Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Life: Happy abdominoplasty anniversary, to me!

This upcoming Saturday is a one year anniversary of my most recent life changing event.
On March 28th, 2019, 
I elected to have an abdominoplasty to fix a horrid case of diastis recti.
This was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made since it came with significant health and financial risks.
I'm glad that I took the risk because while the surgery was voluntary, it had high impact on my health.

I'll get into some details of the surgery below without getting too detailed but first, an explanation.
The picture below is the only bloodless one I have of the surgery which is why it's there.
It's a recovery photo taken about 5 hours after my release from the hospital and 3 hours after surgery.
Here comes the explanation..  My daughter looks completely crazy because daddy had to do her hair!

my diastis recti experience; real abdominoplasty experience; tummy tuck experience

After giving birth via c section for the second time, my stomach muscles broke apart.
This condition is called diastis recti.  Doctors may measure the separated abdominal wall by fingers.  Mine was about three fingers width apart.  In addition to the discomfort and umbilical hernia caused by the broken belly, the muscle tends to sag over your c section scar leaving you with a pouch.  The third part of diastis recti is when the muscles separate, similar to when they naturally separate during pregnancy
your muscles bow out giving your belly a rounded shape.
Long story short - I was really, really unhappy with my post pregnancy belly because of the pain and look.

I went to several doctors and they all told me the same thing.
1.  I was making matters worse by working out.  This stiffens the muscles and emphasizes the roundness.
2.  My weight loss attempts were also in vain since they bring more notice to the pouch and bulge.
3.  Surgery is the only thing that can effectively fix diastis recti.

This left me in quite the conundrum.  ...& you all know how well I do with those..
First and foremost was my health.  I was honestly depressed and suffered from postpartum, but I was otherwise healthy.  This surgery, like many others, is risky and can lead to life threatening conditions.  The second though was recovery.  The doctor said that I would be back to work within two weeks, but I couldn't pick up my son for a month.  For the record, my then 8 month old son was gigantic for his age.  The third was the cost.  The surgery would cost an out of pocket expense of $10,000.  Spending that kind of money on myself was unthinkable and selfish.

The first opinion I got was my husbands.  He lived with me and knew my true mental state.
He eventually encouraged me to get the surgery although he protested for over a month.  He felt my body was perfectly fine, that I only needed to impress a man that was already impressed, and that $10,000 should go towards an amazing vacation.  Everyone else was a toss up.  The opinions tied between me being a selfish idiot with a minor flaw to this being something I had to do for myself.
After flinching in pain from a little cough and being in tears trying on a dress, I booked the surgery.

My anxiety was through the roof because of the risks of surgery and my fear of anesthesia.
The surgery was totally worth that.
The pain was worse than any previous surgery.  Yep, worse than both c sections and a spinal fusion..
I was released from the hospital only a couple hours after the four hour surgical procedure.
I had to wear and empty two painful, disgusting, bulky drains for two whole weeks.
I had to have those drains removed at two separate occasions while being wide awake and unmedicated.
I couldn't lift my son for a month but I could hold him.  I had to watch family do it instead.
I had to live in a horribly tight body binder for six months and then sleep in it for another six.
I have a scar in the shape of a smiley face that goes from one hip to the next.  It's fading nicely.
I needed a revision surgery on my belly button 8 months after the surgery that hurt and restricted me again.
My savings account still hasn't fully recovered from it's hefty withdrawal a year ago.
The surgery was totally, completely worth all of that.
My only regret is not paying for fat removal.  I kid, I kid.  Diet & exercise never scared me!

Despite the negatives, I'm no longer depressed.  I no longer have thoughts of my pregnancy I'm ashamed of.
I can wear clothes and bathing suits with confidence.  I don't cry when I look in the mirror.
I work out and can see the progress - I have abdominal muscle definition!
A year later and I'm happier with myself than I've ever been in my entire life.

Long story short, H A P P Y  A N N I V E R S A R Y  to my belly !  !

Do you have a special anniversary that you privately celebrate?


  1. My mom had three including mine. I wonder if she had the same effect.

    1. I hope not because it is really uncomfortable!

  2. Good things didn't go belly up. What?

    Never knew you had to wear something for that long, damn. That just must have been annoying. But now you can smile at the worth with a flick up of your shirt.

