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Where to begin? I just turned 29, I'm 5'5 1/2", I...

Where to begin? I just turned 29, I'm 5'5 1/2", I weigh about 120 lbs. I have 3 kids; ages almost 6, 3, and turning 1 next week. I started gaining weight in college and was a little overweight when I got pregnant the first time. I ended up getting gestational diabetes during that pregnancy and went up to 200 lbs. Seeing my weight cause actual health consequences for not only me, but my unborn baby was the turning point for me. I lost all of the weight and then some and got all the way down to 130 lbs. I've kept up the healthy lifestyle and lost more and more weight after each pregnancy, but the damage was already done. I have stretch marks from above my belly button to below my knees! I work out A LOT and it's frustrating to know that I will never see my full results because of this loose skin. I'm pretty small everywhere else on my body, so my stomach really sticks out. And let me tell you, nothing ruins your day more than when someone assumes you're pregnant when you're not! And that has happened to me way too many times in the last 6 months! I'm just tired of thinking about my stomach to be honest. When I get dressed, every time I sit down, when I'm exercising and it's just hanging off my body, when my kids think it's a funny play-thing... I just want it gone so I never have to think about it again!!!

And as far as my breasts go, they are pretty much non-existent. I was an A cup before kids and now after nursing and weight loss I measure at a 32 AA. It's next to impossible to find a bra that size, so I usually just wear a sports bra to help conceal my nipples. There's no breast tissue to support so I really don't even need a bra, but I'd be pretty uncomfortable nipping out all the time. I didn't really mind having small breasts, but now I am so flat that I don't really feel like a grown woman.

I've been struggling with this decision for a MM since my son was born last September. I'm a strong Christian and I've really been praying for God to either change my heart or give me peace about the surgery. My intention behind the surgery is to feel more comfortable in my body, not to gain attention or acceptance from others. I really feel like God knows my heart in this and that I have his blessing. I am a little worried about what friends at church might think if they find out, but at the end of the day, God's approval is the only one that matters to me.

My husband is amazing and supportive and understands how much this means to me and how hard I've worked to take good care of myself and my body. I couldn't ask for a better support system.

So I went to my first consult a couple weeks ago and on Monday I'm driving up to Phoenix for 2 more. I live south of Tucson, so I'd really rather not have to drive that far for surgery, but I will if that's where I'll get the best result. I want to have my surgeon selected and surgery scheduled before the holidays, but I can't have my actual surgery until January. This way my husband will have the max amount of PTO to stay home while I recover. He'll be home for 3 weeks and then I'll have my mom helping me for 1 week after that. I'm hoping I'll be healed enough to handle my 1 year old by then.
So I'm still a ways away, but trying to be as well prepared and researched as I can be. If anyone has any tips on questions to ask when picking a surgeon (beyond the basic/ obvious ones) I'd love to hear them. Thanks!

Oh, What to do, what to do? I just got back from...

Oh, What to do, what to do? I just got back from Phoenix where I had 2 more consults yesterday. I really REALLY loved the first doctor I saw there. He was very thorough, very attentive, and his tummy tuck pictures are all gorgeous! He has that artistic touch that sets apart the great surgeons from the good ones. BUT, he's $3,000 over my budget. I liked the surgeon I saw here in Tucson too, but I would say he falls under that "good" category, not "superior." With the Tucson doctor, I would be getting a pretty good TT, BA, and lipo of flanks and outer thighs. No pain pump, no hospital stay. With the doctor in phoenix, I would be getting a superior (in my opinion) TT, BA, lipo of flanks, inner/ outer thighs, and kind of as needed where the doctor thinks as he's doing the procedure. (All of the areas of lipo are under one charge since I'm not very big, whereas the other doctor charges per area.) This would also include a pain pump and overnight stay at the recovery center. There is a $4,000 difference in cost.
So now I'm questioning how important those little artistic details in the TT are to me. How important is it to me to get a BA? Like I said before, I really don't mind having small breasts, but I would prefer if I had at least a small bust. Right now, there's pretty much nothing there. Would I be happier having a really great tummy but no breasts? Do I go for the gold and make my entire family buckle down financially for the next 18 months to get it paid off? I feel selfish as it is spending the original amount we budgeted.
Aahhh! I have one more consult scheduled here in Tucson, so we'll see. I may end up liking him the most! I have a feeling though that it's going to come down to the two doctors I just talked about. I've got some serious thinking to do!

