MaumeeMG - 12 Weeks Post-Op - Updated Review & Pics

Toledo Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
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I'm 40 years old, 5' 7" and 150 lbs....

I'm 40 years old, 5' 7" and 150 lbs. I have 4 children ages 3, 5, 15 and 21. On January, 9, 2012 I will have a TT with lipo to flanks and muscle repair, ventral and umbilical hernia repairs, along with breast lift with slight reduction to left breast.

I had my first child at 19 and gained only 22 lbs. I easily returned to my pre-baby shape and wore a bikini the following summer. That was the last one I wore. I gained 60 lbs with my second child at age 25. I lost most of the weight but my pants and bathing suit would forever be hiked up to my belly button because anything below was u.g.l.y.

I had my older two kids at age 35 and 37. The complete compilation of the soft tissue in my body changed with these last two pregnancies. I was no longer a confident, sexy person (in my eyes). My husband often tells me it's "in my head" and that I am beautiful - and it means a lot to me - but I'm uncomfortable to be naked in front of him because of my abdominal area. I want my body back.

My plastic surgeon will not perform the hernia repairs - a general surgeon will be in the operating room and will repair them after the PS makes the cut. The PS will then finish up. I'm nervous about the recovery with both the tt and the hernia repairs. I'm nervous the hernias will recur (I am an occasionally avid exerciser :).

I am prepared for the overall recovery. I have a high tolerance for pain (I say so now - I'll let you :). And I'm prepared for the TT scar. But I'm nervous about the belly button scar, especially with the hernia repair because the blood supply needs to be cut from the umbilicus with the repair. I have high hopes of wearing a bikini next summer and if my belly button is snarky that will be a bummer. But I have to stay realistic! How does everyone feel about their new belly button?? Anyone out there that had an umbilical hernia repair at the same time?

I brought up plastic surgery before I got pregnant with my third child. My husband is supportive but apprehensive since I've never had major surgery. I've been researching and we've been saving for it for 5 years. I'll take the next two months to figure out how to prepare for the surgery (supplies, care) so any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

I'm excited!!! And nervous!!! I'll post 'before' pics at some point before surgery.

Before my last two pregnancies I at least had a "4...

Before my last two pregnancies I at least had a "4 pack" (the other 2 pk was hidden under the pooch below my belly button). After my last two pregnancies my abdominal area had pooches above and below. I love to exercise and I have strong abs underneath - but sadly you can't see them.

I have been a runner since 1998 but I don't run every day. I'll get into it for a bit and then slack off. Sign up for a race for motivation, run it, then take a few months off. After the birth of our last child I became a personal trainer (2008). I had decided "this is it" I am losing the rest of the weight and getting into the best shape. I came to realized that no matter how hard I worked out, I would never have my body back. My stomach would never be back to what it was even after my first two pregnancies.

I had been talking about plastic surgery for years but this is when I started to seriously research these procedures.

I am very happy with my decision to undergo surgery. I haven't told many family members about it yet - I'm not sure they would "approve." Some would even say I don't "need" it, but they haven't seen me naked and clothes hide a lot!!!

I have my pre-op appointment today with the ps. I...

I have my pre-op appointment today with the ps. I have a long list of questions and hope I get them all answered so I can feel I am READY.

This ps came highly recommended and I feel confident about my decision to go with him. However, after reading the intensive ps searches of some women on here I am a little embarrassed to say that I have not seen pictures of my ps's work. I figured that ps's will only show you their "best" anyway so what is the point? I didn't even ask to see anything during my consultation.

So I called ps and talked to his nurse. She said she has never been asked by a patient to see pictures so she doesn't have them, the doc does. That seemed bizarre to me that no one has asked to see any! So I'll talk to the ps at the pre-op today about how I feel I haven't done my due diligence until I see a picture - hopefully he has something to show me!

Pre-op appointment went well! PS looked me over...

Pre-op appointment went well! PS looked me over again and we reviewed everything to be done. He is a little worried about the (small) possibility of me losing my belly button due to the combination of hernia repair and TT. I'm praying that doesn't happen!

I saw lots of pictures and feel like I've done my "due diligence" now. He answered all my questions and I feel ready. Of course I've thought of another couple of questions since I left so I'll have to email his nurse. :)

I added lipo to inner/outer thigh and requested that during the lipo to flanks he gets the love handle/hip area. A true mommy makeover!

I paid today - it's so real now!

I have my admittance review/bloodwork scheduled for Dec. 29th.

I'll take and upload my "before" pics soon.

I had my pre-admission appointment yesterday. The...

I had my pre-admission appointment yesterday. The admitting nurse was fascinated by all I was having done. They took some bloodwork (mainly to check for anemia) and my vitals. I had a very slight fever (which is odd...I feel fine). Maybe it's because I've just started my TOM? (hopefully I'll be done before Monday!) At any rate, I took my temp again last night and it was normal. They took a full medical history and gave me night before/morning of surgery instructions, including no eating past midnight, washing with a special soap they gave me, and which vitamins and meds to avoid (all vitamins, ibuprofen, and aspirin). I should get my bookwork results by tomorrow and then I'll breathe a sigh of relief that this surgery is actually "real" and going to happen.

