TT, Muscle Repair, Hips Lipo (myself again)!

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Ok, so here is this story... For me my life was...

Ok, so here is this story... For me my life was always about my career and my future. Getting married and having children were not in my plans. So, after I graduated from College I joined the military to continue with my education and to serve my country. As time went by, I met my X-husband, and oh yeah he is now an "X" marks the spot! LOL... After the first night, guess what? There was a bun in the oven which was not fair because I was on the shot, and it was all documented properly, I was the one in 99,000 women that it can fail for. Why couldn't I have been the next one.. 99,001...?

So, moving right along, one random day I'm in Germany which is where I was stationed and they had already given me the next depo shot because all my paperwork was in perfect shape. But protocol dictated that I had still had to take a pregnancy test, so they did the urinalysis and I was just waiting for them to tell me it was negative so I could leave. A few minutes went by and the nurse says we have to do a blood test! I was like oh Lord, really ok, fine... so I went back to the lab, they did the test and I went back to wait. A few minutes go back and they moved me to some weird nursery like room. I was completely clueless as to why they moved me, right! LOL.... Then, a nurse comes in and says well, hi there, nice to meet you, blah blah blah, and says "Congratulations!" Then, I still remember it... I said "For What?"... LOL... She looks at me says, well... your pregnant! I started laughing and said, no, your wrong, the tests got confused and you have me mixed up. They just gave me the next depo and I'm not pregnant. She said "What?" who gave you the shot? I said, the lab because I haven't missed any days and I'm right on target, there is no way I'm pregnant! So, I said, look, you can run another blood test if you want but you are wrong! So, sure enough I go back to the lab, they run another blood test and urine test and I go back to wait. I'm thinking to my self; Gosh these people are retarded and they don't know what they are doing. RIGHT!

Nurse comes in and she says well, your pregnant alright! I'm like, you guys are crazy, that's impossible! How the heck does that happen? She laughs and says, do I need to give you the class on the birds and the bees... I'm more mad now of course, so she says, ok, so now we have to do a pelvic tests. I was like what the heck is that? She takes me to some other room and there was some machine there. I didn't even know what it was... Doctor comes in, she puts some gel on my tummy and she is looking at some TV thing and I hear some noise. I had no clue what the heck she was even doing. She gone some measure tape and then, she says... "Yep" your pregnant, and I'm like you guys are all crazy. She says, you are 4 months pregnant; and I said "WHAT????" and then she says "And that noise is your baby's heart beat!" That's when I nearly dropped off the table!!!! I was getting ready to have a baby in 5 months and I was only about 107 lbs and at 4 months pregnant. So, you can imagine my shock... So, now I'll fast forward...

Went to break up with boyfriend, I was not having a baby, because that was not the plan! He convinces me he loves me, we are getting married and we are having the baby. Next thing you know its 5 years later, he files a divorce and leave me for a 17 year old. Goodness gracious... right! Here is the best part! I absolutely adore my baby girl, she is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. I grew to love her more than life itself and I am glad I had her. If it wasn't for her my life would not be what it is and I'm blessed to have her.

She is now 11 years old and it has taken me a while to cope with how things happened and then a divorce in the middle but that was okay. The hard part for me where the physical changes. Those I was never ready for and till this day its hard to go day by day comfortable in my own body. My dumb X-husband also had me get implants after she was born because I was not perfect enough. Dumb as I was I did it, all I wanted was to make him happy but noooo... That should have been sign # 1 but I didn't see it. So, finally 12 months ago I got rid of those implants and I feel myself and I absolutely love being natural. Now I'm going to fix the rest of my body because pregnancy is not easy and only us women can understand those physical changes. It's taken a while to save for these surgeries and its been a long road but I'm determined to put my body back together one piece at a time. I have learned to love myself more and more each day and I want my body back. I love myself and I am not accepting to live with a jacked up body, lose skin and discomfort. Because I love myself I am giving me a gift and that is my body back the way it used to be. I feel I deserve to be comfortable and beautiful. I deserve to me again...

This journey started in July 2016 when I was also facing the diagnosis of Vertigo. I have been on migraine medication, daily also, which made me gain a ridiculous amount of weight. I was also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and chronically fatigued. So, I got tired of being sick and that is what triggered my transformation too. in July 2017 I started to loose weight, I reached 152 at only 5 ft so I have a petite frame but I looked like a "Rollie Pollie" with all that weight on. So, I am now 129 and I'm still continuing to loose weight. On 8/2/2016 I met with my PS and I booked my Tummy Tuck and Liposuction of the hips for December 23rd, 2016.

Overall, I am now off of all my medications, Vertigo is now gone. No pain from the Fibromyalgia, no migraines, and my Primary Care doctor has cut my migraine meds in half also which I will be completely off in a few weeks. No birth control either! Hormone free, and I feel like a million bucks! I only used to drink wine but I quit that too and no coffee either, so I'm very excited about my surgery because this is a complete transformation for me.

