Breast Lift and Tummy Tuck - St. John's, Canada

I guess I will start by saying that I accidentally...

I guess I will start by saying that I accidentally discovered Real Self while doing Internet searches on tummy tucks and plastic surgery in general. I love this site for the information, support and candidness it offers. I hope in a few short weeks I too will be on the flat side lol ( love that :)).

A bit about me.....I am a 35 year old mother of 2 amazing little boys who are now 11 and soon to be 5. I have been very happily married for 13 years to my high school sweetheart who has loved me unconditionally from the beginning. I have always been a heavy set girl even as a teenager....never ever had a flat stomach....lower bulge there since puberty. I was 155 lbs after graduating high school and ballooned up to 195 lb during university. Then I had our kids....I was almost 230 lb at my heaviest before delivery. I have stretch marks from under my breasts to my hips :(. October 1st, 2012 I decided to change my life and joined a gym and started eating healthy. I am 5'4" and currently weigh 142lb. My goal is 135 lb before surgery but that may be tight as I am only 4 weeks away from my scheduled date. I have planned on getting a tummy tuck since that first day of my lifestyle change...but decided for sure as the weight came off. Not sure if anyone else can relate but I felt more comfortable at 200 lb in my skin then I do now at 142lb. My belly hangs low as do my breasts...hence the decision for a breast lift.

Initial consult:
February 2013 I called Dr Cluett's office and scheduled the initial appointment. On June 6th accompanied by my hubby I met with her. I completed a health questionnaire and had a physical exam which confirmed I was an excellent candidate for both a tummy tuck and breast lift. Dr Cluett described both surgeries, risks, possible complications etc. Her receptionist gave me a quote and I told them to put me on the OR list. Made my mandatory second appointment for August 22 nd.

Second visit:
Saw Dr Cluett again on August 22 nd. Reviewed possible complications again and had my photo shoot :(.... So embarrassing. Signed my consents and bought my compression bra. The compression garment for my tummy is included in the price and will be placed on me post operatively. Found out my surgery will take place at a local hospital where I used to work ( I am a nurse)..not sure if that will be awkward knowing a lot of the staff since this is a small city and I have worked with many of the nurses there before. Just have to wait for a call from the hospital for a date for per admission clinic...usually the day before here.

Got to say that since signing the consent I am super excited and nervous all at the same time. Worried about the anesthesia cause I have never had that before...afraid I will die on the table truthfully and leave my kids motherless and my husband a single parent. I am nervous about the pain, about tissue necrosis, a major infection, etc. I feel selfish spending this much money on myself given all the risks and possible complications. I DO have support from my husband, family and best friend. I guess it's normal to be nervous....I hope I can go through with this cause I really want it....fearful my nerves may get the best of me :(

I will get my hubby to take some pictures tonight

Can't believe I am really doing this!

9 days away from the flat side :). Made my payment to the plastic surgeon this morning and now just to pay the hospital utilization fee. I am planning to pay that when I go to pre-admission clinic- should hear from them this week. It really seems real now. I am excited and scared.....hope everything goes ok.....

I have been stress eating and my scale says I have gained 6 pounds :(... Got to get a grip and stay focused. I have 9 days and am determined to lower that number! I did have my first nightmare as well....dreamt I woke up in the recovery room in excruciating pain like something from a horror movie...scary stuff

Got the call!

Well next week this time I will be on the flat side:)! My hospital called yesterday and I have to go to pre- admission clinic on Monday for bloodwork, etc. I will find out on Tuesday what time my surgery is scheduled for. Like I said before I am a nurse and am working Friday, Saturday, and Sunday...,pre- admission Monday ... That leaves Monday night for groceries and Tuesday as a day to clean my house and pack my bag. I want to have things in decent order for hubby and the kids.

Groceries: I was thinking of buying the obvious fruit and veggies, protein drinks, chicken breasts and other lean meats, snacks for the kids....any other suggestions for healthy low sodium snacks and lunches for recovery?

Bag: I am staying at the hospital for one night, possibly two. I am taking pjs, underwear, my compression bra ( for after the breast lift), robe, slippers, toiletries, yoga pants and shirts. Any suggestions on other things to bring/ pack?

It's almost go time!!!!!! Tomorrow I finally join the flat side :)

Yesterday I attended pre- admission clinic at the hospital. Had an EKG, chest x-ray, blood and urine test, and spoke to anesthesia. I hav to call the hospital between 1-2 pm today to get my surgery time and I was told yesterday to be there 1.5 hr before scheduled time.