5 days to go!

Blood work came back normal and I picked up my...

Blood work came back normal and I picked up my scrips from my ps today: Keflex, Reglan, Axid, and the Transderm patch. Getting them filled today and need to start the Keflex day before surgery and take the patch to the hospital the morning of surgery.

4 more days!

Well - tomorrow is the big day! Today I'm...

Well - tomorrow is the big day! Today I'm finishing laundry, cleaning the house and making lists of things for my hubbs to go shopping. I'm trying hard not to think too much about the unknown. I read on the Jan. tt forum that someone wrote a letter to her family in the event something happened but the thought of doing that makes me start crying.

I'm nervous and scared, but excited to finally be doing this.

I started the antibiotic (ps instructed to start one day before surgery).

I need to shower tonight with hibiclens as well as tomorrow morning, and I need to be at the hospital by 5:30AM for a 7AM surgery.

My mom is staying with us tonight to care for the kids tomorrow while we are at the hospital. Still not sure if I'm staying the night...guess I will find out tomorrow after surgery. I'm packing my bag just in case.

Off to clean the house!

I've packed my bag in case I stay the night at the...

I've packed my bag in case I stay the night at the hospital tomorrow. I have a few pills to take in the am, but other than that no water or food after midnight.

Getting up at 4:30 am tomorrow morn (need to leave by 5am) - would need some coffee but I'm sure adrenaline will kick in. :)

Added before pictures. Yikes!

It's 5am and we are on our way to the hospital. Am...

It's 5am and we are on our way to the hospital. Am I really doing this?? It STILL doesn't seem real. I took my last shower in a longtime this morning and before I got in I said to my husband,"take one last look!" Hard to believe the next time I post it will be over. See everyone on the flip side! :-)

I made it! What a whirlwind yesterday was. We got...

I made it! What a whirlwind yesterday was. We got to the hospital at 5AM where they started an IV and I changed to a gown. My PS came in to mark me (I've added those pictures) and then I was whisked off to surgery. They did a standing prep where I basically stood in the OR naked while a couple surg nurses washed me down with iodine. They helped me on to the table and the next thing I remember is waking up (in pain!!) in recovery. It was much more uncomfortable/painful than I thought it would be. I have a high tolerance for pain and I didn't expect to have much (due to the painkillers) but I sure did. They gave a couple doses in the recovery room before I left.

During the surgery, the gs found 3 hernias: 2 ventral and the umbilical. Didn't need (or have room for) mesh, so they just sewed them up tight. My ps said things couldn't have gone any better and that everything looked good. He came to visit me in recovery and took a quick peek at my belly button. It's cute and round! I've always had an outie. I ate a couple saltines and lots of water in recovery because I got a bit lightheaded trying to sit up.

My ps said the hernias were small enough that it didn't require an overnight stay so when I could stand without feeling sick they wheeled me to the car.

Getting in and out of the car was a challenge! You really don't realize how much you use your ab muscles until you are trying NOT to use them. I felt every twinge.
My pain level yesterday and last night was pretty moderate. But I've gotten ahead of it today and now it is discomfort more than anything. I'm pretty hunched over when I walk (I'm afraid to try to stand up straight too soon).

The ps placed one drain. My hubbs has been charting the output and pain meds - he has just been so awesome.

I'm pretty bruised up - you can see the hash marks on me in the marking pictures I added - that is all the places ps was performing lipo. My mid section is pretty numb still. It's a weird feeling.

I slept fairly well last night - got a about 6 hours on and off. I took a nap today around lunchtime. Getting up to walk to the bathroom wears me out! I'm sleeping on the couch on a bunch of pillows and blankets. It's not too bad.

I ate a bit of soup and a couple crackers so I could take the pain meds this afternoon. I'm not too hungry and my belly feels tight after I've eaten just a little. No BM yet - but I took a stool softener today so hopefully that will happen in the next day or so.

I wanted to take a quick peek while adjusting my binder today so I had hubbs snap a couple of pics. I'll take more when I'm upright.

Sneak peek of results. :)

Sneak peek of results. :)

Feeling better this afternoon but my muscle repair...

Feeling better this afternoon but my muscle repair is REALLY tight and sore. I attempted to get off the couch by myself - OUCH. Burning on the muscles, burning on the incision - it was terrible. Then later I had to cough - OUCH. I'm basically trying to breathe shallowly and that is it.

Hubbs made grilled chicken salad for dinner and I was amazed at how little I could eat before I was full. I have to change my paradigm on how I "see" a serving's much smaller now than it was before.

Before taking meds I've been eating or drinking a little something. We bought V-8 juice, muscle milk (20g protein), and vitamin water, some low sodium soups and crackers. A sweetie from the west coast sent me an edible fruit bouquet which was delicious and the perfect post-op snackage.

I hear that the 3rd day PO is the worst so I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for tomorrow.

