The Tummy Tuck Roller Coaster - United Kingdom, GB

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52 years old. Always been apple shaped - weight...

52 years old. Always been apple shaped - weight hangs around my middle and rolls up over my waistbands. Ugh. Add to that a bit of lipo - which I DO NOT recommend - leaving loose skin that swells and bloats and a late baby (at 42) and I really don't like myself undressed. Being single makes it harder - those first throws of dating lust are hampered by that niggling reminder that he's probably not going to want to look at or touch those zones and that in turn, turns me off. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty damned fit for my age and with a decent bit of panty hose, I can still show off my best feature - my legs. But I'm fed up of adjusting my waistband to 'tuck the middle aged spread in' when I sit down. I spend years pulling this way and that at the skin on my belly. A few years ago I asked a couple of surgeons - one of whom poo poos the idea as "you don't want a scar". Well actually mate - I'd rather have a scar than this girth of hanging waste skin thanks! So, many years later, I bite the bullet and make more enquiries. This time, I'm greeted by a bright and cheerful guy who grabs the loose skin and pulls it in sideways. There he announces - your love handles have gone. I feel a rush of excitement. He looks at other battle scars and tells me I scar well and that it will fade wonderfully. I can't get on his list for 4 months and I count down the days, longingly scanning the net looking at all those skinny taught bellies and wondering why their surgeons do such horizontal scars instead of nice u-shapes at the pubic line. The day comes and I am very excited and the surgeon is super smiley. Alas in his scrubs I don't recognise him and mistake him for an anaesthetist!! Oh dear! - He takes it on the chin. When I wake up I'm a bit sore and cranked into a W shape in the bed - knees and head up. This is because they fold you when the sew you back up to make sure the skin is stretched. The drains mean you can't lie comfortably on your sides, but the first two nights in hospital pass easily - I am committed to this and still excited about my new look. In my head I have transferred the after photos to my own midriff and it feels good. The drains come out on day two which is a relief - at home I relish the comfort of a bigger, softer bed and curling up on the sofa. Over the next few days I am adjusting to how to sleep comfortably, examining this huge - and yes - horizontal - line across my belly and how to walk bent double. I suffer these inconveniences cheerfully in the knowledge that it is all going to work out fine. By day 7 I'm hoping to start feeling more upright, less swollen and to see progress. But it doesn't happen. I risk a small shopping excursion and feel like I have two heads walking around with a noticeable hunch back. I can see people feeling sorry for me and I want to shout "Don't - I did this for me!". But then it's a big secret - the world think I've had a 'woman's op' and I stay indoors to avoid the awkward questions that might reveal my vanity. The next few days are slow and I am becoming impatient. I can only walk like a snail whilst the family bound on ahead. I can't dog walk, exercise or dance (my burning hobby). I eat more as I have no concentration so little to do. I feel bloated, my tummy is very swollen and, as I can't stand straight, my posture is terrible. I feel like I have gone backwards - I look hunched, pot bellied and the swelling makes the skin feel still very flabby. I don't like it at all. Although my surgeon has done a good job and the scar is hidden even in pretty skimpy pants and is really healing very well, but it is still ugly. The stitches make the scar lumpy and gathered, especially at the ends; my pubic hair area has been pulled up by the scar an inch - I'm praying that this will drop when the swelling subsides. By day 14 I start to be able to lift my head and pull my shoulders back a bit. The scar is healed enough to start massaging it. I had no dressings - the surgeon used glue to seal it and this has now worn off. The day that most of the glue came away I was super happy - the scar underneath without the blood stuck to the glue, was so well healed it looked 6 months on. It's now day 15 and the post-op doubts are setting in thick and fast. The scar is high in the middle and would be visible if my pants moved; the ends of the scar are untidy (the doc did say these can be tidied up under local afterwards if necessary); the swelling makes my skin hang like the old baby bulge when I sit down and I hate it; my tummy sticks out just like before - I don't seem to have gained any extra muscular tightness (yes I did have internal stitching and I feel it when I strain); but worst of all, I feel that midriff bulge and the excess skin above my navel is still there. I can still grab a handful of skin at my waist and an inch over my ribs. The skin from my belly button to my pubic hair is as tight as a winch - I still can't stand straight. But from side to side I feel as loose as ever. I am hugely disappointed and bitterly regretting not pressing the love handles consultation further. In fact I wish I had pressed the whole expectation discussion a lot more. I was very focused on getting a decent belly button (I'm really happy with that - it's better than my old one!), but I took the side to side tightening as read. I never even saw before and after pics from this doc, I just liked his confidence and smile! Don't get me wrong, I think he's a highly recommended and reputable guy. I just think that I assume great things and don't always check that my expectations are realistic. Right now I have a six inch square tight belly, but I still have love handles and even that new taughtness sticks out like my old pot belly did. I'm still swollen that is obvious, but I'm fearful that the result is going to be very localised to the front of my belly and that the midriff and love handles will remain problematic and that my dream of a youthful bikini shape will not materialise. And on top of that I have to wait up to two years for this scar to disappear. The last week has been a real slog and I don't know whether I could do it again. I'm no stranger to the post-plastic surgery mental state, I've had several previous procedures. You have to go through a come down from your idealistic mental image to the reality. In this case I had read so many 'worth it' reviews that I had high hopes of a dream figure. Alas I think I may have been a bit over-optimistic. I'm both desperate to get to the 6 week stage to see the results with less swelling and fearful - if then I still feel like this then I will be disappointed with my results.

