Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tummy Tuck

Many times after I mention my tummy tuck, I get comments asking about it. Forever ago I did a post about it here, but I will talk about it more now.

In October 2007, I got to my lowest weight of 117. I honestly can never remember weighing this weight EVER. In high school I was between 140 and 160. In jr. high I think I was 125. I just seem to have jumped over the teens. I should have felt proud, elated, and extremely happy about my accomplishment. I was happy for about 5 minutes. The problem was I still saw myself as fat. My undergarment of choice was tummy-sucking-in-underwear that hit me right under my bra. Granny panties! I wore these daily because I had loose flabby skin that literally used to sway in the breeze. I could feel it slap against itself when I ran up stairs. It was pretty attractive! Even though I was at this weight, I didn't want to wear tight clothes, swimsuits, or be seen naked. I felt disgusting! I would cry and fuss and stare at it all the time. I wasn't trying to be vain, it just made me feel like I needed to be smaller. My husband was worried about me. He felt like I was going to the "bad place" in my mind (anorexia). He very much encouraged me to see a doctor.

When I mentioned to my coworkers that I was considering it, they instantly judged me and looked down their noses at me. I was really good at hiding the loose skin, so they all thought I was just being ridiculous. I would get upset and frustrated. It made me not want to eat in the staff room with my coworkers. It made me cry constantly. Finally I started getting so irritated with people that I would show them. I would have to pull it all out of my undies and let it fly until they believed me. Their reactions were usually things like, "Oh," or "My old skin looks like that," or "So when are you going to get that fixed?" I know it was bad!

I finally paid for a consultation to a plastic surgeon. When she looked at me, she said in the 13+ years she's been doing plastic surgery that I probably had the most above the belly button skin of anyone she'd even seen. The skin above my belly button used to completely hide it. I would get infections in there since it never got any fresh air! In fact, right before my surgery it started getting infected again and then my surgery would have had to be rescheduled. I finally decided to go ahead and do it. I made the surgery appointment and coordinated it with my moms and hubs vacations so I had help. Once you get surgery, there's no heavy lifting for 6 weeks! This would be hard with two 2 year olds running around!

The day I had my surgery, my father in law was in the same hospital getting a procedure done. It made it handy for hubs to visit both of us, but kind of confusing for the nursing staff since my father in law and I both have similar first names...Michelle and Michael and of course the same last name. I don't really remember much except that when I woke up and started to walk around, you're supposed to walk hunched over for the first 2 weeks. I kept walking upright and my hubs would tell me to hunch over. For some reason I stayed upright and just squatted with my knees. He'd laugh at me and then lean me over to show me what he meant. The first few days I was in pain, but I've had two previous c-sections so it wasn't too bad. You have to sleep upright after surgery, so we made me a bed in an old lazy boy we got from the hubs' grandma. The chair was not the most comfortable, so the most pain I felt was in my back.

Now there are things I NEVER knew people went through during this type of surgery. The sleeping upright was one. Another is they insert drainage tubes in you to drain the fluid. The ends of the tubes collect the fluid. They look like clear hand grenades. They are MUCH bigger than I though. You can't hide or conceal them much because they are literally the size of a grenade. You have to drain and measure the crap that comes out daily! I had to right down the amounts because it's not until you basically stop draining that they'll remove these things. And they are a pain. Try showering when you have plastic tubes with giant hand grenades attached to them coming our of your body. We had to wrap them around my neck so my hands could be free to clean myself! Also, you have to wear a stomach wrap and it needs to be TIGHT. The one plus to this was I could attach my stupid tubes to it so they weren't being dragged around. I had to wear this things for the full 6 weeks. The tubes came out after about a week and a half. Also, under the tummy wrap I wore and electrode my doctor gave me that was supposed to help with muscle spasms. It must have worked because honestly, I was not in as much pain as I thought I would be. I made sure I was in really fit condition before my surgery to help. My hubs just thinks I'm super tough. I honestly think it was good drugs and the electrode that helped
The first few days after surgery I was basically in and out of sleep most of the time. My hubs was with me the first full week after surgery. The week after that was my mom, the next week his mom, then my mom again, and finally his mom one more time. It was really nice to have so much help not necessarily for me, but my kids needed to be taken care of. I also had a lot of appointments to go to that I couldn't drive myself.
If you are considering doing a tummy tuck, here are things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you get a doctor that has very good references and you can see their work FIRST.
  • I would save money because unless you have loose skin that hangs past your pelvis, insurance will not cover the costs. Even if your skin does hang past, I have heard insurance only pays a little bit. This surgery can be $9 to $10K. There are medical loans you can get for a pretty low interest rate, but we saved and just paid for all of it at once. With my doc, you got a discount for paying cash.
  • Make sure you have HELP! At least one other adult the first few weeks.
  • Make sure you are ready to give up 6 weeks of your life! You have to sit and rest! The more you move, the worse it is for your pain and healing. It had a really hard time with keeping my butt in a chair for so long. It sounds nice to lay around, be lazy, watch TV or read books, but it got old really quick.
  • Make sure it's worth it to your spirit and well being.
  • Preplan and freeze meals for yourself.
  • Be as physically fit as possible. It also helps your recovery.
  • Understand that it will not be perfect. My tummy is not perfect. I've had 2 other mini procedures to try to help, but I still have scars and stretch marks. It was inevitable for me, but I've heard it gets rid of some peoples stretch marks.

I had a dog ear (skin on my side that was pointy like the tip of a dog's ear) removed and two belly button lifts to try to help my skin STILL around the belly button. It still sags a bit but over all I'm very happy I did it. I can wear normal clothes and more importantly normal underwear. It feels so good to be able to wear cute undies. That is a luxury skinny girls take for granted! Again for before and after pics click on my older post to see for yourself.

Workout- Run- tempo 5 miles 44:00 including warmup and cooldown


KK @ Running Through Life said...

Thanks for sharing your story about your tummy tuck! You look amazing!

carla said...

THanks for sharing all the details even the notsopretty CAUTIONARY be careful whom you choose ones.

have a great weekend.


Lisa said...

Wow! thanks for sharing your story and GRET job on the weight loss!

- Lisa

workout mommy said...

thank you for sharing all your tips, so many people don't realize those and think it must be so easy.

(and as I was reading your story I was so fearful you were going to say they mixed up your procedure with your father in law. (b/c of the similar names, etc.!) I'm so relieved that wasn't the case!)

Margoth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geoffrey said...

People really need to know the details about stuff like this, no? A tummy tuck, or any other plastic surgery procedure for that matter, is not an instant solution at all: It's an investment of time and effort.

-Geoffrey Lelia

Terry said...

I agree with you, Geoffrey. Undergoing any cosmetic procedure is an investment of time and effort. It also requires definite knowledge and ultimate decision. And you must not only be physically prepared, but emotionally and financially as well.

Terry Bayer