43 Y.o. Wants to Take Control of my Midsection

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Mommy Makeover is scheduled for 11/30/2016....

Mommy Makeover is scheduled for 11/30/2016. Getting nervous, but feel I am pretty well prepared. Dreading those first few days especially, followed by the dread of 6 weeks of taking it easy and losing all my strength/muscle tone. Oh well, as long as in the end, I am happy with having a flat stomach, and perkier girls, it will all be good. I am having a full TT (to include diastatis recti and umbilical hernia repair) and BA with Dr Jeffrey Umansky in San Diego. Going small for the BA 300cc high profile to try to attain my original size or just barely larger (full B, smaller C).I hope I am choosing the size wisely. I went for consultations with Dr Pousti and Dr Kearney before settling on Dr Umansky. I am feeling brave today and decided to post my before pics...

Consultations

My first consultation was with Dr Robert Kearney. He recommended a BA and coolsculpting for my stomach. I read about results of coolsculpting vs lipo, and it didn't seem worth spending so much to do non-invasive if I was already doing the BA. I called back and asked for a quote with lipo instead of coolsculpting and it took them awhile to return my call and provide the quote. Ultimately, I found Dr Kearney very informative, however I felt overwhelmed by how fast he talked, and felt like it was rushed. Part of the problem could have been that it was my first consultation, and it was just too much to take in. (I should mention that I was attracted to the no tummy tuck option)

I went to my next consultation with Dr Tom Pousti. I was ready to hear about BA and lipo, but Dr Pousti said I wouldn't be happy with the results if I only did lipo because I would have loose skin, which could potentially be less attractive than my poochy belly. I thought Dr Pousti had a very nice demeanor, and I enjoyed the meeting with him. While in my consultation, I got to meet with 2 other women who had recently had BAs, and one assistant in the office who had a TT. Although meeting with other patients made my consultation very long, it was nice to talk to women who were happy with their results. The one thing that was odd was the big posters in the rooms with lots of women in tight tank tops with statements like, "I see you've met the twins" and "Body by Pousti" across the chest. I was turned off by that. Later I heard from some people that Dr Pousti is known for BIG boobs, and then the poster in the office made more sense. I read another review about Dr Pousti who mentioned his assistant Daisy. I second all the positive things said about her. She was so sweet and helpful.

My last consultation was with Dr Jeffrey Umansky, who was low key, didn't speak too fast, and just made me feel comfortable. He also recommended the BA and TT instead of a BA and lipo. I am so scared of the TT, but between Dr Umansky and his assistant Terri, I was put at ease and ready to move forward. I went for my pre-op appointment a couple weeks back, and met with the nurse who will help with the surgery. I wish there was a little more hand-holding, but maybe my nerves have me being overly needy... We'll see how it goes on Wed (fingers crosssed)!

Pre-Op Freak Out

I really hope I chose the right size implants. I really hope recovery goes smoothly and I am happy with the results. I feel so guilty about spending so much money on myself... ugh! Can we fast forward to 2 weeks post op?!

The big day

Went in at 7am today, back home around 12. No idea how it went because I was out cold, and aside from short walks, haven't even gotten out of bed for even looked in the mirror. Things are tight! Just lifting my head to get a sip of water engages my core and is really painful.

My husband helped me get up the stairs to our bedroom. Just figured I would be more comfortable in bed than on the couch. As I lay here my stomach is very noisy. Not concerned about it, just an observation...

I will wrap it up here. Energy is waiting..

Post Op Day 1

I'm getting around surprisingly well. Getting in and out of bed is a b**ch, and I'm walking around hunched over like a little grannie, but that's to be expected, right? I went for my first post-op appointment today, so I got to see my belly without the binder and the girls. Things are looking pretty good. The doc said the implants are already dropping and said I don't need to wear the bandeau. Feels like there is a lot of swelling to the sides. I am icing out wide to help with that.

