. They are unbearable any other time. I read about women wearing them all the time. I stopped at night around 2 1/2 weeks and about 2 weeks ago during the day stopped wearing the Spanx.

This whole process has been humbling and I can see I've taken my past physical fitness a little for granted. I have not felt that powerful, strong feeling I've felt over the past few years. It's been this weird, slow, rebuilding process that has shown me how fragile and vulnerable the physical is, especially now that I'm in my 50s. I don't want to take that for granted. It's given me more respect for the inner workings of the human body and made me more committed to a healthy lifestyle.

8 Wks. PO Photos

Almost 9 Wks. PO

I'm really loving the results of my TT with muscle repair. I can only imagine how good it will look in a couple of months. I'm using butterfly bandages on the few spots on my incision that aren't completely scab free. But it appears things are finally resolving themselves. I think when I see my PS early next month that the incision will be completely healed.... I hope.

I've noticed that I still have quite a bit of swelling where the lippo was performed. I can still see the shadow of a bruise. I'm hoping it goes down because I don't really see a difference. I think that will improve some of the crinkling.

I notice some swelling in the upper area above my BB where the muscle repair was done, especially the day after running. I am happy that I can run 3-4 miles without stopping, though I'm only doing it every other day at the moment. I'm having to build back up and really want the incision to heal and the swelling to go down. I've been wearing a compression-type garment during the day to keep the swelling down.

I've managed to keep my weight between 135-137. I'm please with that. I thought it might be difficult, but since I"m not exercising as much my appetite is less.

It has been a slow and interesting process and I have much more respect for my body. I've noticed an improvement in how I feel about myself when running. I love looking down and seeing FLAT!

10+ Weeks PO

Each day gets better and better. I look in the mirror and am amazed at the transformation. I actually can say that I like what I see in the mirror, even at 52! I like my body.

I'm running regularly and still swell but I know it is temporary. I have some soreness if I do too much. Every day the incision looks better and is almost healed, just a few spots left. I'll be glad when I can start scar therapy.

My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. So grateful I had a fantastic PS: Dr. Tom Pousti.

11 wks, 3 days

I needed to get back on here to remind myself where I was and where I am now. I've noticed as the swelling resides I can see some of the stretch marks Ibhas becoming more visible near my BB. I also noticed when I sit and bend over the skin is a little loose and crinkles. Nowhere as before but today it all upset me a bit.

I need to realize it will never be perfect; I'll be 53 next month; and that it looks so much better than before.

I saw the PS on Thurs. I know the whole process takes Tina don't that final results are several months away.

I also have scabs and saw a stitch sticking out and tried to pull. Then I saw it needed clipped. I would like the incision to be completely healed but it's still not. I'm not sure how it's going to look. I hope the swelling and raised appearance subside eventually. I don't want to get in the mindset that I have to have more work done or I wish had done my breasts too.

It boils down to some self acceptance, as my boyfriend would say.

I'll post pictures.

11+ Week Photos

11 wks, 3 days

14 week photos

Overall, I'm pleased. I do hope the swelling above my BB where the muscle repair is goes down. Also have a little swelling near an area on my right hip that's not completely healed. I'm just glad most of the scabbing is finally healed. Hope to start scar treatment. Have some lumpy areas near the incision too.

More photos

A view of the area on my right hip and the bulging above my BB.

5 Months PO

Today marks 5 months PO. I completed a half marathon two days ago in 2:05. I am very pleased with the results. I've gained 5 pounds and am up to 140. I like being closer to 135 for running.

It's been quite a journey and I am so happy I did this for myself. I just turned 53 last month and the only regret is that I didn't do it sooner.

One Year Today!

It was one year ago that I had my TT with muscle repair. I have no regrets. I ran my 8th marathon in April and 7 half marathons in the last 6 months. It's holding together well.

I will need to go in an have scar revision on my right side, since it popped open a few weeks after surfer and didn't really heal correctly. I won't be able to have it until October because I'm training for the Chicago Marathon the first part of that month.

I'm posting the before and after photo side by side. I want to remember what it was like in case I start thinking it's not perfect - which it's not, but that's ok. I don't have that skin hanging over.

I do wish I hadn't done the lipo on the hips. the skin is loose in that area, which is probably because of my age.

Dr. Pousti did a great job and the only regret I have is that I didn't do it sooner.
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

I did a lot of research and Dr. Pousti has great credentials. I can go into my surgery knowing he is one of the best.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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