35 Years Old, 5 Kids, 5' Tall, 113 Lbs. TT, MR, and Possible Flank Lipo. Time to Feel Good About my Body! - Tucson, AZ

I'm 35 years old. I have five kids ranging from 13...

I'm 35 years old. I have five kids ranging from 13 years to 6 months old. I have worked hard to get back in shape, but can't make my belly look good. I also have chronic back pain and have been told that once my abdominal muscles are better, it may help. I have been exercising every day, and watch what I eat, but still am not where I want to be. I'm currently 113 lbs. I am not really looking to lose weight through this, but would like to have more toned physique.

I plan on having a full tummy tuck with muscle repair. The doctor has recommend flank lipo, but I'm still unsure about that. I have read that when you have lipo the fat won't return there if you gain weight, but it can come back in different areas and look odd. If it would come back in my boobs, that would be great, but since that's isn't an option, I'm a bit scared. I have seen other people's results, and love them. Maybe I should quit reading so much, and just take a chance.

I'm nervous about what I need in order to prepare for my surgery. I have read about the different garments (the ones w/ eyelets and zipper being the most recommended), what type of scar care (silicone, mederma, etc), what to eat (low sodium), exercise the legs to help prevent blood clots and decrease healing time, how to sleep, etc. I'm also nervous about the pain. Some people say it is horrible, some people say its bad, but not intolerable. Ack! The nerves are driving me crazy, and I'm assuming I'm driving my poor husband crazy too.

I have my pre-op in two days. I guess that's when I will have my million questions answered by my doc, and he will measure me for my garment. Are there any garments you guys would recommend? I've looked at soooo many, but am not sure how well they work. And then there's the level 1 and level 2 and who knows what else.

I have trolled through so many pics on this site, and am so glad I found it. You ladies look amazing! I'm just super nervous.

Pre-Op Tomorrow

I'm nervous and excited about my pre-op! 15 days til surgery....ack!

Pre-Op Done

I had my pre-op today. Looks like everything is set to go. I opted to go ahead with the flank lipo as well. Got to ask a bunch of questions....and then came up with a bunch more after reading through their booklet. Doctor explained what to expect with the surgery, got measured for my garment, and got my prescriptions.

They measured me for my garment, but it looks like I was in between sizes. I measured 28" at the waist, and 32" at the hips (or maybe the ribs....my notes were messy). They said maybe they'll put me in a small and leave the top clip open? They're unsure about what size garment to put me in, and I wanted to get myself a second one for home, but if they're unsure....what am I supposed to do? They use the Marena compression garments. Do you guys have any input on this? I have two medium ones that were given to me. They fit alright, but have some pleats on the sides b/c they're kind of lose in some areas. Ack! I read that the ones w/ shoulder straps are best to prevent the pleats, so maybe a medium w/ shoulders?

Otherwise, I feel a little better. I need to get to shopping for the little extras I may need after. And will probably pre-cook and freeze some light, and easy meals so not to stress my husband out w/ having to cook for me after surgery.

Hope everyone is doing well :)

Embrace Scar Treatmen Vs. Other Scar Treatments

My doctor has recommended I use Embrace Scar treatment. While the results on the site are remarkable, there is little else to go on to see how well it actually works. I wouldn't really worry about it, except the treatment is not cheap. Ranging between $75-100 per week for eight weeks. I'm just wondering if it is worth spending that kind of money. Some of the research I've read, including from a doctor who recommends this treatment, said to go based on old scars. My c-section scar is long, but not very prominent. Going based on that, I heal alright. I read that massage and silicone strips work great. Embrace is a silicone strip, but it also holds the wound tight to prevent the scar from even stretching out and the scars seem to heal so much faster. I'm nervous. Maybe I research too much....but not researching enough in the past has caused me issues I could have avoided. Any input would be great.

I got a cold....days before surgery!