Didn't sleep that well last night. I wasn't in...

Didn't sleep that well last night. I wasn't in pain but I couldn't get comfortable. I'm a side sleeper and I struggle falling and staying asleep on my back. It hasn't gotten any easier getting on and off the couch, but hubbs and I keep trying new ways to see if we can do it without me using my abs.

My medicine regimen is 2 percocet every 4 hours (pain pills), 1 keflex 3 times a day (antibiotic), 1 or 2 stool softeners, 1 500 mg bromelain twice a day (supposed to help reduce swelling). I have an anti nausea pill to take, as needed. I'm also taking a Claritin 24 hr (antihistamine) for my seasonal allergies. I also ordered arnica montana which is supposed to help reduce bruising - it should arrive tomorrow or Friday.

I have ferocious itching under my binder, mostly at the lipo sites. It's a strange sensation because I'm still numb in all those areas so it's the tingling sensation like when your hand falls asleep.

Still no BM today. The stool softeners have produces some stomach gurgles but nothing more than that. I think I might have to take some milk of magnesia. From what I've read of others' experiences, a BM would dramatically improve comfort.

Last night and today I've had a slight fever. It started as low as 99.0, got to 101.8, and now it is back down to 98.8. My discharge instructions stated a low grade fever is normal, but it still worried us! I'm glad it is back down.

I've got a headache I can't shake - I would have thought the percocet would help. I can't take Tylenol because percocet already has acetaminophen in it and I can't take Advil (ibuprofen) because it is a blood thinner so I have a cold cloth on my forehead and I'm taking it easy. I've had a small cup of coffee so that I'm not adding caffeine withdrawal to my list of maladies. :-)

The fam had pizza for dinner last night - it...

The fam had pizza for dinner last night - it smelled so terrific but I only allowed myself the smallest of slivers because I have to stay away from salty foods due to the potential for swelling. LOW SODIUM is my new mantra. I had cheerios with berries and banana this morning before my meds and even a small bowl made me feel like I had eaten a ton of food.

When I get up to walk to the bathroom I need help off the couch (where I'm recovering) because it hurts my ab muscles so much if they are used. Every time I accidentally use them I'm afraid I'm going to blow out the hernia repairs I had done! When I'm walking I've very hunched over still. My ps wants me to walk hunched for a long while - at least until my post-op appointment on Tuesday, January 17th. This is so the incision does not open up.

I'm dying for a really good look at the TT incision, my belly button, and the BL but I'm afraid of exposing everything to germs by taking off the compression garments so I'll just wait until my post-op appointment on Tuesday.

Took another peek today while trying to alleviate...

Took another peek today while trying to alleviate some under-binder itching. Pics added.

I took some MOM (milk of magnesia) this morning...

I took some MOM (milk of magnesia) this morning and I'm having some tummy rumbling this afternoon, with some significant gas. I took the advice of MM98031 and removed my binder so that I could be more comfortable and it did help but still no BM.

I sat up and moved around the living room a bit more today than I did yesterday. My afternoon drain output was 60cc. The most I had before then was 37cc (in 8 hrs). So I'm not sure if the larger output means I moved around too much? I'm not even walking every hour. Just every couple hours when I have to go to the bathroom. But I was sitting up for an hour or two today while I was just laying down all day yesterday.

Ugh. Very bloated and gassy. I took a stool...

Ugh. Very bloated and gassy. I took a stool softener, some MOM and had an Activia. I'm afraid to take anything else but need some relief soon! I had a small salad and some fruit for dinner.

My hubbs has been a real superhero. He's usually...

My hubbs has been a real superhero. He's usually pretty squeamish but he's emptied my drain, tightened my binder (over the bloodied gauze), and taken pictures of my bruising, all of this on top of totally caring for our little ones (5 and 3) with dinner and school. He's even sleeping on the main floor (literally on the floor, in a sleeping bag) so he can set his alarm to make sure I stay on top of my pain meds. He's made this so much easier for me!

PO Day 3: When the PS sent me home from the...

PO Day 3: When the PS sent me home from the hospital after surgery, he told me to "do the least amount you can do and don't touch any of the incisions until I see you at post-op." Unfortunately every time I pull my pants down to go to the bathroom it disturbs the dressings so they are all a mess, with tape falling off and gauze all over the place. He also suggested to put a tshirt between my skin and the binder to help with irritation. I did but I still ITCH like mad.

I slept better last night. I had a 4 hour period where I didn't wake at all but then woke up to the alarm to take more meds. After, I woke every hour. Today I'm going to try to take only 1 Percocet when it is med time and try to go 6 hours while sleeping. I'm just afraid of getting behind the pain and struggling to catch back up, but I have a feeling I'm past the "pain" part and it's just discomfort now.

I've been having headaches, too, and can't tell if it's from eating significantly less, or from the Percocet. I'd like to take some ibuprofen but I haven't been "cleared" for it. I'm going to call the ps office today to check.

Forgot to mention, my overnight drain output was...

Forgot to mention, my overnight drain output was 27cc (11pm - 9am).

