One year update: Pain-free recovery (YMMV)

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I am so thankful for RealSelf for allowing people...

I am so thankful for RealSelf for allowing people with common goals to share their stories. I have learned so much reading about everyone’s individual experiences. So now I am finally adding my story. Here are my stats:

Age: 36
Height: 5'0"
Weight: 112
Bra size: 34A
Children: 3 (ages 11, 8, 5)

All my children were delivered via c-section. I previously weighed around 100 lbs, but in the past couple of years, my metabolism has caught up to me, so now I weigh around 112 pounds (give or take 1 lb). I have always been thin my whole life, so when these last few pounds snuck up on me, they concentrated mainly on my belly and made my waist thick. I hate looking down at my gut...the excess skin, the fat, the stretch marks, and the muffin top I have to disguise in loose fitting tops. I got a wakeup call when I wanted to wear a semi-formal dress (that I had only worn once 2 years before) to a special event, but it would not zip it up all the way!!! No matter how much I tried to suck in and no matter how hard my husband tried to pull up that zipper, it was NOT budging! I was so shocked at how thick I had gotten considering the first time I wore the dress was 7 months after I had my last baby. So after a year of being totally disgusted with my gut, I have decided that I want to get a TT. Then I decided that since I’m going under, I might as well get a BA while I’m at it. I never had boobs but would love to have some that are proportionate to my body!

Or am I being too vain? Some days I look around at other women who are “lumpier” than I am and I think, "Hey, I don't look half bad." But then there are days that I am so sick of my belly. Mentally, it has been difficult for me to make the decision to go forward with this. I guess the thing that bothers me most is that I don't want to set a bad example for my two daughters about getting bigger boobs. They are young right now, but I don't want them to think that it's okay to run out and buy some boobs if God didn't give them ones that were big enough. Another thing is that I feel guilty for spending so much money on myself. I’ve been frugal my whole life…always shopping the clearance racks and trying to get things on sale. Although we have enough money saved up to pay for the procedures, I feel like we could be using it towards something else like our mortgage or a couple of family vacations. So I keep tossing this Mommy Makeover idea around…one day I want to get it done…the next I don’t want to do it anymore. My husband is being supportive for the most part, but I think I'm dwelling on this so much lately that he thinks I’m obsessed. If I get it done, I am hoping to do it over the Thanksgiving holiday so that I can be somewhat functional by Christmas…but we’ll see.

My family (parents & siblings) would think I was crazy if I told them I wanted to have a Mommy Makeover done. They keep telling me that all I need to do is eat right and exercise...easier said than done! So I am keeping this a secret from them for now. However, I do have a friend who is encouraging me to have the procedures done. She recently had a BA a few months ago and has told me that it was the best thing she has ever done for herself.

----------------------------------------------08.10.2011 ~ Had my first consult today with PS1, a board certified PS. I checked out his website, and the results in his gallery looked good. He had a lot of energy, was very personable, and prides himself on making the lowest TT incisions in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I tried on 325cc and 350 sizers, and he decided that 350cc saline would be the best fit for me. He recommended that I get a TT, BA, and lipo of the flanks. PS1’s fees are a lot less than what I was expecting (my friend's cousin had a TT and BA for $16K in Plano). My quote was $11,150 for all procedures, anesthesia, pain pump, operating room, and an overnight stay at his facility. At that price, I wanted to schedule my surgery immediately, but I haven’t found many reviews on him which makes me a little worried. The total consult lasted about 30-45 minutes. Let me add that his office shares office space with a dental office, and there is only one check-in counter. So I didn’t feel that I could be very discreet coming here since I might run into my neighbors or my kid’s friends parents at the same office. I made some appointments with two other PS’s (with numerous great reviews) before I make any decisions.

----------------------------------------------08.26.2011 ~ I bought a bikini today mainly because I wanted to make sure my "Before and After" pictures are consistent. Thank you to all you ladies who are brave enough to share ALL your details with us. Sorry, I don’t feel comfortable displaying nude pics of myself on the internet because I’m just paranoid that a friend or family member will know that it’s me…and I just want my husband to be the only one who has seen me naked (besides doctors). I am looking forward to my consult with PS2 on Thursday. He seems to be one of the top Mommy Makeover doctors in this area.

