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My Beauty Transformation: Tummy Tuck by Blue Huntsville - The Ugly Truth

On July 7, 2017 I decided to finally take the plunge and get a tummy tuck by Dr. Larry Bundrick. This is my journey.

Warning: This article contains graphic images.

I was 17 years old when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I thought I was in love and we were both virgins at the time. We later got married and I had my second child not long after. I came from a very bad home life, and in a way, was looking to escape that world and start a new family of my own. I just wanted to run as far away as I could from the years of abuse and emotional distress placed on me by my alcohol/drug dependent parents. I wanted my children to never have to go through one ounce of sorrow or the hell that I had endured my entire life. Of course, my marriage to the children's father ended after only two short years, and I found myself basically raising them solo from then on.

I have been a mom my entire life. I practically raised my two younger brothers and then later had my own children to support. Over the years I worked a lot of jobs, sometimes consisting of more than one at a time. There was even a time I worked 80+ hours a week with little time to sleep or take care of myself. This stress on my body later led to a stroke which you can read more about on EMS World here. That stroke also led to me starting my own publication BioGamer Girl and you can read more about games changed my life here.

After the clots and stroke, I decided that I wanted to start actually living life because you never know when it might end. I stopped working long hours and tried to reduce the stress in my life which meant getting rid of my terrible job alongside toxic family and friends. I have managed to do a lot of great things since my stroke, which included traveling the world and doing most of the things I had only dreamed of doing. However, I have always been self-conscious about my body after having my children, which consisted of two c-sections. No matter how much weight I lost over the years, my stomach always appeared loose and flabby with terrible stretch marks.
My stomach and sides on the day of surgery

My children are now 15 and 16 years old, I have dedicated my entire life to them but decided it was time to do something to make me happy as well. I wanted my pre-pregnancy body back. I wanted to be able to wear a bathing suit again or to even have sex with the lights on for once in my life. I have spent my entire adult life being ashamed of my body, and I wanted to finally do something about it. I have did some modeling and acting since my stroke but most of the pictures were always photoshopped--meaning my body was made to look better than it actually was.

It has only been 11 days since my tummy tuck but it has seemed like 11 years. When you research it online (which I have done since I was 18 years old), you usually only see the before and after photos. You look at those photos and think I want to do that--I want to feel beautiful and sexy again. However, surgery is scary, and after almost dying as many times as I have--I have always been reluctant to have it done. Plus the surgery isn't cheap either and I could never justify it to myself to take that much money away from my kids for my own vain reasons.

This year, however, I started having a lot of health problems. My weight skyrocketed to 215 pounds, and I suddenly became allergic to dozens of foods. I developed diverticulitis (from cutting out greens because of blood thinner) which added even more problems to the mix, since I already take blood thinner every day for my hypercoagulation. And to top it all off, I started to get high cholesterol  (from the weight gain) which put me more at risk for having another stroke or heart attack. I knew I had to do something but nothing was working. I would diet to only lose 15 pounds that I would later just gain back after a couple of months. I also didn't eat a whole lot--and couldn't figure out why I was gaining weight to begin with. I found myself too tired at the end of the day to exercise after getting off work, taking care of kids and nightly house chores. I was just so sluggish and tired. As an overachiever, I had once again let myself sink back into a lifestyle where I was overworking my body and slowly killing myself.

Finally I said to myself, Amanda, you have worked hard your whole life. You deserve this. Get the surgery, because "if mama isn't happy than no one is". I have had a lot of health issues in my life, two c-sections, a stroke--so I figured that a tummy tuck couldn't be that bad. When I read online reviews--it seemed most recovered after three to four weeks. And they looked fantastic! I could do this!

When I went into the office for my surgery on July 7th I was terrified. All of the things that could go wrong continuously ran through my head over and over again. What if I died from complications? What would happen to my children? Why am I doing this? I was already there so I decided I might as well do it now. I have been wanting this for almost 17 years.

I put on the gown and walked my way into the operating room where I laid on a cold table allowing the people in that room to control my fate. After 5 hours of surgery, I awoke feeling like I had been hit by a truck, my throat was killing me, and I was slowly moved off the table into a wheelchair. The nurses took me to the bathroom to see if I needed to go and then I was wheeled to my car. I guess plastic surgery is one of the few surgeries you will ever have where you are just put out the door within minutes of being awoken from anesthesia.

As soon as I got home, all of the pain and agony started in and I knew I had gotten myself into more than I had bargained for. My body was so stiff and the muscles were pulled so tight that you literally are unable to move. Every movement, breath and cough is painful. The doctor gives you a very small amount of pain pills alongside some diazepam for muscle spasms. They tell you to limit how many you take and to take Advil instead. This is due to the fact that pain pills can constipate you, which isn't good after a tummy tuck, but its also because of the fact that our society abuses the privileges of these medications too. I rarely take anything for my health issues besides my prescribed medication for my blood disease. I also realized after only two days of this terrifying pain that I rather use a laxative and take the pain pills then suffer the unrelentless pain that I now felt 24/7. I started taking MiraLAX daily with plenty of water but was still not having bowel movements. But the problem wasn't the medication--it was the fact that my entire middle was so tight and numb alongside the compression garment that I couldn't even feel my body's need to have a bowel movement or urinate. I eventually just set on the toilet every two hours until I urinated some--and then I moved to using an enema to produce a bowel movement. I of course couldn't give myself an enema--and had to depend on a family member to do this alongside helping me bathe and dress. You end up being completely vulnerable and the days of feeling unwell start to take its toll.