I moved from bed to the recliner today which was a nice change of scenery. Still taking pain meds pretty regularly (2 every 4 hours). I plan to start cutting back tomorrow. I can get around walking without support, to include getting up and down the steps. I even sat at the dinner table with my kids tonight, but that really wiped me out. Mostly I just need hubby's help getting into and out of bed. I am drinking a ton of water and peeing a lot. I started taking Miralax a few days before surgery. Hope to see things moving on that end maybe tomorrow.

I have swollen glands on both sides of my neck. I asked the nurse about it, but she said it was nothing. I felt feverish on and off throughout the day, so hopefully it will go away on it own and is not indicative of an infection.

Guess who got to take a shower today?

Hubby helped me take my first post-op shower today. I can lift my arms, but it would have been a challenge to try to wash my hair and rinse it myself. Body is sore, and now I can see the bruising and it makes more sense why my hips and upper legs have been feeling sore.

Boobs are still pretty wide, but hoping they'll settle in soon. They feel swollen on the outside, but otherwise pretty normal. I did feel short of breath today, but not sure if that was related to the implants or not.

My waist looks SUPER short in these photos because I am so hunched over. Also looks like I either have bigger love handles on one side, or the swelling is worse on one side. I guess time will tell...

Incision aches

I'm sore today, really sore. I was up and around a lot yesterday, and may have overdone it. I loved feeling more independent and not relying on my husband for everything. I'm also trying to wean from the prescription pills, so that's probably playing a role too. Yesterday I went from taking 2 pills every 4 hours to 2 pills every 6 hours and felt good. Today I am down to 1 pill every 5-6 hours. Doctor prescribed oxycodone acetaminophen. But my question is, can I take a Tylenol with my 1 prescription pill or is that too much acetaminophen for me? Weaning from pain meds without using OTC pain meds is proving really hard. My incision in particular is really painful today. My bruising got considerably worse in the last day too, but I guess that is to be expected.

Doctor suggested Spanx for compression post surgery but I chose to do a binder so I wouldn't need my husband to take down the Spanx every time I needed to go to the bathroom. With incision so sore, and binder contributing to soreness, I am reconsidering the spanx. Suggestions on incision pain with binder (and drain)? Right now I have a tank top between my stomach and binder in hopes of helping the incision...

Grocery Store retreat

I got out today for the first time since surgery. Had lunch out, then walked around the grocery store. Pushing the cart was perfect in that I was slightly hunched over, but since I had the cart, it wasn't noticeable. I am proud of the walking I have gotten in so far today. Additionally, I am officially off the pain meds. Took 1 Tylenol at 6am, another at noon. I may take an oxycodone at bedtime, or may just see how I feel without it. Right now I am feeling pretty good. Generally speaking, I am most comfortable in the recliner or in bed with pillows. The couch has not been a comfortable option. Stairs haven't been an issue since day 1 post-op.

My boobs feel sore today. I switched from the surgical bra to a zip front sports bra, but I am feeling sore (maybe too constricting), so I will switch back to the surgical bra. I am back to wearing the binder because I think the Spanx clogged my drain. I am milking the tube every morning, and that seems to get things moving, so I am still draining, but decided to stick with binder until drain is removed (hopefully Thursday). My sides are both bruised and tender. Stomach looks pretty good so far. I had my first post-op sneeze today, and let me just say "OUCH!". There is swelling below my incision over the pubic bone, which causes pain if the binder isn't positioned in correctly.

Hoping soreness in boobs subsides soon, and bruising starts to fade, but mostly looking forward to getting drain out.

1 week post-op visit - no more drain!!! :)

So today was my one week post-op visit. I was so happy when my doc said I'd lose my drain today. The drain came out easily, and felt kind of weird as he pulled it across from one side of my body to the other. I was surprised he didn't have to stitch anything up after the drain was removed. Just pulled it out, and removed my old yucky tape/steri-strips which were starting to come off and applied new steri-strips to my abdomen incision and told me to keep them in place for another week. Steri-strips came off my breasts today and he did not reapply strips there. He did give me some scar gel which I was advised to apply sparingly once a day before bedtime.

