40 Yr Old Mom of 2 - Mommy Makeover - South Africa, ZA

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In 2 weeks I'm flying to my home country to meet...

In 2 weeks I'm flying to my home country to meet with a surgeon who'll perform surgery the following day. He comes recommended by a trusted friend & I've had communication with him via skype & email but still nerve wrecking as not sure exactly what exactly I'm in for. Grateful for advice & support

1 week to go!

(My first post was horribly short and didn't give enough information- I was under the mistaken impression that I had a limited number of words, seems no way to edit it. Ah well)

It's hard to believe that there are only 7 more days until I'll be under the knife- time has both sped and dragged at the same time.

My mind is overwhelmed with thoughts of how my recovery might be and I wonder if I'm under or over exaggerating my body's ability to heal. How long till I can stand straight? Hold my 13 month old? Go back to work as a fitness instructor? When can I exercise and stretch again? Hoping that there will be no complications as I can only be near the doctor for 2 weeks before flying home again.

Can't wait to look in the mirror and love my side profile again!

Today is the day

I'm pretty tired after taking an anti anxiety tablet that was given to me and scheduled to be wheeled in about an hour. I'll be getting a mini tummy tuck, breast lift and augmentation while changing of implants, lipo at the flanks and Botox around eyes and forehead with a filler on upper lip. Happy, sleepy and looking forward to being on other side of this- the waaaay other side after drains removed and I'm functioning fairly normally. Doctor and anethesist are both lovely and although the hospital room I'll be staying in for then two day is cold and basic, staff are lovely also. Wish me luck and please comment if you have any experience (I'm a little sad to not have any comments so far)

Made it out alive!

It's 3:20am and I haven't slept a wink since coming out of surgery. I'm pretty high on drugs and it's been a roller coaster but I'm well enough now to type this so things looking up I guess.

Waking up from surgery was highly traumatic... Had a reaction to the anesthetic and started shivering... A whole body shake which was executing. Opened my eyes in the recovering room with a voices saying "she's trying to roll on her side!" Doctor saying "don't let her roll". Anethetist asking me to take deep breaths to stop shaking and me being unable to stop and then I got a shot of pethidine which seemed to take hours to act. All that shaking was so hard on my abs and it burned like hell after.

I was shocked to see the time... Was so late and still unsure if surgery was long or my time in the recovery room.

I think the hardest part has been the emotional recovery but the physical is no joke. You can read as many reviews as you like but can't truly understand until living it.

Am being pumped with fluids and had no catheter so I had to use a bed pan which was challenging and pretty impossible so got the catheter. Doctor wants me to stay in bed protected in a caged device to stop blankets weighing down on me. The staff behave as if they are underpaid and overworked which is the likely reality - this is Africa! I had major anxiety but then an male angel nurse told me the healing can start when I let go... that's when I put on some meditation/affirmations which worked very well.

Doctor is first class but his methods are unusual... I have no binder until 2 weeks. I'm strapped to breast drains, tummy drain and have devices on my legs to stop swelling (like blood pressure testing devices), plus intravenous drip feeding me drugs and lots of water. And I'm in a protective cage. When we spoke before he said no catheter needed, but how on earth do I move while attached to so many things? Tried the bed pan which was so tough so I got the nurse to give me a catheter.

I can't say I'm in all that much pain aside from my lower abs where the incision is which is unrelenting. It's non stop and no drugs seem to help. Just so uncomfortable and rather helpless! Drinking water non stop, starving and overtired.. One of the nurses took my dinner away and waiting till 6am to be fed.

This too shall pass.

Day 2 - there's hope

This morning was rough considering I hadn't slept (and still haven't while typing this at 17:00) but today has seen many small but victories. My stomach sensation went from the burning to a throbbing and no amount of pain killer could kill it.

Once I got to eat breakfast I had some strength and had the catheter removed. Had a nurse help me get half dressed and took my first walk to the bathroom. I almost passed out and was carried out by 2 nurses.... Took a while to recover from that. Did it again an hour later and didn't feel faint, then again a while later to visit a patient in the next room and then again a few steps further to reception.

I'm now ok with walking (hunched) short distances to the bathroom although it's a bloody pain (pun intended) because I'm carrying two enormous drains and an IV plus I need a nurse to help me off the bed. Haven't quite mastered the art of getting off bed without using breast or ab muscles but not sure it's totally possible. Hating being dependent on someone for all the little things and a part of me misses the catheter cause I'm still being given water by drip so trips to bathroom are quite the mission.

The drugs are less of a necessity now and I'm just taking them cause it's on the schedule and being given to me. The pain of my stomach is definitely gone from a "omg, is this normal or have I popped/torn something?" to a little pull/occasional ache. Breasts have little discomfort and I'm have "damn" moments when I forget them and reach for something that I shouldn't have and feel a pull and hope I haven't done something I shouldn't have.

Can't wait to have the needle removed from my hand and at least one drain removed- hoping that'll be tomorrow's victory.

Here's a pic of my enormous drains. I mean honestly, why?

Day 3

Got some sleep last night after taking a sleeping pill. The fact that I slept meant I wasn't getting pain meds during the night so I was rather sore in the morning.

Had some definite victories today

- had IV removed
- had breast drain removed
- have left hospital and gone home

I tried walking from hospital room to car but felt like I was going to be split open so landed up in a wheelchair.

I'm in my own bed now but hidden from my 13 month old. I don't want her to know that I'm here cause I don't have the energy for her energy.

Pain of abdomen is better but this morning I have noticed the Lypo pain which was rather intense... Lots of bruising.

Since I got home I'm itching all over but in places that haven't been touched by the surgeon. What's up with that?