Well, once we left Dr. Leber's office after our...

Well, once we left Dr. Leber's office after our consultation, my husband knew that he was going to have to find some way to come up with the extra $3,000 so we could afford to go to him. I LOVED Dr. Leber and once I met with him, I knew I wouldn't be as satisfied going anywhere else. Well God bless my husband! He knew that's what I wanted, so he found a way!! :) I scheduled my appointment for surgery and put down the deposit this morning! Yee-Haw! So now comes the hard part- waiting! Patience is definitely not my strong suit, so waiting 3 months is going to be really hard! At least I'll have the holidays to keep me busy and keep my mind off of it. So excited!!!

Well, I've been trying my hardest to keep my mind...

Well, I've been trying my hardest to keep my mind off of surgery (except for my nightly RealSelf updates!). But after spending the last couple of days negotiating time off between my mom and husband to help me during recovery, it seems to be creeping farther into the forefront of my mind. My husband and I always say that once Thanksgiving hits, time is really going to fly before surgery. And now I'm realizing that milestone is just a week away! Between my son's 6th birthday, shopping for surgery and Christmas, and out-of-town family visiting, the whole month of December is going to be a whirlwind! The times that I really stop to think about the reality of my surgery, I start feeling a little panicked. There are so many worries! The pain, complications, long-term swelling, scar placement... and what if after all of that I am unhappy with the results?? Ugghh! But a person could go crazy with all of that worry! SO I try to just focus on the end result and give all of the worry to God.
I'm as excited as I am nervous, though. My daughter was snuggling with me last night and she started playing with my belly and said, "Look Mom, I can roll your belly up like a taco!" Not for long, Girl! And as I've been continuing my workouts (I'm on my 2nd round of Insanity right now), I've lost even more of my breast tissue. My size 32AA bra (smallest size I could find) is way too big on me now. I have absolutely NO breasts anymore! Surgery can't come soon enough!
I don't do a lot of commenting on each individual blog, but I really do appreciate everyone's sharing and honesty! It really helps to know what to expect with something this scary. Thanks all!

So I know that I still have about 6 weeks to go...

So I know that I still have about 6 weeks to go before surgery (5 weeks and 4 days to be exact!), but it doesn't really feel like I have that much time because of all of the Christmas festivities this month! I basically won't have any time to prepare for my surgery once December 14th hits, so I'm really trying to get everything taken care of in the next 2 weeks.
My husband and I were really nervous about telling his parents I was having this surgery (we felt it was necessary to tell them since they recently started paying for one of his student loans- didn't want them to think we were using their money to pay for my surgery.) So to break it to them gently, we presented it as a great time for them to come and visit when I was about 3 weeks PO, because DH would be off of work and they could spend lots of time with the kids. Well they weren't crazy about me having the surgery or the time frame we gave them to visit. So they decided they would come the week before my surgery instead and we could drop them off at the airport in Phoenix on our way to my pre-op appointment- the day before surgery! My house is going to be in complete disarray when we return from my surgery after having 4 guests (his brother and sister are coming too)! We won't even have an afternoon to clean up after they leave! Oh well, I guess it will be my husband's problem- not mine! Lol.
We are also going to have my sister and her BF visiting the week of Christmas, and my other sister and her husband and 2 kids the week after Christmas! (They leave the same day DH's family comes!) Oh my goodness, I'm getting stressed just thinking about it!
Luckily, I shouldn't have that much prep to do. We have already started putting together my recovery nest. We moved our recliner up to our bedroom with a large shelf unit next to it for all of my supplies. TV is all hooked up and ready to go, couple of books/ devotionals lined up, and lots of pillows and blankets in arms reach. I haven't bought any of my actual supplies yet, hopefully I'll get to that next weekend. And I don't have to worry about buying any garments, because the surgeon provides them for me. We just nailed down the particulars for our financing, and DH is working like a mad man to rack up as much OT as possible before Christmas.
Still trying to stay motivated to work out, but it keeps getting harder to squeeze it in. And with all of the running around I've been doing lately, my weight has been going down on it's own. (Weighed in at 117.5 today! Woohoo!) But the idea was to have my muscle built up so I would have an easier time recovering and not be a total bowl of mush by the time I'm able to start exercising again. I'll keep trying to get in at least a few days a week of Insanity and really keep my eating in check over the holidays.
Happy Healing and Holidays everyone!! Even though it can be stressful, I LOVE this time of year!!