Day 18

Woke up this morning much less bloated and more optimistic. Morning is the best time of day after a tummy tuck. As the day wears on, the swelling settles on your scar line and things get very saggy! I've been feeling a burning sensation across my midriff and I'm hoping that this means I'm knitting back together. I can also feel the internal stitches tug from time to time. I'm still finding walking difficult. Haven't managed a dog walk yet. The post box is quite an excursion. But I'm ticking off the days and hoping that by week 4 I will start to emerge from the cocoon and start to spread my wings. I can't find into jeans yet - I tried them today and it feels like a bad period day after a holiday weekend feast! Strangely that gives me comfort that I'm just swollen still. Been exeptionally tired the last couple of days - I'm hoping that's not a sign of infection. Roll on tomorrow.

Impromptu visit to the surgeon results in aspiration

Well after reading on this site about fluid, I was able to realise that the sloshing in my belly was more than just tissue swelling. So I called the hospital yesterday and went to see my surgeon this morning. He said that I'm doing really well and that yes, there's a little fluid build up but that it would have gone by itself. However, as I was there he drained it off for me. Around 50 ml after a little squeezing. The nurse also removed a stitch that was poking through to tidy things up and the last two minute bits of dried blood. The scar is looking so happy. It gets a little red when I massage it and I wonder why we use cream at all? If I massage without cream, it doesn't go red. Still very bloated - even after being drained down, but I'm less paranoid about the end result now as I can begin to see that I will definitely be better off after this. My sis says I look 30 - well my belly does at any rate! Still hoping my love handles shrink a bit, but all this sitting around is probably fuelling them up nicely! One day (and a lot of fruit instead of biscuits) at a time!!! THe surgeon says that the ruching of the scar will resolve itself, but that if it doesn't he can fix it under local anaesthetic easily. He really is a cheerful chap (even though he had a rotten cold today).

Before aspiration photos

Just for comparison, here is a photo from yesterday.
I read that if you push on one side of your belly and fluid moves in a wave across the belly, then you may need it syringing off.

