If you are following my mommy makeover journey with Lipoabdominoplasty, it has been two weeks since my procedure at COSMETICARE with Dr. Brian Reagan, and I'm doing great. I started walking up straight the same day thanks to tension sutures. My doctor is amazing! I've been off pain meds for days, I'm showering, walking but walking slow, sleeping in my own bed (no longer on the couch), still drinking lots of water, stronger every day, and I had a lymphatic massage yesterday. I'm still wearing my binder as instructed and will soon switch to Spanx. Everyone that visited me say they are surprised how well I am doing in this short amount of time. I don't recommend this because it is a lot of walking, but I was at Disneyland a few days after they said I could drive again. I took lots of breaks so I'm fine but that was a long day for me. I have some helpful tips that could make recovery a bit easier below. (Pictured: Day of Surgery, 1 Week Check up, and 2 Weeks Follow-Up).
Before the we left Cosmeticare, the nurse showed my husband how to empty the catheter and the drain. We started to do it every four hours right after pain meds. I think it got to a point where it just became numb so I can fall asleep. But guess what, the minute I got comfortable, the alarm goes off, and it was time to take medicine, eat a light meal, and go to the restroom. Having things like sugar-free jello, crackers, and chicken broth helped because I needed something quick to take with medicine. The second night was much better because we had a system down. Another thing that I remembered was it really hurt to cough, but I didn't want to get pneumonia so tried my hardest to clear my lungs. I tried holding on to a pillow to my abdominal and sometimes it helped to hug someone and have them pat me on the back. I left a tray within arms reach of the things I needed, and we left the medicine on a shelf out of reach from the children just in case.
TIP: Label the medication lids to easily identify what it is instead of making everyone read the medical term on the bottle. See photo for illustration.
The worst night was the first night. Not that I felt pain, but I was sore and uncomfortable and everything was with assistance. Plus I had to stay on top of my pain medication so we set an alarm for every 4-5 hours. What also helped me was the meal train that my friends set up for the first week. It was tremendously helpful and I am forever grateful. The first 24 hours is the most critical because I needed support at all times. My husband works from home but I needed him to adjust me every hour or so. I know he was just as tired and he should have taken the second day off too. We stayed on the living room couch on the first floor, because I couldn't do stairs. It was also close to the kitchen and the restroom. I had a bunch of pillows stacked behind me for back support as well as under my legs to keep me in a crouched position. I had to sleep on my back.
ITEMS YOU WILL NEED
I made notes on what I wish I had on hand to help me during those two weeks. I needed quick bites during the late hours of the night to take medicine with food. One of the antibiotics had a horrible after-taste so I couldn't just drink water.
- Start a Meal Train - I am thankful that my friends did this for me. Even though my husband was there all the time, I needed him with me around the clock for the first two days. I had my kids help too but they're not strong enough to help me in a sitting position etc. If you can't start a meal train, then I suggest stocking up on items that will help you and your caretaker. My favorite thing to eat during recovery was soup.
- Stock up on sugar free items like jello, apple sauce, chocolate pudding, vitamin water or low calorie water enhancers, unsalted crackers, low sodium chicken broth.
- Pack a toiletry bag and leave it in the bathroom you will be using. You'll want things like toothbrush, toothpaste, facial wash, shampoo and conditioner, dry shampoo, hand wipes, hair ties, saline solution and the container if you wear contacts. Just think of the items you need when you go out of town. I stayed on the bottom floor and didn't go up to my room for a few days. One of days my friend came over to help me wash my hair.
- Lots of pillows. I had pillows to not only support my back but also to prop up my feet.
- Lots of water. By the second day, I was able to get up and make tea to help with congestion.
- Post Surgery Gown. As recommended, I needed a surgery gown that had a zipper in the front that was easy to put on after surgery and for a few days of recovery. I found some at Kohls. They call them Zipper Front Robes. Some call it house dresses or muumuus. Get inexpensive ones. I bought two and I only wore it the first week.
- Charging Station. My husband moved everything downstairs so I can easily charge my devices.