I have been busy with preparations for my absence from home....house cleaned with the exception of the floors ( doing them after I finish my tea this morning), meals prepared and frozen, laundry done, everything I need purchased....going for groceries this morning as well. My parents are arriving today so I'll be out and about with them for the afternoon ( great distraction) and tonight I will pack my bag, remove my nail polish etc....try to relax as much as possible...and pend time itch hubby and kids

I feel more relaxed today then yesterday and the day before....still a little anxious and scared but mostly excited and ready to get it done!!! Praying there will be no complications and that the pain will be manageable. Hoping for a speedy recovery free from complications.

I hope all you girls joining me on the flat side tomorrow are well and ready for a new chapter in our lives.....good luck to you all and thak-you all for sharing your stories. I can't wait to see everyone's flat pictures :)...... Pre op pictures tonight I promise

I made it :) !

As I said earlier, my surgery was scheduled for 11:30 am and I was supposed to be at the hospital for 10 for my markings and prep. Wednesday morning at 8:45 my phone was ringing and it was the hospital! My initial reaction was oh crap...surgery is cancelled but it wasn't....the hospital was calling me to tell me I was supposed to be there at 8:30 for prep and or at 10! Apparently there was a mixed up. Hubby and I rushed to the hospital and it was go, go, go....no time to think of anything. My admission nurse was a familiar face and the whole experience was great :). Dr Cluett came and marked me up and then it was go time....

I was in the OR for 4 hours and woke up in recovery room at 2:05 pm.....I was so drowsy I could barely keep my eyes open. I did manage to ask the time and if anyone had called my husband to let him know I was ok and out of surgery. I had no nausea which was a bonus and felt only slight burning at the incisions. My RR nurse gave me morphine and I settles to sleep. The next I awoke I was in my room....it was a semi private ( I asked for a private but none available). Hubby was there waiting. The first day was up eventful really.....in and out...really sleepy. My parents and my good friend visited. No real pain just a slight burning sensation. My BP was low and my HR was high. Temp was 37.5-37.8 C. The nurses gave me a normal saline bolus of 500 ml over 1 hour....little change in my vital signs. I didn't have a urinary catheter so Wednesday night I had to get out of bed and walk to the washroom...not a lot of fun but not horrible. Pulling and tearing sensations and a lot if burning. I was 4 times overnight as my IV was infusing and I was drinking a lot if water. I received morphing for pain that first night and was switched to atasol 30's Thursday morning. I felt as if I wasn't emptying my bladder so my nurse did and in and out cath and got 800 ml urine! Make no wonder I was uncomfortable.....no issues voiding after that :). On Thursday I was able to get in and out if bed myself and was walking the hallways and back and firth to the washroom. Didn't need the pain meds regularly....took them twice.

On Friday I was discharged home....the car ride was rough. The roads are undergoing a lot of construction and were so bumpy. I didn't realize your abdominal muscles moved so much trying to accommodate movements in a car! Was only a 15-20 min ride home :). Friday was I eventful....still moving a lot and little pain. Still had a low grade temp all day.

Exact same storey on Saturday and Sunday except the community health nurse visited on Saturday morning and changed my bandages. Both drains are working well and have to stay a while yet. The two pen rose drains that were in my breasts were removed Thursday. Have had a lot of friends visiting and still very tired. My mother in law arrived Sunday to help out as hubby is returning to work Monday. Kids are in daycare and school full time until I am well.

Right drain removed!!!!

Community health nurse was here this morning to change my bandages and removed my right drain. Yahoo! Went for a brief walk around the neighbourhood enjoying the warmth and sunshine.

First post-op appointment today

Met with the surgeon in clinic for my first post-op appointment. She was really pleased with the healing if my breasts and tummy. Slight bruising but all looks well. The wrinkles near my tummy incision have improved a lot since Thursday :). All bandages were removed and just steri strips left, except around my drain. The left drain is still draining 45-50 ml every 24 hours...has to stay in until less then 30 ml in 24 hours....and no shower until that is out :(.

Finally had a BM last night...5 days post op. It was horrible. I was so constipated... Had been taking colace, sennokot but resorted to milk of magnesia last night. I thought my internal sutures were going to burst apart and my belly hurt so much. Strained so much I ended up with hemrhoids :(..., sorry too much information I know.
I haven't taken any pain meds since yesterday morning. I have to say my back is really starting to bother me...aching all f the time ....hopefully I can soon stand straight.

Before and After

Before and after photos of me...