Biggest challenge currently is the drugs. I'm high as a kite and it's too much. Doc had said to take as prescribed and I don't want the pain to overcome me so I'm following orders but it's hard to keep eyes open.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is not being able to get out bed on my own. Means someone has to be here just for that which sucks. Anyone have any tips on how I can safely do it on my own?

Day 3 pics- very happy!

Day 3 pics- very happy!

Day 4

(Is there anybody out there reading my story I wonder? If so, I'd love to hear from you. I write these little passages daily because I found them so helpful and some inspirational to me prior to my surgery).

Today has seen more victories. I think it's important to focus on these victories for my emotional and physical healing- just to know I'm moving in the right direction.

I've been hiding away from my toddler which is difficult. I hear her calling for mommy but I know the kindest thing now is for her not to know I'm home.

This morning I had a system where I would phone the nanny or my husband to help push me out the bed to use the bathroom since I don't want my presence to be known by my toddler by shouting out.

Mid morning, husband was out the house and nanny wasn't answering my call so I had to make a plan to get myself up which involved sliding on my bum and carefully placing one foot and then the other down- then I was up on my own! Big victory! I feel so much more independent now. In fact I am encouraging them all out the house so I can be here alone (provided I'm left with food and supplies).

Second big victory was having the last abdominal drain removed. A massive relief to not have to carry that monster around anymore.

3rd victory is that I'm talking half the amount of pain meds than prescribed since I want to feel something and don't want to do too much. Also, I don't enjoy being a zombie. Yesterday I couldn't really focus on watching series but today there is more hope.

Doctor is happy with everything and had made me promise to take it easy without the drains so I'll stay in bed over the weekend.

Biggest challenge is undoubtedly the abdominal incision and the feeling of almost splitting in two when walking hunched over. Also no BM yet.

Day 5

I'm taking a sleeping pill at night cause there's absolutely no way I can sleep soundly elevated on my back as per doctor's orders without them. I know I need food and sleep to keep emotionally and physically healthy and I'm not messing with that.

Since I'm lying around all day with very little movement, the sleeping pill didn't work as effectively as it did before so I woke up several times during the night but I still awoke feeling positive intent on working toward the victory for today i.e. Letting my toddler know I was home....

I went into her room in the morning and got the biggest smile and hugs ever which made me very happy but then she was being her lovely toddler self and I was working to protect myself so engaging muscles I shouldn't... Then she tripped on the carpet and I couldn't pick her up and my stomach incision was sore and I needed to just take a few breathes and accept that there would likely be many of these moments so must just deal with them as they come. Our first interaction lasted 15 minutes before I needed to lie down.

There were other moments with her during the day which were better but I need to make sure that husband or nanny are close by for anything physically needed.

Most of the day I spent mostly on my own which is worlds better than hearing the family outside a closed door. Fortunately, I love my own company. (Not that I don't adore my family also).

Prior to the surgery I asked for a stool softener and Doctor said why necessary if not a problem before, I listened to him and didn't get anything until I saw him yesterday. That was a mistake. Since I've never experienced constipation, I was rather nervous to take pills so halved the dose last night which I regret as today has been all about struggling in that department- with some eventual success- not painful, I just think I'd be more comfortable if I was lighter.

At this stage, I'm getting curious as to what lies beneath the doctor's tape and I'm missing a good old stretch (I'm a long time yogini so lying on my back instead of incorporating a daily practice is foreign to me although the lazy part of me is enjoying the down time).

All in all, life is good and I don't regret a thing but results are still way too soon to tell.

Day 6

Every day a little stronger and today is no exception.

Victories of the day:

- constipation is a thing of the past
- i washed off most of the surgery marker lines off my body and shaved my armpits (although not allowed to get the dressings wet so more of a facecloth wipe)
- I think I'm standing straight now or very close to it.

Got my period today which I'm quite pleased about as I think much of the bloating can subside with it. I'm not in all that much pain at all and most of my pain now is just regular period pain.

I'm happy with the reflection in the mirror and can't wait to get the tape off to get a better look. Watch this space for pics when that happens.

Getting tired of lounging around I think that I'd like to venture out the house from tomorrow.

The biggest struggle now is just dealing with the guilt of taking so much time for myself. I'm lucky to usually get a couple hours a day to myself but a couple weeks is a bit different...

Clearly though the benefit of doing this has outweighed the guilt so I chose to focus on myself here - if I can't take care of myself, how can I serve others right? Can't serve from an empty vessel!

Day 8. Ouch!

Woke up in the morning with a pain in my side which felt like I had been in some kind of nasty motorbike accident and had lost the first layers of my skin. I actually felt to see if my skin was still there and then looked in the mirror expecting to see major distortion but there was no major evidence of the pain I felt aside from a small pink triangle. ...Hello liposuction pain!!

it's rather interesting that I'm feeling the peak of it only now... Going to likely make for an impressive bruise. I didn't take my pain pill the night before and this was perhaps a mistake- not feeling brave anymore and gone back to taking the pain pills that I was taking before (which is still half of the prescription).

Doctor took the dressings off yesterday and in doing so my incisions bled a little (which he described as normal) and I sort of feel like I've gone back a few days as a result by having that burning feeling again. Seeing the raw cuts without the dressings around the nipple and tummy was rather shocking and not cool... He then sprayed me with a glue and put on another thin tape on- it's nicer not to see the raw cuts. I do pretty well with scars and in time it'll likely disappear to a thin white line hardly noticeable but we are talking a year or so down the line.

Tomorrow is another day, and then the next and the next... Sometimes I wish to fast forward to the time where I can do as I please with my body but this is all part of the process I know..

Before and after 8 days ????

Gabriel Doucas

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