24 Years Old, Finally Ready To Have A Flat Tummy. Scottsdale, AZ

I have been thinking about this for a while and...

I have been thinking about this for a while and last month finally did the research, picked a surgeon, and scheduled the date. Life is just too short to spend time looking in the mirror and not liking what I see.

About me: I am a healthy 24 year old, active (cardio 2-3 x per week, yoga on weekends) and for as long as I can remember I have had a stomach pooch. I gained a lot of weight very quickly around the 4th grade and was really chubby and overweight for most of my middle and high school days. Didn't play sports, suffered from binge eating disorder. When I went to college I found how much stress I relieved at the gym and lost about 40 pounds from exercising regularly for the first time in my life. Sine then I've gained 15 back but have been at a steady weight the last three years.

Even at my lowest weight, my stomach had a stubborn roll of fat. I've found that when I really work at it, the rest of my body (legs, arms, and weirdly even love handles) tone up nicely, but my stomach remains the same. My pooch hits right where my pants button, making them fit awkwardly/make me look pregnant. I have a small chest and feel like my body is just out of proportion. I'm looking forward to having flat stomach for the first time.

I know this surgery will not make me suddenly thinner, and I actually like being a size 10, I just want to look more proportionate and gain some confidence.

Main concerns: Swelling, if I will be too sore for work the next week (surgery is on Thursday, taking Friday and Monday off), and the meds making me sick. I took oxycodone following my Cholecystectomy and it made my stomach upset. My goal for this surgery is to get off the pain pills and move to over the counter pills as soon as possible. Planning on using essential oils to help with bruising.

I have a big event with my boyfriend (who lives in another state) a month after surgery. I cannot wait to put on a flattering dress and surprise him with a curvy, more proportionate body!

Nervous - five days pre op

I am starting to get anxious.. I do not have the support of family (ugh, long story) and am very nervous about swelling and being uncomfortable when I return to work; surgery is on Thursday, I'll have Thursday-Monday off and return Tuesday.

Has anyone driven the day after Smart Lipo? Were you able to care for ourself? I am on my own and I want this so badly, but I am starting to wonder if the timing is not right..

Prep Work

Today I spoke with the office manager and she really put my mind at ease. I am dropping off my prescriptions tonight taking a tea tree oil and epsom salt bath to really start prepping my body.

I am trying to make surgery as least stressful as possible for it. I also stocked up on supplies:
- Arnicare Pain Relief Tablets (I started taking those today, and plan to about 3 times a day before surgery and after for bruising and swelling)
-Boiron Arnicare Arnica Gel (just another option for dealing with the bruising)
- Pads for leakage (both the big over night kind and some thinner ones)
- Dynarex Povidone Iodine Prep Solution (for washing my skin before and after surgery to reduce the chance of infection)

I got all my meal prep done tonight. My meals right for the next two weeks: Slimfast shake for breakfast with soy milk, vegetarian chili for lunch, and salmon or tilapia with grilled veggies and a serving of brown rice for dinner. I am trying to avoid sodium and eat lots of fiber. I am stocked up on pineapple and protein for snacking as well, which should help with the bruising.

I promised myself that if I was going to do this surgery then I needed to give up soda, so that has been cut from my diet. Plus I'm tired of the constant bloat my beloved Diet Coke gives me.. My doctor recommended no caffeine the next few days before surgery either, so I'm laying off the coffee.

Overall I am nervous but I want this so badly - I am sick of my jeans not quite fitting right because my little pooch hits right at the buttons, and I want my stomach to not stick out further than my boobs! I don't expect to be thin or look like a Barbie, but I want to feel confident and proportionate. Attached are before surgery pictures. I am trying to be positive and confident about the outcome and just prepare for all that I can.

Fears

1. Not being unable to function soon after surgery. I took a good amount of time off work, but I am also finishing my graduate degree and need to be able to work for a few hours a day at home. A lot of people do not know about this, but know I have been working out and dieting. If I can conceal it, that would be best.

2. Swelling and bruising. My dr said he wants me to walk 1-2 miles a day starting the first full post op day. I live in the desert where the temps have been about 110 degrees each day, so I will be doing that at night in a gym. I've got my fitbit charging to make sure I move around the house hourly too! Hopefully the moving around will help, and I am stocked up on lots and lots of water, Vitamin Water Zero, and pineapple Bai. I am still taking arnica with my antibiotics 3x per day. I will continue that routine after surgery too obviously.

3. Getting in and out of my car. I drive a mini cooper. Ha. It's sort of low to the ground. Also my neighborhood has a lot of speed bumps.

