I can't get that Cee Cee Penningston song out of...
I can't get that Cee Cee Penningston song out of my head "Finally" because it's exactly how I feel. I've been talking about this for a little over five years, thinking it about for even longer. I finally decided what better birthday gift to myself was to gain pieces of me I was tired if dealing with. I'm the proud mother of two awesome boys and proud of the body that brought them into this world, extended nursing for them both and now it's time for my next chapter.
I chose Dr. Cervantes and have been working with his patient liaison, Leslie. I feel good getting to this point, had originally decided on a lift with extensive TT but decided a month ago to do a reduction. I have not felt nervous yet just in project management mode trying to pack, take care of last minute details. Also, last minute change - I'll be recovering in TJ alone and hoping to get my accommodations switched to a recovery house tomorrow. I plan to update as often as I can until I return home. :-)
Let's get it started!
22 Jul 2014
Day of treatment
So much as happened in the last 48 hours… So many details changed and things that had to be done to get here but I'm here and that's what really matters. For the first time in 12 years, I made a decision that was and is about me. I struggled with it being selfish foolish expensive silly dumb risky all the work you can use to describe when a woman decides that herself image is important. And mild risk taker I'm calculated I plan to follow details. It's what I do for everybody. To pay something for me to get back to myself for working so hard to make everybody happy. I didn't think it be emotional but it's 6 AM and it's almost time for my surgery in the bathroom finally getting some tears out. I'm partially excited, scared, nervous, but ready. Reading is what I feel. And confident that I made the right decision and I'm in the hands of very good doctors. I don't know how I'm going to feel over the next 48 hours but I do know that right now I feel ready to do something about the way I feel about my body. I worked hard 2 years ago to lose 84 pounds, only to start again parts of it again once the stress returned. I got myself back together and I still work hard every day to keep things in check but thing is I never saw much improvement for the way things looked when I took it all off. So this is my chance to make them upside match it's always been going on the inside. Here's the flat side ladies and anybody thinking about it… If it's on your mind and it's been on your mind you owe it to yourself to do something. I promise to post pictures and give more about my whole hospital experience right now this is about me how I feel. God knows my heart and I thank Him for walking with me to get here. May He cover the hands of the surgeons and hospital staff and the others that will take care of me at the Recovery Boutique and take care of my wonderful children and family that have made it possible for me to be here.
Few more things...
22 Jul 2014
Day of treatment
I almost forgot, this is for you Dr. C! ????????
More before pics
22 Jul 2014
Day of treatment
Okay I'm telling myself because my really organized or chronological but the hell with it. I have so much going on in my head but I'm getting it done so focusing on that and laughing at myself. TypeA- ladies know what I'm saying (minus because no one is perfect) so please excuse the typos and grammar errors, misspellings of pop stars's names. Real Self does not let you edit copy. Boo!!!!
All that aside here are more pre-op pictures.
Recovery - day 1
It still feels like a dream. I kept waking up at 3 AM on...
Not anxious just full of emotion of all the things I had been thinking about. I made a few phone calls to family, I played some music and danced for a little bit. But besides that would've been if anyone could come in. Lastly, I prayed for God's will to be done.
First nurse came in about 830 so I took a shower and changed into the hospital gown. I was previously wearing the gown I delivered my sons in. Got it from Hot Mama Gowns a few years back and I thought it was quite poetic to wear it again as I shed my mama belly. Soon after, then walks Dr. Juan Cervantes! He is so charismatic and smelled of coffee and awesome cologne and his warm and comforting smile. I'm noticing that everyone on his medical team looks like they have had previous lives as actors) He said let me hear it referring to the song Finally by CC Peniston. So we turned it up while he did my markings - it was great! We settled on a C cup for me for my reduction and I haven't been to see cups of high school so looking forward to being up going to Victoria's Secret and not have to buy bras online for much longer. He also told me what to expect with my tuck and what would happen if I lose or gain anymore weight. Sounded simple enough. He had me goodbye and immediately after walked in the anesthesiologist.