Two days ago I came down w/ a nasty cold. I had a slight fever, runny nose, ears hurt, throat hurt, everything hurt. I started to panic b/c I've read that you can't go under if you've been sick. So, I called my PS and let him know I'm sick, and asked what I needed to do. So much went into planning the care for my kiddos while I'm in surgery, my hubby's job, etc. He said that as long as I didn't get any more fevers, the mucus stayed clear, and I was recovered by the time of surgery, it should be fine. Well....you can't take most of the stuff on the market for colds two weeks prior to surgery, so getting better has been a challenge. I looked into the more natural things to help speed recovery along. I'm doing better today, but still not 100%. Ack! Keeping my fingers crossed that I won't have to post-pone surgery....even though another part of me is freaking out about having surgery in just a few days.

I've been getting things ready for my recovery, and keep having a feeling that I'm forgetting to do, or get something. I ordered an extra garment. Only one b/c the doc gives me one, and said I don't need more than two. He suggested I wait until after surgery to get my spanx, since I'll be in the regular garment for 3 weeks.
I got a bath seat, raised toilet seat, gauze pads, my scripts, arnica, bromelain, pillows, granny panties, and I think that's it. I got lemon and cucumber to makes the infused water that's supposed to help w/ swelling from water retention, and some protein fortified foods for muscle repair, and just stuff like that.

I'm just incredibly nervous about the surgery. About the recovery. I have 5 kiddos, I hope I'm not down too long. I do have help for 10 days after surgery, but after that, I'm on my own. The doc said it shouldn't be a problem, but that's easier said than done.

Keeping my fingers crossed I can shake this cold by tomorrow, and that I have gotten everything I need. I'm a bundle of nerves right now.

Getting Nervous!

Surgery is only a few days away and I'm getting soooo nervous. I keep looking at the after pics of so many of you, and it keeps me encouraged. I just hope I'm strong enough to make it through the recovery w/o too many melt downs, lol.

This is the first time in my life I've taken pics of my abdomen, and it really shows me how bad it is. I guess you forget what its really like when you get used to seeing it. Hopefully, hiding it will be a thing of the past. I can feel secure in my body, and not find inventive ways to hide it under clothes.

Tmw morning is the big day!

Tmw morning is almost here....and I'm freaking out. The hospital and docs have called to ask me how I'm doing...and I want to scream...I'm scared! Breathe....I hope things work out well, and that my belly looks better soon! Wish me luck!

I finally did it! I'm a bit loopy right now, don't mind any errors in whatever I say, lol.

Post of I was doing well w minimal pain. They were nice to keep me comfy for the two hour drive home. I was even walking a little. I woke up in middle night in tons of pain bc I slept through what would have been my next dose. Ouch. I have on of those blue Ice baths you can keep adding Ice to and it helps. I still can't believe I did it.

Ouch!

Today has been more painful. I dont think it would have been as bad except I coughed and have been hurting bad since then. And despite a nausea patch, im still very queasy. Im anxious to see my results tmw. Iwill check in more when feeling beetrr.

Doing better

Dpo:5. Since I had a cold the week before surgery, I keep getting the random need to cough bc I still have residual phlegm. I think I'd rather get stabbed w a fork than cough....ouch! I'm resting a lot....whether I want to or not. I'm sensitive to pain pills and pretty much go into sexy drool mode once I take them. I'm going to try to only take them to shower today. The tubes are annoying bc I keep feeling like I'm going to snag them and rip them out. I'm soooo swollen. I was brilliant and weighed myself the day after... Gained 10 lbs from the day before. It's going down now though. Besides all my complaining, things seem okay. I'm ready to stop walking like a T-Rex and stand up straight.

11 Day Update

Things are going okay. I haven't updated b/c for some reason, everything I type up on my tablet disappears once I go to post it. I'm sure it's operator error.

I had my tubes removed at one week. Yikes....that stung. I think it only stung so much b/c the right one was really irritated when I had them taken out. It took an hour or so to stop feeling the sting, but I was so happy to not have "balls" anymore, lol.

The wounds from the drains were left to heal on their own. It sucked first two days b/c every time I'd go to change guaze, it would open them again. It hurt like heck. And now the actual tummy tuck cut has gotten caught on the gauze a bit and started to ooze and bleed a little bit. Doc said that as long as it didn't continue, or feel irritated, it was okay. If it starts to hurt, or more comes out when I press it, I need to call him back. I keep light gauze on bc I feel like the garment tugs at the wound and it makes me uneasy. With the gauze, it moves the guaze and leaves my wounds alone.