09.01.2011 ~ I spent almost 2 hours at PS2’s office today for my consultation. He was my number 1 choice from the beginning, but I hesitated to make an appointment because I didn’t want to pay a consultation fee (remember I told you I was frugal! haha) Anyways, I decided to bite the bullet, and the fee turned out to be reasonable. I’ve read his bio and know that he is well educated (Stanford graduate). He is very thorough and wanted to make sure all my questions were answered before moving on to other topics. He wasn’t as energetic as PS1, but I see that as a positive because hyper people tend to scare me! He discussed all the procedures in detail and made sure I was aware of all the good and bad. He recommended that I get a TT and BA; surprisingly, he didn’t mention anything about lipo. As for the BA, he is more conservative in this department and recommended 275-325cc for my frame and for the look I wanted (natural boobs). I tried on the sizers under a sports bra and decided to go for the biggest (325cc). Now I am wondering if is PS2 being too conservative. I’ve read too many stories where people wished they’d gone bigger. I just don’t want to look fake. Maybe I should just trust the doctor, right? His fees were higher than PS1, but I believe it is because he is doing the surgery at a hospital instead of a private facility. The total for TT & BA was $12,800 (w/ silicone) or $12,000 (w/ saline). I went ahead and put down a deposit to secure my surgery date, but I still have a 3rd consultation with PS3 on 9/20/2011.

09.20.2011 ~ Oops…I just read my last post,...

09.20.2011 ~ Oops…I just read my last post, and I made a HUGE mistake with PS2’s prices…the total for TT & BA was $12,320 (silicone) or $11,520 (saline).

Okay, I had my consult with PS3 today. The office was harder to get to since it is located in a busy shopping area, plus it’s on the 2nd floor…even using the elevator, it was a lot of walking (which is not so good for follow-up visits when you’re in major pain). The two ladies on staff were nice, but they seemed less professional than the other offices. The lady who handled the financials even smelled like cigarette smoke (I don’t smoke, so this is gross to me). Anyways, this surgeon had an outgoing personality. I told him I’ve already had 2 other consults and that I didn’t need for him to explain the whole abdominoplasty procedure to me (since PS2 already did such a good job explaining things)…but I guess in doing so, I came across to him as a know-it-all, and he was quick to correct me a couple of times when I used words incorrectly. He explained his modified technique of the tummy tuck in detail which I found interesting since he used more sutures in a variety of areas on the abdomen to make the muscle as tight as it can be. As for the BA, his assistant was pushing for me to go with 400cc’s. WOW! Those looked huge on me…I thought 375cc might look better, but maybe now I’m getting the case of boob greed. PS3’s prices were $12,305 (silicone) or $11,305 (saline). Not too much of a price difference from PS2, but after weighing the pros and cons of all 3 surgeons, PS2 wins hands down.

09.21.2011 ~ I originally scheduled my surgery for November, but reading RealSelf has made me impatient. I called PS2’s office and had my surgery date moved to October 21st (one more month!!!). I am so excited this is finally happening! :)

Guess what happened on Monday? I called my PS and...

Guess what happened on Monday? I called my PS and got my appointment moved up even sooner! So now I am having surgery NEXT WEEK on October 6th!!! Had my pre-op visit yesterday and took those oh-so-humbling “before” shots. With the beautiful pair of triangle surgical underwear, I might add. I felt so embarrassed especially when PS kept reminding me to relax my stomach (I’m so used to sucking it in when I’m standing!). Oh, well…I’m looking forward to seeing the “after” shots. I also got all my prescriptions filled and am now working on my supply list. Plus I have a lot of cleaning house to do before the big day. I am excited and nervous…mainly excited to get rid of this big belly that does not belong on my body!

Updated my "before" pics...

Updated my "before" pics...

10.03.2011 ~ Three more days!!! I finally broke...

10.03.2011 ~ Three more days!!! I finally broke the news to my mom today (minus the BA)…she took it surprisingly well. No judgment, no lectures, no disapproval. I’m shocked! She was more concerned about who was going to watch the kids. I guess it’s no big deal to her because she knows a few people who have gotten it done. My older sister on the other hand does not approve of any of the procedures but knows she cannot change my mind…but God bless her...she still gives me her two cents every now and then. My younger sister is acting like my cheerleader… she wants to have a MM but isn’t in a financial position to get it done, so she is living through me. She’s happy that I’m finally biting the bullet and going through with it. All in all, everyone is okay with it. Whew!


10.05.2011 ~ D-day is tomorrow. I’ve cleaned all the bathrooms and mopped the floor. Vacuuming, laundry, and ironing needs to be done today. Then I need to clean up the kitchen, and I’ll be good to go. Have I missed anything?