Talked to the PS office - no ibuprofen for 7 days post op but Tylenol is OK. My next Percocet dose was due at 11AM and it is now noon. I just took two extra strength Tylenol and so far so good. I'll feel good not taking narcotics anymore - less cloudy, less sleepy and maybe I'll finally poop! :) But if I start to feel pain I'll take 1 Percocet (I was taking 2).

PS also said to leave binder ON while trying to poop because the strain could pull on some things. They don't even want me to take the binder off to peek...leave it on, over the incision if I can, as tight as I can stand it, and don't touch it. PS also said I should be walking around every 2 hours or if I'm laying a lot to do leg exercises (ankle circles, etc).

After surgery I had on a compression binder for the TT, a surgical bra for the BL but nothing on the thighs for the lipo. Since I had it done in the hospital they didn't have the leg garments there and PS suggested I put on a pair of jogging tights. I complained that I didn't think my jogging tights were giving me enough support of the thigh lipo area. So I called PS he doesn't like the thighs to be too compressed after lipo because it causes dimpling. But he has a size medium leg garment for me to wear that hubbs is going to pick up now. It will feel good to have that support!

Still no BM :( But on the bright side I've not...

Still no BM :( But on the bright side I've not taken a Percocet since 2PM. I switched to Tylenol and though I had a bit more discomfort than I did with the Percocet, I could handle it and I'm much less groggy. I took extra strength Tylenol at 6PM and I just took 2 extra strength (generic) Tylenol PM to help me sleep (it's midnight). Hopefully I'll get a good night sleep tonight and I'll have the Percocet out of my system by then.

I iced my incision line (over the binder) tonight and it felt really good. Now I've retightened my binder and there is a burning sensation that I'm hoping will go away.

PO day 4, noon: *hallelujah chorus playing in...

PO day 4, noon:
*hallelujah chorus playing in the background*
BM SUCCESS! :-) Well, that was a process! I have been taking a stool softener or two every day since Monday, and had two different doses of MOM, but I finally had success earlier this morning. Moral of the story for all you future TT'ers: don't be afraid to take stuff to help you 'go' - you'll need it! I feel so much better this morning.

I have not taken a Percocet since yesterday at 2PM. I slept pretty well after taking the Tylenol PM last night. Woke around 7:30 with a headache which was frustrating. Might have something to do with having to sleep sitting up - hard to get used to. I took 2 extra strength Tylenol this morning and had breakfast with coffee and feel much better - headache gone.

I found last night that I can get up from a laying position on my own now - still sore but easier to do. I'm trying to be so careful not to use my stomach muscles...don't want to undo any hernia repair or muscle stitching in there. Still itches in my binder and I try to slip a finger or two underneath to gently itch - it gives some relief. My upper ab area feels very weird. I can tell I'm touching it yet it's numb. Plus I *think* it feels lumpy but I'm not sure because I can't get a good look. Although the lumps could be from indentations of the shirt I have stuffed between my skin and the binder. And I can tell that I'm still pretty swollen/inflamed.
But I'm feeling more clear headed today - I might actually be able to start my school work (my semester started Monday). Happy healing everyone!! :-)

Woke up with another headache today...that was my...

Woke up with another headache today...that was my only pain. Rest of my body feels pretty good. I felt better after a couple Tylenol, breakfast and coffee.
Mom visited today and brought food. :-)
Hubbs helped me sponge bathe and change into clean clothes. Feel much better. Dying to wash my hair - just don't know if my back could handle standing/leaning over the sink for hubbs to wash it. And sitting and leaning back isn't an option because it would pull on the incision. I've asked him to look for some dry shampoo when he is shopping today. Fingers crossed I'll be able to shower Tues, if my drain is removed.
I had hubbs take a couple more pics while I changed today. Still very swollen.

Forget to mention - today is PO day 5.

Forget to mention - today is PO day 5.

PO day 7, 10am: Feeling pretty good. I've slept...

PO day 7, 10am: Feeling pretty good. I've slept well the last couple of nights. I'm still on the couch (and will be until my drain is removed and I can sleep on my side) but I removed one of the pillows from behind my head and one from under my knees, so it felt a bit more natural. Still woke with slight headaches but had coffee right away (thanks surro!) and it helped tremendously. I have not pain but I'm still sore in the lipo areas and muscle/hernia repair areas, but the incision areas don't hurt at all. Still itchy under the binder sometimes. I've been up and around more the last couple of days but can't be on my feet for too long because I'm not standing straight yet and the strain on back is bothersome.

I'm hoping I'll get the OK to straighten up after my first post-op visit with my ps tomorrow. Plus my drain output for the last 24 hours was 22cc. PS said if it's 30cc in a 24 hour period I can have it removed so I'm hoping they can pull it tomorrow! It will be awesome to shower, let me tell you! Hubbs did find the dry shampoo (called Pssssst!) but it's not the same as standing under a hot shower! Looking forward to getting a good look at my body with all my dressings off! Hopefully I can get some more pics at the post-op appt., too.