I've been trying not to take any pain meds during the day. I ice a lot, and drink tons of water. I don't like the way pain meds make me feel...but at night, I wake up too sore if I don't take them. Taking Bromelain and Arnica was great....my biggest bruise is maybe an inch, and I only had two or three. Those really helped the swelling and bruising.

Funny thing: I gained 10 lbs the day after surgery. I have since lost it, but that was surprising.

As far as looks, I feel like frankenstein. The wound is really, really ugly.....but I think that is normal. I'll post pics later. The swelling is going down, so that feels nice. I just wish the cut didn't look so insane. I don't know if I'm over analyzing it and think it looks bad, or if that's just how it looks at this point normally.

I've ordered my Spanx for week 4. I've never worn spanx, but from what I read, the ones I got should be good. I wonder what other brands are out there that provide support, but don't cost so much b/c I will probably need more than a couple. I have four Marena garments right now. They're great. I got two sizes....not so great. The small fits like it is supposed to, I got the medium b/c so many people said they ran small. Nope. They seem to run true to size. So the medium ones are a good break when I want an hour of space in my garment.

I feel like I'm rambling. I'm bored "taking it easy". I have 5 kids....so that's probably been the biggest challenge of all. I'm so grateful for my wonderful hubby and kids who have been so understanding. Hope everyone is doing well with their healing :) I was soooo afraid of the pain, but it really hasn't been that bad. Uncomfy, yes....but not intolerable.

13 days

Here are some pics from post shower today. I'm unevenly swollen, so not sure about how things will look when swelling is gone. Hopefully not crooked....lol.

3 Weeks

I went to see my PS last Tuesday. When I went in, I told him my left side was super tender, and yellow gunk was coming out of it. It said it was fine, and normal. Then he poked at it, and that was enough to make me take pain meds b/c the pain didn't go away for a while after doing that. Ack.

He put the embrace scar treatment on the middle of my incision. He used to of the small ones. I found it weird that he didn't cover the whole wound, but he said that's how it is done. When he attached it, it didn't attach correctly, so he told me it would likely fall off, and that I needed to keep water out of it. Easier said than done. Despite taping myself, using plastic wrap, only getting under water to rinse....water still got in. Then I had yellow stuff gathering under it, and it scared me. So I called the doc, and he said to cut holes and push the yellow stuff out. Again, much easier said than done. And it didn't work. The following day, the entire thing was covered in yellow stuff, and there was water. So, I called the actual company who makes the embrace treatments. They said that it didn't sound normal, and they would call a local rep to call me. They did not do that, but instead called my doc, who had his assistant call and tell me to remove the embrace and they would re-apply it next week. I asked them if they would be applying the larger ones to cover more of the wound, and they stated no. I don't know what will happen, but I have an appointment tmw w/ my PS. I felt bad going over his head, but I was scared. After I removed the embrace, my skin was super irritated around the wound, and I think it was b/c it had been moist for three days. I'll post pic in a bit.

Since taking the embrace off, my skin has gotten a lot better. I also decided to spray antiseptic spray on my left and right sides, and letting it air dry. After just one day of doing that, it stopped hurting as much. So things are looking up. I do have another appt tmw, so hopefully things will be better.

As for pain, I'm okay there too. At night I seem to have the most pain. I wake up feeling like I've been beaten w/ a bat, but its my back that hurts the most. I do have muscle spasms still, both on my back and abdomen. Nothing terrible, but def a bit annoying. I don't take pain meds at all during the day, but have taken them a couple times at night.

I tried on jeans for the first time two nights ago. To my surprise, they fit. I still don't want to wear them though, going to stick to just soft clothes for now. Doc says I can get out of my garment in next week or so, but I think I'm going to keep it on a bit longer. My belly actually feels exhausted when I'm out of it for too long.

Hope all is well with you guys :)

Embrace

This was round one with embrace. The research on it checked out, and it seems like it is supposed to be a great product. I'm not going to rule it out based on one bad experience, and I do plan on trying it one more time. This product is not cheap, starting at $75 a week, so if it doesn't work again next week, then I'm done with it. It is supposed to be waterproof for a week, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. The reason I chose embrace is because of the before and after pics I saw from using it. While it is costly, its not that much more than many of the other true silicone treatments out there. I'll keep you guys posted on round two. I'm hoping it works and that I have the great results they state may come from using their product.

