Here We Go!!! - West Des Moines, IA

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I am three weeks away from what I am calling my...

I am three weeks away from what I am calling my "overhaul." I am scheduled to have what is called the mommy makeover: breast lift/augmentation, full abdominoplasty, and lipo on inner and outer thighs. Contrary to the title of the procedure, I can't blame the state of my body on children:) I was a chubby kid and overweight my whole life. In my late 20s I committed to a healthier lifestyle (healthy food and kickboxing) and have lost over 70 lbs. I will never be skinny and I am comfortable being a healthy, full-figured woman but I am very self conscious about my deflated breasts and hanging "apron" stomach. I think I have realistic expectations but I have never had any surgery so I don't know how I will handle the pain and mobility restrictions. I have dreamed of having this surgery for years. I have done a lot of research and RealSelf has been a great resource so I decided to share my thoughts and experiences. I hope to help others and take advantage of the support and advice this community can offer.

Last pre-op visit

I had my final pre-op visit with my PS about 2 weeks ago. I arrived early for my 1:30 appointment. The lady at the desk warned me it might be a long wait because the Dr had a couple of emergencies and was running behind schedule. I brought my mom along on this visit to help me decide how big I wanted to go on the implant. I have read other reviews of Dr. Cherney complaining about the wait times in his office. I have worked in medicine and understand how things bog down the schedule. As long as a doctor is generous with me in my appointment, I can tolerate having to wait my turn.
I only waited about 15 minutes before they took me back to the room. Dr. Cherney spent over 40 minutes answering my and my mom's questions (I am a bit of a control freak and he was very patient). The doctor left the room when the nurse helped me try on various sizers to get an idea of how big I should go. During my first consultation, I was undecided between 550cc and 650cc and I wanted to show my mom and get her opinion. Two nurses, the doctor and even my mother said I would be disappointed if I went with the smaller. I am 6'0" tall with broad shoulders and I want be a full D or small DD. I told the doctor I don't want "Dolly Parton" or "porno" boobs. He assured me the 650 would be proportional to my frame. One thing I was also worried about was if the implants would feel overly hard. My nurse called in a fellow nurse and told her "Let her feel your breasts". The nurse promptly lifted her shirt and insisted I feel her breasts. That was a first! She had saline implants over 10 years before and they felt firm but not hard. A third nurse came in and insisted I feel what her gel implants are like. She had her breasts done about 6 months prior and they felt very natural. I call this going over and above in patient care! Before we left, the nurse asked if we would like a tour of the surgery suite so she showed me where the magic will happen. The nurses and office staff were all very warm and generous with their time. I felt like the doctor and his nurses get along very well and there appears to be friendship and respect between the doctor and his team. It's comforting to feel like I am in good hands.

Tomorrow's the big day!

I wonder how many people chicken out. Over the last week, I have occasionally had moments of panic where I ask myself “Do you really want to do this? What if your boobs are too big? What if your scars are horrible?” I have to stop, take a deep breath and remind myself that I have seen the doctor’s work and have to trust that he will do his very best and leave the rest in God’s hands.
With that being said, I am in overdrive trying to take care of all the things I can control in this situation. My recliner, toilet riser, and walker are all in place. My mom is on her way here. I have healthy food options in the fridge and I am picking up my prescriptions from the pharmacy this afternoon. Checking things off my “TO DO” list is giving me a bit of relief from the anxiety of the unknown.

I made it!

Hi everyone. I made and am doing pretty good today. I will get to take a shower tonight, so I will get the see all the changes and can't wait. Sore all over but not unbearable. Staying on top of my Vicodin and Valium. Getting up and walking around gets easier everytime. The drugs are making me really sleepy so I will write more later. Thanks for all the good wishes.

Hello lipo pain

Today my lipo to my thighs and flanks is starting to make itself known...very sore. I am so grateful the pain is manageable as that was one of biggest fears. Sitting on the toilet is not a pleasant experience but I am going all the time because I was told to drink lots of water and juice. No BM yet but the nurse said it may be as many as 5 days before anything happens. I didn't have the ambition for shower yesterday. Maybe tonight. My mom is taking care of me and doing a wonderful job. So grateful to have her here. Still haven't seen all of me yet as I am covered in a binder and long legged girdle and walking like a 100 year old woman. I will post pics as soon as I can.