He commented that I was still hunched over, and suggested I try to straighten up more. I have started doing some slow shoulder circles, and making a more conscious effort to pull back my shoulders, which I think is helping. My PS recommended wearing Spanx power panties or shorts (higher rise) immediately after surgery, however after reading RS reviews, and talking to some others on RS, I decided to buy myself a binder to wear. I few days post-surgery I tried the Spanx, and I think it messed with my drain since I hardly drained that night. The next day I went back to the binder because I didn't want to have to keep the drain any longer than necessary. Now that the drain is removed, I'll be trying out the Spanx. Wish me luck!

I have stopped all pain meds (even OTC) during the day. If I take meds, I tend to try to do too much. I'd rather have a reminder (pain) that I need to keep myself in check. I have been taking 1-2 OTC pain meds around 3pm to carry me over until bedtime, since it is usually that time of day that I am the most sore, and I need to do the most things for my kids which cause discomfort. Last night I didn't take anything at bedtime, and had no trouble sleeping.

My thoughts on my appearance so far.... Happy with having a flat stomach, but will be happier when I'm less bruised and swollen; not 100% happy with my belly button, but I will need to wait and see how it looks when it finishes healing (I think I was expecting it to be smaller, like it was before I had kids); and TBD on the breasts. I was expecting to have less of a gap between my breasts after the implants, but he told me that its my anatomy that I'll have a bigger gap. I got high profile implants to keep them from going wide, and I still feel really wide. Part of that is probably the swelling, so hopefully I'll have a more positive review in the next month as far as the breasts go... I am still really bruised and swollen (I presume) on the underside of my breasts, and my right side feels harder while my left feels softer. I asked my husband to feel, and he said they didn't feel any different to him, so I am assuming its because I still have more healing to do on the right side.

I am supposed to start back to work (desk work) on Monday, and until today I would have said it was too soon, but so far today, I feel like I will be able to manage. I am moving around better today, and I think I may even be ready to drive today or tomorrow. Even though I was off the meds, hubs didn't think driving was a good idea since I was moving so slow. I'm able to walk more like a normal person today (no more Walking Dead zombie walk - minus the outstretched arms).

Day 1 - back to work

Wow, its been a whirlwind here. Friday was my last day off work, and I was finally moving around comfortably enough to start driving. I took myself shopping for some no-wire bras for my return to work, and did some holiday shopping too. I was out running around from about 9-2, so when I got home, it was back to the recliner I went. I have been off meds, but that afternoon I indulged in some Tylenol because I knew I had probably overdone it. The weekend was a crazy one with my kids' activities, so I was up and out all day, and very busy getting around. Hard to believe its only been just over a week since I had this big surgery!

I am now wearing the Spanx during the day, but it dries out my skin, and because I am short-waisted, it also rubs and irritates where the top of the Spanx meet the bottom of the bra. As a result, I return to my velcro binder for nighttime to give my skin a rest. I am applying Bio-Oil twice a day to try to moisturize. My bruising is getting better too, but the swelling is still very much a part of the recovery for me. Not sure how long it takes for the swelling to go down.

So, now onto today. It was my first day back to work at a desk job. I figured I could sit at home, or I can sit at work, and decided better to have the distraction of work. Only probably was, I didn't even consider how difficult it would be to fit into my work clothes with the swelling. My pants were tight in the waist, uncomfortably tight. By the end of the day, I untucked my shirt, and loosened my belt, and left my pants unbuttoned (pregnancy style....actually missing those stretchy pants right about now). Shortly after lunch I started feeling uncomfortable and wondering if I should head home early, but I stuck it out. I feel pretty uncomfortable, but I think that's just part of the recovery, and no worse based on the fact I am sitting in a chair at work instead of the recliner at home.

I will post some updated photos in the coming days, but overall, still feeling pretty good, and happy to have something else to focus on. I wish I wasn't so swollen. I wish my boobs didn't still ache. But at work, I have other things to think about... And I'm already starting to plan when I can start doing more walking (instead of the workouts I am missing). I think I am still a couple weeks from that. I don't need anything else contributing to more swelling.

