After two children (both C-sections), loosing...
After two children (both C-sections), loosing weight (230 lbs at my heaviest), and keeping it off for over 5 years, I am ready to say good by to this apron of skin that stares back at me everyday and that I regard with absolute disgust.
The TT surgery is scheduled of December 13th - I'll be off work for 3 weeks. My doctor does not think he'll have to do lipo, which I've been thinking a lot about. Most of the reviews I've read by women with amazing results have had a TT w/ lipo. However, I've been happy to see a number of terrific looking women with reviews that are only TT with no lipo - those stories have helped to quell my anxiety. I'm also excited because it sounds like I won't have to have any drains. They look like they add to the misery.
I've been a diligent and obsessive RS review reader since scheduling the consultation and have learned so much from everyone's stories. I hope my experiences will help you with yours.
I've purchased compression gear well ahead of time from Amazon. I liked the price ($24) and they have a slit in the crotch (reviews indicated otherwise). I ordered what's marked a M, but they say fits more like a Small, pulled it on and didn't think there was ANY chance of this thing every fitting over my flab. I was shocked and wrong! There are eyelets under the zipper. I was able to close all of the eyelets all AND zip it up. Shocking. It was SOOOOO tight and uncomfortable, but I'm anticipating the loss of a couple inches (i.e current tummy apron) will help for a better fit. From all of the reviews I'm reading, compression garments seem to be an absolute must to avoid the depths of 'swell hell'. Overall with the TT, I'm anticipating the worst (pain, swelling, limited mobility, no sleep and overall misery) but hoping for the best. If there is one thing I've learned from RS, it's that everyone has an experience unique to them.
Before pictures and the compression garment purchased on Amazon.
Excited for PreOp!
PreOp is schedule for tomorrow. I'm very excited and can't stop surfing RS reading about other people's experiences and checking out their results.
Based on all of my compulsive reading, I'm ready with lots of questions for my PS.
1) I'm VERY concerned about my results without lipo. I'm ecstatic about no skin apron, but the chance of missing out on an hourglass shape is making me a little panicky.
2) I need some major consolation about the scar being low enough. I plan to wear panties that my apron hangs over now but that I'd like to have cover my scar post TT. Maybe they can provide a good guide for both of us to have an understanding about expectations/hopes?
3) I've read a lot about sutures causing issues after several weeks have gone by.
4) Binder? Sounds like different docs have different guidelines. Looking forward to hearing his thoughts and guidelines.
5) I have pretty regular issues with motion sickness and dizziness. I hope they can help me prevent Nausea.
6) I haven't seen any of my PS' other patients' before and after pics. I'll ask to see some and also ask if/how they'll provide me with mine.
7) What's the deal with tummy/incision massage. Read a lot about
it on RS.
8) My bedroom is upstairs. Am I going to be able to go up and down post op?
9) What will his recommendation be for scar therapy?
10) Will they weigh the amount of skin removed? Will they be sure to share it with me after surgery?
11) How is the placement/shape of the Belly button determined? I really, really, really want a cute little belly button!! How can we be sure to achieve that result? I've read a lot about earplugs. Do I need to sterilize before using as a belly button shaper
They wouldn't upload all at once the 1st try...
Had my pre-op appointment today. My PS poked his head into the room to say hi and asked if I had any questions, but I was working with a doctor doing his residency (I think) who was able to answer all of my questions and then some.
I was given antibiotic soap to wash with the night before and the morning of surgery along with my prescriptions to fill. It says to sleep on clean sheets and in clean PJs the night before.
I asked about a liquid diet the day before, he didn't think it would matter and told me to eat normally (nothing after midnight).
No ibuprofen or vitamin D (and a bunch of other supplements - not applicable because I'm not taking anything else) the week before surgery.
He was very clear that the scar would be low, at or below my c-section scar and that they are careful not to pull up the mons pubis (I've read about other women who's mom's is higher after TT) and that it will not angle up towards my hips.
I also explained that I was nervous about the results without lipo. He said they will lipo if needed but the Muscle Repair will pull the waist together, adding more waist definition. It doesn't look like I have much flank fat to remove with lipo and any extra skin would be pulled tight with the TT, but they will remove it if it's there. So I feel better about that.
He also walked me through the belly button. I always thought it was a brand new belly button with a TT, but it's not. It's the original belly button they cut around. The original BB stays anchored in place. It is supposed to look like it did before children and weight loss. I grew up chubby, so I'm excited to see my new and improved non-chubby BB.
He said if I was going to do scar therapy, use something silicone based and I can start massaging it myself with lots of pressure 2-3 times a day after it's completely healed at 3-6 months.