Oh goodness! Only a week away from surgery! I paid...

Oh goodness! Only a week away from surgery! I paid in full over the phone today and so it's full steam ahead! I don't know why I'm so nervous- I am confident in my surgeon, I feel like I know what to expect, but still I have this tremendous anxiety every time I think about it! But at least I am not feeling any doubt in my decision. I am confident that this is the right choice for me and I'm excited to move on from this. But it's a long road to recovery and I'm nervous about all of the ups and downs. I just wish I could stop psyching myself out about the whole thing!
My family and I are driving up to the Grand Canyon this weekend with my in-laws, so that should be a fun last weekend out and about with my kids before I'm laid up for several weeks. I just hope that my mother-in-law doesn't say anything judgmental about my surgery or try to talk me out of it while she's here.
I hope I have everything that I need for post-op. I followed the list suggested on this website and picked up a couple of extras, too. I ordered a couple of zip front sports bras online, but I don't think either one is going to work. How did you all know what size to order?? I'm currently a 30AA, and I'm getting 375 silicone, modplus implants which will hopefully take me up to a small C. I ordered a 36B and a 34C (34 was the smallest band I could find), and they are both too big for me- with my rice sizers in. Not sure if I should just hang on to them until after surgery, or try ordering something else. What do ya'll think?

Holy Crap, this is really going to happen! I am...

Holy Crap, this is really going to happen! I am packing my bag today so we can leave for my pre-op appt. in Phoenix tomorrow. We're staying in a hotel thursday night and then surgery is Friday morning!!! I came down with a horrible cough last weekend and was afraid I might have to reschedule. But I called Dr. Leber's office and his patient coordinator advised me to get started on a Z-pak and I should be fine by Friday. So that's what I did right away and I'm feeling much better now, but I'm still coughing a bit here and there. I'm kind of worried that might still be lingering post-op. I hear a lot of you ladies say how painful it is to cough or sneeze and I really don't want to find out! Along with the antibiotic, the doctor also prescribed me a medication that is supposed to suppress coughing from a constant tickle in your throat so I think I will continue taking that post-op to try and eliminate as much coughing as possible.
I still haven't nailed down an implant size yet. Apparently they have a new computer imaging program at my PS office that allows you to put in what type and size of implant you are getting and it will create a projected outcome picture for you based on your pre-op pics. So we will see if that will help me get a better idea of what size to go with. At this point I think I'd be happy with just about anything- as long as it's not too big. I really don't want to be in a D cup range, that just sounds too big to me.
Oh man, I just really hope that I am happy with my results. Sacrificing a lot to have this done, I really hope it pays off. But I think my expectations are reasonable, and I really just want a body I'm more comfortable in- it doesn't need to be perfect.
Good luck to everyone going under this week, and happy healing to all!

I am in a lot of pain! Getting up to use the...

I am in a lot of pain! Getting up to use the bathroom is excruciating! And I still have remnants of my cough, so that is not helping! BUT, my incision is nice and low boobs look great (they don't hurt too bad either), and he was able to remove enough skin so I don't have a vertical scar!
My PS said he wants me to be able to float all 3 balls on the spirometer, but so far I can only get 2. It makes me cough so bad, I don't want to do it

Thanks for all of the support guys! These first...

