Post Op Review, the Good, the Bad & the Ugly! - Toledo, OH

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I am 47, mother of 3 (24, 21, 17), 5’5 and...

I am 47, mother of 3 (24, 21, 17), 5’5 and currently 165lbs. My main purpose for writing this and posing my pics is for anyone who is in the recovery period and feel like they are the only one who hasn’t hit the flat side or they aren’t looking as good as everyone else.

After the birth of my daughter, I lost all my baby weight and was 120lbs but had the “flap.” Next came 2 more babies and each time I gained more and more weight. Fast forward to 3 years ago, I was 225lbs and I knew I needed to do something. I started exercising, hired a personal trainer and took an ongoing weight loss bible study at church. Slowly but surely I lost 60 lbs, yes it took 3 years, but I never tried the fad diets because I knew I would gain it back. I knew I had to change my lifestyle and that would take some time. I have wanted a tt for 20 years but decided at the beginning of my weight lost journey that 50lbs was when I would get it. June 2012, I hit my 50lb loss.

Jan 4, 2013 was my day, full tt with bl. I had a breast reduction when I was 18 and the girls needed an adjustment. I didn’t know about this site until a week after my surgery, so I didn’t even think to take before pics not to mention I didn’t know I’d want them to compare. Nothing bad has happened, no seroma’s, no infection, I’m very thankful for that, but recovery has been very frustrating. I had no idea how bad the swelling would get and how tired I would be. I think my PS did a great job; it’s just my body that is not co-operating! In all honesty, I think my expectations are just a little too high, after all I’m supposed to be superwoman!

My PS says I have visceral fat in my upper belly that exercise should take care of. I wish lipo could have taken care of that, but it took me many years to gain it, I can’t expect it to all go away overnight. I’m addicted to going to the gym now so I have confidence I can get that taken care of.

I haven’t wanted to post pics because I don’t feel my belly looks as good as everyone else’s, but I decided it’s important to put them out there because everyone won’t have the perfect body and we all recover at different rates. If putting my pics out there can help even one woman not feel so bad about herself then it is worth it.

I am so happy I got this done even if I don’t have a completely flat tummy. When I look at my before pics (that my PS took) and look at myself now, there really is a major improvement. I started back to the gym at 8 weeks which created more swelling but it has helped my emotional well-being and I know in the long run it can only help. The swelling seems to go in cycles, just when you think maybe the worst is over, it comes back. I made a conscious choice to quit fretting about the swell hell days, they used to really take a toll on me and I had to stop. Now I just keep reminding myself that it is all part of the process. This too shall pass.

I’m starting with my heaviest weight pic and putting the good, the bad, and the ugly! Between 8 & 9 weeks I swelled up and was distended; saw the PS and he said it is all part of healing. I also took some “suck in” and “normal” pics. I may not have a flat stomach but I look a hundred times better and better yet, I FEEL a thousand times better. So without further adieu, I am posting my pics (as I am cringing and my heart rate is going up!)

3 month update - I still have daily swelling, but...

3 month update - I still have daily swelling, but at least now it mostly goes away by the next morning. I swear by the detox baths though. Yesterday I was a hot swollen mess, took a bath and within an hour felt so much better, didn't have all that pressure in my stomach. This morning I woke up feeling great with minimal swelling.
Around week 11 is when I started feeling "normal." My energy was back to normal and I felt good.
I still have around 15ish lbs to lose, I need to get rid of that upper belly fat. Can't wait to be able to do crunches, but it will come in time. Until then there are plenty of exercises I can do and I will be patient!
I am still so amazed at how what seemed like 20lbs of blubber on my belly was only a couple of lbs but what a difference it makes in body shape once it is gone.

15 weeks po. I haven't added pics as there isn't...

15 weeks po. I haven't added pics as there isn't really anything new to show. Swelling is slowly getting better and my insides still feel like they are "fusing" together, it's a nice tight feeling though. I had shoulder surgery last week for a bone spur/impingement and the pain meds have me distended again. One thing I did learn is that with a flatter belly you can become distended very quickly and it is very uncomfortable. This encourages me to consistently eat clean, not to mention a daily dose of stool softners and a fiber 1 bar! I spoke to my PS about my dog ear and at my next appt (Sept) I will get that removed, it sounds like an easy enough fix. I am really anxious for my shoulder to heal because I can't wait to get back to my normal strength training. I want to get rid of this visceral fat I am plagued with on my upper belly. The tt is still one of the best things I have done, I have a renewed excitement for exercise and I feel fantastic!

