Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tummy Tuck - Post

I had scar revision, tummy tuck and lipo  almost three weeks ago.  I have so many questions, I decided to read some blogs - and while they did help most were several years old so I thought I would start a blog of my own.  (I did not spend a lot of time looking for blogs so I could be very wrong about the time frame - and if so, sorry.)

I would like to say I probably won't  be witty, just matter of fact.

The thought process to have the procedures done was actually very quick.  While I have always joked about having lipo I never really thought I would have it done.  My husband always said don't do it, it is too dangerous.  But while getting my hair cut, my stylist, starting talking about having a tummy tuck and lipo.  For the following year, every six weeks when I would go for my appointment we would talk about it. She had seen two doctors already.  Of course I would come home and tell my husband, so I think I "wore him down".  (For some reason I felt I needed his "approval".)  He finally said make an appointment.  That alone was a big step.  I was so nervous even making the phone call.  I wanted a woman plastic surgeon.  (I don't know if you are allowed to give out names, so I won't - but if anyone wants her information, I will gladly share it - let me know.)

Let me backtrack.  I should say I am in my 50's, had 2 C-sections, am 5'3" and weigh 123 pounds.   I exercise every morning (M-F) for about 20-30 minutes.  Usually cardio and then some sort of abs.  That is all I have time for.  I get up at 5:00, and I refuse to get up any earlier.  Then when I come home from work I am too tired.

When my daughter got married I hired a personal trainer for a couple of months.  No matter what I did or how much I starved myself, I just could not get rid of the "pouch" and the love handles (flanks)  He repeatedly told me that the flank area is the hardest area to get rid of.  He also told me I had very strong core muscles, and he found it hard to find exercises to challenge me.  The "pouch" was still there.  (It may have gone down, but still there)  I will say, however, even growing up I am not sure that I had that flat stomach.

Anyway, made the first appointment.  My husband went with me.  The doctor first spoke with me alone.  My husband was not allowed to come in until after our meeting.  She actually told me I was the perfect candidate.  I was at the right weight, non-smoker, good health.  She then examined me and said that I had strong abdominal muscles and if I wanted I could do a mini tummy tuck.  When I sat up I said " see this" and pointed to the "pouch".  I said will the mini tummy tuck take care of this, she said "no", that would require the full tummy tuck.  But the decision was mine.  My husband then came in, asked her questions, which she graciously answered.  When we left they gave me the estimate and procedure as to payment and next steps.  I was going to go home and think about it and my husband said "book it" so I did.  I  knew if I wanted to do it, with our crazy schedules, I wanted it done by a certain date,  having learned from my stylist of the down time.  So I booked it, had the procedures done and just two days shy of 3 weeks.

The month between booking the procedures and the having actual procedures, for me, was mind consuming.  That is all I thought about - literally.  Also, from having listened to my husband for years say how dangerous lipo was, now that I was having it done, I was afraid of dying (obviously not enough to cancel) but still on my mind. 

I should also say I was not doing it to lose weight - just to get rid of those areas that after years of exercising, just would not go away. 

Okay, as to procedure/recovery so far:

I will say it is nothing that you can imagine!!!  I think, however, that if you want it bad enough there is nothing anyone can say that will keep you from having it done. 

The first two days were a blur.  I don't remember the ride home, getting into bed - nothing.  I do remember the doctor telling me that after two days, you probably won't need your Vicatin.  (I should say that my doctor calls in a prescription for Vicatin and Valium which you bring with you the day of surgery.)  I will have to pretty much agree with her.      However, by day three my back was KILLING ME.  It hurt so bad.  We called the doctor (it was a Sunday) and she responded quickly.  I did not have a fever, so she really felt it was just a positional thing.  (You sleep on your back with two pillows behind your back and one under your legs.)   I should say that I am not a back sleeper, and I can't wear belts for accessorizing.  The belts hurt my back after a few hours.  So the doctor felt that between sleeping on my back and wearing the binder, that was causing my pain.  She recommended taking a Valium.  I did and was out instantly.  I don't think it helped at all, and I have not taken one since.  We actually had a walker at my house so I started using that and that did help, especially in the shower.  Without the walker taking a shower was so painful!!!  By day 5 my back was better. 