My med regime is still: only taking Tylenol for pain as needed, finishing my antibiotics (3x daily), stool softener (2x daily), bromelain (3x daily), arnica (4x daily), and claritin for allergies. I really can't say if the bromelain/arnica combo is helping with my swelling and bruising, but several women wrote about their benefits and it's not bothering me to take it so I'll continue.

I sneezed this morning for the first time since surgery. It wasn't pain-free but it didn't hurt like I thought it would, thank goodness.

Hubbs continues to be amazing - caring for me, the house and kids, while working and keeping us smiling (I think I'd be grumbling by now!). He's truly made this as easy on me as he possibly could and I'm feeling grateful and blessed.

I'll update after my PS visit tomorrow, hopefully with news that my drain is out! :-) Happy healing everyone!

Readjusted my binder so snuck a pic.:-)

Readjusted my binder so snuck a pic.:-)

Post OP day 8: Had my first post-op visit today....

Post OP day 8:
Had my first post-op visit today. Goodbye drain!! Woohoo!! I can FINALLY shower tomorrow morning. I can't tell you how excited I am about that. The drain removal didn't hurt at all but was a little uncomfortable. I couldn't believe how much tubing was in my belly - at least 18". Weird!
There was a stitch holding that in place on my leg and that was it. No other stitches will need to be removed.

PS says everything is looking great! He says I'm out of the woods as far as necrosis of the umbilicus (he worried by belly button would "die" after the hernia repair) - he says it looks great! Such a relief!! Looking forward to seeing what it looks like - hard to tell now because of the dried blood/scab. Maybe I'll have a better idea after a few showers.

I'm now allowed to take the occasional ibuprofen (they work the best for me on headaches), have my evening glass of wine (I've missed, not gonna lie), and start walk more upright as my incision allows.

He didn't give me any specific incision/belly button care instructions yet - just to wash well in the shower and apply gauze or steri-pads as needed to protect from chaffing on clothes. He recommends Maderma for after the scabs are gone. Based on research I did though, I purchased Kelo-cote, bio-oil, and Scargo scar massage lotion for after scabs are gone. :)

He wants me to wear my velcro binder for at least 3 more weeks and then I can switch to a stage 2 or spanx like garment. He favors the velcro binder because he wants it to stay nice and tight and he doesn't feel the stage 2 garments are as tight as the binder.
I ordered one from that looks like it would be comfortable - we'll see.

As soon as I'm standing up straight I can start sleeping in my bed - looking forward to that!

I took a few pics at the PS office. :-)

Happy healing everyone!!

PO day 9: The shower was HEAVEN! I must have been...

PO day 9: The shower was HEAVEN! I must have been in there for 20 minutes. ;-) Felt good to be able to get all the markings off of my body finally, and to wash my hair (twice!). I'm not quite standing completely upright so when my back got tired I had to get out...I would have stood under the water for an hour if I could!
It felt great to gently wash the incision lines and belly button, which I was able to get a better look at (pic added). It is so surreal seeing my body this way - especially because I'm still numb in areas around my midriff (PS said this could last up to 6 months). It hasn't fully sunk in!

I attempted to sleep in my bed last night - mistake. :( I couldn't keep my head as propped up as I can on the couch, so I woke at 3am with a massive headache, and it was harder to get out of bed without using my ab muscles (I could grasp the back of the couch allowing me to use my arm muscles instead of my abs). So I went back downstairs, took some Tylenol, and fell back asleep on my trusty couch. I'll try the bed again when I'm walking fully upright. Can't wait to sleep on my side!!

Getting out of the shower (and being cold) made me remember how I worried that the breast reduction/lift would make me lose sensitivity in my nipples. But, I'm happy to say that is not the case! :-)

I took a couple more pics post shower today including a close up of my belly button.

Happy healing, everyone!!

PO day 10: Woke with no headache this morning -...

PO day 10: Woke with no headache this morning - yeah! But had some diarrhea issues in the middle of the night - boo! Not sure if it's a bug or just the after effects of all the stool softeners/Smooth Moves tea that I've consumed since surgery. On the plus side, I'm down 4 lbs. since surgery. ;-)

My velcro binder has been rubbing my incision line when it rides up (especially when sitting) and it's irritating it. I have abd pads between the incision and the binder and I've also tried a soft t-shirt but it's still chafing. I'm looking forward to the scabbing phase when it won't bother it as much. This weekend I'll venture out for the first time on my own post-op to get a compression garment
from Target or Kohl's and put the binder over that - maybe that will help. I purchased a pricey stage 2 compression garmet from (this one:, and ordered according to their size chart, but it was way too small. Trying to decide if I'll exchange or just go another route.