I've been reading a lot of stories here on Real Self and I am thankful to all the ladies that have posted pictures and their stories, they have given me the courage to do this also. I am also very lucky to have found my doctor through this website also, I am not going back to her for my Tummy Tuck and the Lipo. I am worried about the paid because we are repairing a hernia and I'm sure this surgery will be intense but I'm super confident in my doctor's skills. This is my second surgery with her and I know I'm in the right hands with her.

I will post some pictures from July when I was 152, then some from yesterday at 129. So, you can see the progress from beginning to end. Also, tomorrow is Monday and I have my Pre-Op consult at 9:45 am. I didn't want to post anything yet until it was pretty much a done deal. So, I have the Pre-Op at 9:45 am and then its off to the hospital to do the Lab Work and then Tuesday I go see my PCP to get the Clearance Letter for the surgery. Should be no problem to get the Clearance Letter because she is very happy with my health and the progress that I've made. So, I will post again tomorrow after my Pre-op. Surgery is now fully paid for and there is no turning back now...

I must admit that I am a little bit nervous now but I am also supper happy that this is happening in 26 days... I will start getting supplies needed for after the surgery also. If you ladies have any recommendations please do let me know, I am nervous, but I hope I don't miss anything. So far I have not purchased anything yet...

Initial Picture before weight loss

Here is the first set of pictures showing me at 152 lbs. You can really see the skin and how when I sit down I just have all the extra skin turn into two giant rolls. Its extremely uncomfortable.

Pre-Op Update

Last Monday I had my pre-op at Dr. B's office. They call her Dr. B; short for Buenaventura of course. The staff was super friendly and very welcoming as always. We sat down and went over all the paperwork. They took time to go through all the do's and don't before the surgery and after the surgery. They took all the pictures they needed in order to plan the surgery. They gave me my prescription medications and even scheduled my follow up appointments for after the surgery. I felt very comfortable with all the details. They reminded me to see my Primary Care Physician in order to obtain a Clearance Letter for my surgery and in order to have Labs and an EKG done. They really do take good care of their patients and they take every precaution possible. This makes me feel safe in their hands. This was Monday the 28th...

I called my PCP and they saw me the following day on the 29th and I fasted that evening in order to get my labs done in the morning. My doctor has been super pleased with all the weight loss and I dropped 24 lbs so far. She went ahead and cut my migraine daily medication even further. Down to only 5 mg per day which is very very low and so far no migraines. I will be off of those meds in another week but definitely by surgery time. We ran the labs and the EKG and within 48 hours I had the results back, so that was Thursday. All my numbers came back in line, and they checked the sedmentation rate which checks for the inflammation in my joints all part of the fibromyalgia. The rate has gone down almost 20 points which is fantastic so I'm feeling very well and after my doctor reviewed all the numbers she is giving me the full clearance and approval for surgery.

The one thing I have learned through this process is that we do not take care of our selves and what makes us sick is the garbage that we eat. I have not done much exercise since July because I really wanted to test what they say. That nutrition is what causes the weight gain and that the most important part is just that, what we eat. So, I changed the quality of my food and the portions, as well as how often I eat and it worked! Its true... I have not gotten on my thread mill and I have not hit the gym, normal every day movement and going to work and my daily routine were enough to help me drop 24 lbs. What made the change was healthy clean eating, drinking plenty of water and watching my portions. It was the toughest thing I've ever done but I'm very delighted that my I fit back into my size 6 pants and they are very lose too. I will even say that I can fit very well into a size 4. So, the key is to stop eating garbage in order to drop the lbs.

I have exactly 20 days before my surgery and now that I have good eating habits my goal is to loose maybe another 2 or 3 lbs if I can. Once the surgery is complete I will back to my normal self. As of last two weeks the surgery fee is fully paid for. I paid the hospital fee as well because Dr. B, like to keep her patients over night at the hospital to ensure they are 100% in good shape before sending them home. I also paid the fee for the anesthesia. So, everything is 100% now paid for and they have everything they need in order to perform the surgery.

I picked up the prescriptions from CVS, pain medication, antibiotiocs, and something to help me relax the night before the surgery. They want to ensure I rest the night before also. I was also given a supplement that is used in order to reduce the swelling and inflammation after the surgery. They really do cover everything to ensure their patients safety. Dr. B, is the Chief Plastic Surgeon at INOVA and has been featured and recognized as one of the Top Plastic Surgeons in the country. Her position at INOVA is an indication of her years in practice, the quality of her work and the passion she has for field. So, I'm extremely happy that she is doing my surgery. This is my second surgery by Dr. B, and the process has been phenomenal. I did not encounter any problems at all last time and I did not have any bruising either. She is a very skilled surgeon... I highly recommend her to anyone considering plastic surgery.