Thanks for all of the support guys! These first couple days have really been a doozy! But I can already notice small improvements in my mobility. The hardest part for me is still the coughing. It leaves my stomach burning for several minutes until I have to do it again! But I think I'm coughing less today than yesterday, so that's progress. I stayed my first night at the recovery center which I would highly recommend. Then we came home first thing in the morning and DH has been taking care of me since. My mom is coming over this evening to help me get washed up the binder washed as well. I just keep telling myself I will probably turn a corner by the end of the week.
Again thanks for all your support!

Today I am 1 wk po. I had my first check up where...

Today I am 1 wk po. I had my first check up where they pulled my drains and removed most of my stitches. Things have been pretty easy going since my last update. Once my coughing finally subsided, the pain actually hasn't been too bad. No trouble sleeping so far, and each day I feel a little more mobile. The amount of swelling and bruising I have on my backside is a little discouraging, but I know in time it will heal. I am very happy with my belly button and my low incision. My PS actually gave my pubic area a lift and cut some excess from there and that is where my tummy tuck extends down to. (Did that make sense?) Anyway, everything looks great so far, just REALLY swollen! Oh, and I love my new boobs!! Lol!

Well this is kind of gross, but after one of the...

Well this is kind of gross, but after one of the worst things I've ever had to go through, I would love to inform others so the same wont happen to you. Make sure you have an enema on your list of supplies to have on hand! My husband is at work this week while my mom has the kids at her home, so I am home by myself. I have had a couple of BMs PO already so I thought that I had passed the time to worry about constipation. I was wrong! I ended up with an impacted stool and did not have anything at home to help me. After 2 hours of agony and some google research I was reduced to breaking up the impaction manually with a gloved finger. It was AWFUL and humiliating! I have been taking stool softeners every day, but that is not enough for everyone. Please, please, please, have an enema on hand just in case! Trust me, you don't want to be stuck without it!

Well I am 2 weeks (and 1 day) PO, and I just...

Well I am 2 weeks (and 1 day) PO, and I just thought I'd check in. I do have pics to share, but can't find the camera cord at the moment so I'll add those later. So since my last disgusting post, I have stopped taking percocet completely and only take a valium at night. I have to admit, I am feeling pretty sore since doing so, but I would rather feel the pain a little more than go through that mess again! I have been pretty lucky as far as the swelling goes- nothing too uncomfortable for the most part. That is until my PO appt I had on Thursday when I told my Dr. that my compression garment was way too big for me. It doesn't feel tight at all and it even gaps in some places. So he suggested that I go ahead and switch to spanx (which I already own about 3 pairs from trying to hide my tummy for years). Well when I switched to the tighter Spanx, I started swelling immediately and couldn't hardly stand it! My weight went up 3 pounds that first day I wore them and up until that point, my weight had steadily been decreasing. So I am not sold on the idea that the more compression the better for swelling. I think the opposite! I switched back to my surgical binder from the PS and he said after this next week I don't have to wear anything if I don't want to. (Which I don't!) Other than that, they took my steri-strips off and I got a good look at my scar. I am pleasantly surprised at how neat and almost completely healed it is already! Things are progressing really well, and aside from the extra soreness, I am very happy and feeling pretty great! I have even been able to pick up my 20# son for the last 2 days with out any straining at all, so that feels fabulous!
Hope you all are healing well, too!

I'm past my 3 wk PO mark, and almost everything is...