Dr. Luis Rujana (who also happen to look like a movie star). He explained my options and epidural, general anesthesia, or combo of both. We decided to go with the combo and he went.
Everything happened so fast from 9:00 AM when I was picked up and will get into the operating room. So many smiles top me get ready which was really great. A hospital orderly named Ceasar came to put me on the table to take me to the OR. I asked him what he had for breakfast because I hadn't had anything and we joked back and forth down the hallway. He reassured me that I was at the number one hospital in North and I believed him. I received a common pill even though I don't know much what it did because I felt pretty calm. And then we were on to do the anesthesia that's all I remember I'm back in my room. Not even sure what time it was. Later on that day Dr. Aragon came to check me and my drains (she too is stunning). Everything looks good so far. All I remember our nurses coming in throughout the day to give me more pain medicine which makes me a little nauseous. I had a little Jell-O which didn't last long. So I decided just with stick with the ice chips. It's about 8 AM and I'll update more when I get to the recovery boutique.
Recovery Day 2
So I made it to the Recovery Boutique. This place is absolutely gorgeous and feels like I've checked into an actual spa. Cost per night is $125 with meals included, a nurse, wifi, and free calls home too. So far the transition from IV to my meds has been a seamless transition. I've been most comfortable and looking forward to having 8 days to just focus on me. That has never ever happened since having my boys and I'm so ready to take the time. Dr. C or his team will visit me here so I'm feeling great about things. Best bday gift to myself ever!
Recovery Day 3
I wasn't sure why I kept reading day three was the worst but I have a better sense now… Started expensive gas pains late in the day on day two slept through the time to do redo my meds so this morning wasn't that great. I kept dreaming that I was a balloon waiting for someone to pop me to let the air out. I took some still softeners and have actually been able to go twice but yet the pressure still remains. My breasts are still pretty firm to the touch and I had to cough a couple of times which felt like someone struck a match across my belly. But other than that, I'm okay. I'm really glad I got a second set of compression garments because the ladies here have been changing my bandages for me and actually helped me wash them as well. That kind of help usually only comes from family or people who know you really well and I'm so glad made the decision to stay here.
Recovery Day 4
Had a great visit with Dr. Cervantes last night. Had to get something straightened out with my anticoagulant medicine and it was so nice of him to personally handle himself. He took a look at everything and said things were healing great so far and encouraged me to do to start doing a lot more for myself. So today, I was determined to get up and do my own shower which I successfully did with very little discomfort. It was great knowing RB team was there to help and I feel so much better afterwards. My plan for today is to continue to walk and spend more time upright and rest as needed. I finally got to see what things look like. Still very swollen but so far very happy with the curves and no more swollen belly and flap. Yay!!!!
And then there's days like today...
The one thing I learned from reading all the reviews is it is definitely a day by day healing process. I woke up today with all the optimism in the world and for some reason the medicines are just making me nauseous. Not sure which one but I don't want to eat anything and everything smells gross. Napping off and on dreaming about conversations with deceased grandparents while enjoying red beans and rice - lol. In search of soda water. Just resting. Not a full setback but definitely not a fun day. I see Dr. C tomorrow at 12:30.
Recovery Day 6
What a difference a day makes… I definitely learned from my mistake of the previous day and had a light breakfast before taking my antibiotic. It definitely helped contained also to sip water. My 1230 appointment with Dr. Cervantes went very well. He's advised I can drop one of the pain pills we should help with some of the night you as well. Actually haven't had that much pain throughout this process. Really feeling blessed when I read how painful this surgery has been for some people. So I have to say his pain management plan has been excellent. Once undressed, he is happy everything is looking great. He removed the tapes underneath both breasts and gave me a prescription for Kitoscell scar gel that I will use for three months. I was able to undress and dress myself without help and standing up pretty straight. Best part was I got back to the Recovery Boutique and was able to have a hamburger with fries. With Lentil soup of course per Perla. :-)
Recovery Day 7
Wow what a journey it's been… A week ago I was jamming with Dr. C being prepped for my surgery, drank some happy juice and the epidural. Don't remember much after that...