4. Blood clots. Some other weird complication. Rare, but anything could happen.

5. Feeling this was not worth the money after end results. I've read a lot of posts on here and done other research and listened to my dr's advice - I know I need to lose about 5-10 pounds after surgery and give it a solid 4 months before seeing final results. If I end up lumpy or saggy or having an uneven stomach I will be really upset with myself.. Goal is flat stomach and an accentuated waist. I want to be able to tuck shirts into my jeans and not look pregnant in shift dresses!

Pre photos

It's over!

So today was the day! I was VERY nervous this morning. My surgery group has a woman who drives for them, so she picked me up around noon. She has had a lot of work done over the years and she promised me it would go great and I would be so happy in the end.

When I got to the surgery center I signed some legal forms and they took be back almost immediately for pre op pictures. They gave me a cocktail of Xanax, zofran (for nausea), and a little bit of Percocet. I was really anxious but the nurse was super sweet and gave me a stress ball to squeeze once they had me on the operating table.

Hands down, the most uncomfortable part of the whole thing was being numbed. I don't know how to quite describe it - it was like a sting and pinch both on my skin and below. Once I was loaded up with lidocaine they let me rest for a minute and then it began.

The actual procedure wasn't bad at all because I was numb. My doctor worked on my lower abdomen pooch and upper abdomen and also 'feathered' my flanks a bit. Although I couldn't feel anything I was very tense. The feeling was strange - the tool they use for lipo vibrates. It reminded me of the feeling of getting a tattoo but it was internal. It was strange but totally tolerable.

A few times I asked for more lidocaine and my doctor was quick to give me more until they end. He didn't want to put any more fluid in me because it might make it difficult to feel how much fat was left to remove. They had me turn on either side at one point and also puff out my stomach.

I felt totally coherent the whole time and very 'with it' when it was over. The nurse bandaged me up and helped me into my compression garment. I know some people say they are uncomfortable but I think the compression garment really feels good!

I was able to walk out and get into the car easily. It's a little awkward to sit in the compression garment, it's a little bulky. Right now I'm laying down and I feel shaky (my nurse said that is my body recovering from all the extra lidocaine and I should be feel fine in an hour) but pain is almost non existent. I know it won't stay like this (HA) so I'm resting now.

I took some arnica pills with my antibiotics at breakfast and lunch before my procedure and took some more arnica immediately after getting home. I'll take an Extra Strength Tylenol around dinner time with more arnica.

Hopefully I will have pictures tomorrow.

Post Op Day 1 (another update)

I started the procedure at 1:15 pm today, but 12:45 ish is when the nurse gave me the little drug cocktail. Almost exactly 5 pm on the dot I started feeling a little achey and I took two Extra Strength Tylenol (I still really do not want to take an of my Oxy unless I have to). I feel so much better, it's amazing how much that helped.

The pain right now that I've been feeling is more of a stinging from the incisions, but sometimes I feel a little bit like one does after a tough ab workout. Still tolerable. Fingers crosses that I can keep the pain at bay by sticking to a good drug schedule and keep moving.

I took a nap but have been up and walking - did a load of laundry and went to the bathroom a few times since I am drinking water and gatorade like a mad woman. I think I actually feel better walking around. Sitting up is kind of awkward because of all the padding I have on under the compression garment. I still think the garment feels good though.

I don't know how swollen I am, but I can definetly tell I am draining - my bandages feel very heavy. I plan on getting up and showering tomorrow morning around 8 ish. My doctor told me to expect to drain A LOT today, about half as much on day two, and maybe a little on day 3 post op.

Still feel pretty good overall. I am still shaky, so I ate a little bit of food and took my antibiotics. I haven't felt dizzy, light headed, or nauseous, which were some of my main concerns. I set an alarm for 12 am to get up and eat a graham cracker, walk around, and take more Tylenol and arnica.

First Night/First Morning/First Shower Post Op

Okay, lets be real - the weirdest part about this whole ordeal was not that someone sucked fat out of me but the fact that I just covered myself in about twelve maxi pads.

I slept okay last night. Again, I'm really not in pain, just a little uncomfortable from the draining. I did get some on my compression garment, so I will be looking forward to washing that soon. I set an alarm for midnight for some pain killers and arnica and I got up at six this morning and took them again.

Then I attempted to shower. My zipper on my CG got stuck and I had a mini panic attack that I was going to have to call my dad in to free his mostly naked 24 year old daughter from a bloody body suit. He doesn't know about my procedure so I think he would have gone into shock. LUCKILY I got the zipper about halfway down and just pulled it over my head. Only then did the stupid zipper come undone...

