I have some really thin and non elastic skin and...
I have some really thin and non elastic skin and over the years, from having kids and up and down weight loss, I had a lot of excess skin and some fat that wouldn't go away no matter how healthy I ate or what exercises I did. I have wanted to get this gross "flap" removed for about 15 years and was just never in a place to be able to do so and I finally just decided to do it. Booked it and just did it!
I went in for a fluer de lis procedure and came out with a capital I type. I had old the surgeon before going in that I was not concerned about scarring (too many stretch marks to worry about a few more lines) and to do whatever was needed to get me the best results possible. While she was in, she decided doing the upper incision would be best and I am glad she did, it also pulled in a lot more on my upper sides and back. I do not have the "bra bulge" anymore.
3 and a half weeks out and starting to feel human again
I am 3 and half weeks out and starting to feel human again. I still have some pain especially along the top incision but I attribute that to the compression garment that rubs right there and that I am a heavy DD and that pulls on it too. I also get a lot of swelling too , today was the 1st day I woke up pretty flat and made me feel better as I was afraid that the "preggers" belly I felt like I was going to have forever might just go away some day. Of course it only took an hour or so to start to swell and I am sure it will be 3 times that size by the end of the day but hey...it's a start! I am EXHAUSTED though. All the time.......I feel like I am dragging like I am getting over the worst flu ever. But in reading on here it seems to be normal and can take some time to go away. Hopefully sooner rather than later!
4 weeks tomorrow and I am having an off day
Tomorrow makes 4 weeks PO and today is just crappy. I am so tired of it all...tired of being tired, tired of being sore, tired of not being able to stand up straight, tired of the pulling sensation all across the top of my abdomen, tired of not being able to poop without taking something to make me go, tired of the irritation of the compression garment across the incision under the boobs and soooo tired of the swelling that makes me feel like a sausage in a casing that is going to split open!. JUTS TIRED AND AGGRAVATED!!! Please, please, please tell me it gets better!
4 Weeks PO Today
I am 4 weeks PO today. After a rough day yesterday I woke up feeling pretty good. Seems to be less pulling that yesterday and I can stand up straighter. My neck and shoulders are killing me though. I see the chiropractor this weekend, hopefully she can get my neck back into place. Still tired but not wiped out exhausted as I was yesterday from the get go, of course it is only 9:00 am! LOL. I am adding a couple of pics from today (bathroom at work) and you can see there is still s belly...i think it makes me look preggers which sucks...hopefully it is only swelling that will continue to go down. This is my little black dress that I would've NEVER worn before. I see a huge difference from before and after pics but still want that preggers belly to just piss off!!!
Also added a few more before pics..
I was a little nervous to post the before pics as they are quite revealing...but after seeing that a lot of people did too...here goes. What do you think of the difference? I need to get a pic of what I look like now out of the compression garment.
Five Weeks PO Tomorrow
So tomorrow makes me 5 weeks PO. It has been a hard 5 weeks, due to the extent of the surgery I am having a rough recovery compared to some other who only had the lower incision. I am doing better but still have a lot of lingering issues, aches and pains and just aggravations in general. My stomach, while it has gone down some from where it was...still makes me look pregnant and I am beginning to get REALLY worried that this is what I am stuck with. Not too sure how I feel about this. It is also uneven, one side is bumpier than the other. Do you think this is swelling still at this point? Or just residual fat? Added pics.
Week 5 and 1/2 Update after follow up with surgeon.
Ok the good news (well none of it is BAD news, just frustrating). She says I am doing well, the incisions look awesome and are healing better than expected for this time frame. No openings, no infections, nothing she is concerned about. I have that small blister but that is almost gone.
So on to the swelling, she said it was excessive. I went in at 3:30 which was good so she could see just how swollen I get during the day. She wants me to stay in a compression garment for 3 more weeks, 24/7 but the ones I had were too loose now that I had lost some weight and I went down a size so she said that should help with the swelling also. But she was honest and told me this could take 2 - 8 months to be a non issue. Not exactly what I wanted to hear...but it is what it is. Due to the extent of my surgery and that none of my tissues are completely connected again and working right, the drainage that is needed just isn't there yet. She did recommend a lymphatic drainage massage and I will go get one right after Xmas. I have a few spots where the scar tissue is very knotty under the skin and makes it pull and feel very uncomfortable. She said to use vitamin e oil and massage it into those areas at least once a day...3 if possible. I will say I did it last night and it felt "ok" but it sure was sore as hell after the fact. And the best part (i asked her 3 times!!!) is that she said it might take some time but that preggers looking belly WILL go down some. I will not be concave or FLAT FLAT, but it will def go down and I will be happier with the result. She said try not to get discouraged and that it WILL happen. So all in all, a good appt and no bad news...just my impatience! Merry Christmas to all. Have a safe and happy holiday!
8 Weeks and 4 days
13 Jan 2014
2 months post
I still am not thrilled. I have a bigger belly than I wanted. Granted in these pics there is some swelling but it really isn't that much smaller even when I 1st get up. I think I need to resign myself to the fact that there was just too much fat under there to begin with and she took out what she could...the rest is left over and what she didn't remove that was attached to the skin, she couldn't take off. I really should've waited until I lost another 20 lbs before having it done. :-( Hindsight and all that. I will have to work on losing that now. I look pregnant and I am NOT OK with that!