Minimal pain over the past week, so here's a few tips: having gas sucks so add simethecone tabs to the list and avoid gas producing food (including pizza which I only had once). Stay on top your meds and eat before taking your meds. Will most likely help you to avoid nausea. Let your doctor know everything that's happening. Doctors are your friends.
Bring lots of the white T-shirts. You will love having them underneath your compression garments. Underwear is optional. And trust me optional means don't waste your time.
Learn how to get rid of phlegm by sipping liquid. So you don't have to cough. Avoid the belly of fire at all possible. Also sneeze slightly reclined backward and hold your belly to brace yourself.
What I got besides a new body:
I learned how to enjoy complete silence. To be driven crazy by complete silence. And then enjoy complete silence again. As I get closer to returning to my real life as a working outside of the home mother, wife, friend, official family travel consultant, kid shuttle, etc I am the damn CEO of my family and it's hard work to keep it all going. This week I was able to anxiety where it belongs. Took short walks. Sitting in the sun. And reflecting on the days ahead and what I will need to survive the rest of recovery. I feel blessed to be able to do this for myself that I made it through surgery very well.
Leaving Thursday for home and things keep trying to creep in but I'll hold it off as long as I can. Thanks for all your support and being a part of this journey with me. Healing Angels surround us all.
Recovery - Going Home!
All I can say is this has been the most transformative experience since giving birth to my two children. What an amazing adventure… A time to stand up for myself, a time to make choices for myself, and a time to reflect on all of me the person. I cannot say enough how excited I am for the next chapter.
The day started with my shower, hugs and goodbyes to the awesome team of nurses that cared for me at the Recovery Boutique. It was like having five or six moms making sure I ate properly and rested. About noon I headed over to Dr. Cervantes to clear me for home. He advised for me to use an antiseptic like spray to help some of the wounds heal completely but all in all he was satisfied with things. I got my beloved drain removed and well was I surprised to see almost 6 inches come out from underneath my skin. I will not miss my friend but is served it's purpose.
I then proceeded to meet up with the shuttle to take me back across the border. It was an easy process since we were traveling in the medical lane. The customs agent asked me what I was in Mexico for and I said medical travel so I could enhance a little something something and he laughed. That seemed to satisfy him and he moved us right along. Got picked up at SD airport by my husband who seemed amused to see me moving slower than usual. The crappiest part of the day was sitting in LA traffic. It took me until 7 o'clock to get home. But I'd do it again a million times. I'll travel back to Mexico in a month to check in with Dr. C.
Two weeks post op
First day back at work today. I would have liked to have has a full three weeks to recover but I had a big presentation to do. I made it through the day okay physically but mentally I'm so drained. Today was my first day driving, my first day seeing people and it was awkward to remember they thought I was on vacation and had no idea of what I've been through the last 14 days. I wish I could say the presentation went the way I wanted. My performance was disappointing because I wasn't 100% on my A game. A little mad at myself because I stayed up late and woke up early and still my nerves and not being at work and being subconscious all got the best of me. I know everyone has an off day but extremely hard for me because I pride myself on being on when it counts. But as I continue on this journey, I keep having to check myself. Medically speaking, I did okay. I had to travel to and from campus several times and had a lot of walking to do and definitely was moving slower by the end of the day. It was great to see a few friendly faces from those who knew about my procedure. Was great to see them because and have them reassure me that I was looking great even with the swelling.
Recovery Day 15 - all tapes off edition!
So today was the day I was told to remove all the totes. I sprayed with warm water to help loosen from my skin. I know this is a process so I kept telling myself this is a process was looking at that even tiniest imperfection seems like WTH is that. I joked with my mom and said at least I'm not a stripper so I don't make a living on being completely flawless when naked.
I also started a silicone gel today. Dr. C has prescribed Kitoscell. I don't know how I'm going to use the stuff three times a day but if I want to improve my scars, I better find the time.