Tomorrow I will post the current pictures 24 lbs lighter so you can see the difference. You can still see all the saggy skin and I absolutely hate it but the dropping the weight has improved my health tremendously. So, almost there!

24 lbs later

Ok, here are a few pictures I took last week after loosing 24 lbs. I'm glad to say I feel really well and I fit into my clothing much better now. The skin is till very saggy but much better, so I think I'm ready for the surgery.

Tummy Tuck, Lipo and Muscle Repair Review (2 days post-op)

Between taking the little one to grandma's house, cleaning the house, washing the dog and grocery shopping I did not have time to post an update the night before the surgery. However, I'm glad to say everything went absolutely fantastic and everything was beyond my expectations.

When I got to the surgery center they were waiting for me and we went over my medical history one more time. They confirmed with me the procedures that I was having done and the nurse that admitted me to the center had been doing this for over 18 years. It gave me so much comfort knowing these people had so much experience. They put the IV in my hand and that did not hurt at all, the nurse first used a numbing agent on my skin so I would not feel the IV. So, that was really nice.

Then, I met the anesthesiologist who was an actual MD and his assistant who would be in the surgery room too. They went over all the details and made me feel very comfortable. Then, the direct supervisor of my anesthesiologist came in to double check all my questions had been answered. Everyone was extremely professional, friendly and caring. I was really impressed by everyone.

Dr. Buenaventura came in, I got my markings and I was taken off to the Operating Room. When I came to, there was not much pain at all which I was really surprises. I expected it to be much worst, but it was just like my first surgery. Very little pain, hardly any bruising and I did not feel sick. I also learned that they gave me antibiotics via the IV which I thought was fantastic. I've never read any reviews where the surgeons give antibiotics to their patients. So, that made me feel even better because the key is to prevent any type of infection, I got several bags of the antibiotics and lots of fluids. Dr. Buenaventura likes to keep her patients for observation at the hospital for several hours before they go home too. She takes every single precaution with her patients and I felt unbelievably safe in her hands.

Nurses came in to check my temperate, my blood pressure, my oxygen levels, and I also had a catheter. The nurses were very nice and caring, they fixed my pillow, they cleaned me up, they brought me food and I also had my own private room. They really made this a wonderful experience!

Dr. "B" is what they call her and she is so wonderful, I can't say enough about her. She came in to see me Saturday Morning and she changed my bandages. I wanted to see what everything looked like so bad and so I got them to take a picture. Here it is, I was so impressed... Clean Line, and set just right! She fixed my abdominal muscles and I had almost a 2 inch separation. She did not have to cut around my belly button which was super and she simply removed all the excess skin and lowered my belly button down too. She stitched it in place and now it looks so much better. Its in a much better position and she also did liposuction of the hips. When I looked at my sides, I could not believe it. The big bulky fat areas were all gone! Thank you JESUS! : )

The little rings around the drains are also antibiotic rings that she uses in order ensure no bacteria gets in. She also used the stitches of course and on the very top she used "glue" also, I forgot the name of it but I'll find out. So, she did a fantastic job, my stomach is already super flat, no fat bulges anywhere and I love the fact she reinforced everything with glue.

Right now, I'm in bed, watching TV, no pain at all which is absolutely crazy to me. I really did expect for this to be much worst. No bruises so far and I am taking antibiotics oral form every 12 hours and pain meds as well but I have only taken the pain meds once today. I'm eating and drinking normal and no issues what so ever.

Originally, one of my friends and I were considering doing this in Colombia but I'm so glad we did not. The safety of being in a hospital with all the proper technology to monitor vitals and having the needed medications in hand as well as highly trained staff were absolutely worth it. There is no discomfort at all and once again, Dr. Buenabentura has done an amazing job for me.

Also, my neighbor that took me to the hospital that morning told me that her husband who is a police officer had a horrible injury 20 years ago on his hand where almost the entire flap of his left hand had come off. She fixed his hand and 20 years later you could not tell there was a scar on his hand. He told me to tell her hi and she actually remembered him as well.

If you are really considering getting plastic surgery and something as invasive like a tummy tuck, lipo and muscle repair please look into the experience of your surgeon. Ask everything you can, including what fluids will they be giving you while your out. Ask for those antibiotic disks around the drains, and make sure their staff is extremely experienced too. Safety is by far the most important thing and I'm sitting here happy I did this with Dr. Buenaventura.

I hope this review was helpful but if you have other questions don't hesitate to reach out to me, I'll be more than happy to help answer anything else I can. I'll post more pictures this week after I go to my first follow up visit with Dr. B.

