Almost 6 months post op.

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I'm just like most of you- I had 2 kids (via...

I'm just like most of you- I had 2 kids (via csection) and just never quite went back to normal. After my daughter was born I noticed a large gap in my abdominal muscles and a new "outtie." I'm 5'4 and 120lbs. I have been very active in yoga and triathlon for several years and after my last pregnancy even dabbled in crossfit- none of these seemed to help my belly or love handles. They were here to stay! Until I decided to take the surgical route. I went to 4 consults and found Dr. Aguiar in Westchase. I immediately felt comfortable with him- i'm an RN and it's hard to find doctors that I trust. I booked right away and my surgery is Nov 14. I will update with stories and pics asap.

So it's in a few days- a little nervous, a little...

So it's in a few days- a little nervous, a little scared, but definitely excited. I had my pre op anesthesia appointment last Thursday and just about died when the nurse told me my latex "allergy" is a problem and I can't have it done. I started to panic. I don't have an allergy; I listed it as a latex sensitivity because before my hospital went to nitrile gloves at the end of the shift my hands would be red and itchy. I used the word "burning" and she said that was a problem. I just didn't want a latex foley. Who wants an itchy vagina on top of a tender abdomen? She talked with anesthesia and said it was ok. Geez, I dropped $8k, had people take off of work, and 6 week FMLA approval- it better be ok!

I have everything ready- a comfy recliner, button down shirt and loose pants, my compression girdle (it's actually crotchless!), all my Rxs filled, bottle of mag citrate for the night before*, an assortment of juices for my clear liquid fast on 11/13*, babysitting, protein shakes for after, and a well stocked netflix queue. And my wonderful husband to help. Now i need it to be Wednesday.

I'm taking before pics on Tuesday to post.

*my surgeon likes a liquid diet pre-op and a bowel prep- to ensure the tightest tummy. Fun fun!

My surgery was yesterday. The people at the...

My surgery was yesterday. The people at the surgery center were wonderful! All the nurses were warm and friendly, and I was very impressed with the anesthesiologist. He knew I was nervous and made me feel at ease. Dr. Aguiar was great; he's kind and meticulous and the staff had nothing but nice things to say about him. I go in for a post op appt today.

the surgery- i'm not going to lie, i'm in a lot of pain. Right now my drain sites are hurting, and my abdomen feels so tight i'm breathing shallow. Last night I could feel a lot of pain coming from the lipo areas, like I had fallen on my hips and got badly bruised. I felt no incision pain last night but right now it's hurting a little, mostly a burning sensation. I've been taking percocet 5/325 every 4 hours, and I took tylenol PM to help me sleep. I'm going to ask Dr. Aguiar if I can take my robaxin (muscle relaxer) when I go in today because walking hunched over is excruciating! It was nice to sleep in the recliner but I can already tell this is going to get old fast because I am not someone that likes to sleep in one position, or sit for that matter. I'm not putting out a lot of drainage from my 2 had grenades- this morning I had about 10ml on each side.

So far the worst was waking up after surgery and getting into the car, and last night I had a ton of nausea and got a little dizzy. I'm just glad the surgery part is over. Anticipation gets the best of me every time. I can do the painful recovery, but it's the night before, the morning of, getting prepped, and then finally getting on the operative table where I lose it. From here on out I know it only gets better.

I have some before photos that i'll upload once I can get them off my phone. I don't know when i'll be getting afters- i'm scared to take the garment off!

Ok so- I think I slept? before I went to bed I had...

Ok so- I think I slept? before I went to bed I had a little breakdown because I thought I was going to stop breathing in my sleep. I had taken one percocet and then 2 hours later had a robaxin, and since i'm breathing so shallow I panicked and was scared to fall asleep. I HATE being on drugs, they make me very emotional and all day yesterday I felt like a zombie. Still completely in pain, but just confused. I can't take NSAIDs for at least 2 weeks post op; i was hoping i could alternate between percocet and advil like I did with my c-sections but i'm reading all over the place that that is BAD. I have no bruising and I want to keep it that way!
My post op appt went well. They took my garment down and he said it looked awesome and the final outcome will be really nice. I didn't want to look. He gave me a mirror and I peeked- my incision and belly button are taped up (which was what i was scared of seeing), there's no bruising, and I could see just the ends of my tattoo. I am going to get them lasered off eventually. I was shocked that my stomach was so hard; there is a lot of swelling there and on the flanks from my lipo. My next appt is after thanksgiving; he might be pulling one of the drains then. But if my output stays this minimal then i'm going to call the office on monday because the drains are painful and i'm only putting about 20 out each side all day.
The toughest part is getting up and going pee. I'm walking at a 90 degree angle. He said I could stand up a little more but there's so much tension at the top of my abdomen when I stand that I automatically stop there. When i'm in the recliner i'm a lot more laid out so I know I have room to stand but I can't do it yet. This morning I got a tickle in my throat and it's impossible to clear with no core! Tomorrow will be my first day by myself so i've been practicing getting to the bathroom by pushing a chair. How are you guys doing this so well? I read reviews where people said they were feeling great and the pain wasn't all that bad. The back (and front) spasms are terrible! It's not even the incision that's hurting; when I walk everything spasms at once and I can barely hold myself up. Once I sit back down it takes a couple minutes for me to stop shaking.
I'm trying to stay positive and keep telling myself the beginning is always the hardest. I'm a nurse in a cardiac surgical intensive care unit and I know how hard it is in the beginning, getting up with tubes/drains, being confused from drugs, trying to eat or pee. I know all this stuff, but it's hard to apply it to myself. I feel like i'm being a baby about everything. Ugh.