At the risk of grossing out friends who I know are reading this blog, but in the spirit of full disclosure for all of you future tt'ers, I'm happy to report that last night was a good night in the bedroom department. ;-) I've been staring at my new boobs for days, shaking my head in disbelief (lol!). My confidence is through the roof. Hubbs was hesitant, afraid we would damage something, but gentleness and creative positioning aided in our success. Your ab muscles will tighten with the big O - not painful at all, but you can tell they are "active." Sorry if TMI but I was stunned that I would be capable and willing at only 9 days post-op. Cuh-razy! So hang in there! ;-)

Today I'm officially changing my 'undecided' to 'worth it.' I was going to wait until all of my swelling was down and I could see my "official" results. But my self-confidence is soaring and I'm thrilled with what I see so far...things can only look better as swelling improves and bruising diminishes. I'm very happy!

PO day 12: I've been sleeping wonderfully on the...

PO day 12: I've been sleeping wonderfully on the couch the last couple of nights. I'm laying a bit more flat but still propped on either side by pillows so I can't roll over (not supposed to lie on incision at all). It will *almost* be hard to sleep in my bed again, except that I can't wait to snuggle with hubbs and sleep on my side!

I'm feeling great, still numb and itchy, but overall feeling better everyday. Still restricted on what I can do. PS said I shouldn't lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. It's hard to remember when you are getting back into the swing of daily life - it's so natural to want to pick up my 3 year old and carry a basket of laundry. I did make a pot of soup, bread, and dinner last night. Wiped me OUT and I slept like a baby last night and was a bit sore in my abs/back today so I probably did too much but it felt good to get back into the kitchen again.

I feel my swelling has gone down a little and I'm liking the shape I see emerge. I'm down a couple more pounds that I assume is because my swelling is going down some. Since surgery I've been using a free app on my phone called "Lose It!" that allows me to log my food. I did it at first to make sure I was getting enough protein post-op, but now that my appetite is back with a vengeance I'm doing it to make sure I'm keeping my diet inline. Maybe that has helped with the weight loss, too? I'm not restricting myself much (this is NOT the time to slash calories, when your body is trying to heal), just trying to keep my caloric intake between 1500 - 1800. I think 1800 would allow me to maintain and 1500 (over time) would allow me to lose, so that is a good balance.

My velcro binder is irritating my incision line a bit - just making it itchy and a little red. So when I changed clothes this morning I spent some time out of my binder to give my incision some air and to apply some Gold Bond lotion to my dry skin (not my incision - PS says don't touch it yet). Felt sooo good to have the binder off. I took a couple more pics to compare to a couple days ago. I put the binder back on over a fitted performance running shirt - seems to feel better on the incision to have something between it and the binder.

I ordered a mid-thigh to just below the breast shapewear garment to day from Spanx's "Asset" line (this one: I thought I could wear it under the binder and then on its own once I no longer have to wear the binder. I intend to wear it until all of my swelling is gone (could be anywhere from 2 months to a year, I've read).

I received my fitness mag in the mail the other day and am looking forward to getting back into the exercise groove! My next post-op visit is Feb. 2nd and wonder if I'll get the clear for light cardio.

I've added some close up pics of my incisions today, plus the requisite belly and boob shots. ;-)

Happy healing everyone!

Post OP day 16: I'm in SWELL HELL. (pics added) No...

Post OP day 16: I'm in SWELL HELL. (pics added) No pain, just ready for the swelling/numbness to leave. It will be a while, I know. :-)

Post-op day 19: Still swollen but I can tell...

Post-op day 19:
Still swollen but I can tell it's going down because hubbs and I can tighten my binder almost to the end of the velcro. As annoying as it is (itchy, pita with trying to work over/under clothes) I feel "safe" in it because it holds me in tight. Also, it's no longer irritating my incision line - I've been using abd pads between my incision and the binder and it helped alot.

Hubbs traveled for work for a couple days and it was my first time solo. I drove my little one to/from school, made meals, did dishes. Felt good but tired by end of day! Still haven't done things like hands and knees floor washing or carrying baskets of laundry. PS has me on restrictions for tt and hernias (they found/repaired 3!) still so I have a 5 lbs. max.

I've been eating A LOT. I'm sure my body needs fuel to recover but I really need to rein it in. I need to get back to drinking tons of water. The first week post-op I had gallons and gallons (I'm sure the pain meds made me thirsty) but I've reduced my intake drastically and I need to pick it back up again.

I'm still sleeping on the couch. Not ready for the bed yet - I think it would be too uncomfortable on my incision still if I slept on my side or stretched all the way out.

My incision is scabbing and healing. It is a bit puckered, though, and I'm wondering if I should be taping (paper tape) it (other tt'ers say it helps with flattening) but up to now PS says do nothing with it. My next post-op appt is 2/2 and I will ask him then.

I noticed yesterday that my nipples are starting to be hyper-sensitive. Not sure if it's the nerves reconnecting or just because I've had a compression bra on for 19 days. ;-p

My upper ab muscles, though I've become a pro at NOT using them while in recovery, are still sore. Occasionally I'll get a little spasm that makes me feel like I'm using them (when I'm not). When that happens I feel my upper abs for the ventral hernia that was fixed during TT, praying it hasn't popped back out! I'm sure it's a regular part of healing and just the muscles/connective tissue growing around the stitching.