My PS said most of the scar products don't work,...

My PS said most of the scar products don't work, but if I did want to use something, I should purchase "Scar Recovery Gel" with Centelline by Skin Medica. It is $100.00 for a 2 oz bottle but he said there is some science proving it does help. I bought my first tube and used it on my tt scar but wanted to see if it really worked, so I only used it on the cleavage part of my boobs as I don't really care what the rest of those scars look like. If you look at my pictures you can see where I stopped. Needless to say, I went out yesterday and bought a new tube and will be using it on my whole scar!

16 weeks po! Wow time flies! Ok, so maybe not...

16 weeks po! Wow time flies! Ok, so maybe not the first 2-3 months, but this past month went fast. Everything is is same (literally) No matter what I do, my weight stays the same. I ate clean for 2 weeks and exercised....nothing, not 1 lb. The past two weeks I've not been eating to well and not exercising (due to having surgery on my shoulder) and I bounce up and down the same 2 lbs. It seems I'm not the only one though. Many women who are in the same time frame as me keep saying the same thing. This whole tt journey just seems to be a waiting game, now I'm waiting for 6 months to see if it gets better. Having a tt sure is a test in patience. That being said, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

19 week update..the numb area around my bb is...

19 week update..the numb area around my bb is getting smaller on one side. I feel good but still don't have the stamina at the gym like I had before the tt. I swell daily and have started putting my stage 1 binder on at night on the days I work or go to the gym. I wake up each day with no swelling....not sure if it's me or the binder doing the trick. For a while no matter what I did, I couldn't lose weight, that has changed weight is now reflecting what I do and eat. I'm having a hard time staying motivated at the gym because re-occuring health issues all seem to be flaring up now. Heel spur, lumbar sprain, neck pain, not to mention my shoulder is still not back to normal. I'm so tired of just doing legs and going lightly on arms. My body is fighting me right now. Gotta work through it though, I am woman!


I never thought I would be comfortable working out in the yard wearing a bikini is good!

BB piercing

I always said I would get a bb piercing if my tummy was flat. Today I woke up and said this is the day! It's just for me though, I still can't imagine wearing a bikini and I don't think belly shirts will be coming back in style anytime soon (thank goodness!) I just like the way it appeals to my funky side!

BB piercing part 2

I forgot to mention, if you are thinking of getting one, (obviously ask your PS first) do it while you are still numb, it only felt like a pinch. I was going to wait until I hit my goal weight, but decided to take advantage of being numb.

5 month update

Wow, 5 months already! Pretty much the same, wake up feeling/looking thin then swell during the day. I am wearing my binder every night, still drinking 1 Sobe Yumberry every day, detox bath when needed and started dry brushing, anything to help with swelling. I don't know if any of it is helping or it's just the natural healing, but I'm not willing to give any of it up yet. I did do a double compression during the day once because of an evening event I had to look good for. I wore a spanx cami and a waist cincher. I was really uncomfortable during the day but it worked, my tummy looked great!
I am still wearing a cami everyday (I tuck the bottom into my panties) as I just don't like the feeling of jeans/shorts near my incision, it doesn't hurt, I just don't like it. Another odd thing, I am in peri-menopause and was having hot flashes before surgery. I haven't had any since my tt until last week. Not complaining, it has been nice!
Still haven't been exercising much, healing from shoulder surgery was going along ok until last week, I can barely use my right arm work and not exercising :( Got a cortisone shot yesterday, hopefully that will help inflammation, I just want to exercise like I used to.
Other than those things, I'm loving my new body!

Still in swell hell each night

Even this far out post op, swelling occurs every day. Luckily every morning I wake up feeling/looking thin. These pics are after/before pics to show just how much it continues. Very frustrated with swelling, but still absolutely no regrets on the tt.

6 month anniversary!