On a positive note my husband is a phenomenal nurse and I couldn't have done any of this without his support. I get to see my kids tonight and that will be wonderful (thanks Mom!). Also, I know im going to be tiny when this is all healed. When I was trying to cough I was bracing my stomach with my arms and geez i'm small and flat. Now I just need all this pain to stop!

Took a shower by myself today, which felt...

Took a shower by myself today, which felt wonderful. I took a pic and I like what I see so far. I know in still very swollen, and I can't stand up straight yet but once I'm completely healed I think it's going to look fantastic. Today is my second day by myself (husband at work, babysitting for the kids) and its not as scary because I'm a lot more mobile. My back is still killing me, but the surgical pain is a lot more manageable. Hardly any output on my drains. For now I just want to get to a comfortable place where I can drive and go somewhere! So boring at home in a chair all day!

Overall i'm feeling a lot better. I'm able to get...

Overall i'm feeling a lot better. I'm able to get around without pushing a chair, getting up and down a lot easier, and i'm able to roll over on my side which is so much relief for my butt!

I went to see Dr. Aguiar yesterday hoping that I could lose a drain- my output has been less than 30ml on both sides, my skin is irritated around the sites and the left one keeps tugging and it's very uncomfortable. He gave me the rundown on the purpose of the drains and stated that it's still a little too early but maybe at my real appt on Friday. He clipped the suture on the left one (which hurt!) but made it stop pulling. I just have to be careful that I don't pull it out accidentally. He changed my belly button dressing and told me I have epidermolysis and some of the skin is sloughing off. Wound care is not my speciality and I refused to look. I was very surprised at how numb I am over the center of my stomach; I couldn't feel him doing anything except for a little pressure. Then he noticed my flanks (lipo) and was a bit concerned. They're both red. They feel a little warm. He said it doesn't really look like cellulitis but he changed my antibiotic to Bactrim. I'm nervous about taking it because sulfa allergies are very common and the side effects can be life threatening. I can't recall if i've had sulfa drugs in the past but I refused to take it until this morning when my husband was home for a little bit (in case I had breathing problems). I go back on Friday and i'm really hoping to lose these 2 hand grenades.

So at this time i'm not sure if i'm happy; truthfully i'm scared. I'm scared that my belly button will turn black and fall off (which he said may happen but it would just look like a belly button anyway). I'm also scared that I went overboard with wanting lipo and now I may have a complication because of it. The right side is a lot more red and warm than the other. He marked the borders yesterday. Left side is smaller, less red, but still warm. My goal today is to stay positive.

So yesterday I spent the morning panicking about...

So yesterday I spent the morning panicking about having (possible) cellulitis and well i'm really good at working myself up for no reason. After 3 doses of Bactrim the heat is going down and they're not as itchy. So hopefully a switch in antibiotics was all I needed. Last night I slept with minimal discomfort for the first time OMG! It was nice. My problem has been that the lipo sides hurt so much and my garment has those dame hook-eye closures and a fat zipper right on the sides, plus i'm hunched over and already a small person so it bunches up and then I LAY on it and I want to scream. Solution- king size pillow case wrapped around my midsection stuffed inside my medieval torture device (i.e. compression hell). wow what a difference. It padded that @%$$^& zipper and I could lay on my side with no problem. YES! Outputs so low I could write the order for D/C drains myself. Come on Friday, these JPs have got to go!

I took solo shower #2 today with no one home; it went wonderful. Spent a lot of time in front of the mirror in the nude. I'm definitely still swollen. It looks like it's all near the scar, plus when I touch it it feels puffy and hard. I know that will take awhile to go away. When I sit I can see that nip in the waist and I really love that; I guess I have to be patient for the hourglass to fully appear. Sideways I look wide and swollen. I attempted to put jeans on and nope that's not going to work yet. I really don't want to look like a bum tomorrow at dinner!

POD 10. Feeling pretty good- the pain from the...