I'm past my 3 wk PO mark, and almost everything is going great. I'm off all meds, even the Extra Strength Tylenol. I wake up sore and stiff, but usually feel pretty good within about 10 minutes. I'm sleeping back in my bed- on my side, and have been weening myself off of my compression garment. My scar has just lost it's last little scab, so I am going to begin my scar therapy today. Swelling hasn't been TOO bad, although I will admit, it has made me feel down in the dumps a couple of times. But for the most part, I'm feeling really good!
That being said, I do have one problem. My right breast is not dropping, at all! At my last PO appt, I told my PS that the bruising on my right breast worried my a little, and that it felt much harder and tighter than the left one. He said I probably had a little pocket of blood under that breast and said, "Let me try something for a minute." He then took his hands and clamped down and squeezed my breast HARD!! He did it one more time, and then said that should help break it up for me. The bruising has gone down quite a bit since then, but the implant is still just as high and tight, and it is starting to look kind of square-ish on the corner where the bruise is. So I am going in for another check up this Thursday to have him look at it again. Does anyone know if capsular contracture is even possible this early in the healing process? I've read that it can take 3-6 months for the breasts to "drop and fluff" but it seems weird to me that the right one hasn't really moved at all.
Anyway, I'll add my 3 wk PO pics as well. Happy healing!

I have been making a conscious effort so far to...

I have been making a conscious effort so far to stay positive thru this healing process, but I feel like I am not going to get out of this funk unless I unload a little. So forgive me in advance for the whining!
I feel like this swelling came out of nowhere! I am so swollen and bloated, I can't stand it! I know it's part of the process, but the old fat girl inside of me is agonizing over everything that I'm eating and guilting myself for not being able to exercise! I am up 3 lbs today from when I was 2 weeks PO. I HOPE this is swelling, but what if I'm just packing on the pounds from sitting around all day?! I HATE not feeling in control of my body! And I hate wearing spanx around the clock! I even already hate dealing with my scar strips and I just started using them! I just want ownership of my body back! And seeing a glimpse of the nice, tight stomach I had around the 2 week mark returning again would help too.
Don't get me wrong- I am so grateful I was able to have this done, and I'm sure the end result will be great. I'm just realizing what so many of you already know- its a long and emotional road to recovery.
BooHoo, woe is me...the end.

I am feeling much better in week 4 than I did last...

I am feeling much better in week 4 than I did last week! I am able to go longer periods without wearing my binder without swelling too badly. The amount of swelling that I get is totally worth it to me to go without my Spanx! My right breast is Finally starting to drop- slowly but surely. I was surprised to find that I have been more sore this week than any other week since surgery. Waking up in the morning is especially painful when my body just wants to stretch out as long as possible and I can feel the tenderness in my abs. But it's not bad enough to make me feel like I need any pain meds. I'm able to ignore it for the most part.
My only area of concern right now is a bulge on my left flank where I know my Dr. did a lot of lipo. It sticks out pretty bad and doesn't seem to get any better with compression, so I'm not so sure it's just swelling. And it is VERY tender there. If a lay on my hip, I get a really painful burning sensation there. The bulge is not hard at all- it feels like the rest of my skin. So I am going back to the Dr. tomorrow to have him check it out. The patient coordinator on the phone said that it sounds like scar tissue! I am praying that's not it because I will not be happy if I am stuck with this bulge on my backside! It sits right on top of my belt line so it looks like a little muffin top on my back! Ugh!
But other than that, I am feeling almost back to normal. My energy level is almost back to normal, but I will occasionally have a day where it just hits me like a truck and I have to sit around for the day.
My scar therapy is going really well. I think the silicone strips are helping a lot! The pics I am posting today are from last Friday- my 4 wk mark. Since then, the little bit of pleating that I have in the picture has almost completely disappeared. The scar is now very flat as well. It is still pretty redish/purple, but I think that is because I am still swollen.
That's all for now. I'll update again after my appt. with my 5wk pics.

So I drove up to Phoenix yesterday to have my Dr....