My belly area and flanks are still numb in several areas, mostly around bb and incision line. Most of my bruising is gone - have a bit left on the thighs and a little by flanks. BB still has some scabbing on inside but is looking more "real."

I've added pics. I'm still rather swollen in the belly/incision areas - you can see the binder imprint on my belly - but I'm very happy with my progress so far.

Happy healing! :-)

PO Day 24: Had another post-op visit today. PS...

PO Day 24:
Had another post-op visit today. PS is very happy with the results and says they will only get better with time. I'm still swollen and numb on most of my abdomen and I can't contract my abs (not allowed, says PS) to see if I can see definition ;-) but I'm happy so far.

PS says it is time to start massaging the scars and my breasts - work them around and get them used to their new (smaller) areas and work out the puckering . ;-) I'm so glad to finally be able to rub oil/lotion on the scars - my skin has been horribly dry.

For scar maintenance I purchased bio-oil, kelo-cote (a silicone based product), and Scargo (a type of oil solution). I need to research the best approach for using them. Do I start with Kelo-cote until it's gone then switch to the oils or start with oils?

I asked when I can start walking/exercising, etc. and he says NOTHING until 6 - 8 weeks post-op to allow muscles/tissue to grow around stitches. I'm itching to get moving but will heed his advice and take it slow. Don't want to undo the hernia/muscle repair.

I have been cleared for light housework and gentle sex - as long as I don't feel like I am using my abs.

Overall I am feeling good! Added pic from today.

Happy healing! :-)

6 Weeks PO- I thought by 6 weeks I'd start to...

6 Weeks PO-
I thought by 6 weeks I'd start to feel more back to normal than I am. I do feel good, for sure - zero pain or soreness, I'm sleeping well, and my spirits are up. But I am still really swollen through the day and in the evening, still numb in belly areas, still irritated along the incision lines, still not using abs for fear of wrecking muscle and hernia repairs. This is a much longer recovery than I thought it would be!!

For all of you starting or planning your journey - don't worry about your results until you are at least 2 months post op. Some people swell like crazy from day 1 post op and some people don't, some people are back to normal activities at week 1 and some people take 6 weeks! Everyone heals differently!

Since I don't see my PS again until my 8th post op week I called the office to double check what I am cleared for now that I am 6 weeks PO. I am cleared for exercise ("ease into it!!"). Walking on treadmill is fine, light resistance band is fine as long as I am not twisting or engaging abs. I can wear regular bras and go braless for sleep. I can officially stop wearing binder and switch exclusively to spanx type garment, which I don't have to wear every night if I don't want to.

I slept with no bra and no garment last night and it felt FABULOUS to be "free" but when I turned over I could feel my abs and that worried me. So I'll probably sleep with something for a couple more weeks. But - I woke up this morning the flattest I've been since surgery and that excited me!! So I took 6 week pics. I had been avoiding them since I'm still so swollen by end of day. ;-) I've also taken pics of my incision lines to compare to the ones I posted at 12 days post op.

My incision has opened a bit under my left breast where the vertical and horizontal incision lines meet. Feels like a stitch has poked through. But the scab hasn't closed yet and after showers or if it is rubbed it seeps a little. Talked to PS office and they asked what color. The seepage is orange-y/yellow-y, and I confirmed it's not painful at all, not red, not hot, no fever. They say it's totally normal and it hasn't closed yet because the stitch is dissolving. They advised putting neosporin or bacitracin on it and covering with a dry dressing and leave it along.

I will definitely wear my velcro binder while exercising but I am going to attempt to alter it to make it tighter. I'll bust out my sewing machine and see what I can do. ;-)

I have been massaging my incision lines with bio oil and rubbing my flank/hip lipo areas with lotion. My incision is pretty purple looking but it is softening and the bumps and minimizing. I'm almost finished with the bottle of bio oil I purchased so I'll be switching to scargo until the opening under my breast is fully healed, then I'm switching to kelo-cote which is a silicon-based gel. We'll see how it does!

My appetite has been ferocious!! I expressed concern to PS about this, especially since I wasn't exercising fully yet and worried I'd eat like crazy once I did. PS warned me that fat CAN come back to areas that have been lipo'd (that, in fact, those areas are ripe for it since it's a space that was created) if you are not careful with your caloric intake. Womp womp! I'm still documenting my food and drink, and the snacking here and there is my enemy (the nightly cocktail doesn't help, either). Getting it under control this week and the treadmill is my new BFF!

Overall I am pleased with my progress to date. I am excited to start getting my sweat on and I'll check back in again after my 8 week check up.

Happy healing everyone! :-)

6 weeks po: I officially ran out of bio oil and...