I sent the doc a few pics of some areas but I want his professional counsel on. I'll post once I hear back. so I can give you guys a full overview of what's going on. I do feel it's important to share when things are less than perfect but having context with the pic is more productive.
Post Op pics - 2+weeks
Started scar treatment this past Thursday. Kitoscell is what Dr. C has prescribed. Continuing to wear the compression garment round-the-clock as well. I still have a few spots that need to scab over before I can apply treatment but Dr. C is happy with where things are today. Also, at the hips, there is some bunching that he says will resolve over time.
3 weeks post op pic
Feeling better in some ways, not as completely wiped out at the end of the day but continuing to eat as well as possible, take meds and supplements. Continuing scar treatmebt and considering starting massage therapy next week. Have a few slow healing areas that I'm working on with Dr. C. He continues to be attentive and responsive to all my concerns sad questions. Never known a doctor to be so invested - feels great knowing I'm not alone in this stage. Here's a pic of one of my sassy dresses that I had stopped wearing because my cleavage and gut were out of control.
Post Op update 4 weeks
Today marks four weeks since my surgery. I've had to make so many adjustments physically and mentally but I don't regret my decision at all. I've made quite a few connections and I believe life long friends out of this process. It's great to have others to share this journey with. I will head back to Tijuana to see Dr. C next week.
Still working on a few slow healing spots. I have 3 to 4 lingering stitches that are irritating me since I started star treatment. It's getting easier to sneeze. Coughing is still very painful. And I have strange twinges and pains all day. Persistent burning on my skies but I equated to having a body sizes paper cuts. Sleeping is still uncomfortable, propped up by a lot of pillows on my side and that seems to help. Try to stay on my back as much as possible. Continuing to take anti-inflammatories as needed. As well as my anti-bruising medication and wearing my compression garment still 24/7. I made the mistake of wearing my bathing suit on Saturday (didn't get in the water) and paid for it dearly I was very puffy at the end of the day. Emotionally I'm doing well. Still tired at the end of the workday and school has just started so adding more complexity to the routine hasn't helped but I still managing everything pretty good. I'm feeling more like myself every day. Had a strange thing happened to my foot from wearing flats over the past month and trying not to wearing heels since the surgery. I strained a ligament in my right foot and developed some sort of tendinitis so I've been wearing sneakers to the office. Very weird look. But having fun trying on clothes that I haven't been able to get into for the past nine months due to my extra bulk. Very excited about that. Can't wait to go bra shopping and swimsuit shopping soon. Little frustrated and almost paranoid that a breast reduction was not done because my breasts have stayed pretty close to the size I had before which was a 34G. But these versions look a whole lot better! Been reading a lot about how long swelling last and guessing that's my problem. Trying to avoid salt and increasing my water. wondering how I'm going to make it a year to see final results. As far scar treatmet using the Kitoscell and invested in some silicone sheets as well. I've been wearing them pretty much 24 seven after I do the gel two to three times a day. I ain't playing with these scars! I can definitely tell getting flatter. Will Update when I come back from Tijuana.
Post Op 6 weeks - belly button pics
Having a pretty emotional week… Not sure if it's from consistent lack of quality sleep or something else. My fuse is just short. I'm not lashing out but I'm annoyed with many many people right now. And that's not typically me. Annoyed with generally a small a bunch of people but not everything and everybody. Lol. Still sleeping with pillows propping up my left and right sides so when I sleep my tummy tuck scar is not directly on the mattress. Same thing with my breasts. Been dying to go see my chiropractor but I didn't tell him I had surgery and I know I can't see him for a few weeks so I'll fill him in once I get clearance from Dr. C because my back is bothering me. My right foot is still bothering me which is annoying because I feel like I look like shit going to work every day. Because of the sneakers. It's a business casual office environment but still I'm not able to really wear regulars dress slacks without being uncomfortable with zippers, buttons and firm fabric. I'm really anxious to get clearance so that I can start running so that I can at least have a place to channel all my stress. Aside from my recovery … Boss is stressing me and also have some issues dealing with our home on the East Coast. Know it will all work out eventually, just ready for reprieve. On the upside I'm done with most of my scabs and just have four stitches that need to be removed or snipped which I will have done on Monday. Happy with how my scars are progressing… Just wish they wouldn't ache so much so I can rest at night. Will post additional photos in a few weeks. Happy long weekend everyone.