My husband moved his recliner and TV into the bedroom for me as my temporary recovery station. I want to make sure I have everything I need within reach. I am trying to get all my pills organized so I won’t miss a dosage. PS wants me to be fully medicated the first three days whether I think I need it or not. I won’t argue with that!

I am going to start a soft food diet today in addition to taking colace. I want my first BM to be quick and easy. Haha!!! I had quite a painful experience w/ gas and constipation when I had my last c-section, and I didn’t want to repeat that again. So this time, I’m trying to stay ahead of the game. I’ll let you ladies know how it goes. :)

I think I’m ready for this. Still scared and nervous, but that’s normal with any upcoming surgery. For those of you who believe in prayer, please keep me in your prayers!

Hi ladies, just wanted to drop a quick note to let...

Hi ladies, just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know that all went smoothly. I was taken into surgery around 10:45am and woke up around 3:30. I've been taking my meds on time, so I haven't felt much pain. My doctor is awesome! I will post pics as son as I am less woozy.

10.08.11 ~ Day 2 post op. I’m still feeling...

10.08.11 ~ Day 2 post op. I’m still feeling good today thanks to all the scripts my PS prescribed. I had my first post-op visit yesterday, and my doctor said everything looks good. It was funny when he unwrapped my chest binder, I looked down and thought my boobs were too small. PS said, “Really?” haha! My husband thought they looked okay. Maybe it’s the boob greed thing sneaking up on me again. PS used 325cc silicone on both sides. They’re a little sore, but I’m liking them so far. I’m sure it will look nicer once they D&F. I love my family...they have been helping me out tons!

I’m still a bit woozy from all the meds. But I’m walking hunched over just fine….that is what is hurting the most. Thank you ladies for all of your stories and support. I would not have been able to do it without you. :)

10.08.11 ~ Day 2 post op. I’m still feeling...

10.08.11 ~ Day 2 post op. I’m still feeling good today thanks to all the scripts my PS described. I had my first post-op visit yesterday, and my doctor said everything looks good. It was funny when he unwrapped my chest binder and asked what I thought, I looked down and said my boobs looked too small (he ended up using 325cc silicone under the muscle). PS said, “Really?” haha! My husband was there at the time and said they looked okay. My boobs are still really tender on the sides, but I’m sure they will look nicer once they D&F. I’m still a bit woozy from all the meds. But I’m having to walk hunched over for 1 week….that is what is hurting the most. My pain level has been well controlled by my meds, so I can safely say that I still haven’t felt much pain from these procedures. I will try to start weaning myself from the scripts either today or tomorrow.

PS called to check on me this evening. He wanted to make sure everything was okay and told me that I can resume eating regular food. He is a really caring doctor. I don’t remember any of my OB/GYN’s calling after I returned home from having my babies.

By the way, for you shorter ladies out there (remember that I’m only 5 feet tall), an elevated toilet seat is not necessary. That is one perk about being short! :)

Day 4 post op. First of all, let me apologize for...

Day 4 post op. First of all, let me apologize for all those misspellings while I was under the influence of hydrocodone. I was just reading over my responses to you ladies and was wondering “what was I thinking???” And then on top of that, I posted the same thing twice on 10.08.11…hahaha! Oh my gosh…I have never been so bad at spelling and grammar in my entire life. Anyways, I feel really, really good today….almost 100%! I’m off of the prescription drugs and am taking extra-strength Tylenol as needed. I also had my first BM (with the help of a double dose of Miralax). Or maybe it was the help of the tacos my hubby got from Fuzzy’s Tacos. So I guess my experiment failed…taking the colace prior to surgery did not help me out at all. I am hoping to take some post-op pictures within the next couple of days to show how things are progressing. I hope everyone else is doing great w/ your recoveries! :)

Day 6 post op. I’m feeling great! The girls...

Day 6 post op. I’m feeling great! The girls are still a little high, but I have no other complaints. Not to brag or anything, but I have the best doctor ever! I have read the millions (okay, hundreds) of tummy tuck and mommy makeover stories here on Realself prior to my procedures. I have read the “worth it” stories as well as the “not worth it” stories just to prepare myself for the worst. I have gone through 3 c-sections in addition to getting all 4 wisdom teeth removed, and I have felt pain with those surgeries…not enough pain to make me feel like I wanted to die, but enough pain to know that I didn’t want to go through another surgery like that again. Some people have stated that their TT recovery was worse than all their c-sections combined. But thanks to my wonderful doctor, I can honestly say that I have not felt any pain at all. The most pain I have felt is the back pain from having to walk hunched over this first week and the few times when I’ve coughed. And I have been totally off of any kind of medication since 5 days post op. So for all you ladies that are afraid of having a MM because of the recovery pain, go see Dr. B. He is the BEST!!! One more thing I forgot to mention…he encourages you to take a shower 48 hours after surgery! It seems like most doctors out there make you wait until all your drains are removed in order to take a shower. I have taken 2 showers already and it definitely makes you feel so much better when you’re nice and clean.

