This month’s blog is an actual firsthand story written by one of Dr. Huddleston’s patients after a tummy tuck procedure.
In my teenage years and early twenties, I was “that girl,” the one who could easily fit into size two jeans, rocked the string bikini at the beach, but still thought I was fat when I looked in the mirror. Yes, that was me. Time out – don’t hate me yet! Fast forward to a few years until my 32nd birthday. I am a mom of two beautiful girls, I have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (a known cause of weight gain in women), and I can barely squeeze into my size 12 jeans. My weight has reached the 200lb mark and I am frustrated. Time for another pause- don’t feel sorry for me either!
The fact is: I love chocolate cake. And ice cream. And pie. And cookies. Well, you get my drift. I love to eat and my food choices are less than stellar. Besides not liking the way I looked, I also didn’t like the way I felt. Sluggish, unmotivated and depressed are the three words I will use to describe myself at that point. I knew I wanted a change. I started exercising in my house, trying out all the workout videos sold in Walmart, and eliminated carbs from my diet. It was torture. Seriously.
I lost some weight, and I am patting myself on the back for my awesomeness, when something dreadful happens. I run into an old friend in (you guessed it) Walmart, and she excitedly exclaims “I didn’t know you were pregnant again! Congratulations!”
WHAT!?! Excuse me! I have just lost 20 pounds!
Now, I did not scream this out loud, but my inner being was in hysterics. I go home and undress in front of the mirror. The image staring back at me says it all. I still have that dreaded “baby pouch.” The one that hangs around looonnnggg after it is no longer needed. I was mortified, discouraged and sobbing. So, I did what any sane woman would do, I scoured the internet for the next 24 hours, reading about every weight-loss plan and exercise craze I could possibly find. Do I continue with the soul-crushing no-carb diet? Try Crossfit (just another type of torture) or just give up?
I am on the brink of a total meltdown when I stumble upon an article about abdominoplasty (aka: a tummy tuck). The article explains how the “baby pouch” is actually loose skin that cannot be treated with diet and exercise. Hmmm, this is news to me. I switch gears in my research and find as much information on tummy tucks as I can. By the end of the day, I had scheduled my consultation with Dr. Huddleston.
My initial consultation was at the beginning of December 2016 and my surgery was scheduled for January 11th of this year. I immediately switched from Christmas planning mode to surgery planning mode. I enlisted help with childcare, meals and household duties. (My mother-in-law is a saint!) I ordered granny panties, protein shakes, extra bandages and scar-reducing lotion. I made lists and more lists and more lists, so my husband and his mom could run my house efficiently.
As surgery day drew near, I became extremely nervous. Dr. Huddleston had explained an extended abdominoplasty would be best for me since I also had extra fat and skin around my hips. This meant I would be cut (and have a scar!) from the top of one hip to the top of the other. The thought of that big of an incision was intimidating. When my nerves would begin to cloud my decision, I would undress in front of that same mirror and remind myself that I was doing this for me. Not only so I would look better, but so that I would feel so much better!
By surgery day, I was ready and raring to go. My husband took me to the surgery center and Dr. Huddleston and the nurses were so supportive. Dr. Huddleston gave me “the marks” of where the incision would be placed and I was wheeled back to the operating room. The rest of the day is a real blur and I don’t remember much until I was in my car the next day heading to my first post-op appointment. I won’t lie, it hurt! That is probably why I remember it so vividly. Dr. Huddleston checked my drains and my incision and sent me home. It hurt so much to ride in my car (I had a two-hour trip home!), and especially to walk. I was bent over at the waist and every step I took was excruciating. Once I was home and resting in my chair, I felt more sure about my ability to make it through the recovery process.
My first two weeks flew by. With the help of my mother-in-law and my husband, I was able to rest and take care of myself properly. (I HIGHLY recommend recruiting as much help as possible!) I would walk a little each day, I made sure I was eating right and I napped when I felt like it. I was so pleased with my initial results. The incision was nearly perfect and I could already see a big improvement in the contour of my stomach. I was ready to tackle the world, or at least the beach!
Feeling like Superwoman was not going to be a plus for me. I did something that I knew I shouldn’t do. Remember all that research I did? Well, one of the top warnings was to “not overdo” it in the months after surgery. In my defense, I was feeling good and after my mother-in-law went home, I had no other option than to be MOM again. A three-year-old is not going to wait for you to recover!
My body began to protest. I was sore. I was tired. My swelling became worse instead of getting better. I knew I had to slow down. It was challenging. I felt that I extended my recovery by several weeks by taking on too much in the beginning. I am almost 9 months post-op at this point, so I am totally back to normal, but it took over 2 months before I began feeling better. I had a great time at the beach this year and enjoyed shopping for new clothes. Bottom line: even with the extended recovery, I would totally do it again!
If you are ready for a new you, just know it is totally worth it. Contact a plastic surgeon and schedule a consultation! You WILL be happy that you did!