I have three children, all C-section births and had a partial hysterectomy in 1994. After my third child's birth in 1996, I weighed 268 lbs. Over the course of about a year, I lost 125 lbs. by making a permanent change in my eating habits and exercise. You can imagine what my lower abs looked like! Yes, the icky, nastiness you're left with after working so hard to change the shape of your body. About three years and countless bottles of Palmer’s later, I asked my gynecologist if it would be safe to have a tummy tuck. To my surprise, he told me absolutely not! Quote: "You have had four stomach surgeries and to even think about having an elected surgery is out of the question." Respecting my doctor and his opinion, knowing he is the ABSOLUTE BEST, I accepted my fate of wearing Spanx the rest of my life.
This past year, my 40th birthday brought me brought me the news that I needed a hysterectomy. My first question was, now that I HAVE to have another stomach surgery, can we do a tummy tuck at the same time? (I was half way joking...) To my surprise, he said absolutely!
I had my first consultation that very day with the only plastic surgeon my doctor would work with. He said I was a perfect candidate and would need a full tummy tuck. I had my surgery on December 18th and during the first four weeks I swore I would never, ever recommend the procedure to anyone, ever! This fifth week has begun to change my mind. My pain is lessening and I'm not feeling so helpless.
If it wasn't for this website and the numerous accounts posted, I think I would have quickly become the worst patient my PS ever had. This is why I decided to post my story. Usually, I am extremely guarded concerning my personal life, but I know there may be someone out there who will be in the same situation as I, (combined surgeries) and need the reassurance that everything will eventually be all right.
The first time I saw my full body reflection, I cried. I felt like Frankenstein and thought to myself what a horrible mistake I’ve made. How could what I saw ever appear normal? I looked totally out of proportion, with this stretched tight tummy and what I felt like were huge hips and thighs. I looked like a paper doll!
I will tell you now, 5 weeks after surgery, I still have quite a bit of swelling, but the difference in my tummy is just fabulous! I’m still on the fence whether it’s worth the pain…the worst I have ever experienced, but this morning I put on a dress jacket I haven’t worn in over 4 years and it buttoned right up. I weighed at the doctor’s office yesterday and since my surgery, I have lost 12 lbs.
My recovery time from the combined procedures is the same 6 weeks you would have with either surgery alone. The symptoms were a bit different; I had a lot of floating feelings when my binder was off that made me nauseous, which was from the hysterectomy. I developed a UTI that took two rounds of antibiotics to get rid of. I have lots of pressure in my lower abdomen and BM’s? Yeah, without Colace, would have been impossible. Just this week, I stopped taking it and had my first on my own! (Each little successful progression towards recovery is worth celebrating!) When I have swelling at the end of the day, it feels like my intestines are going to shoot out my belly button! I do know, and have faith that I will eventually heal completely and my body will feel “normal” again. Each day is a day closer to that time.