He thought stairs would be fine and provided a prescription for nausea.
So the count down continues to the flat side. It's all I think about! So excited and nervous - hoping for the best, but understanding it's not an easy road to recovery and anticipating that there will be bumps.
Goodbye Strength and Endurance; I'll miss you!
13 Dec 2016
Day of treatment
Goodbye 20lb dumbbell curls with arm definition. See ya later triceps I've worked so hard to bring from weak to strong. Orevwa back muscles that make me look great in a tank top. I hope to see you all again within the year.
I'll miss you burpies (I really nailed you yesterday in 4 rounds of 30 seconds) and push-ups in sets of 10, not on my knees and in perfect form. It'll take a while, but I know I'll see you again.
Goodbye to my endurance, strength, and form. I hope it's a short parting.
I'm also saying goodbye to all this skin that makes noises during mountain climbers. It's so loud that I can't push climbers to my limit because I'm concentrating on how to position my body to make it so my skin isn't making flapping sounds loud enough for those around me to hear.
Goodbye apron tummy!
Arrived to the clinic yesterday at 9 in the morning and finally went back into the OR at 11:30. All went well. Painful but manageable. Home by 4:30. Thought I'd sleep in bed, but it's too hard to swing my feet up. Thank god for the most comfy recliner ever in our bed room. Husband and two boys (10 & 9) are taking great care of me. Slept most of yesterday and last night. Using the bathroom a lot! Guess I'm staying hydrated. Pictures will be posted some point soon.
Throat still hurts from breathing tube.
Wishing everyone the best!
Two Days PO
Making progress. Yesterday was full of muscles cramps. It felt like contractions. Breathing through them helped.
Eating very small meals, sleeping in the recliner. Lots of pillows have been a huge help for me. Under my feet, airplane pillow behind lower back.
Trying to get up and walk every hour or so - has made a HUGE difference. Almost standing all the way straight and the pain has gone done. Even went up and down the stairs today.
Took a quick shower, felt great. Husband helped change dressings. No leaking. Scar is nice and low.
Overall, my tummy looks pretty Frankensteinistic, belly button is ugly and there is a deep dent near it. Checking out other RS ladies' recovery is comforting. Just about everyone starts out looking a little scary; I'm very optimistic that it'll turn out beautifully.
Day 3 PO
It's been a great morning! Had a BM- it was fine, not awful at all. I credit BlessedMommaof3 for posting her regime: Metamucil 2x/Day, laxative 2x/Day, stool softener, prune juice, and high fiber dinner. I read about a number of women who needed help cleaning after their BM, I was fine by myself (husband was relieved).
I showered independently, changed my dressings (hardly any leaking), applied that antibacterial gel stuff (like Vaseline), then made the trip downstairs to the kitchen and made my own breakfast! Trying to reduce the pain pills from 2 to 1.
I'm really positive right now about my progress. It's nice to feel better and see my tummy changing each day. My belly button might be off-center, it's still super swollen and the dents are starting to flatten out. Fingers crossed that this road continues to be a smooth one. Couldn't be happier about placement of scar.
Day 4 PO
It's another good day. Showered and changed dressings independently this morning. Slept in bed last night with a wedge pillow under legs and a couch pillow behind back. It was hard getting up. My husband had to help the way a recliner would by gently bringing my back into a sitting position.
Standing pretty straight with the binder on, more hunched over when I take it off for showering. If there wasn't so much snow outside and the temperatures weren't frigid, I'd try to walk a bit outside. Guess I'll be a mall walker this coming week.
Have bouts of nausea about once a day, but it's helped by the RX doctor provided for the issue. It might be dairy related...not sure yet.
Keeping track of all of my calories and macros. I needed to up protein intake, so husband bought protein shakes yesterday. Got super nauseous after drinking one yesterday. They are uber sweet. 8 oz of Prune juice was my biggest source of carbs - I don't know if I can stomach prune juice anymore. We'll see. Drinking at least 120 oz of water/day.
Made the mistake of watching an Amy Schumer episode yesterday. Thought I was going to die - laughing is no joke. It sucked. Husband kept laughing, which made me laugh even more. Amy has been banned from my tv until further notice. A pillow did not help.
The dents in my stomach are looking a little better and I keep telling myself this is not my final result. It's been very helpful to look at others' progress on RS to remember most everyone starts out looking one way but transforms along their journey and the results are Fantastic.