My pads were pretty much soaked, and I'm pretty squeamish, so that wasn't pleasant. I was bending over a lot getting pads and clothes off the floor and one of my incisions is still draining a lot. I had to remind myself that they had to add additional lidocaine a few times so there's probably a lot of fluid still hanging out inside of me.

My body is definetly smaller - I am very happy with so far! My trunk is just less bulky, I think that is my favorite part. The pooch is definetly minimized. There is a little bit of a bump there still, but it's only day 1 and I'm sure I can work that part down with some exercise. I was really happy to see bruising is pretty minimal so far. That could change, but I was seriously expecting to take off the pads and be black and blue all over. I look pretty normal other than my sides have some bruising from where the doctor 'feathered' my flanks.

Showering: I made sure I washed my body with betadine first, then washed my hair and face, and then used betadine again before getting out. My incisions are basically open wounds and I want to be really careful with them. Oh and my skin feels WEIRD! I can tell some areas are still numb and some a really sensitive. I was trying to massage it a little in the shower to help with draining and it was a really bizarre sensation.

I tried to air dry myself and then began taping pads to my incisions.. Ugh, ladies and guys, if you are going to do this, I suggest buying actually medical pads. The 'lady pads' are absorbent I'm sure but they're hard to place on my body. The nurse yesterday gave me this giant torso sock thing that I step into that helps hold the pads in place. I got back into my CG fine, it just took some time. This was not a quick 'shower and run out the door' kind of morning.

My level is maybe a 4/10. It's really not even pain, just soreness. Again, it feels like an ab workout. The only difficult thing is transitioning from laying to standing or standing to sitting.

The only thing I'm not happy with right now is that my compression garment is in need of washing and I want to wait a day or two more before taking it off for more than 20 minutes. When I'm done draining I plan to throw it into the washer and wear some Spanx for a bit while I clean it. That will be the highlight of my week!

End of First Full Day Post Op

I was totally functioning today, just moving a little slower than usual. Being in too much pain to move was a huge fear of mine beforehand. I did a CVS run (I got gauze pads instead of the maxi pads for the rest of my draining) and was able to just sit at home and study without issue. I took a nap after lunch while waiting for my Tylenol to kick in. I'm on a Noon, 6pm, midnight, and 6am pain med schedule. I tend to get achey about two hours before my next dose.

Fitbit says I hit 4k steps today, so that's just a little shy of 2 miles. My doc wants me walking 1-2 miles a day, so I'm glad to know that's possible for me after the procedure.

Feeling uncomfortable more than anything, and bulky. I'm just really aware of the pads under my garment. I'd love to shower again but I don't want to take my CG off until the morning, so it'll have to wait. I went out to dinner with my dad and got a salad at a restaurant we visit a lot. I usually could eat the entire thing but tonight I only about about 2/3 before feeling uncomfortably full. The garment is pretty tight against my stomach (they put me in a Medium sizw CG, which is a little crazy since I'm usually a Large (10/12) in clothing) and the incisions got a little painful when my stomach started filling. I think I'm better off having much smaller little meals throughout the day for a while, eating out is just too much food to comfortably eat.

Second Day Post Op

Enough, I had to wash my compression garment. I have stopped draining for the most part (thank goodness) and put on Spanx and a waist cincher while the CG is in the wash. I'll wear it for the rest of my 10 post op days, it was just getting a little too gnarly for me to wear. My Spanx do not have a zipper so it was a little difficult to get them on this morning due to my soreness.

Still happy with my new shape! My stomach bulges are gone. It was weird moving around in the shower this morning and not feeling them. My skin is still numb to touch - showering is a really crazy sensation!

I didn't take any post op pictures until today because of all the draining and wanting to get myself back into my CG as soon as possible. I added to comparison pictures - 3 days pre op and 2 days post.

I'm still a thicker girl, which I like, but my stomach has really shrunk. It makes my boobs look a little bigger. It's not totally flat, but it's still leaps and bounds better than before! A lot of posts on here talk about post op swelling - I can't really tell how much swelling I have or how much my shape will change in a few months. If it stays close to this I will be happy. I wish I wasn't so sore /still had healing incisions because I want to start exercising and toning up.

Post Day 3

Not much of an update, just some thoughts.

I am definetly going to have to change my eating habits. It's very difficult for me to eat a 'normal' meal in my CG because it gets too uncomfortable as my stomach fills up. The tightness has been leading to some stomach aches.