Just about 16 weeks
26 Feb 2014
3 months post
So I am now 1 day away from 16 weeks. Things are better..though I am still a little unhappy with the uneveness and the swelling. Some of the swelling has started to resolve. The side swelling (which I wasn't aware was even there) has gone down some and given me more of an hourglass shape on the sides. The front swelling has lessened some, but is still there. By the end of the day I am very big and uncomfortable, but the good thing is I don't really start out that way anymore. I am still yet to have been completely flat at any point but it is better and smaller, especially in the morning. I get some soreness at times, especially in the upper abs above the belly button up into right under my boobs. But no actual pain. Sneezing and coughing doesn't hurt anymore (yay!!!) But if I stretch too far or sit up/move too fast I can feel a sharp pull. I haven't been wearing the compression garment at all for a couple of weeks now. I do have a tank top type of shapewear that I still wear to bed, and some days when I know I am going to be really active or just when I am feeling "off" I will put it on. Otherwise I am free bellying it about 50% of the time. My pre op size 12's are big on me. I went out and bought a couple pairs of 10's and they fit great...as long as I am standing up. LOL. When I sit in them the band/button hits right at the belly button and is very uncomfy and causes almost instant swelling. So for now I am wearing my 12's and when sitting just pushing the band/button lower below the belly button and that works. I am just SOOO glad not to be stuck in the leggings anymore. I am considering putting them in a barrel and having a bon fire!!! I will say that my stamina and energy is still not back to where it was. Maybe 75%. I am still pretty tired at the end of the day and while I used to be able to go on 5-6 hours of sleep, I HAVE to have at least 7 to even be able to function now. I hope that continues to improve as I am usually a more active person and kinda tired of being tired. Scar looks good. It is redder than it was a month ago but from everything I read that is normal. That it will fade then redden up again about the 3-4 month mark. I never had any issues with the incisions closing, infection, etc so I am happy with the scar. I still have so many left over stretch marks that the scar isn't an issue for me. I do have a couple spots on it that seems to be a little "puckered" still but that even seems to be smoothing out so it's all good. I do still have some numb spots, specifically the area where the lower belly meets the front of the leg. The feeling has come back some but still feels weird and can be tender at times. The left hip incision (which extends around further than the right side) burns sometimes, especially if I sleep on it. The right side has no issues. For all the work and incisions I had, I didn't end up with any dog ears which surprised me but I will take it! My belly button has feeling back but the area around it is still very itchy. But that area does seem to be getting smaller and smaller as time goes by. I am guessing due to the multiple incisions and the belly button being sewn back in that area will take a while longer to heal underneath. All in all things are much better. The pics are from about 1/2 hour ago. I need to have the bf take some close ups of the incisions and belly itself.
18 Week Pics
I am finally adding some pics of the incisions and without clothes on it. As you can see I still have lots of stretch marks but that is just my skin. No elasticity and too thin is what caused the issues I had in the first place. Those will never go away..I just wanted to look better in clothes!!! I will never be wearing a bikini again but it is what it is. I really like my belly button!
4 Months - Follow Up Appt
27 Mar 2014
4 months post
So I had my 4 month follow up 2 days ago and here is what she said. Just below my incision on my right side where the belly meets the front of the thigh seemed to sag a little. Weird, but just on that side. She said that she either didn't pull the skin up far enough from the bottom up or there was a slot of stretch marks there and the skin didn't bounce back as well. Either way she said it was an easy fix, just a new incision a couple inches long and tuck and cut off the extra skin and stitch it back up. I also developed a small dog ear on the left side that will only take a snip and a stick or two. The other issue I brought up was how full my belly was around the belly button area. She thinks it is just left over visceral fat that she couldn't get out and will need some small lipo. However, she does not want to do any of this until a full 12 months after the surgery as she says it will change more over the next 8 months and she wants it to be through that stage before doing anything. I have an appt in November and will go from there. Other than that she said everything looks good.
I still have swelling issues, just not as bad as I used to (except last month with PMS, holy hell it was BAD). I can see reshaping going on and while not 100% happy with my results I am thrilled that it is a 90% improvement.
I am working out but can't do any kind of crunch or anything as the upper abs feel like they are being stabbed when I try. I can however do the ab swing and back extension so I am doing what I can as far as the core/abs go. I still have days that I find I get tired easy. Not exhausted but tired and some nights I can't sleep because no matter what position I get in the upper abs pull and are uncomfy. Long recovery but all in all...I WOULD do it again. Just having that flap gone and not flopping all over the place every time I move is worth it!
We have a Disney trip planned in May (just me and the b/f) and I cannot wait!!! It will be nice to go on rides and such and not have the bars/straps sinking into the belly fat/flap!
Hope everyone else is doing well!
These pics are from yesterday. Same black dress I was wearing in a previous pic. Looser and fits better.
Six Months Out
29 May 2014
6 months post
SO not much has really changed. Things have def gotten better. Though I do still find that I get tired easier than I did before the surgery and my stamina is still not 100%. I have a little sagging on one side that I am NOT happy about and the belly is a little uneven, one side of the belly is a little bigger than the other so it looks like I need a revision. Also, it has loosened up a lot and I am guessing that is because the swelling is gone so instead of being hard it is mushy. Depending on the pants I wear I can still get muffin top :-( I will wait until a year to get the revision though. It will consist of her cutting and lifting that sagging area (about 6 inches) and a little lipo to even out the uneven belly along with a dog ear that JUST developed. What the hell?
Also, a tip....if you had muscle repair...do NOT NOT NOT gain any weight. I was on vacation and admittedly ate way too much for 9 days and gained about 5 pounds and it hurts. The extra weight pushing against the sewn up abs is very uncomfy and sometimes even hurts. I feel like I am strangling inside!!! Working on getting rid of that weight immediately!!!