Day 5 PO - Coughing Setback
Was doing wonderfully yesterday, ready to stop taking narcotic and then I ate almonds, and then a piece of almond went down the wrong pipe, and then the coughing - it was like my abs were on fire. I didn't have a pillow nearby (in the kitchen), leaning against the counter didn't help, drinking water didn't help, it was miserable. After the coughing fit was finally over I ended up taking more drugs to help with the pain caused by the coughing. It still hurts today. I have my post op tomorrow, hopefully they'll be able to see if I've caused any damage - incision looks good - it's the muscle repair (MR) that burns. Since the almond incident I've read up on coughing and MR and it seems very unlikely that I caused damage, but it's hard not to be a little paranoid about things after such a big surgery.
Otherwise I feel great. Made a veggie omelette today all by myself, I was ready to rest afterwards.
Husband shaved my legs in the shower for me, thank you husband!
My stomach is looking SO much better. Dents are evening out and the swelling above my scar has significantly gone down - it almost looks flat. The right side of my waist has definition, waiting for left side to catch up. I'm really hoping it's swelling...no lipo means less of a chance to mess up symmetry (I think, maybe?)...
Also, don't think I've mentioned it before, but my throat had been killing me for days due to anesthesia tube, if finally resolved itself. No throat issues today. :) Hooray!
Day 6 PO
Glad I double checked before I drove 30 minutes to the other side of town in below zero temps - PO was not today, it's the 22nd (this Thursday).
No worries, I'm feeling pretty good. MR isn't aching as much. I did go out in the subzero temps anyway. This was my first day home with no husband (i.e. help). I was fine. Quick independent drive to the drugstore to pick up bacitracin and Tylenol. Driving was fine. Very slow getting in and out of minivan. Felt like a freak as people sped past me at a normal rate of speed. I was glad to be home after the half hour adventure, but it was also really nice to get out of the house for the 1st time in almost a week.
I haven't had any meds today and if I do take anything, it would be for my back. Lower back pain was aggravated earlier today because I washed my hair for the first time PO. I have a lot of hair and it's curly - washing it wore me out, and then, because I enjoy torturing myself or perhaps because of vanity (maybe it's one and the same?) I couldn't skip my normal regime of styling products. Too many minutes of hands above my head sans binder led to achy, achy back. I traded frizzy hair for an achy low back. Sitting down afterwards was a blessing. It's been a non-issue since I'm back in the recliner.
Pre-op, based on everything I read about others' binder experiences, I was scared of the binder. But, as it turns out, I love my binder. It offers so much support - which I didn't really understand before. It's almost like a prosthetic (never had a prosthetic - so who knows if this is an accurate comparison), but I'm able to do things wearing the binder that I can't do without it: stand straighter, walk a little quicker (turtle compared to snail), reduce back pain and MR pain.
On another note, aesthetically, things are slowly improving. I hope my bb surprises me and just suddenly decides to transform from an ugly duckling into a swan (fingers crossed). Still a good amount of swelling, just as expected.
PS - I am so happy for strong quads prior to this surgery. I squat a million times a day now, just to get by: getting in and out of recliner, getting in and out of bed, going to the bathroom, picking anything up off the floor. Squat and lunge your butt off beforehand, your future recovery self will thank you. :)
Day 7 PO
Happy one week to me, and a few other ladies out there!
I realized today that I don't have to think too much when getting out of the recliner. Before I'd have to slide my butt all the way to the end, brace myself and use my arms and quads very deliberately to help me up. Today, I was able to just kinda pop up. Not to say that I have energy or am moving much faster, but it's coming back :).
Before having the surgery my husband was very skeptical about my recovery with a TT, based on two previous surgeries. Recovery from my 2 c-sections (almost 11 and 9 years ago) went fine, but I had two other experiences that made him think I'd struggle with such a huge surgery.
1) I am the 1% of women whose IUD penetrated through their uterus. Mine ended up floating around in my abdomen for 3 months. They did a laparoscopic surgery to remove it and told me it would be just a few days to recover. A few days turned into a week and a half - which really isn't that bad, but it left a super sour taste in his mouth to see what he thought was going to be a super fast recovery from a fairly simple procedure into what he saw as me suffering for a while - he just hadn't expected that. This happened about 8 years ago.
2) another strange occurrence, about 5 years ago, I had a lump removed from my c-section scar which ended up being endometriosis. Recovery was supposed to be a week, but towards the end of the week my incision became infected (I was fevering and weak and miserable) and a few days later he had to rush me to the ER for dehydration.
So every time, we'd talk about this surgery, he'd bring these things up as the reason not to move forward. His concern was real, but I'm so glad I knew they were flukes and that I could do this! I hope and pray every day that my TT recovery continues to progress on this path.
Today, when taking my daily update pic, I finally felt, for the 1st time in 7 days like my stomach, ugly belly button and all, are actually looking good.