The night before last my pain was okay but I didn't want to wake up at midnight for more Tylenol, so I tried one of my Oxy pills to see if I could sleep thru the night. I've only been using over the counter pain killers so far. HOLY COW I felt fine when I was awake, but I seriously think I went for a psychotic trip once I went to sleep. I've never had such intense, horrifying nightmares in my life. No more Rx pain pills for me.

When I washed my CG garment yesterday I dried it in the dryer on low, but didn't change back into it until night time. I wish I had just put it on right away because it was very difficult to get back into. Either it shrunk a little in the wash or my Spanx are not tight enough and I started to swell. It was hard to squeeze back into. LOL at me for wishing the garment was tighter.

Stomach skin is still numb, really only notice in the shower.

3/5 incisions have stopped draining and started to heal. My two lowest incisions still need to have the bandages changed twice a day. I haven't been able to wear anything besides black clothing because I still need to hide potential leaks.

The most discomfort I'm in right now is actually my skin from all the taping of pads and Bandaids. I will be so relieved when my incisions close becuase my skin needs a break.

Only bruising is some random spots over my mons pubis. That is also the spot that is most tender to touch when I clean.

I am really anxious to exercise. I want to start sweating to help get the rest of the fluids out of my body, but I am also terrified of infection and don't want to get sweaty at all until my incisions close up. I live in AZ and it is absolutely sweltering outside. I'm still taking my antibiotics at meal and arnica 3-4 times per day.

I do NOT like being out of my compression garment, even just to shower. I know not staying in it while not change the results, but it just feels better to be all swaddled up and feel like my skin is 'contained'. It also feels better massaging my skin over the garment instead of directly. I'm mostly just running my fingers down my abdomen trying to break up any tough feeling spots and push the rest of the fluid out. Next week I am going to try using my little heated massager on my stomach to see how that helps.

Still still, but moving around pretty much like normal. Progress is progress no matter how small!

Six Day Post Op Updates

I wore jeans today! I was tired of stretch pants. The jeans hit right where my stomach is still numb (#momjeans) so I don't how how tight they are. I can fit a few fingers between the waistband and it isn't super tight so I'm guessing I'm not sitting off any circulation or upsetting my stomach.

Still need to eat small meals in these tight garments. Drinking lots of water - still taking arnica but really not anymore pain killers.

Bruising is almost all gone! Moving around is better - my discomfort level is a 2/10. Bending over is the only difficult thing.

One incision is still open and still draining a little. My biggest complaint is my skin being irritated from the taping and band aids.

I have no idea how much of my current shape is from swelling. I guess time will tell. I took pictures again today - my front stomach pooch is still there (but it is way smaller from pre op so I can't complain). I see a lot of difference in my sides. Since my stomach is still numb I'm wondering if it's just a little swollen?

Follow up appointment is on Friday. Still anxious to get back to working out, but I have been hitting about 10k steps a day according to Fitbit.

Post Op Follow Up Appointment

I went in today (8 days post op!) to visit my surgeon and have him look everything over. He said I'm healing well but I'm far from looking like I will. He told me to expect my stomach to go down at least 50% in the next few months. I didn't realize how much of my body was swelling and how much was final results, so good to know! He also told me the little pooch that remains should also flatten out, which I was so glad to hear.

I will return to the center in October for my 'after photos'. Doc told me no jogging and to avoid sodium to keep the swelling at bay. Elliptical and walking is approved. He does want me to try and lose about 5-10 pounds for optimal results. I asked about my stomach being numb and he suggested massing my stomach and just giving it time. My nerves are aparently in shock.

Most of my swelling - and now some buising - is down below around my pelvic area. It makes sense since I'm moving around so much. I'm continuing with the arnica. No new pictures until I start seeing more of a difference.

Lumpy and bumpy.

Very lumpy and uneven today - it's super noticeable. I know it's temporary and I know I'm healing but I feel ginormous. Wore the waist cincher today instead of the compression garment - I don't think it was tight enough. I took a warm shower and went straight back into my post op compression garment for bed.

Major bruise above pelvis/mon pubis. Added a thick layer of arnica gel. Still taking arnica pills. Pain level is pretty much gone.

Progress is progress..

Retraction!

My abdomen and pelvic area is started to feel vey tight, like my skin is being pulled. Craziest sensation! I'm assuming my skin is retracting, which is very exciting.

Still pretty lumpy but not discouraged since I'm only two weeks post op. I've been massaging my lumps and using a heating pad at night to help with swelling. I'm still wearing a compression garment of some kind 24/7. I feel weird without it! Still taking arnica and using the arnica gel.