- Spanx or compression garments. I liked wearing tank tops under my binder because I didn't like the way it felt on my skin when I got hot. Plus I didn't want to have to wash it every day. You will need a couple of them to switch off. A pair of Spanx that I like is from Target. I will be wearing them for at least two months. I have a black one and want to get the nude one. If you can find some that leave no lines, those are better. I heard the ones with shorts get really hot so I didn't get those. I interchanged them and wore the spanx during the day and the binder at night, but for the first two weeks, Dr. Reagan wanted me in the binder.
- Anicare Gel to help with bruising.
Scheduling Appointments and Post Surgery Care
I think we all know this already, but I will say it just in case - You will need help, and you will need to clear your schedule for two weeks for recovery. You can't drive yourself and you can't drive home. If you are wondering how much time you need to recover and how many times you need to visit the doctor, I have listed them below. You will not be able to drive the first two weeks. You can go back to the gym after four weeks, and after six weeks, you can do whatever you want.
On the day of the surgery, I went in at 6:45 am but surgery didn't start until about 8am. It was about a 4 hour procedure. They called my husband right around 12pm but I was in recovery for about 1.5 - 2 hours. If I remember correctly, we didn't leave until about 2pm. You will need 24 hour care. My husband took Monday off and he stayed with me all day and throughout the night helping me get up to take medicine, use the restroom and empty my drain. He was very tired the next day when he worked and he also took me back for my follow up visit. You will need someone with you at all time for the first two days. Thankfully my friends started a food train and my sister came the first day to help me as well because my husband couldn't leave me to get food. The first night was the worst but every day it got better and I walked every four hours.
There are at least (6) crucial appointments you will have to make; (4) in which you can't drive yourself. Don't forget you can't drive for first two weeks. I have noted them below.
- Pre-Op Appointment (1-2 Weeks Prior) - I recommend 2 weeks so you have time to run errands and prepare. (Blood work, fill prescriptions, find a post surgery gown, fill up on supplies and groceries).
- Surgery Day (Monday) - NEED A DRIVER
- 1 Day After Surgery Check-up (Tuesday) - NEED A DRIVER
- 4 Days After Surgery (Friday) - Removed Catheter - NEED A DRIVER
- 1 Week Check-up (Following Monday) - Removed Drain - NEED A DRIVER
- 2 Week Check-up (14 days after) - Remove Stitches and follow up.
- 6 Weeks Follow Up
- 3 Months Follow Up
With any surgery, there are risks involved. Cosmeticare talked about them at each visit just so that I am aware of it. The Operation Room downstairs at Cosmeticare is fully certified. With Tummy Tuck, it rarely bleeds but it can happen. If this happens, you might have to go to the hospital. Great doctors will try their best to minimize scarring, and the really skilled doctors know how to make your belly button look natural. Dr. Reagan did an amazing job with mine. I will show you a photo of it when it fully heals. Also sometimes necrosis when the skin cells die because of lack of blood circulation, can happen. Fortunately, I didn't have problems with any of these.
After going through this life changing experience, I must say that it hasn't been easy and I was uncomfortable but I was never in pain. I had a lot of support from my family and friends. I am stronger every day and doing more each day. I am driving now and walking a lot. I'm glad I am further along than expected because I needed to be well when school starts up again. Walking uphill is still hard, and I'm taking it slowly so I don't overexert myself. For two weeks I didn't drink coffee so when I was tired, I napped. I napped every day and it has helped with my healing process. My abdominal muscles still feel tight and I'm still swollen but it will be like that for a while. It kind of feels like when I was in my third trimester with my pregnant belly walking slowly and hard to bend over. I wear my compression garments every day. I'm starting to feel like myself again. In my second week, I asked a friend to take me to get a mani/pedi just to get out for a couple of hours. It was such a nice treat. I'm starting to wear things I couldn't fit again like fitted t-shirts. Friends and family have noticed, and they're surprised I'm doing so well already. My nurse said that I'm healthy and my body is healing fast. I was starting to heal over my stitches when she was taking them out. Thanks for following my Mommy Makeover Journey! I can't wait to see the final results and start shopping for a bikini and a great costume for Halloween. More updates to come!
My readers get 10% OFF abdominoplasty or Botox when they mention this code: MARY100 when they call, book online or go in the office.
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Corona Del Mar, CA 92625