10.13.11 ~ One week post op. PS removed one...

10.13.11 ~ One week post op. PS removed one drain…yay! And no, I did not feel any pain when he removed it. He left the other one in because it was still producing a little more than 30cc in 24 hours, but that’s okay with me since they’ve never really bothered me. My PS has thought of everything….he has the drains pinned to the binder, so I’ve never had any accidental pulling of the drains from the incision site. Everything is looking good so far. He wants me to wear the bandeau now to encourage the implants to descend.

10.17.11 ~ 11 days post op. My 2nd was drain removed today…dance for joy…I am free…I am free!!! :) I am posting pics of my progress so far in addition to my TT scar. PS was able to make it nice and low (thankfully, my c-section scar was extremely low, so he had to go a little lower than that scar). I can stand up pretty straight now. I removed my binder and showed my kids my new belly the other day, and they all exclaimed, “Mommy! You’re soooo skinny!!!” haha! It’s so weird that when I was young, I hated being teased about being skinny, but I was thrilled when I heard my kids call me skinny again. I never appreciated being thin until I got fat around the waist. So now I tell my girls that they need to appreciate their abs while they have them. Kids do a number to your body! I still love my boobs and am patiently waiting for them to settle into place. Anyways, I wish everyone else a speedy recovery!

11.01.11 ~ Sorry, ladies…today is going to be my...

11.01.11 ~ Sorry, ladies…today is going to be my vent day. It’s been about two weeks since my last post. I will be 4 weeks post op this Thursday. My last visit with PS was 1 week ago when he told me I could wear a compression garment instead of the binder (almost 3 weeks post op). I was feeling good being able to wear my regular clothes until the swelling kicked in and the emotional roller coaster decided to join it. Maybe I’m PMS’ing, but now I just need to vent. Please bear with me.

My boobs have been sore and super sensitive since surgery. PS said to take ibuprofen, but it doesn’t help alleviate the sensation. I understand that my skin and muscle has been stretched for the implants and that my nerve endings are all crazy, but I am just so irritated by the constant nagging sensation…ugh, every single day for almost 4 weeks now! Anyone else have this kind of problem? Also, my stomach has been swelling and the muscles have been tightening up occasionally…just a friendly reminder that I spent a huge amount of $$$ to put myself in constant discomfort. I feel like a fat blob. Just a plain fat blob. I just can’t wait for all of this discomfort to go away!

On the bright side, I love the size of my boobs (good call, Dr. B!), but I lost some boobage since the swelling has gone down and the implants have settled…and that makes me a little sad somehow. I love that my tummy tuck scar is thin, straight, and low. I’ve seen a few RS members’ high “happy face” scar, and I feel so badly for them especially since they spent so much $$$ and went through so much pain only to end up with a scar they didn’t anticipate. That just makes me appreciate my PS so much more! For the ladies who have not had your mommy makeovers / tummy tucks yet…you MUST emphasize to your doctor that you want a low scar! Poor communication with your PS will only lead to disappointment! Check your PS’s before/after galleries. Check to see if they have any previous patients on RealSelf, and read those patients’ journeys. Wear your bikini bottom to your surgery so your surgeon can mark the highest point he/she can go.

One more word of advice for those of you who are still searching for a surgeon. Please do not choose a doctor based solely on the price. We’ve all heard the saying “you get what you pay for,” and it is so true in this case. I know these procedures are expensive, but which would you prefer: (1) an $11K procedure with a less experienced PS where you end up with one or more problems, or (2) a $12K procedure with an experienced PS where you’re completely satisfied with everything? Is saving $1,000 worth getting a botched job? (Disclaimer: This was just a hypothetical example, so please don’t crucify me if you paid $11K and got excellent results. I am not saying that surgeons who charge $11K are less experienced.) Do you research and make sure your surgeon is highly skilled and experienced. Read all the online reviews that you can find. Just remember that people usually write reviews if they are extremely satisfied or dissatisfied. If your PS has 1 negative review, take it with a grain of salt…some patients are never satisfied. But if your PS has multiple negative reviews, run the other direction! Listen, this is YOUR body that is going under the knife, and mistakes are expensive to correct (IF they are able to be corrected). You are paying for your surgeon’s skill and experience, so don’t short change yourself in the long run.