The day after my surgery I noticed two dents in my stomach (which are suppose to be quilted stitches to take the pressure off my incision and should fade) and the stitching on my hips looked like something out of a Frankenstein movie. I was under the impression going in that since all my stretch marks were on the lower part of my stomach--that I would be able to have a completely stretch mark free tummy. However, none of the stretch marks were removed from my sides. The stitching wasn't as smooth as it was alongside the lower abdomen and looking in the mirror just made me cry. I felt like I had paid all this money and looked worse than I did before. The nurses and doctor assured me it would all look better with time and it has only been 11 days. Besides the ability to barely do anything and spending most of your time in bed, you also have a nasty drain that you have to deal with. And today, that drain makes me feel like a water balloon, as it overfills into all the cut crevices around it. So why dealing with all of this, you are also suppose to try and get up and walk occasionally to try to get blood flowing through these wounded areas in order to heal. A lot easier said than done when you are stiff, fatigued and in a great deal of pain.

I will see my doctor this coming week for my 2 week checkup, and I am hoping to get the drain removed (especially being its leaking all around the area now) so there is one less thing to have to deal with. I really do hope I have the results I have always wanted but it is hard to picture when you look in the mirror at what it is now. Hopefully, my doctor will offer some type of laser treatment to diminish these huge scars that have been created and that my results will be much better at the one month mark. I will keep all of my readers updated and once I am completely healed will give everyone the complete recap of who did my surgery, the overall costs and if it was really worth it all. But right now, it pretty much just sucks and was way worse than I thought it would be. Lying here just playing the waiting game isn't much fun either. Stay tuned for updates!

07/18/17 Update: Today my doctor removed the drain from my side. You wouldn't believe what a relief this was, because it was such a nuisance in everyday activities. I am still draining out of the wound and was told to press on my stomach slightly to keep this coming out of my abdomen. My pain has mostly resided outside of the occasional muscle spasm. I am still finding it hard to sleep at night, since I am having to stay in mostly upward position. It is recommended that you  sleep at a 45 degree angle to keep the fluid draining downward. I have also found it easier to move about on my own and still a little hunched over. Nausea is also still present and I have found eating small, bland meals helps keep this to a minimum. The nurses and doctors have been very supportive in answering my concerns.

Update 07/20/17: Well it is a new day, with new issues.
I have started to get a couple of yellow areas on my incision that have opened up and have started draining a lot of flesh colored fluid. After some online research, the areas look like they may be skin necrosis which can often occur due to the stomach being tight and a lack of blood flow to the area. I am now up to changing my bandages several times a day--while taking several showers to press on the stomach to get as much fluid out before putting fresh gauze on the wounds. My wound maintenance kit has grown quite large and expensive!

Update 7/25/2017: Last week I got really ill due to an infection. I had a lot of pain, nausea and burning. I developed some skin necrosis which led to debridement of the tissue.The wound now has to be filled with a nonabsorbent gauze that is soaked in a solution that consists of water, bleach and salt. After you pack the wound, you then dress it with dry gauze pads. I am now wearing my compression garment, but not very tight, just for abdomen support. The top half of my tummy has healed very well, I was previously worried about the dents and the healing of the belly button. Now the lower half is giving me trouble. My doctor says that once the wound regrows the skin and fat inside then the outside will start to close together. It is the big holes in your skin that causes fluid to accumulate in them. The packing of the wound I believe helps to slowly dry it out while filling the space to allow it to fully heal inside before closing. I am guessing if those holes don't fill in first--then you would probably have fluid dripping out of your incision. And the wound being able to have the access to heal fully before closing stops months of nuisance draining if it was just instead stitched back up and not allowed to heal that way. They say anything worth having is a lot of work. So if you are considering having this surgery--be ready to put a lot of work into your healing process.

Before skin debridement:

After skin debridement:

Update 8/03/2017: I saw my doctor on Tuesday, August 1st and he said I might see the wound on my side closing within the next week and maybe two weeks on the larger one under the belly button area. I am still packing the wounds with gauze soaked in the Dakin's Solution. While the wounds are very clean now, bleeds on occasion, it still hasn't healed enough inside to close. It seems like it is going to take forever but they say that is not the case. I am making sure to walk, take multivitamins and eat plenty of protein to heal. I have started buying these BOOST protein shakes to supplement my diet as well. Also, it is important to stay hydrated as well. So lots of water! While I am still not completely healed, I already feel better about my body and how I look in my clothes.

Update 12/21/2017: It has now been six months since my tummy tuck surgery and lipo. My revision surgery will be on January 4th. I had severe scarring from the necrosis and lumpiness on my hip from lipo hardening on side after surgery. The revision should fix the severe scarring but I will have to do something else for the lumpiness.

Before Revision

First Day After Revision on January 4, 2018

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