Post op - 1 month+ (Friday Rage)
I swear it has to be some kind of something happening. Having a breakdown while getting dressed this morning. And yes when I was at my heaviest I would get upset about being able to get dressed but I'm infuriated at this moment. I've been up two hours earlier than normal to try to get things situated only to still be now 20 minutes behind because I can't find anything to put on my soul and body. It's 91° I have wanted tube sock body suit, I guess I ate too much sodium last night because now I'm swollen and nothing looks right. Because of my foot, I'm still trying to wear appropriate shoes for the pain and tennis shoes in an office just doesn't work especially when none of my dress slacks will fit. So I'm relegated to oversize stretchy things that look way too casual and kind of sloppy. Then I look over my husband and he's fiddling with a belt... there he goes as he's always gone for 13 years always super polished he can wear clothes from 10 years ago and he can never get out the door on time. Hence the rage.
Everyone fed -everyone's lunch packed (not mine) everyone's homework signed and here I am again last on my own list and I got up so early to get my shit together. My oldest must think his mom is a short fused lunatic.
I'm tired of making excuses about why I look so slack. it affects my whole mood and my confidence when I have to deal with all the politics within the office. I am so angry and ready to move past whatever stage this is. I need something to put on my body!
Postop – 4+ (tantrum over)
I am so grateful to have a place to be able to share my feelings and not be laughed at. I am so grateful for the support I have around me. I'm so grateful that my surgery was so talented that he was able to help me get to the place I want to be. I am healing I am in progress I will not always look this way. I am grateful because I have clothes to wear. I'm grateful because if I choose I can buy bigger clothes to help me through this time. I am grateful for the opportunity to choose. Getting dressed is not my issue. The way I feel about my body is my issue. I half to love this body because it is mine. I love this body. Because it is mine. I am healthy I am disease-free and I am mighty in the mind. Amen.
Post Op - 6 weeks
Put in some work on Labor Day... Hustled back to Tijuana for my one month postop visit. I'm technically am at six weeks but things are healing well. The trip from LA to the border was pretty easy. I left about 7 AM and made good time to the parking station. Parked my car and walked across the border… "Walk" is a very loose term. It was maybe close to half a mile in total distance which for me was the most walking I had done in a minute. I was glad I wore sneakers. My husband had also thought that he and the kids should accompany me since I wasn't going in the shuttle but I'm so glad I said no because walking with them with no stroller would've just been a lot of "I'm tired" and "it's hot". Once across the border I took a cab to the hospital which was fairly inexpensive and quick. I stopped by to see the Angeles help Cordinator that helped me very and then headed up to Dr. C's office. Yolanda was manning the front desk I was so happy to see her. She had a fabulous new hair color! Was also elated to see Dr. C and I felt like we had not lost any contact at all over these past six weeks since he always gives a pretty much immediate response to any questions and I had been sending pictures weekly. He removed the stitches that were bothering me. And I received a steroid shot and an area that was still pretty sore. He walked me through what to expect for my healing trajectory and what my final scars could look like. We also chatted about Dr. Aragon who is now close to six months pregnant. I was sad to not get to see her and thank her for her work. But hopefully I will see her when I go back for my six-month visit in February. I received clearance to begin walking and try Pilates which I am overdue for regular exercise. Looking forward to the next chapter and feeling blessed that everything continues to go smoothly.