2.5 week P.O update

I think about the things I want to write most days, but life has returned to normal, or a modified version of normal while I recuperate, and that means things have been busy. I returned to work on Monday, and by Wednesday my pants were feeling less tight. Don't get me wrong, I have not lost any weight, but the swelling in my stomach and below my incision has started to go down a little. The bruising is fading too. I will post some photos where you can see the bruising is almost gone, or has drained down to my thighs... I took off the steri-strips just as my doc suggested on Thursday, and I gotta say it - my incision is GROSS! I am not normally very skittish, but my doc advised me to put on this scar cream treatment over the incision, and I have gotten light-headed a few times when I am doing it. The incisions from the BA are healing nicely, and my belly button looks pretty good too, but the TT incision is a doozy! I also now recognize how high my scar is, and am disappointed that it won't be hidden by my bikini bottoms. Bummed about that. I noticed on the side where my drain was located, the skin is stretched and pulling. I am not sure if that's what people refer to when they talk about dog ear, but I have some questions about that. My next doc appt isn't until Jan 5th, so I have some time to obsess about it :) I am starting to get more used to my breasts and not as bummed about them being too big, although I am surprised that they're still hurting so much. The bottom of my breasts are very sore, and sometimes my boobs just ache. Also, when I run my hand over my sides where the doc did some lipo, I feel like there are bumps. Does anyone else have that? Does it go away? Weird!!!

I have been getting around pretty well lately. I am wearing spanx during the day, and I go CG-less for sleeping at night (and its glorious). I laugh to myself every time I go from sitting to standing because I feel like a poster for the Evolution of Man, gradually going from being super hunched over, to having better posture and being mostly upright. I would say I am about 92% straight. I feel more cautious about standing straighter now that my steri-strips are off. I am sure its just in my head, but... People having been asking me why I am hunched over, so that is a good thing, but my husband tells me that I am still hunched. And I can tell when I take the photos of myself because my stomach looks shorter than in my pre-op photos.

I am thinking that maybe this week, I will try to get out for a walk, like a real exercise walk (but will limit to under 1 mile so I don't overdo it). I just feel like if I can incorporate a little exercise-lite, I will start feeling more like myself again.

Working out

If working out is sneezing and coughing, then I'm getting a killer workout over here. My stomach aches as I am dealing with the dreaded cold. Boo! Please pray it passes quickly. This really sucks.

Starting to feel like I want to workout again

I wanted to feel more like myself in the first few weeks after surgery, and that would mean getting in regular exercise, however my body definitely could NOT handle it. This week (my 4th week post-op) I have started to wish I could be more active. I walked on the treadmill 3 times this week. The first time it was slow going, and I walked exactly 1 mile with no incline, but by the end I was able to speed up a little. The second time I was able to walk a little faster, and walked just over a mile. Today I did nearly 2 miles. I so want to try doing the elliptical or some more strenuous cardio, but my next appointment with my PS is next week, and he'll tell me what I can do now, and hopefully a timeline for when I can start to do more strenuous cardio, as well as weight-lifting and sports.

As far as how my body is feeling...I feel like one breast has "dropped and fluffed" and it feels pretty good. Still sensitive, but not painful. The other breast is another story. It still feels bruised along the side and the bottom, and I don't think its done the drop and fluff thing yet because they don't look the same. I got 300cc on both sides, and they weren't different sizes before, so strange they they'd be different now. I hope the drop and fluff happens soon.

I have been a bit more swollen this week, which I think is to be expected since I've been more active. I am wearing my compression garment (Spanx) during the day, but mostly I do not wear it to bed. I haven't been wearing my Spanx to walk either, since I wanted to work on strengthening my back, and my posture without the compression. I have noticed my Spanx doesn't seem to be as tight, which may be a result of overuse, or maybe I've gotten smaller (haven't lost any weight though). I decided to invest in a smaller Spanx today, so hopefully I will adequately "compressed" for the remainder of the time I have to wear it (hopefully just another couple weeks). I am also now fitting into my pants again (without having to leave the button unbuttoned), so that makes me happy. And love that I don't feel self conscious about form fitting shirts when I sit down now. I think my hubby likes it too since I have seen him checking me out, and it makes me feel really good.