3 Week Check Up

I had my 3 week post-op check up. Doc says all looks good....for the most part. He did acknowledge that my left side isn't looking as good as it should. He said it is likely a suture trying to pop its way out, like a pimple. He said that sometimes the are will keep getting inflamed b/c the suture wants out, and there is likely some bacteria caught in there, which causes all the redness and pain. He stated that if it doesn't make its way out soon, he will likely have to take it out. The idea of having to do this makes me nauseous. That area hurts so much, but I guess taking care of what is causing the pain will help.

I went ahead and tried out round 2 of embrace. This time my husband applied it so that he can apply it for the next couple weeks. Trying to save the long trip back and forth to the PS office. So far, things are good. I took a shower, and no water made it in. There is no yellow discharge. I hope it stays that way. I did order silicone tape to cover the edges that aren't covered by the embrace. Mepitac tape, it got really good reviews and comes in 3 yard rolls. I only need an inch on each side, so it should last a while. We'll see how it goes....especially with an inflamed left side.

Doc stated I could stop wearing my garment now, but could continue to use it if I choose. I'm going to stay in it for another three weeks. Based on what I've been reading, staying in it can be helpful.

Doc stated I could not work out until I was done using embrace b/c sweat tends to make silicone treatments fall off. Ugh. This is something I didn't think about...and I'm bummed. I keep thinking of ways I could rig it to where sweat doesn't get near it, and maybe put a cold pad on it so it won't sweat in that area. I dunno. I wouldn't be able to exercise until 4 weeks anyways, but going another 6 weeks w/o exercise is not something I want to do. Its just a part of my day that makes me feel good. We'll see.

I'm going to post a pic. You can see how swollen I still am about the incision. Apparently, laying down flat throughout the day can help this. I just happened to read that in one of my million tummy tuck result searches. So, I'm trying to lay down flat when I can....and of course, maintain a healthy diet. Hopefully, this will help.

Excuse all my spelling mistakes in the posts. Apparently this site does not allow one to edit previous posts...even for simple spelling mistakes.

Infection

Bleh....My left side is infected. Yest it hurt so bad, I couldn't even stand my clothes touching it. I called my doc and he prescribed antibiotics and told me to try to squeeze it and get puss out. I asked him about epsom salt, but he seemed to think I meant a bath, and said no b/c of the embrace. I looked into it a lot and found that I could put a tbsp of water mixed w/ salt and just put it on a band aide and keep it there for 10 minutes to help pull out the ick. So, I showered. Squeezed the incision to get the puss out....and let me tell you, this hurt sooooo bad. After letting it air dry a bit, I did the epsom salt and then took it off after ten min. Cleaned up the area, and put the neosporin doc said. It felt better before bed, and still looks better today, but still hurts quite a bit. If I can't get the stitch out, or infection down, I'm going to go in. I have been saying my left side is tender for three weeks now...I'm tired of it hurting all the time. Doc said if I saw the stitch, to use tweezers and cuticle scissors, and cut it. This makes me so nervous....but at this point, I'm willing to do whatever to get the pain to stop.

I'm going to take it easy today to minimize the amount of movement around the infection so it doesn't rub on my clothes. This is annoying.

Hopefully things will start looking up tomorrow. Infections scare me.

4 Week Update

The infections seems to be getting better with these antibiotics. My left side was feeling pretty good yesterday, for the first time since surgery, but today it is a bit sore. My PS office called me to see how I was doing, and I let them know that the infection isn't there anymore, but my left side is still sore to the touch. I'm going to be seen on Monday to see about pulling the stitch out. I have no idea how this is done, but it makes me so nervous. It has hurt for so long, and all day, that any more pain sounds scary. I'm sure it will be better once it is over, but the wienie in me is scared.

Besides the infection, and the fold of skin on my left side, things seem to be okay. I'm feeling better every day, and getting along a lot faster....to my kids disappointment, lol. I still have two weeks of lifting restrictions, which is tough w/ an 8 month old and a 2 year old who are home w/ me all day.

