Monday, April 14, 2014

The Tell-All Tummy Tuck Post (Part 1)

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Where to begin? I've lost over 90 pounds and I've had two babies. That didn't bode well for my belly. I've been dreaming of a tummy tuck even before I hit my goal weight. Most people who'd see me (dressed) balked when I said I wanted a tummy tuck, "What?! You're so skinny, you don't need one!" Sometimes, if they were a close friend (or my hairdresser) I'd show them my belly, to which they'd always say, "Oh yeah, I see, you should get one!" Want to see what I mean? Here are my official "before" pictures taken by the plastic surgery folks.

Before (tummy tucks) pics
Those pictures make it look even better than it is was in my opinion. They were taken when I went for my pre-op appointment in November of 2012 (the surgery had been scheduled for December but ended up getting canceled because of my cough. The docs were worried I'd get pneumonia).

So it got canceled and I randomly chose April for a new date. At the time April sounded so far off in the future but it was here in the blink of an eye! I got so nervous leading up to the date. I'd really wanted to lose those re-gained 5-7 pounds before the surgery but it didn't happen. Oh well, maybe that's a good thing. But what wasn't good is that I caught a cold (with a cough) about a week before the surgery. Ugh. I just hoped it would go away before Monday.

It didn't, but the docs still gave me the go-ahead for the procedure. I was so nervous! My final pre-surgery workout I felt so strong, and I was dreading the downtime to come. Anyway, the night before surgery I stayed in a local hotel so I wouldn't have to get up at the crack of dawn. I followed instructions - no shaving for two days, wash with surgical soap the night before and morning of, and ingest nothing after midnight.

I arrived to the surgery suite exactly at 7:30am and they took me straight in. Eek! No mom to hold my hand. I took some pictures to keep me busy and called Miguel and the kids for one last chat. I said some very heartfelt "I love you's" just in case I d.i.e'd, which I wasn't seriously worried about but still.


Nerves!
And then Dr. Canales came in for a pre-surgery pep talk. And to do some body-art on my tummy. I'd asked most of my questions long before but this morning he answered my last minute ones, some of which were repeats because I was nervous and couldn't remember anything.
  1. Will you be cutting through my abs? No. If they are separated we'll sew them back together but I won't know if I need to do that until we get in there. But no, I won't be cutting into them.
  2. Will I still have the same shape and definition I have now? Hard to say exactly but you will look better. (he said more but I'm paraphrasing here)
  3. How long will the surgery take? About 2 hours, recovery will be 1-2 hours, depending on how you do.
  4. Will you take a selfie with me? Sure!
I'm sure there were more questions but that's all I can recall for now. So, here I am, all marked up and ready for the knife.

Before (tummy tuck) pics
It's not easy sharing these pictures. Just had to say that.

And, the selfie! (if it's two people should it be called a welfie?)

Dr Francisco Canales and yours truly.
No, I didn't select him because he was the cutest doc I saw, though that didn't hurt. I chose him for a few reasons. First, he came recommended by someone for whom he'd done a breast augmentation and she was very pleased with the work. Nothing like a first-hand recommendation. Second, I felt he was very honest about what to expect from the tummy tuck. And finally, I didn't feel he was selling me. He didn't dazzle me with the magic of plastic surgery or how fabulous I'd feel or look afterward. Some of the docs I saw gave me the feeling I was buying a new car. No sales job please, not when it comes to my body.

And he told me not to touch my arms. I'd asked about surgery to remove the fat hanging from my arms and he practically told me he wouldn't be willing to do it, "they aren't that bad." I asked him if I was being neurotic and needed to get over it, "Maybe I wouldn't put it that way, but yes." There you go, honesty goes a long way.
 
Then I had a chat with the anesthesiologist (holy cow I spelled that correctly on my own!). He reviewed my history of pneumonia and coughing and listened to my lungs. All clear.


The nurse came and got me, washed me up some more, laid me down and then the sleep doc gave me a pre-anasthesia cocktail...and with that...I went under the knife. Link to Part 2.

33 comments:

  1. Oh gosh! Thank you so much for sharing this. Ever since I started working on losing weight, I've been considering the eventuality of how my body will look once I reach goal. I know there's going to be a LOT of extra skin (there already is, and I still have a ways to go). I still haven't decided, but being able to look at other people's experiences is very helpful. I look forward to reading the rest once you're ready to share. I hope you're recovering well.

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    1. You're welcome. I had to swallow my pride to post those pictures of my belly. But because I hoped it would really be useful to someone else, and because I feel almost a responsibility as a blogger to do so, I did it. It means a lot to know it's useful to you. Thank you.

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    2. Thank you for this blog. I am having my TT next Tuesday and find this so helpful. Your doc did fantastic work!

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  2. Hope you get good results!