    1. LMAO, who flicks up their shirt??? I did lose 5.2 pounds so far during this quarantine. Maybe a few more weeks of this stress and I'd flick my shirt up to smile..

    2. lol well some surely would with the smile. Smiley Face Tummy, the next Youtube hit.

  3. That's America for you, land where you can be healthy and get surgeries only if you're a gazillionaire :( In my country you'd probably get that done on the cost of your health insurance. Glad to hear all went well in the end. I once watched a TV clinic show about a woman who couldn't control her peeing for 40 years. It turned out that doctors cut her vaginal muscles during the delivery of her only son, who is now 40, and left it like that and she lived with it most of her life wearing pads for her peeing problem. All kinds of horrid things can happen during delivery indeed.
    I wore body binder for about a year during my three plastic surgeries. It ain't fun indeed.

    1. A gazillionaire?? We live pay check to pay check with almost no savings. On paper it looks like we make lots of money, but our bills are so high that we are probably actually poor, not even middle class. Then add child care to the mix so we can work and we're definitely poor.
      Eep!!! How terrible!! I think these doctors should fix us after they mess us up. We shouldn't have to pay all of this money to fix their mistakes. I also think we should be warned on the highy likely complications before conceiving multiple children. But that's a rant for another day.. You didn't like the body binder? I still wear it because it makes me feel comfortable. My stomach is still numb so it helps with that weird feeling.

    2. I did not mean that you are a gazillionaire, but that an American has to have tons of money in order to get health services which should be free in any normal country. It is one of the reason the west destroyed Yugoslavia which was an example of a socialist country that works - free health insurance for everyone, free schooling, flats from the state as well, free college, plus tons of different nations and faiths living happily together under the same roof... everything - a country serving to its people not to the rich capitalists.
      I wore mine around chest as I had skin and tones of tissue and fat removed from there, and it isn't easy breathing when its tightly wrapped around you.

    3. I can definitely agree with that. My son and I have been needing to go to an allergist for the longest time. It was cheaper to rip up all the rugs in the house and replace them with an imitation wood flooring than it was to go to the doctor. Our daughter must go to the cardiologist annually, so we try to save our medical funds for that. Our healthcare took a terrible turn about 8 years ago.

      I wasn't offended by the comment. I get infuriated with the situation. In any other country (or maybe even state) we'd be very well off with our income. Although, I try not to complain. We are grateful to have financial security, for now at least. My husband just got notice that there's no work for him on Friday and that he will go without pay for that day. Hopefully it's a one off and not the start of a new trend thanks to COVID19..

      Oh no, I can't imagine wearing it around the chest. That sounds like torture.. mine goes around the waist and is actually comforting because it protects me. I just moved mine up to see what it feels like and it's very restricting.

  4. That sounds horrific! I'm glad the surgery worked. I was terrified of anesthesia, too. The only time I ever had it was for a colonoscopy a few years ago. Turned out fine! The unknown aspect is the worst part.

    We always celebrate the day we met (husband and I) May 4th

    1. The anesthesia is probably the lowest of all the risks, yet it's the most horrifying. I hate the idea of not knowing what is happening to me. I love that!! It's almost that date. Any plans?

    2. I have a bad feeling we will still be stuck at home!

    3. Stay positive! Or as my mom calls it, stay in denial. LOL

  5. Wow! Sweetie, I had no idea you'd been through that. I can understand why it was a tough decision.


    1. Yes, tough decision but best decision ever!

  6. Happy Bellyversary! I'm glad you did it. While the journey was a painful process, it sounds like the payoff was well worth it! I'm all about making sure you're happy on the inside because if you are, it makes those around you happy too.


    1. Thank you!! Yes, they can definitely say that they notice a difference in the "household" happiness. lol

  7. I don't see that expense as being selfish, but as a mom, I'd probably have a hard time scheduling the appointment too. I know if Jason wanted an expensive elective surgery, I wouldn't second guess him doing it, so why do we (women) have a hard time justifying the cost when it comes to our own needs? I am glad you went through with it and feel better and have soaring confidence now. My best friend got a boob job 2 years ago and it's amazing to see how it gave her confidence and lifted her spirits once it was done. I know, not the same thing as your operation, but if it give a better quality of life, I am all for setting aside money for these elective surgeries.

    1. Yesss, this is perfectly said!!! If it makes someone happy, all the power to them. :)


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