I'm so happy I've gotten through this week and am super excited to see where I am 7 more days from now!
I'm so thankful for my fellow RSers- I can't imagine recovery without the wealth of information found here and the amazing support.
Day 9 PO
Had my PO appointment today. It went fine. The dr said my belly button will shrink as the swelling goes down and instructed me to switch from bacitracin to aquaphor and rub it all over my scar and belly one to two times a day. It was also confirmed that I'm still really swollen and things will continue to smooth out over the next few months.
Yesterday, I ran a number of errands to finish up last minute Christmas shopping. Driving's not an issue, getting in and out is slow though. I also move very slowly in the stores, people walk by me at a normal pace and I just snail along. I took things nice and easy and was able to get a lot of things done. I was totally ready to rest by the time I got home (it was probably a 2 hour outing).
Otherwise, with the binder I'm standing pretty straight - 95%. Without it I feel more at 85%.
I'm pretty happy with everything at this point! And hopeful that my BB will do as the dr predicted and change :).
Day 11 PO - 2 Milestones
My energy is definitely returning and I'm feeling pretty darn good. Still not needing any medication and am looking forward to one more week off of work (3 weeks total - fairly active 'desk' job).
Forgot to mention that at the post op yesterday I asked if I was wearing my binder at the right tightness and was told it's really up to me and my comfort level, so that was affirming. I also confirmed that I should avoid activity that raises heart rate and blood pressure until the 2 week mark, then slowly start working walking or elliptical back in.
So, the 1st milestone hit was sleeping horizontal in bed! I used the wedge pillow under my legs, two others propped under my butt/low back and had to do a little maneuvering when getting up, but it was a great night's sleep!
2nd milestone is one I read about a lot in others' reviews and it's important to keep it honest, right? Had 'relations' with the husband today. It was pretty great. Was wondering what position would work out and naturally found the recliner to be the perfect place for ALL things TT recovery. Binder stayed on; I would have been uncomfortable without it.
I've also not mentioned that my mons is still crazy swollen since surgery. So weird, but normal (so glad I've seen it mentioned on other RS reviews so I know I'm not a freak!).
My biggest problem right now is what to wear while traveling for the holidays. I wish I could troupe around in just my robe and binder with the extended family, but I just don't think that would be very appreciated ;).
Wishing you all happy healing and happy Holidays!!!
Actual Day 11 PO
Just had to post these pics. They make me SO happy.
Traveled in the car today for 3 hours to be with extended family for the holiday, and it took a lot out of me. It's okay, because now I'm back to just sitting around like a bump on a log with my feet up.
Day 16 PO - Did Some Lunges
Passed the two week mark, so thought it'd be safe to do a little tiny workout. I can't walk at a normal pace yet (so sllooowww), but I can squat and lunge. I did 2 sets of 12 both yesterday and today and felt pretty good. My butt is SO flat that I hope getting some movements in will help it start to perk up again. I also did 2 sets of 12 push-ups (on my knees) and 2 sets of 12 tricep dips using the recliner. Took it slow & easy, listened to my body, and was careful not to engage my core muscles. Wore my binder to help prevent swelling from the short workout.
On another note that could be TMI, but I would have liked to hear about this before hand, orgasiming hurts right now. I'll wait a while to do that again! And, again, could be TMI, but the clitoris that I've been familiar with ever sense I started paying attention, has moved to a higher position. My mons isn't as swollen, so I'm thinking (but not positive) that this is a permanent change. I've read about this happening on another RSer's review, so I'm glad it wasn't a shock...and at least it still works!
In happy news, I measured at my BB before TT - 37.5", yesterday morning before daily swelling measured at 34.25". Very happy with that change.
Returned the CG I purchased on Amazon before surgery (felt like a sausage in it) and plan to spend tomorrow shopping for a good CG to wear back to work next week at the 3 week mark.
Don't love my bb yet, but am being patient because I know it has more changing to do. Very happy with everything else. Scar is low, tummy is flat, and waist is coming in.
My Recovery Recommendations
Everyone has their own story and their own best way of healing based on who they are and who their doctor is.
It was helpful for me before hand to read about what others had done to prepare, and what they'd experienced during recovery. Hopefully, what worked for me can work in part for others.
I read about others taking supplements before hand, I didn't but also eat pretty cleanly in general (lots of veggies and lean protein).
Before Surgery I purchased Metamucil and laxatives. These were my must when it comes to medicine. I'd also suggest having Tylenol (acetaminophen) on hand. I only took it once or twice, but it was good to have it near just in case.
I also purchased a wedge pillow ahead of time from Amazon. It was the cheapest one listed and I've used it every single day - in the recliner and in bed (I'll attach a pic to this post).