Getting better everyday

Good morning ladies! I am feeling better everyday. Today will be my first post-op checkup with doctor. Yesterday was a tough day. After some difficulty, I finally got to celebrate with a potty dance. MoM is magical stuff but now I have a bit of the opposite problem. At least it doesn't hurt as much to get up and trek to the bathroom. I also took a shower yesterday. I have to say that was one of the most difficult shower of my life. Getting in and out of the CG made me break out in a sweat but with my mom's help we did it! I hung a long piece of ribbon around my neck to hang the drains from and it worked pretty well.
I am trying to ramp down the vicodin and valium to every 6-8 hours. I would have taken pictures after my shower but I just didn't have the time. My franken-boobs are pretty swollen but the lipo doesn't hurt nearly as much as day 2. I will let you know what the doctor thinks of my progress later this afternoon. All my love and support to my sisters out there in recovery. They don't lie, everyday gets a little easier.

Time for an updated photo

I just took a shower and barely had strength for the front shot. I will try for a side view next time. The Dr said they removed 3 sq ft of skin from my abdomen and over 3 liters in lipo. I have a ways to go with the swelling but I can't believe my hanging apron of a gut is gone!

My first week of recovery

I am blessed that I have had such a good experience so far. The day of surgery I was really nervous. The doctor was running behind schedule with his previous procedure so instead of going at 10, I didn’t go until 12. They forgot to remind me they needed me to pee in a cup for the pregnancy test, so I went to the bathroom before they took me back to the surgery prep area. I was so stressed that I wouldn’t be able to be before the surgery but they assured me not to worry. They put in my IV and started me on fluids and I had an extra 2 hours so we got a sample no problem. Once they were ready for me, I didn’t have much time to think. They took me back to the surgical suite and had me lie down. The anesthesiologist suddenly said I was going to start feeling really sleepy. Boy was he right. There was no count down just a sudden rush of wooziness, I think the last thing I said as my vision started to blur was that it felt like I downed a whole bottle of vodka. I was in and out during recovery. The first time I woke up they all assured me everything went great. My resting pulse is low so they kept me in recovery until almost 8:30 as I drifted in and out. The drive home wasn’t too bad and I made it to my chair no problem. I slept like a rock for several hours. They did the lipo on my thighs and flanks, then the full breast lift and aug, and finally the tummy tuck.

The next day, I was sore all over, the worst being my abs. An unexpected cough brought me to tears. Getting up to go the bathroom took a bit of effort but I could do it mostly on my own. The toilet riser was a God-send! I was wrapped in a 4 stripped binder (I have a long torso) and a girdle from my waist to knees that hooked and zipped down both sides. My appetite was great and I had no ill effects from the valium or Vicodin or antibiotic, thank God. I mostly slept and peed that 1st day.

Day 3 the lipo on my thighs and flanks was really tender. I also had my first BM with the help of MoM. It was rough but felt so good to get past that milestone.

Day 4 was my follow up visit. The PS was very happy with the drains and sutures. He said my recovery is going so well because I was fit and healthy going in. They took over 3 liters in lipo from my inner and outer thighs and flanks and 3 square feet of skin from my abdomen! I am pleased they were able to get some lift on the front of my thighs and my mons.

I am lucky that I don’t have any responsibilities other than rest and recover. Every day gets a bit better. I can raise my hands above my head with a little discomfort. My drains are draining mostly clear. I have the spent the majority of my days ensconced in my lazyboy rocker recliner (covered in a fitted sheet to protect it from any drainage mishaps) with pillows under my legs and elbows. A neck pillow is essential to avoid sleeping wrong and waking up with a stiff neck. Being a stomach sleeper, I was worried I wouldn’t sleep well, but I haven’t had a problem sleeping in my chair…probably thanks to the Vicodin:) Overall my recovery hasn’t been as bad as it could have been. My spirits are good. I spent most of yesterday Christmas shopping online. I may have to keep my drains through the holiday since I want to travel the 3 hours home to be with family.