Post Op - 8 weeks
17 Sep 2014
2 months post
As I'm approaching the two month mark I wanted to share a quick update. I've been working out consistently for about 2 1/2 weeks, mainly cardio which includes a Piloxing class, walk/running 20 to 30 minutes two times a week and I added a pole dancing class for fun. I've been wearing supportive shoes so my feet are not bothering me which is great and I am consistently wearing support garments when I work out and pretty much most of the week at work. Today's the only day I felt a little uncomfortable. I took a few ibuprofen and try to ice down my abdomen area. The best thing I've done for myself is when I don't feel up to working out, I don't. I sleep when I need to. I still haven't gotten on the scale and I tried measuring myself I was still a little disappointed because of all the swelling so for now I will stop. Plan on assessing progress by the fit of my clothes and I have my wish bathing suit (see attached pictures). I plan to try it on and take pictures every month to see if I'm moving in the right direction.
Still not sure about the final size of my breasts...Not sure if they will get much smaller. I am def more balanced but I'm not smaller than my preop size- 34F/G. I can still fit a lot of my bras from before. My breasts mainly look better. I was hoping to at least go down to a double D. I will in a few weeks go get officially measured. Definitely not thinking about a revision but hoping if I can lose a little more weight, I will lose a little more chest. But I have to say I am obsessed with my new improved breasts. I constantly massage my body with coconut oil and I'm doing my scar treatment two to three times a day still as and wearing silicone strips. My scars ate looking great. Emotionally things have definitely settled down. I think the exercise has helped. Feeling good and keeping on keeping on.
Post Op - 12 weeks
14 Oct 2014
3 months post
So it's been 12 weeks and I can hardly believe how much time is past. July 22nd is quickly becoming a distant memory. I feel really blessed to have had very little complications with my healing. I'm still working hard to treat my scars. I have about three more weeks to go before my scars move into their mature phase. I've run out of my Kitoscell so I am now using Bio-oil and continuing to use the silicone gel strips as much as possible. My navel still has 3 hypertrophic scars around it - hoping it will improve. I also have a big view tough spot still around my pubic line and hip bone that I massage a couple times a day and hoping they will soften over time. I'm still pretty tired by the weekend and still nap whenever I need to. I have been walk/running 3 to 4 times a week at least 20 minutes during the weekday and classes a few hours on the weekend. Which is why am so freaking exhausted. Sad part is I need to be more diligent about my eating because right now I feel like I'm just treading water. As I mentioned in my last update I do have some small love handles developing which is new for me. Because I used to carry my weight in my abdomen. But I don't feel defeated just more frustrated. I got to pull it together. Manage my stress and not resort to stress eating. Nighttime is when all the itching and scar aching begins. I'm still not able to sleep on my stomach but I am not relying on pillows on my sides anymore. That's about it for now. Wishing everyone a happy healing. Will update again in a few more weeks.
Post Op update - 5 month pics
Just a few pics to show progress. Will do a full review at six months.
Post Op update - 5 month pics
Try this again -Real Self is tripping
Post Op pics - 6 months!
First day of the new year and I'm so happy with the new and improved version of my body. I still have a ways to go to get to where I want to be but there's been a lot of progress made. 2014 was such a monumental year for me in terms of physical and emotional growth. I am truly humbled and grateful to my Creator for the blessing of a fully functioning body, free of disease.
That said, my routine is pretty much back to normal. I can do housework and work out without discomfort. I still experience swelling whenever I can to consume too much sodium. I'm still a little gun shy to look things over 15 pounds. I usually stop and ask for help. I don't have full feeling of my abdomen yet. And I still pretty much have ghost inches on the left and right sides which are annoying. My side breast scars still ache, mostly at night. Although my scars are into the mature phase, I am still rubbing coconut oil over them pretty frequently and using my scar sheets and gel at night. I'm glad I use them because my scars are flattening on my hips. I'm not in the best of shape cardio wise and have pretty much been starting over every few weeks due to busyness and minor injuries. But I'm excited because I just bought an elliptical. Hopefully that will take the pressure off my joints and I can get moving again. And I plan to go full force nutrition wise now that the holidays are behind us.
Thank you to all who supported me getting to this place. Thank you for those who continue to travel this road alongside me. Wishing you all the most fabulous 2015!