Drains Removed Today

Ok, today the drains came out and I'm 2 weeks post-op. Not much bruising, a little bit of swelling but not much at all. No pain at all, abs feel nice and tight and I'm starting to walk nice and straight already. I'm finishing my antibiotics this coming Sunday also. So far, this surgery with Dr. Buenaventura has gone absolutely perfect. No complaints what so ever, extremely please with what I see at 2 weeks post op.

Comparison Pictures (July 2016 vs Today)

I wanted to compare the difference between my body back in July 2016 when I was at my highest weight and when I decided to put on the breaks on the weight gain. This is also when I decided I wanted to get my Tummy Tuck, Repair my abs and have some Lipo to the hips area to contour my body a bit. I can't believe this is my new body and only at 2 weeks post-op. My body will only get better also, so I'm super excited to start the new year with a new me. I highly recommend women to do this. It is possible to lose the weight and then get your surgery, it will truly give you the best results. The surgery it self is not a solution to getting rid of weight. It was the toughest thing I have ever done but I am extremely pleased with the results all thanks to Dr. B's advice and experience. Not a single complication so far and tomorrow I get to take my first shower after the surgery so I'm really looking forward to that shower. Allot of what you see its not bruising at all but the purple marker where she drew on me. So all that will be gone tomorrow when I shower. I will upload more pictures as I continue to see more progress.

The only thing that I actually forgot to buy was stool softener. The anesthesia does a number on ya, I had lots of oranges, salads, prunes, apples and all that healthy stuff worked but not too well. So, I do recommend a good stool softener if your getting a Tummy Tuck and muscle repair cause you will be stuck in your bathroom for a minute if you don't. LOL...

Make sure that if you feel like sneezing you hold your tummy and I immediately rubbed my nose to make the sneeze go away, cause its very painful if you sneeze. Same thing with coughing, try to clear your throat and don't cough, that will hurt a lot too. I have been wearing my compression wrap only tight enough to hold the initial sets of bandages during these two weeks. But not tight where it causes problems with circulation. If you tighten it too much you will get bruises so at night I would loosen it up a little bit just to be comfortable. During the day I also loosened it if it got uncomfortable.

I'm not following a regular diet, lots of water, and no exercise till I get to six weeks minimum. I wish for everyone to have a great experience going through this surgery because it is a rough surgery. Its a serious one too and your surgeons skills and experience are of out most importance if you want fantastic and lasting results. Wishing everyone the best for 2017! : )

Tape came off today and started silicone gel

Ok, so today I went in for my third follow up and the tape came off. Everything looks really good, I'm really pleased with the placement of the incision and I Dr. B floated my belly button so I was really happy with that. There is no necrosis or any big separation in the skin which makes me really happy.

The area above the incision is a little bit hard but I hope it softens up with time. I wonder if others have experienced that too? Looking at that area, it also looks a little bit swollen but hopefully that will go away too. Today I was also given Silagen Silicone Gel to use on the scar to minimize its appearance as well as silicone strips. I will use the gel strips once all the little scabs fallen off.

As of now, I'm very pleased with the results just hope that the area around the abdomen goes down with time.

Forgot to add this picture

This one is from today too, I posted the previous pictures but I forgot to add this side view.

Started Silicone Treatment

Today I went to see Dr. B and the corner stitches were really bothering. The skin wants to close but the stitches were in the way so the skin was getting a little irritated. I called the office at 9: 30 am and as always they were super especially Christina who is Dr. B's receptionist. She told me to come in and they would clip the stitches for me. By 10:30 am I was in their office, they took me right in and the stitches had not dissolved fast enough so they did clip them for me.

Everything is healing very nicely, no separation but there is still some natural swelling. I'm still wearing the binder and I'm massaging the scar and my tummy to help reduce the swelling. I have also been very curios as to how much skin was cut and I really wanted to see what it looked like. So, here it is! This was enough to make me think twice about putting bad food in my mouth again. I'm tempted to put this up in my refrigerator as a reminder to never eat garbage again.

This has been an amazing experience and I'm so thankful that I chose Dr. B. So far zero complications and this has forever changed my life for the better. The only thing I have to do next is work on my patience. I wish the swelling went down faster but it will take several months.

Day of surgery pics

Okay I found these few pictures taken the day of the surgery after I had come to. I really wanted to see what things looked like underneath the coverings so I managed to take a peak. This is what things looked like...
Alexandria Plastic Surgeon

Going back to Dr. Buenaventura for my Tummy Tuck and Lipo of the hips. She will also be repairing a hernia in the process. My first surgery with her was explanting with a breast lift which went more than fantastic. She is also the Chief Plastic Surgeon at INOVA in Alexandria, VA; so she is best of the best. She has been named one of the top PS in the USA multiple times and I can say that her skills are second to none. Therefore, I know I am in the right hands for my Tummy Tuck and Lipo. Her staff is also very caring and have always taken great care of me.

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