Anyways, that’s my two cents for today. Hope everyone is doing well!

Oops, I forgot one more gripe…my drain site...

Oops, I forgot one more gripe…my drain site scars look like a vampire took a bite out of me "down there". Hideous vampire scars…AGH!!! :(

11.10.11 ~ 5 weeks post op. Nothing new to report...

11.10.11 ~ 5 weeks post op. Nothing new to report except that it was probably PMS that was making me so irritable in my last post. My boob pains have gotten a lot better…still sensitive at times, but much, much better overall.

Posting my latest bikini pics and my TT scar.

6 months post op ~ Scars are healing well. Dr....

6 months post op ~ Scars are healing well. Dr. recommends silicone strips to thin out the thicker scars. My bra size is 34C (full C). I need to work out, so I can get some abs for bikini season!!!

10.09.12 ~ One year post op. I can’t believe...

10.09.12 ~ One year post op. I can’t believe it’s been a year already! Sorry I haven’t been on here in awhile. Just had a check up w/ Dr. B the other day, and everything is going fine. My scars are taking a little longer to heal, but I’ve always been a slow healer, so I’m not too worried. Bikini season came and went, and due to my lack of exercising, I never got the abs I wanted…haha. I was finally able to wear a bikini without being ashamed of my body.

Here’s a summary for those who don’t want to read my entire story.

Previous stats:
Height: 5’0”
Bra size: 34A
Weight: 111-113

Current stats:
Bra size: 34C (Full C)
Weight: 106-107

Okay, so I’ve been thinking about the pros and cons of my mommy makeover, and here is the list I came up with:

1. I love my new boobs and that they don’t look fake.
2. I love that I can wear tight shirts again. After hiding in baggy shirts all these years, I didn’t realize how much I missed wearing form fitting shirts.
3. I no longer sit around and grab the nastiness (which was my gut) every day.
4. I am finally comfortable with my body.
5. TMI: My husband is always wanting to attack me. haha!

1. I had to wipe out our savings account to pay for the procedures (but it was worth it!).
2. Parts of my abdomen are still numb, and sometimes I have itching (or phantom itching) that no amount of scratching will ever satisfy. That’s what really drives me crazy.
3. My husband is always wanting to attack me. My Dr. should offer some husband repellant because sometimes I just need a break…haha!!!

Anyways, good luck to all of you out there considering a MM. To me, it was very well worth it. Send me a message if you have any questions.
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Michael Bodgan is the best doctor anyone could ever ask for! I am truly blessed to have found him to do my procedures for me. I live close to his Southlake, Texas office, but although if you do not live nearby, it is well worth it to travel to see him. He and his staff make you feel comfortable the moment you walk into his office. He is gentle and kind and is exceptionally intelligent but does not carry a “God complex” that other doctors may have. Read over his credentials on his website, and you will see just how brilliant he is! Dr. Bogdan spent over an hour and a half with me during my initial consultation and made sure I didn’t have any questions left unanswered. He explained all the procedures thoroughly and went over the complications which may arise. I was confident he would do an excellent job on my procedures. What I did not expect was that he was a pure genius regarding post-surgery pain management. I have gone through 3 c-sections as well as 4 wisdom teeth extractions, so I have a lot of experience with post-surgery recovery pain. To prepare myself for the abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) recovery, I read all the online stories about others’ recovery experiences and braced myself for the worst (what can I say…I’m a pessimist!) Instead, I ended up with the most amazing recovery possible, and I can honestly say that I felt no pain whatsoever besides the back pain from walking hunched over the first week. Dr. Bogdan and his board certified anesthesiologist wife, Dr. Veve, have a perfect system down for a comfortable surgery. He has even called me personally the first few days after surgery just to make sure I was doing okay. I have never had to wait more than a few minutes to see him at any of my follow up appointments. Visits with him are always pleasant, and he always makes sure that I leave with all my questions answered. I am extremely satisfied with my results thanks to his expertise. I would recommend Dr. Bogdan 1000% to anyone (and no, that’s not a typo…I do recommend him one thousand percent!!!) P.S. To view my journeys, please click on my name and look under “Treatment Reviews.”

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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