I'm very pleased with how my incisions are healing - I don't think they're going to scar. If they do they will certainly be much smaller and less noticeable than a scar I have from my appendectomy a few years ago.

Stretching is difficult because my skin feels so tight, but I'm trying to do some basic yoga every day to help.

Still lumpy..

And possibly swollen. Today marks three weeks. I don't really feel better naked but I do in clothes - my yoga pants have a hard time staying up. Clothes just fit better and I feel more proportionate. My side view feels like more of an improvement than the front view. I'm not really sure how lumpy or flat I will be in the end. I still have a pooch. It's smaller but still there. I'm wearing my compression garment 24/7 still.

I weigh the same amount as I do the day of surgery, which I think is weird. They definitely removed a full container of fat so maybe I'm retaining a lot of liquid? I'm walking about 2.5 miles a day and sticking to 1200 calories a day.

Incisions are healed and scabbed over. I feel like myself other than my stomach is numb. Sometimes it's hard to stretch to the side or arch my back.

Almost a month!

This healing processes is SUCH a rollercoaster. Some days I'm so happy with myself and others I have total 'wtf dos I do?' moments.

I definitely feel better in clothes, but not without. I still have my little pooch. Sometimes I think this surgery made me more analytical of my body.

I started working out again. Just walking and elliptical. Sometimes I do some squats and light lifting. Even the days I don't go to the gym I make sure I hit 1.5 miles on my Fitbit.

I admittedly was not working out much the months before my surgery. I was 158 lbs on the day of my surgery - about 5 lbs more than what I consider 'usual' for me. I want to be down to about 140 or 145.

My #1 goal right now is to take really good care of myself and work on my body image. I'm trying to make sure I think positive thoughts about my body, I can see how this surgery can give you confidence but how it can also make you think some very toxic things. I've found myself being very nitpicky over my body and seeing other areas I want to have done. My arms suddenly always look chubby, I wish my boobs were bigger, ect. I really want to learn to embrace my new body. If I had surgery on every part of my body I don't know eventually I'd run out of areas to 'fix' and might still be unhappy. This surgery have me a jump start to viewing myself in a better light and I want to take advantage of this weird time and just treat my body like I should have the last 24 years.

Pooch is flat!

I hope it stays that way! I called my surgeons office on Friday and asked about my lumpiness and unevenness and that told me that was totally normal and to give it at least 3 months. I knew this already, but it was nice to hear.

The ups and down of this procedure are crazy.

5 weeks

I feel about 95% back to normal. Stomach is still a little numb, but I'm working out daily no issue and stretching isn't painful anymore. I'm only about 4 pounds down from my surgery date.. still want to be about 150.

I'm adding a picture - in the mornings after sleeping in my garment my stomach is ALMOST flat. It's getting better every day! Of course, over the day as I eat and drink it puffs up a bit and swells, but I am finally seeing what I want to see! My inventions are still a little red. When I hit the 2 or 3 mknth mark I will start using a scar gel.

(FYI that gnarly scar you see on my upper right abdomen is NOT from this surgery, it was from shingles when I was younger)

Mini Update

The skin around my stomach had regained feeling! The area surrounding my bellow button was still numb to touch for a while. I didn't even realize it was back to 'normal' until today. It is still a little tender to touch if I put a lot of pressure on it or bump into something.

Stomach is flat when I wake up in the morning and then a little lumpy and even by night time. I can live with that! I stopped wearing the CG 24/7 and just sleep in it now.

I'm curious how different I will look/feel at the end of month three, which is when I am supposed to be officially recovered.

"Have you lost weight?"

The bf asked me those awesome words this weekend (haven't seen him in about a month) and I was just thrilled. to. bits.

Personally, I haven't seen a lot of change since my last post. I'm really struggling to lose weight post op.. I'm wondering if my IUD is messing with my hormones and is adjusting since I got it in May right before my surgery. I have been good about walking and drinking water. I finished my graduate degree (YAY!) last week so I finally have some more time to spend at the gym.

Most days I have a pretty flat stomach and it puffs up by the end of the day. I think there is still some swelling around my belly button.. Some surgeons say you do not see full results until 6 months post op so there is a chance I could see some more changes by the end of the year. I sleep in my CG sometimes just because it feels good, and sometimes if I consume more sodium than usual I swell.

I'll try and post some pictures once I feel I see a difference from last time or lose a few pounds. I think if I really focus on some ab moves and crunches I will end up with a shape I am super happy with by the time I go in for my post surgery photos in October. It's 50-50 the surgery and what you put into it! Take care RS friends!
Dr. William E. Shuell

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