I regret purchasing CGs ahead of time. I think it's something you should really try on near the moment you'll be wearing it. They were from Amazon so it was a super easy return (mailed them back yesterday).
I've used gauze everyday over my incision and under the binder. At first it was because the incision was still weeping, but then it became a comfort thing. I found the best for me to be Bandaid brand large gauze pads. I unfold them from the square and make one horizontal fold so that the entire gauze is long enough to completely cover my incision when folded. I have a short torso so it also covers my bb. The bandaid brand also has more stretch than Curaid brand.
In the 1st week and a half I also used extra large surgical dressings for extra padding over the gauze and under the binder. They sent a few home from surgery with me and when those got gross I taped two bandaid brands ones together. Medical tape was another thing I was glad to have around post op.
I also followed the advice of my PS' team and purchased Aquaphor and apply twice daily to my incision area all the way up to my bb.
I thought about buying plastic gloves, but I'm glad I didn't.
Near my recliner I always have hand lotion, chapstick, and a box of tissues. I use them all the time.
The other thing I could not have lived without was my recliner. Luckily, we purchased it months before I'd even scheduled a consultation, with no idea I'd be having a TT or with any knowledge about the necessity of the recliner during recovery. It's in our bedroom seating area and has been perfect for my recovery.
I'm glad I didn't do the medical bed as others have done. I was fine without it. Also glad I didn't do a walker - I didn't need it. I also didn't need a shower stool (Again this is my experience, others have found these items to be of tremendous help).
For my return to work next week I purchased a CG waist cincher from Walmart. I tried on lots of different options, but don't like the idea of pulling things on or off or having an annoying panty line. I'll update on how it works after my return to work. I do have a bunch of spanx like garments worn pre surgery, went through them and found 2 that'll work. Again, I HATE taking them on and off because it feels like I'm putting my incision through unnecessary pulling and tugging, so I just held my breath and cut the crotches out of them. Perfect solution for me! I can wear my normal underwear over them (if I wanna) and it's a super easy up and down.
Again, this is my list of what worked for me. Everyone heals differently. Hopefully, some of what worked for me might work for others during recovery :).
Pictures from Recommendations Post
They didn't upload with the post.
1 Month PO: Hello Energy!
5 days ago I turned the corner and found my energy again: 25 days PO and the end of the first week back to work. Not sure if it's tied to working out for 30 minutes on a stationary bike. Returned to work and was able to hop on the bike the last two days of the work week over lunch for 30 minutes. Also, did the elliptical for 30 minutes over the weekend. Headed to the mall on Sunday for a walk and was shocked at how quickly I was able to move. I was able to move faster than other mall visitors, actually passing people! Not moving at a snails pace. Exactly a week prior it took me 30 minutes to walk a mile. What a difference just a week makes!
Have continued to get in lunges and squats as I can fit them in (no more than 24 of each).
So, by the end of the 1st week back to work there was ONLY swelling. Even in the morning. It was certainly a week of swell hell and of trying to find the right CG to wear under my clothing. I was wearing spanks type undies and tried the waist cincher but they created annoying fat rolls under my bra line (waist cincher was esp. bad). This week I switched to a Maidenform compression cami w/ out a bust. I've been pretty happy with it. It does roll up a bit when I sit down, but the roll up doesn't show through my clothes. It was only $16 from Amazon, so it's totally worth it!
Swelling after being back at work went down after a weekend in my nice tight binder with my feet up most of Saturday. Sunday was amazing. I got SO much done - errands, house stuff, random projects - it was a great day!
BB is getting better. The dark scar around it is starting to fade.
Still sleeping on my back (would rather be on my side) with knees up on a wedge pillow.
Still a dull pain when coughing or laughing, but I'm not really avoiding either but a coughing fit might kinda suck still. Can't always stand all the way straight. Had another orgasim at day 28 - was scared it would hurt like the 1st time, but there was no pain (hooray!)
I'm very happy with my stomach, my scar, and my shape!
Energy is a Funny Thing
I'll keep this short. So tired. Love my tummy, stopped wearing compression (my doctor said it was no longer needed - crazy how all Dr.s are different), always swollen :(. It will get better eventually :).
Can get a good workout in, BUT overdoing it is way easy because I'm not in tune with the warning signs yet. For instance, kicked butt working out Saturday morning and later in the day went on 5 mile walk, only got tired towards the end of the walk and was then depleted of energy for two days afterward. Pushing it at the gym does the same thing. When I work out I have a bottomless appetite too, so that hasn't been easy to manage.
I'm swollen more now then when I was home with my feet up.