I decided to try embrace again. This time we did it at home, and not in PS office...ack. I did decided to put silicone tape on the edges to help reduce the chances of water getting in. I took a shower, and all seems well so far. I'm using Mepitac Tape on the parts of the incision that aren't covered by the embrace. I read great reviews about this, so hopefully it works. I also read that using the steri strips over regular silicone treatments (like mepitac) can have the same effect as embrace b/c it keeps wound from having the daily moving pressure that causes scars to become wider.

I'm sure my PS wants to smack my forehead b/c I've called so many times about the same issue. Hopefully it will be resolved soon. He's been very good about calling me back, and his support staff has been great about not making me feel like a moron for calling about the exact same thing every week. Hopefully the swelling and pain will be gone soon, and I can just let my left side recover like my right side.

I'll post pics later...just realized I don't have any that aren't extreme close ups of the wound. My results so far seem pretty good, and on target for where I'm supposed to be in my healing (besides my left side infection). I may need a revision on my left for the crease and dog ear, but hopefully it will resolve....fingers crossed.

Hope everyone is doing well. Happy (speedy) Healing.

Pic 4 weeks 4 days

6 Week Update

Times flies when you're not in pain, lol. I forgot to post an update last week.

I went to see my PS about my left side. He poked it, and yup, there was a stitch there. So, he dug it out. Hurt like heck, and took about 24 hrs before it stopped burning, but whoa was it a night and day difference. The pressure was instantly gone. It is amazing how much discomfort one tiny little stitch can cause. My left side is finally starting to heal.

The crease on my left side is still there, but it isn't as prominent as it was before. I'm still swollen, but not as bad as before.

I tried using the treadmill for the first time, last week. I walked at a 2 (slower than regular walking) and was winded within 10 minutes, and had to lay down. Not a proud moment, lol. I tried the exercise bike this week, and that was much easier. It works my legs, and gets me going, without wearing me out. It is the bike that has the seat, so I don't really have to use my ab muscles yet. I guess I have to start from scratch again, and build myself back up. I can't exercise daily b/c I'm wearing the embrace, and sweating could cause adhesive to peel off...though I doubt it. It takes me 20 minutes to get it off at the end of the week, with water, soap and oil.

About the embrace....it is working much better now. I am using silicone tape on parts the embrace doesn't cover, and I use it to block water from getting in when I shower. I feel naked the one day a week I don't wear it bc it holds my scar so tight, that it feels secure.

I'm finally walking normal. The sensation in my belly is coming back, ack! It feels like a large amount of Novocaine (the mouth numbing stuff) when it is wearing off....but it feels like this all day long. Being touched doesn't feel great. Doesn't hurt, just feels really weird. I'm allowed to lift my baby now, but I have to use my leg strength. As in, squat and grab her. My other kids laugh at me when they see me attempting to pick up a squirming baby this way.

It has been a long several weeks, but I'm finally starting to feel like myself again. I'm still not where I want to be, but hope to be there soon. I know it is a slow process, but I lack patience. I think it would have been much easier if I had waited until my baby was walking....it has been very hard only being able to take care of her w/o lifting her.

I hope everyone is doing well. Happy Healing!

6 Weeks Pics

7 Week Update (A little late)

Recovery is still going well. I'm able to move a lot more this week.

I tried the exercise bike and treadmill (on 3) and did pretty well. I tried going at a 4 for about 30 seconds, still not ready. My sides still feel bruised from the inside.

My incision seems to be healing nicely. I'm not sure I feel about how high the cut goes b/c it is hard to hide under certain pants, bathing suits, etc. The fold in my skin is much smaller, but still there. The dog ears are still there too. I'm trying to stay calm about it all, for now. I still swell, but its not horrible. I try not to look too much. My upper abdomen has been kind of poofy since the begining, but I just assumed it was swelling. The only time it looks flat(ish) is first thing in the morning. I've done some research on bloating, and am changing my diet up a bit to see if I can help it. I assumed that this surgery would help with tightening and flattening my upper abdomen, but maybe it is still too early to tell?

I'm still using the embrace. I had a reaction to it last week and had to go two days without it to let my skin heal.

Things are moving along. It is hard not to have instant gratification, lol. It feels like I've been in healing mode forever!

Hope everyone is doing well :)
Tucson Plastic Surgeon

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