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  3. So brave, pictures and everything! I've been following you for about 6 mos. Your lack of guile is so refreshing. I hope you have a speedy recovery.

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    1. Thank you Annie. A week later and I'm feeling better by miles!

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  4. Congratulations - I know from reading over the past few years, this is something you've thought about for a long time, and something you chose after much careful consideration. The pics don't look so bad (as an outsider) but I appreciate how really difficult it must have been to hit that "Publish" button. Cheers to a speedy recovery for you!

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    1. Thank you. Yes, a long considered, and dreamed of, procedure. I'll be posting some "after" pics with Post 2 soon, even though I'm still pretty swollen I already look amazingly better.

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  5. You are amazing!! Thank you for sharing your surgery. I love your blog and follow you religiously and I love the fact you are here in Marin. I am fighting some weight gain, not being too good to me, and have started reading back in your blogs to get me on track. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you Annette :)

      Hope reading my blog helps.

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  6. it's funny how we see ourselves so much worse than others do! your before pictures would be awesome for my afters. I'm losing (again) after a(another) baby and i have so much before losing. don't think i can go under the knife again. one gall bladder removal and three c-sections. so scary hope you love your results!!!

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    1. I know, right? There was a time when seeing that deflated stomach would have made me so happy. But now, I just wanted it gone. And I'm so happy so far with my results. And happy we have medical procedures to fix such things, grateful I could get it done.

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  7. Thanks for sharing. I know you thought long and hard about that one. Your honestly and "here it is" style is what makes you and your blog so great. Happy healing!

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  8. oh wow! i had forgotten you talked about getting this done. it's been so long now since i read thru your entire blog (hehe). good for you! it's amazing how different a person can look clothed and unclothed. you look phenomenal clothed. nice and toned, but yes, if i was in your shoes i would have gotten the tummy tuck too. i'm sure you'll heal up fabulously and look even more amazing than you did pre-surgery! wishing you a speedy recovery! *hugs*

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    1. Thanks Sara. I know, it's wild what you can look like naked, as they say. Feeling so much better about the choice to do this. Part 2 just went up, check out the pics :)

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    2. i did check out part 2...i also just read your 12 days out from surgery blog. you're a role model, at least to me you are. you've done what i have started doing and you've "finished"...i'm still having so many issues getting to my goal weight for the first time...haha! someday, i may be having the same surgery! it's a ways off for financial and other life situations reasons, probably 2017. but that gives me more than enough time to reach my goal and stay there for a while and get as fit as possible and make sure that i've been at my goal for a long while so the surgery won't be a "waste" :)

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    3. Thanks Sara. I like that you put "finished" in quotes because I know you know there's no finishing on this journey, only milestones and transitions. Take your time addressing the issues, figure them out don't just try to blast past them, it's the better road, the harder, longer road, but the better one in terms of maintenance.

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  9. Thanks so much for posting about this. I know it is hard to post the before pics but it really is helpful so it is much appreciated. Hope the recovery is going well since you didn't d.i.e. :)

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    1. Thanks Kitty. You're right, it wasn't easy, but I was so grateful to others that had done the same so I knew it was the right thing to do.

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  10. Thank you for sharing your story.

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    1. You're welcome :) Thanks for reading.

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  11. Hi Michelle,

    Your blog is awesome. I've enjoyed reading about your journey.

    As a fellow blogger I just wanted to let you know the link on this page that says it links to page 2 isn't quite working properly. :)

    I wish you every success in 2014 and beyond. Keep being an inspiration girlfriend!

    Cheers,

    Polly

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    1. Thank you Polly. I just checked out the link and it seems to to be working. Let me know if it's still not working. And thanks for the kudos, it always feels good to get a pat on the back!

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  12. Thank you for being so 'real' in your writing and sharing your experiences with the rest of us. I really appreciate that.

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  13. Congrats and thanks for sharing. I had a tummy tuck in June so I know how hard it must have been to post your before pics. I too lost 90 pounds and there was just nothing more I could do for the belly. Your story will help many in their journeys of loss and maintaining!

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  14. Hi Michelle, It's really very helpful article and I appreciate your effort in posting the pics and helping the readers understand it clearly.. It's nice hope you had best results out of surgery .. Cheers :)

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  15. Thanks for sharing such a informative blog.

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  16. OMG, you look AMAZING! I’m so glad that you were able to do this, achieving the best possible body after all of your hard work. I hope that you are able to feel as beautiful as we all know you are, inside AND out!

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  17. I just had a shape wear two weeks ago and I have read so many articles on what to expect and how long things will take. I am grateful I ran across your page. I think Im doing pretty well but this standing up straight is so difficult to deal with. At this point Im not sure I would ever do this again but Im sure as I heal I’ll be grateful I did. I just wanted to say your article is one of the best I have read. The week by week info is very appreciative. Thank you!

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