The scars on my breasts are healing nicely, and the scabs have come off my belly button and my TT incision. I'm applying the silicon gel my PS gave to me. There's one section where it feels really strange when I apply the gel. Its hard to describe the sensation. Feels like there's something on the incision and I'm pulling on it, but I don't see anything there. I'll mention it to my PS next week at my appointment. Its probably just crazy nerve stuff. The scar is starting to flatten a bit in the center, and my left side looks pretty good. My right side, which is where the drain was, is really dark, and not smooth at all. It also looks like the skin is pulling, which isn't happening on the other side.

Working out again (barely)

I saw my doctor last week, who gave me his approval to start working out. I went right to the gym and tried it. OUCH! I had been regularly walking on the treadmill or in the 'hood for 30 minutes or so, so I was ready to try the elliptical and maybe a slow run. I did the elliptical for 10 min with no problems. I went on the treadmill and did some intervals...slow intervals. 2 minutes of walking followed by 1 minute of running at a very slow pace. It was ugly, but I managed. Lifted some light weights and headed home. That night - OUCH! Had a terrible night sleeping, and in hindsight, probably should have taken some meds that night. Haven't worked out since, other than walking. I will try again in a few days, but it was a much needed reminder that its going to be a slow road of recovery.

When I visited my doc, I mentioned my concerns that one breast seems to have done the drop and fluff thing, but my other isn't quite there yet. He recommended that I continue to massage. I also expressed concern about my scar. He also said the scar was thick in certain sections and said I should come in for CO2 laser resurfacing. I was pleasantly surprised when he said there was no additional cost for the treatment. I hope it will diminish my scars. I will keep you all posted! And I will take photos soon too (just had a busy weekend and didn't get around to it).

Some photos, and a post 6 week update

My body has been feeling MUCH better since I hit the 6 week mark. I am not moving as slowly, and I am getting around more comfortably. I had been relying on wearing my Spanx most days, but figured I would try a day without it this past weekend, and was surprised by how well I felt. So, haven't worn my Spanx since last week, and it feels really good. I feel like I'm not hunched over, but my hubs says I am still slouching a bit. I will work on my posture. I have had cold after cold, and the coughing still hurts, but its not as bad as it was...

My PS asked me to come back next week to start some laser treatment on the parts of my scar that look "thick" (a little puffier). I will see him late next week. I was glad when he said there is no additional charge for the treatment, but wish I had more information on it, other than its a CO2 laser. Apparently I have to go in an hour early so they can apply numbing gel to the scar and then they'll wrap me up and we'll wait until I'm numb before the treatment, which won't last long. My PS didn't say how many treatments I would need, because he wanted to see how my body responds. I will have to wait at least 3 weeks between treatments. I'm not even sure if they'll laser the whole scar, or just the puffy parts. He isn't planning to do anything about the pulling at the one side of my scar (where its super wrinkly) right now, but said after 6 months or so, he might try to fix it if its not looking better. I tried on some of my old bathing suits, and was bummed to see that my scars are visible on both sides.

Most of my swelling has started to subside with the exception of below my TT incision scar. It looks like I have swelling over my pubic bone. Hopefully that will go down, and I just need to be patient.

Before and After 6 Week Pics

Someone once talked about the value of putting before and after pics together, and I can see why... When I start to nitpick my results, it helps to go back and see where this journey started....

5 months and counting

I feel pretty good, and definitely feel happier about how I look. I'm back to doing ab exercises, including sit-ups. I regularly have the dull ache in my abs, and I wonder if I ever won't be reminded of this surgery by that feeling.

I have been doing scar treatments with Dr. Umansky monthly. I can't say I am seeing a huge difference, but hopefully soon. He said my scar was getting "thick" and that the laser treatments on the scar is helping it to thin out. I one point, he shot some steroids into the scar in my belly button and that did seem to help. I still have the dreaded "dog ear" at the end of my scar (on the side where I had the drain). I will go in next month and he will restitch that area, and hopefully the healing will be smooth.

All in all, still very happy I went through with the surgery.
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon

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