So I drove up to Phoenix yesterday to have my Dr. check out "the bulge". He said that it is scar tissue that is starting to form and that I actually have it on both of my sides. *Sigh* He told me to start massaging the areas regularly and to get a professional lymphatic massage. He said that the massaging "should" help it to break up and dissolve over the next couple months. I don't see how that is possible because everything that I have read says that once scar tissue is formed, it doesn't go away on its own. In any case, I'm taking his advice and praying it works. I set up a massage with my LMT friend for Sunday and had my husband massage the areas for me last night. OUCH! It is so painful!! My LMT friend is a friend from church, so I hope I can keep myself from swearing at her when she gives me the massage! LOL. I definitely let a few curses escape when my husband was doing the massage!
I just really REALLY hope this bulge goes away! I am very happy with the rest of my results, it would be a shame to have this thorn in my side (or bulge in this case), for the rest of my life. Or at least until we could afford to have a revision done. $$$
I haven't had time to take my 5 wk pics yet today, so I'll have to post those tomorrow.
On a happier note, the DH and I are going on our first date post-op tonight! I went through my usual date night routine of trying on just about everything in my closet; only this time, it was because I couldn't decide which outfit looked the best! Usually it's because I can't find anything to wear that hides my belly or makes me feel sexy with my sad little-boy's-chest! What an awesome feeling! :)
Thanks so much to those of you who have given me encouragement. This is such a hard process and you all make it a little easier!

I am now 6 weeks PO. The bulge on my left side...

I am now 6 weeks PO. The bulge on my left side continues to bother me and I am still very sore on both of my sides from my ribcage to my hips. I had a lymphatic massage last week and I am continuing to massage the areas on my own, although I haven't really seen any improvement from doing so.
I am still swelling pretty badly by the middle of the day, but I have days now where the swelling is minimal and I am able to get an idea of my end result. I've started exercising a little this week. Mostly just walking at an incline on my treadmill, but with a few push-ups here and there. I don't think that I am ready to get back into my Insanity routine quite yet so I will be sticking with the walking for now.
The pics I am posting are 6 wks out. And I was thrilled to see some ab definition peeking through!!!

1 Year Post Op

So I just passed my one year mark, and I thought I would write an update. I am overall very happy with my results, however, there are still some things that bother me and I've had to just accept.
The shape and size of my breasts are excellent. I am very glad I stuck with my gut and didn't go any bigger. The only downside is that they feel a little too firm. My sister even commented on how firm they were after hugging me. This is something I am somewhat self conscious of, but I can definitely live with it.
As far as my tummy tuck goes: I ended up getting a scar revision in July because my scar in the middle of my stomach arched up over my bikini line and was visible in almost all of my swim bottoms and underwear. It is better after the revision, but still peeks out every now and then if I am not constantly checking. For this reason, I think I will eventually get a tattoo to cover the scar. That is something I considered doing either way.
I love my new belly button! And when I am on top of my exercise, I have great ab definition! So exciting! On the downside, all of the areas where I had lipo: on my flanks and lower back, are now an issue of loose skin for me. The skin did not retract at all and so I have little pools of skin on both of my hips. I was a little disappointed that my Dr. did not (would not) extend my scar further around my hips to get rid of the excess on my sides. He said that to do that would be considered a separate procedure: an outer thigh lift. Well, whatever. I certainly can't afford another procedure, so I guess I will have to live with it. The other downside I have experienced is that I am one of the unlucky ones who had to deal with swelling and bloating much longer than the first couple months. It took a good 9 months for me to be able to go back to my normal workouts with ab work. And I still bloat very badly if I have too much salt. My stomach looks kind of distorted when that happens. But overall, when I am doing what I am supposed to with my diet and exercise- my results look incredible! And if I slip up for a couple of weeks in a row- my body for sure lets me know, and I just don't look quite right. So I guess that's good motivation for me to keep up my results! I'm not sure if it was taking so much time off of working out or what, but I am actually 5 lbs heavier now than I was pre-op. But clothes fit better and I look way better, so I am not going to even worry about that number on the scale!
So even though things didn't turn out perfect (which I knew that they wouldn't going into this) I am still perfectly happy with my results. And very proud of myself that I had the courage to go through this. This is no small surgery that we all have gone through and I think anyone who endures everything that preparing for and recovering from this surgery entails should be very proud of herself. Happy Healing Ladies!

1 year pics

Pic taken one year po

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon

I found dr leber on realself. He has an absolutely wonderful bedside manner and his pics of his tummy tucks were beautiful!

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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