POD 10.
Feeling pretty good- the pain from the surgery is virtually non-existent; however, my back is a different story. I've been up and about the last 3 days and the only thing that sidelines me is the back spasms. My doctor gave me Vicodin (Percocet way too strong for me, even 1/2 dose) and that is helping. I haven't had anything for pain yet today; I usually have one in the morning from being so stiff sleeping reclined, and then one in the evening after moving around all day. I had an appointment yesterday and lost the left drain woohoo! That was the STRANGEST feeling. It hurt but it felt weird? A lot of my stomach is still numb so I felt this strong pulling sensation with little shocks of pain. I can't wait till Monday's appointment. I hope I lose the right one because I can feel it curled up inside me and its creepy. I also saw my scar and belly button for the first time and I was very shocked at their appearance. My incision looks wonderful- it isn't red or black or purple, it's just a line. He described my belly button as "cute", and it is. its just so drastically different than it looked before so my response was that it looked weird, haha. I've never seen it look so normal- no hernia, and no stretched out navel piercing. Dr Aguiar is truly an artist. Every day I get a better glimpse of the final masterpiece.

POD 13- got my right JP drain out yesterday......

POD 13- got my right JP drain out yesterday....ouch. Dr Aguiar said something about it adhering and all I heard was rip rip from under my skin. It was quite sore after that and I had a bit of bleeding; now it's completely fine and I'm not noticing any fluid seromas. I asked if my husband and I could have "relations" and he put the kibosh on that one! Guess we'll have to wait a few weeks because my husband is being neutered on Dec 3 (hell no I'm not risking another pregnancy after this surgery)! I feel so good despite the fact I am slightly hunched over. If you would've told me I'd feel like this on day 2 or 3 I would call you a liar; I can't believe how much difference a week makes. Will post more pics soon, happy healing!

POD 17- Well, just when I was feeling great I got...

POD 17-
Well, just when I was feeling great I got a cold, so I have spend the last 3 days coughing and sneezing. NOT FUN. Now my incision is really sore. Every time I feel a fit coming I drop down with my arms hugging my stomach and try my best to make every cough count. It's just a freaking tickle! But it spawns the most violent coughing spells. I've been living on robitussin and zicam nasal spray. I had to take a percocet the other night (only half) just to pass out so I wouldn't cough. I was getting worried my incision would blow open but of course, it's not, it just feels like that. Fun. I had to change my own BB dressing the other day because when I got out of the shower water had gotten behind the tegaderm and it swelled up like a balloon. Luckily I still had some xeroform left over from my 24 inch boxjump attempt gone awry. It looked gross and felt awkward packing my own wound. I HATE WOUND CARE. I do it all the time but it's really hard to get used to seeing people's bones sticking out and having to poke a giant q-tip down there to measure. I changed it again today just to make sure the tape I used wasn't wet underneath and it looked much better! It had this black stalk looking thing like babies do and the whole outer circumference was pink and healing nicely :) I have an appt on Monday morning. I hope I can start trying to stand up straight (and have some adult fun with my hubby).

Questions to those currently recovering:
At what timeframe could you fully stand up straight without a pulling sensation?>
When did your surgeon tell you you could start standing up straight? I see so many pics of people standing up straight at a week or so post op and i'm pulled so tight I can't even SIT up straight without pulling, let alone stand.

POD 19- got the go ahead to start standing up...

POD 19- got the go ahead to start standing up woohoo! Scar and BB is looking wonderful. Next appt 3 weeks and ill be going back to work (not as exciting).

I can't sit still very long- so I decided to go to...

I can't sit still very long- so I decided to go to the gym this morning at almost 3 weeks post op. I walked onthe treadmill for 30 min, did some stretching, then the bike for maybe 15 min. I figured the bike would be ok since I'm hunched over it anyway. I felt awesome during and after. However, I feel incredibly guilty, like my doctor would be mad at me if he found out!
My question is, anyone having trouble eating? As in, eating a plateful or large amount of food? I just can't seem to eat. I have zero appetite. If I eat breakfast I have to force myself to eat something mid afternoon. And forget dinner. 1-3 bites and I'm finished. I'm wondering if this is just a post op thing or is it maybe that I'm pulled so tight I feel like I have no room to expand?

It's been about 5 months. Here is where I...

It's been about 5 months. Here is where I stand:

Best decision I ever made. I am so unbelievably happy with my body I can't stand it. Last weekend was the first time I ever went to the beach and didn't keep my stomach covered by a towel or shirt. WOW!
My scar is ehh. It's about 17 inches long and the sides are very thin; however in the middle I had had some trouble with temp stitches so there's a keloid. I've been using ScarFx tape and Kelo-care. It's very soft, but still red/purply looking.
I'm also numb. Imagine yourself with 6 pack abs, that's the entire area i'm numb, where all the squares are (that's what my son calls them.) I don't really mind it except when I have an itch that I can't scratch because I can't feel myself scratching but i'm still itching! Or when my stomach is touching something- I can feel the pressure but not on my skin so it's weird. I want boobs. I wanted the whole package but I thought if I just get my stomach fixed maybe I won't care about saggy nursing boobies. But, low and behold, gotta get them boobies too. Geez my kids did a number on me.
Tampa Plastic Surgeon

I found Dr. Aguiar through my insurance company. Very meticulous and friendly, and spends a lot of time with you. Every visit i've had with him I have felt reassured that I made the right decision.

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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