Today my breasts ache a bit more. I went with the 650cc and they are riding high and tight on my chest. Can’t wait to see how they settle and fluff out. I am happy to answer any questions if I missed something. Happy healing to all my fellow recovery warriors.

Seeking advice to encourage breast to drop

It is 3am and waiting for my pain pill to kick in. I was just wondering if any of my fellow lifted sisters have experience (besides patience) on how to encourage your breasts to drop?

More pics

This is the best I could do for side shots. I really hope that my puffy abdomen is just swollen and doesn't stay that way.

Just realized this is my week anniversary!

Hope everyone else is feeling as good as I am. Thanks for all the continuing support. I promise this is the last time I will post today:)

The promised blues arrive

I don't know if it's post holiday let down or what, but I am finally experiencing the promised "post surgical blues". I am still happy with my results but just feeling down for some reason. I see the surgeon tomorrow to get the last drain pulled and a few sutures removed. I feel bloated (don't eat Chinese take out during recovery) and really tired. I also know I packed on some holiday pounds so I need to get cleared to start some exercise pronto. Off to fine some Tylenol for my sore boobs and sleep this off.

Free at last!

I got my last drain removed today....sooooooooo happy to be free of those things! The Dr also removed all the external sutures. The drain removal wasn't bad at all but I have to say the suture removal was the most painful thing I experienced so far. Those threads are longer than they appear and some of them didn't let go workout a fight. Not the worst thing I have felt but glad it's over. The Dr is pleased with my progress and he assured me the swelling in my lower abdomen will go away. I have a bit of drainage from my new BB that should stop by the end of next week. I have been cleared to return to work on Monday and to exercise as much as I can tolerate. I plan to start on the treadmill and ease back into kickboxing in a few weeks. I will post suture-free pics soon as possible.

4 Week Update

Everything is continuing to heal and settle. Per the PS instructions, I have started to apply scar zone to my incisions. Still need to get on that treadmill but it will happen. I am just completing my first week back to work. I have some minor soreness (mostly in my breasts) and I get tired easily but nothing I can't handle. My pecs are still pretty swollen but the Dr assures me that it could take several more weeks for my muscles to relax and for the implant to fully settle into the pocket.

As I was walking into work this morning, I was thinking of how grateful I am and how empowered I feel after having this surgery. I am grateful for the financial resources that allowed me to make this choice. I am grateful for the skillful and caring surgeon, for my mom's loving post-surgical care, for the support of my friends and family, and for no complications. It is empowering and freeing to no longer be so self conscious and unsatisfied with my figure. I could see the potential but I could never have realized it with only exercise and diet. I hope I never take the gift of this transformation for granted. Even with the continued swelling, I marvel at the miracle of a "flat" stomach and "perky" breasts.

6 week check-up

I saw the PS on Thursday. Everything is healing well and I have been cleared for full activity again. I will have to have a slight revision of the scars on my hips since I have what I call a "reverse dog ear." The scar over my hips where the drains were is forming a crease and indent into my hip. The PS said that he can easily fix and smooth that without any additional expense or anesthesia at my 4 month post-op visit. My left pec is still swollen and the breast hasn't settled as much as the right breast. The PS assures me that it might take as many as 4-6 months for my breasts to fully settle and the pec to stretch and relax. The nurse at my check-up just went through the same waiting game. Her surgery was in July and she said it took until December for everything to settle (reduced fullness in the upper pole and the lower pole to fill out). I really hope it doesn't take 5 months!

Better side pic

Des Moines Plastic Surgeon

I have had a wonderful experience with Dr. Eugene Cherny and his staff. They have provided excellent care and I feel like they care about me as a person. I can't say enough good things about his staff. Brenda was always available to answer my post surgical questions. Melissa and Marie were wonderful in helping me with pre surgery prep and decisions. Everyone was warm and reassuring before surgery and have been so supportive after. I can't thank them enough! I know some reviews have complained about appointment wait times. I have had to wait up to an hour but when my turn comes, I received his full attention and never feel rushed out the door like some doctors I know. I am willing to wait for that kind of care.

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
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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