6 weeks po: I officially ran out of bio oil and today was my first day starting with the Scargo Scar Massage Oil (found it on Amazon). I hadn't noticed before I purchased it but one of the ingredients is "camphor" which is what is in Vicks Vapo Rub - so the smell is a bit off-putting to me right now and my first instinct was to pitch it. But it felt good to rub in (oil feels good!) so I'll give it a while to see if it makes a difference. It's only 4 oz so I'll prob go through it in 3 or 4 weeks but I'm not sure if I can stand the smell that long. I'll update. :-)

12 Weeks Post-Op: Wow – time flies!! Overall...

12 Weeks Post-Op:

Wow – time flies!! Overall I feel pretty good, finally. I still have areas of numbness along the incision line especially and from belly button to incision. And I have sensitivity on my flank area when I rub it. But I’m no longer sore from the muscle repair. I have what I can describe as knotty areas inside my belly button and mid section that I think are from the hernia repairs. I can’t see them but I can feel them just under the surface. I’m hoping they will soften over time.

I was cleared for most exercises at my 8-week post-op appointment but PS wants me to hold off of ab work until at least 12-16 weeks due to hernia repairs. I don’t have another post-op visit until the 1-year mark. Seems so far away!
I’ve been running on the treadmill, and doing squats and lunges, and 10-15 lb. weights since 8 weeks post-op and it feels really good to sweat again. It’s great to have a hard workout and feel like I’ll see the results I’ve worked so hard for instead of a jiggly belly. I wear my velcro binder while running for now – just helps me to feel more secure. I’ve started doing pushups and can only do them on my knees for now; on my toes uses my abs too much. I’ve done a couple of planks and I can tell my body is not ready to use the core that much yet. I tweaked a muscle in my upper abs on my left side, maybe from the planks. So I’m taking it easier. I do actively tighten my core during running and in day-to-day living – a welcome change from trying NOT to use my abs for so long during recovery.

I still have swelling by day’s end and especially if I haven’t watched my sodium intake. I recently bought a waistnipper to wear at night for sleeping and I really like it. I originally bought a medium (the smallest JCPenneys sold online) and tried it and it wasn’t as tight as I wanted it so I found a small new with tags on eBay and got that. It works well and is comfy. I read on a review of someone who continued to wear a garment for up to a year and it really helped form the hourglass shape post surgery. So while I’m still swelling by day’s end I’ll wear it.

I no longer wear a garment with my regular clothes – and it does feel great to be in smaller jeans and tighter fitting tops without worrying about muffin top! Although by the end of some days I do have a “roll” between my belly button and incision from the swelling. Grrrr. If this process has taught me anything it is PATIENCE!! I have to admit that I really thought once the stomach was cut off I would look good very quickly after surgery. Even after all the research I did here I didn’t count on the day-to-day changes with the swelling, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. PS has said the swelling could continue up to a year and I realize now that just because I look puffy one day does not mean I will look that way forever.

I haven’t noticed a dramatic change with the thigh lipo. The “bump” on the outer thigh is gone, but I’ve seen virtually no difference on my inner thighs. PS went “light” to avoid sagging. I do notice a difference in the hip area and the lower back area, but he didn’t get it all (again, to avoid sag) so I’m critical of those areas still. Hard to be 100% happy if you can still see fat! I’m hoping now that some has been removed I’ll be able to see additional results with exercise.

So – on to “the girls.” My full, perky girls have settled down now and aren’t quite what they were the first few weeks after surgery. The swelling is gone and with it some of the fullness that I assumed would stick around. They are still pointing in the right direction (lol), more or less, and I’m satisfied they are not saggy, but I’m not as enamored as I once was…they’re looking a little deflated. :( They aren’t as symmetrical as they were with full on swelling, either, and I see slight differences in the shape of each nipple. Small details in the grand scheme of things but we sure try for perfection, don’t we?? And now that I’m back to exercising (and down a couple pounds since surgery) I’m a little nervous they’ll deflate further due to weight loss. I tend to lose weight there first.

I’ve been a bit lazy on scar therapy – not doing the Kelo-cote everyday like I should. It takes a while to dry so it’s kind of a pain, especially when I’m pressed for time during the morning routine. I used Scargo for a couple of weeks and I got used to the smell. The camphor in it did feel soothing but I was eager to start the silicon gel so as soon as the opening of the breast incision healed (it took nearly 3 weeks to fully close) I switched. I’ve been more diligent this week – just need to get into a routine.

I’ve added my 3-month pictures of scars, boobs, and belly. I am satisfied overall, as long as I don’t allow myself to nitpick. I am my own worst critic. But the bottom line is my clothes fit better, I’m much more confident, and my body image has vastly improved. I am thankful!

Happy healing everyone!
Toledo Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Dalagiannis came highly recommended. He is a very honest, open man with no obvious ego, which is one of the things I thought I would encounter dealing with plastic surgeons in this process. He's very easy to talk to and made me feel very comfortable. My ONLY complaint: once I made the decision to go ahead with the surgery and the date/time was set, the pre-op/post-op information was virtually non-existent unless I asked questions. It forced me to be more pro-active with my care which is good, but I had hoped to have been armed with more in-depth, informative literature, which didn't happen. All that being said - I had loads of questions at our pre-op and post-op appointment and though I could tell he was busy, I was satisfied with the attention he gave me. I am very happy with my results and I would absolutely recommend Dr. Dalagiannis!

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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