Before and After

Here are my before and after shots to date...

Swell Hell

Left drain is still in and still draining about 45 ml in 24 hours :(....gonna be a while before it comes out. Community health nurse coming tomorrow to change my bandages and assess my incisions. I have at of swelling tonight....have slacked off on drinking my water and had a high salt intake yesterday ( ham for supper), plus I am up and on the go pretty much all day. Tomorrow is a new day....plan to drink more water, rest and limit my salt intake. Any other suggestions? Any one else experiencing a lot if swelling in the evenings?

Back pain!

Oh my, what a horrible nights sleep! I was awake nearly every hour. My back was aching and I just couldn't get comfortable on my back, my right side , or even sitting. I usually sleep on my left side but can't yet as my drain is still in. On a brighter note, my swelling was reduced a lot this morning :)

First post-op pics without binder- 11 days post op

Recent pics

Excuse the lines/ indents from the binder lol....still have stretch marks which I knew I would because they were so extensive before hand. I am really pleased so far :)

Drain free!!!!! Finally!!!!

Had my second post- op appointment with the PS this morning. She said everything looks great and is healing nicely. Pulled my last drain...yahoo! I can finally shower :). She was pleased with my boobs... Said they look better then expected at this point :) I asked her about a bit of pleating/puckering on one nipple and the incision line... Told me not to worry about it as it will resolve. Really early in the healing yet...that eased my mind a lot. My belly button is moist and has some yellow slough. PS wants me to use mercurochrome ( old time remedy) to dry it out. I expressed concern about it growing together so she told me to put a small marble in my belly button and hold it in with a bandaid lol...thought that was hilarious :). I also have to start scar therapy now...kelocoat cream rubbed into scars.

Slow and steady

Well, I have been quiet lately because not a lot has changed.... All steri-strips off and applying the kelo cote twice a day for scar therapy. I still have swelling on my hips, left worse than right. Still wearing my binder daily as instructed by by PS... I meet her again October 24 th and May be able to take it off for part of the day. Can't imagine what it will be like not wearing it. My incisions are healing well and no issues to date. My belly button is still wet....using the marble most days but it appears like a slit....long and thin :(. On a more positive note, I went shopping and bought some killer new clothes...most size small and a size 6 dress!! Can't believe what a difference this surgery has made to my overall shape. I'm loving it....first time in my life I feel sexy and feel I look good in my clothes. This surgery has been the best thing I could have done for my self. Feeling really happy today :) hubby will post my three week pictures tonight

3 week side by side by side :)

I think I have belly button troubles :(

I will be four weeks post-op tomorrow and my belly button is still moist, it's red with white skin in it :(. I am so scared and worried something is wrong....is it infected? Is the skin dying? Or is it just slow to heal....I have an appointment with my PS Thursday morning and it can't come quick enough. I also have a few other concerns I want to address with her 1. My nipple seems to have separated 2 mm on the bottom from the rest of my skin but it isn't draining 2. I can feel sutures on the ends of my incisions 3. I am wondering if I have swelling on my hips or if its extra skin or fat that isn't get removed. I am trying I be patient with the healing but I am so worried right now

Great news!!!! :)

I had my one month follow up with my PS this morning and things went a lot better than anticipated. I had so many concerns about my belly button... Draining, white tissue, not healing well....my PS wasn't concerned at all. She said it was not infected and not dying like I had thought. She said some of the sutures were dissolved and it was not uncommon for it to look this way. I have to continue using mercurochrome and see her in three weeks. She was super pleased with my healing and thought my boobs looked awesome for just four weeks post op. I mentioned to her about breaks/gaps forming along the incisions and she told me it was the sutures dissolving and those areas will fill in on their own. I also asked her about seeing and feeling sutures at the ends if my incisions....feels like plastic fishing line! She said they will dissolve and didn't do anything with them. She also told me to expect little pustules or pimples as the sutures dissolve. Before I had a chance to mention the pockets of swelling/fat/skin on my hips she pointed them out and said it will settle out as swelling goes down and scars soften...told me to massage the scars. Best news.....no more binder needed and no more surgical bra yah!! I can wear wire free bra now. I do think I will wear spanx... Right now I feel loose lol without it and my abs seem to hurt more....maybe it's my mind...my PS said start light exercise now such as walking on the treadmill...told me not to do any crunches yet ( like I'd even think about it...I am not crazy lol). Will get hubby to post more pictures tonight or tomorrow....I really need to learn how to do that
Dr J Cluett

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