I can't believe it's been 6 months. A fellow tt'er reminded me! I don't wake up every morning and look at my belly "just to make sure it's real!" I don't obsess over the real self site anymore and I don't constantly think about my tt. My swelling took a turn for the better a couple weeks ago. I still swell when I exercise, but not so much on any other day. I have only lost 5 lbs since my pre surgery weight but I feel great! My daughter walked in on me changing clothes and said "look at you mom, you're so thin!" I never thought I would ever hear someone call me thin, what a great compliment from the daughter who didn't want me to get a tt! I think the pics I'm posting look much better than even a month ago and I can't wait to see how I will look on my 1 yr tt anniversary!

(almost) 7 months

I just went to my 30 year hs reunion and I felt so confident. That was the first time I ever felt that way around these people. In high school I was thin but you know how it is being a teenager, you never feel good enough, not to mention how shy I was. I've gone to other reunions and was always insecure, but not this one! I think I've finally put all those crappy high school feelings and insecurities to rest! Hubby wanted to take me to it in style, so he brought home my "pumpkin carriage" for the night (Orange is my fav color) so I am using this pic as my 7 month update.

8 month check-up

Saw the ps today and he marked up where I will have the dog ear removed to give me an idea what to expect. He will take about 4 inches of skin off and a little bit of fat (with a local) and send me on my merry way.  So happy to finally be getting the finishing touches!

1 year po and dog ear removal

So glad I finally made it to my 1 year anniversary, there were times I thought the healing would never end (swell hell!) I don't swell anymore but I do bloat up pretty easily. High salt foods, junk food, not having a bm everyday, etc.
Around 8 months I started doing sit-ups, it was hard but in a short amount of time I was able to do them without a problem.
I haven't lost any weight this past year, only slight fluctuations up and down. I'm good about going to the gym and pushing myself, but I'm only fair at eating right. I keep telling myself you can't out exercise a bad diet.....I KNOW this, I just have a hard time doing it.
I quit smoking Jan 1st and have gained 5 lbs so it's really time for me to buckle down and get it all under control. As it was I wanted to lose 20ish lbs post tt, now it's 25lbs!
I got my dog ear removed yesterday. It was done under a local at my dr's office. Getting numbed was the most those shots hurt. The procedure itself was a piece of cake.....I knew he was doing things but couldn't feel it. At one point I smelled something burning and he said he was just burning away some fat, I said it smelled like dinner gone bad! I was at the office for about an hour, but the removal probably only took 10-15 minutes.
I thought the nurse said in about an hour the numbness would wear off and to take Tylenol, but I didn't feel anything for another 8 hrs. I thought I was going to get away with a painless recovery.....but no....I started feeling it around 11pm last night. It was uncomfortable but not really painful so I didn't take anything. I was really restless last night as I couldn't lay on my left side. Around 2am I woke up and it hurt so I got up and took Tylenol. Today I can just tell something was done...again just a bit uncomfortable. I'm not supposed to take the dressing off until I go back to get the stitch out (12 days) Can't wait to see how it looks.
When I get the stitch out I'll post pics.

Healing dog ear & TT journey complete!

12 days po dog ear removal. Went to the dr's office and the nurse took off the gauze and pulled out the stitches. Quick and painless.
The PS did a wonderful job but now I'm not happy with my flanks. I didn't get lipo as my ps won't do it with a tt, and I really didn't think it would matter. I guess I just didn't notice them before since they were overshadowed by my ginormous gut!
At this point I'm not planning on getting anything else done, I'm going to try to exercise it down. I do have a muffin top and yup..... I'm posting a pic. I almost didn't but then remembered what I said in my first post -
"My main purpose for writing this and posting my pics is for anyone who is in the recovery period and feel like they are the only one who hasn’t hit the flat side or they aren’t looking as good as everyone else."
I still don't feel like I look as good as many of the women on here, however, I still feel beautiful because I know that my worth isn't in a flat belly and I know I look a million times better than before.
Toledo Plastic Surgeon

Both my family physician and my gyno recommended Dr. Colville. He is very professional and took all the time I needed to explain everything to me. The only reason I gave him 4 stars is because he is not a "warm & fuzzy" kind of dr. but he definately knows his stuff. His knowledge and professionalism would rate him a 5 though. My only complaint is I didn't get a "how are you doing" phone call the next day. Granted, my tt was on a Friday and I had an appt on the following Monday, but I am used to the next day phone calls for anything major. Other than that, I highly recommend him.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 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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