I showered after 24-48 hours.  Looking in the mirror my stomach was flat - you could bounce a coin off it, the c-section scar was gone, no "pouch", but my hips were and still are very swollen.  It took forever for the marker to come off - almost three weeks.  (The doctor draws on the areas before surgery)

After one week we went back for stitch removal and drain removal.  I read and the doctor told me everyone hated the drain.  While I didn't "love" it, it didn't really bother me.  You record the amount of "fluid" that comes out.  Mine wasn't very much and by the end of the week, barely anything.  The stitch removal wasn't bad, but the drainer removal was HORRIBLE.  SOOO PAINFUL!!!  I should also say that I was nervous going to my one week appointment since I wasn't able to stand straight at all and I wondered what people would say.  Fortunately, I was the last appointment of the day and no one was there.  I know I shouldn't care what people think - but I do.  Well after those were off and taken out, I was able to stand a little straighter. 

I asked the doctor how fat was taken off and for me it was 740 grams of fat/skin and 100 cc's of liquid fat.  Doing the math, it totals between 2 and 3 pounds. 

After the one week appointment, I don't go back for three months.  I have called several times with questions. 

Little incidentals:  the doctor recommended I wear compression socks from the day of surgery for a month.  Also, I was instructed to get Bacitracin and gauze.  She told me to only use the Bacitracin for two weeks and then stop because you could get a rash, which she said was horrible.  My scar is 21 inches wide.  You wear your binder for three weeks.  Then the doctor recommended "compression underwear" - spanx.  For how long, I don't know.

Again, just shy of three weeks post-op.  I still cannot stand straight.  You just can't image the feeling of the "tightening", my back is okay.  I feel my scar has pretty much stopped oozing.  Haven't used the walker for over almost 10 days. 

My husband kept asking me if I weighed myself.  I told him "no".  I never weigh myself, it is always depressing and I didn't to it for weight loss.  But he wouldn't let up so I got on the scale and was down to 118 so that is 5 pounds lost.

If you ask me if it was worth it - I feel it is too early to say.  While yes it is awesome to see that flat stomach, I guess I just didn't think/realize I would be that swollen and unable to stand straight.  I googled to see what others had to say about the swelling, and saw a lot said they actually went up a pant size.  I wouldn't say I went up a pant size but am wearing my larger pants and am having a hard time getting past that.  I won't have enough larger cloths, and I won't go out and buy larger ones.  If I could see into the future and see myself standing straight and see there is no swelling, I could handle it a lot better.  I guess I would say right now I am having "doubts".  I asked the doctor if I would go back to normal not a "new normal" and she said yes.  The skin is stretched so tight, the nurse said to just try and stretch a little more each day.

I should also say that my abdominal muscles had "come apart" and she stitched those back.  She said it was very common for this to happen after giving birth.  Actually, right now I would say that is where the pain is mostly.  And just like everyone else, it is hard/painful to cough, sneeze, laugh, spit out your toothpaste or blow your nose.  Now, I do remember all of that from having C-sections and it is definitely much easier now that I am almost three weeks post-op.  I guess what they say is true, the younger you are the easier it is to recoup.  I am back to work, went back after two weeks, walking slow because at the top of your thighs, that is very tight also and it is easier to take smaller steps than longer ones. 

Actually, writing this has been therapeutic for me, and I feel much better about having the procedures done.  (I told myself, suck it up girl, and think positive!!!) Just miss holding/carrying my grandsons.  Another is on the way in October, so I better be raring to go!!!!

I did find it helpful reading others blogs, so I will continue every so often, hoping maybe I can shed some more light for anyone else wanting to have this done.  I am  now going to look up "massaging the scar".