Seroma syringe

I wrote updates yesterday and he day before, but my internet has played a blinder and they didn't get posted. :-(
So here's a potted version of what I had written:
The day or so after I had the miserable day, I was hunting around comparing my results feverishly with everyone else's - you know, who else is on day 18 am I doing ok for the length of time that's passed, what should I expect on day 21... Then I came across a description of a seroma. "Aha!" Thought I. That sluishing belly ISN'T just tissue swelling - it might need some help. THen I played mental ping pong. "Shall I call the surgeon? No, no, he'll just say it's nothing."; "What if it develops a life of it's own and things don't mend properly, better call the nurse.."; "It's not much fluid and my belly doesn't look THAT big, I'd best just live with it..". Anyway after a few hours of that game I picked up the phone and dialled. The very nice plastic surgery ladies booked me in the next day first thing without a murmur (or a panic). That night my sister reminded me that I had an appointment with someone who was coming miles to meet me - "Oh darn" I thought. (Well actually I thought something worse, but I might look a bit uncouth if I print that here..) So after dithering about which was more important I called up the doc's office and left a message to say I'd double booked. No sooner had I put the phone down when my sister told me that the other guy had forgotten his appointment with me!! I grab the phone and catch the doctor's secretary in time to uncancel my slot with my surgeon and hare out of the door with a minute to spare! Arriving exactly on the dot, I am swiftly shown to the consulting room, where the nurse has a quick look and summons MrL. Full of cold but still beaming, he has a quick grope and says yes, there's a bit of fluid which would have found it's own way in the end, but as I'm here he'll draw it off. He tells me not to look at the syringe, but it only feels like an anaesthetic needle. Then he draws off 10ml saying there's not much there, so I squish my belly on the other side and hey presto! He says he's found another source and the syringe fluid level rises to 50ml while my belly goes down the same amount! He reaffirms that the body is amazing at correcting puckering of the scar of it's own accord, and that he can step in later under local anaesthetic if it doesn't. He says I'm doing extremely well for 3 weeks and I'm out within ten minutes, with a tiny dressing over my suction hole.
It does feel marginally more comfortable and I'm glad that I went, sloshing isn't a great feeling. But syringing doesn't turn me instantly into a svelt beach babe. I do still have swelling, still am not jean shape but I am more at peace.
So the day afterwards I'm feeling calm, optimistic and the scar looks so much better (the nurse snipped away a bit of stitch and a couple of bits of blood so I'm just scar and a good one at that). Oh, and my leg pains which I've not seen anyone else mention, are diminishing now. I do still get a little when I wake up, but I'm not wrestling with the pillow under my knees or hips at night anymore to get comfy. It's given me a clue what old people who are bedridden have to go through however and I have loads more empathy with them now.
Today is three weeks. I'm still walking with a hunch or very bad posture, but publicly that's because I have hurt my back! I did manage a (slow) walk up the hill to school for the first time and that's real progress. Last night was my first real public outing to a school event. I have been dreading the questions as I'm a terrible liar, but have been practising diversionary tactics. Like 'Oh I'm fine, I'm just milking it..." followed swiftly by "are you moving?", or similar such rebound comments. I don't get into a discussion about how it's been for fear of one the one hand playing 'poor me' about something that is SO NOT poor me! - And on the other hand, having to weave an elaborate story around my actual post-surgery issues that could be recognised by the not-so-gullible (and some of my friends are doctors). Is anyone else cloak and dagger about what is going on for them?! So that's me for today. Until the next time, hasta la vista!

Still can't stand up

3 1/2 weeks and another shopping trip out proves that I am still neanderthal rather than upright. It's getting tiresome now. Nearly a month sat at my laptop with limited movement and I am craving the simple things like walking the dog and - dare I admit this publicly - doing housework! I don't like bending down - in fact I positively avoid it. But worst of all, I have become very antisocial because of my posture. I could pass for 85 and am acutely aware of trying to hide my hunchback in public. I seem to have regressed a little these last two days and am feeling more tight than before. Maybe now the swelling is back there is more pressure on the skin. I wish I knew whether trying to stand up would help things loosen up or not. I am frightened to stretch it too much in case I pull at the scar. The join line down the middle is the tightest. It's actually quite scary at this stage - the first couple of weeks are par for the course. The third week brings some improvement albeit slight. But in week 4 I'm starting to worry that the hallowed 4 week milestone will pass without significant reduction in swelling and still not being able to stand up. That makes me tearful. Not knowing what to expect makes planning your emotions difficult. Hey ho. Mustn't get despondent - even my mother said Wow today when I showed her the lack of wobbly belly. She laughed and said maybe she'd get it done - she's a pretty right on old bird for 82!! She's still a big flirt. I dabbled on internet dating tonight. Craving some man attention! Then I realised it's no good soliciting for a date because if they got interested then I would have to fend them off for months or face revealing a pretty drastic scar line! I don't know of any underwear that you can keep on during a romp that is designed just to cover this big horizontal give-away sign!! Nor any excuse to keep it on! So that's it, I'm destined to be a single quasimodo for some time yet!!

Having a rest..

After 4 days of frenetic activity causing me to have a 'swell baby' (you've heard of a food baby?), I'm spending a day in bed! I'm only getting up to make tea, pee and check my results every so often!

1 month photos update!

Here are a host of photos. You can see that it's a roller coaster as the swelling goes up and down as fast as your t-shirt does every time you take another 'peek'!
But you can also see that the scar is amazingly well recovered from the 'sewn' look at first, to the much neater later photos where it has evened out. The belly button was great from day one and the smoothness of the belly is also awesome. Sometimes the swelling leaves a ridge at the scar line but that goes when the swelling goes down. There was some fluid drained off at one point that came back, but eventually it dissipated of its own accord. If I could stay unswollen and my flanks went down more I'd bee ecstatic, but I'm happy enough so far! Good luck to those embarking on this journey. Keep the faith.

Photos to follow when I work out how to upload more than one!

Actually I only managed to upload one photo! Sorry. I wanted to do all the ones I've taken, but if I do it without checking, then I will get the dates and comments muddled up.

Day 18 & 19 photos

I'm uploading some of the photos - there are a lot as I'm trying to show how swelling varies not just on a day by day basis, but throughout the day

Day 20 photos

So here we see the changes after the aspiration of fluid built up (known as a seroma). The way you know you have it is if you can slosh the water about in your belly like a hottie. (Hot water bottle!) I had about 50cc taken off.

Day 28, 29 & 33 photos

Time passes slowly with not so much change. You see more variation throughout the day than from day to day, but in the mornings, when the swelling is least, things are starting to look good. By night time (and this is written on a very swollen day) things can be pretty swollen up again. It's like being a human sponge! Which isn't actually all that much fun.

Day 34 & 37 photos

Things in the mornings are really feeling good now. I'm chuffed with the belly button, never had a problem with that. Note how the scar has de- or un-puckered! Still got slight puckering at the ends, but I'm amazed at how much the whole scar has flattened out. Eating and drinking swells you up, but by the time I get to that stage I'm too tired to take photos! I will look at these and remember how I felt in the mornings!

Week 6

Well my PS appointment isn't actually until week 7, so that's the date I'm working to, but for lots of people week 6 is a turning point. I wouldn't say that any week has been particularly noticeable as the time I became 'normal' (ok - I'll never be normal, yes thank you). It's been more a slow progression and man do I mean slow! Sometimes it's like pregnancy - we all know how that drags on!
But, progress IS being made:
I'm now wearing normal clothes most of the time even though my jeans button digs into the swelling, not very attractive, but hey, no-one is going there for a while!
I'm doing more and more - I've been out doing a parking survey this weekend whiich meant walking round the block every hour during working hours. I lead a great life eh? Aren't you all jealous?!! Half way through yesterday I felt incredibly tired - just like I did a few weeks PO. I reckon that the constant activity was too much, but it could be that I just never got over that mid-week booze session with my dance partner!
Yup, I've had the odd night of 'relaxation' - I'm sure I coped with them better pre-op and so I restrain myself. It's been good for my liver having this op.
Like all surgery, I have been getting used to the 'new' me. It's a weird thing being someone different, but in a good way. Wouldn't it be great to go from before to after overnight? Somehow though, it feels good to suffer for vanity rather than be given it on a plate.
I've been amusing myself with internet dating. Feel a bit mean because I'm not that keen to rush out and get hooked with someone given the scar sitchu.
But I've got a date next week and I'm interested. A few have fallen by the way, but there a couple that are looking interested.
Friday I got my old car from the garage. Part of the over 50 enjoy life philosophy... I bought myself a 1952 car! Driing it back was both terrifying and hilarious - I went to put petrol in and stood nonchalantly with the nozzle in the tank - next thing I was covered in petrol as it spurted out! I think this is a learning curve! Then on the way home, stinking of petrol, I was struggling with the gears and kept kangarooing. So much for cool old lady in an old car, more like daft old biddy with no idea!!!
But I've been out a couple of times over the weekend and am getting the hang of it now. We've had a lovely sunny day and I pitched up in the local park to find a wedding party so lent them the car for some photos. As for the op - well the car doesn't have power steering and so it's an effort, but I've coped and it's not making me any worse.
So, here's to next week's visit to the PS when I will nervously ask him about the swelling on my flanks. THe scar, the belly button and the tummy are really good but I do hope that the flab that sticks out of my jeans goes down as that was one of my main goals. But, if it doesn't then I'll still be better off than before once the scar fades and I'm sure it will.

Good luck to anyone on the start of the journey. Although it seems like forever at the time, looking back I feel that I am over the worst and will be back to normal by xmas. Meanwhile I'm 85% and looking forward to the rest of my 50s with renewed vigour. Just got to get those gears sorted!

Week 6 + 2 days Evening swelling.

I am posting some photos of me in jeans in the evening. These are POST OP. They look like pre-op. I was around 122 lbs before the op, but had these middle aged rolls of fat (alas I don't have a pre-op photo - I didn't find this site until after the op :-( ). So I would be BITTERLY disappointed if these rolls haven't gone after spending so much time in recovery and money.

Week 7-8 I've been a naughty girl

Well girls - people often ask how soon they can go on holiday after their TT. And we all groan! i had booked a weekend of dancing 7 weeks after mine. Secretly I thought I'd be back burning the dance floor a matter of weeks after my op, but we all know how unrealistic that was. However, at 7 weeks - and a post op checkup, I felt that yes, I could manage a trip and kept to my rendezvous in Munich. One small hand luggage case containing a few things (and lots of dance shoes) seemed manageable. What I didn't factor in was multiple train platform changes as the time for my return flight came increasingly near. i felt such a nuisance as my partner ran up and down the platform stairs and I waited painfully for the station lifts. Finally I picked up my case in desperation and ran up the last flight of stairs!! And this after 5 hours of classes on two days and two evenings of non-stop 3 hours dancing. Still I thought, I'd done pretty well. I swelled up horribly during the weekend and got the burning sensations quite a few times, but thought that was par for the course. But oh my!!! Since I got home I have been wiped out completely. I've struggled to keep my hair on with my daughter who is off school poor thing. I've been in bed with my laptop practically for three days. And I'm walking hunched over again. So that told me!!! No more crazy weekends burning the midnight oil and jet setting. I do have another weekender booked in a month, but boy am I going to lie low until then!

5 months update

5 Months and still on the roller coaster

Things they don't tell you about having a tummy tuck.... your flanks will not get less flabby, your scar will be uneven and ride up, your pubic hair line will rise an inch - or TWO (this can be overcome with laser treatment) and you may develop folds where pockets have formed.


I just found these photos from 2005 - 2 years after I had my daughter. I was quite shocked to realise just how much things actually HAVE improved. Standing, things weren't so bad and yet now I realise just why I did this and how glad I am that I have.
Liverpool Plastic Surgeon

Lovely man. Uber confident, highly rated by the nurses. I will be judging him on the results1

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