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Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1264
Joined: Jul 2012

I can't be the only one whose stomach looks like...a Puffy Front Butt with the long vertical hysterectomy scar and after chemo-related weight gain.

This week I had consultations with two plastic surgeons. They are claiming to be able to remove all fat and extra skin, to tighten abdominal muscles, and to replace vertical scar with a thin horizontal one located below bikini line.
My oncologist said that there are no medical reasons not to have it done.
Not even the fact that I had my last chemo 10 days ago.

In my area it costs around $8,500+tax out of pocket including surgeon, anesthesiologist, OR, overnight hospital stay and follow-ups.
In all fairness I think it should be free for gynecological cancer survivors just like breast reconstruction after mastectomy, but insurance calls it elective surgery and does not cover.

Has anyone else considered or done full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)?
If you did how did it turn out?

Alnik
Posts: 56
Joined: Feb 2012

I have not wanted to mention this to anyone because of what thier response may be, however it will be a year next week from time of surgery and chemo i have put on over 50 pounds and my stomach has dropped down to where i can feel it hang (yuck) IM extremely active,workout, eat right,work with nutritionist and im still a mess. It doesnt seem that anything i do is working i know it takes time but i would like to be able to look in a mirror some day soon and not want to cry.It was hard enough to loose three feet of blonde hair(now i have short black curly hair) but when i go out people that i used to know dont even reconize me. Im not in the least a superficial type of person i just want to be healthy and strong again. So that has been the issue is a surgery something that i should do???????? For now im going to keep going the natural route. So if you do choose that route please let me know how things are going. Wish you well!!

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1264
Joined: Jul 2012

I scheduled tummy tuck for January 25th with Dr. Jugenburg in Toronto, a week after my IP chemo port is coming out on January 16th.

I would rather be called shallow and not cringe every time I look at my droopy fat mutilated stomach in the mirror. But it's my choice and I realize that it's not high on the priority list for most survivors.

Very excited! Hubby is pissed. Before and after pictures to follow...

I am still to find out what kind of hair I will get. Mine was dark, coarse and curly all my life, so maybe I will finally get the long blonde "Barbie" hair of my dreams. Just kidding...

Glad to be done's picture
Glad to be done
Posts: 558
Joined: Jul 2012

Did you test positive for BRCA 1? Here in us if you do - insurance pays for a total mastectomy and tummy tuck to use tummy tissue for reconstrctive surgery

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1264
Joined: Jul 2012

I have considered prophylactic mastectomy with immediate reconstruction with TRAM/DIEP flap (part of this procedure is de facto a tummy tuck) and it is covered by insurance.

The pros are: no cost, flat stomach and 90% reduction in breast cancer risk.
The cons are: removing healthy breasts, risk of flap failure, only DIEP flap is possible after hysterectomy, when muscles were cut. In my area DIEP flaps (microsurgery) are only performed by a handful of surgeons and waiting times are in years. With uncertain timing of the recurrance I don't want to wait.

It's a cold thing and no doctor will say it to your face, but in all my conversations with genetisists and breast cancer oncologist they gently hinted that estimated lifespan of someone with stage 3C ovarian cancer does not justify prophylactic mastectomy. They all recommend monitoring with mammograms and annual MRI.

Glad to be done's picture
Glad to be done
Posts: 558
Joined: Jul 2012

Hmmm. What happens after the tummy yuck if god forbid we have a recurrence and they do surgery. Do we end up with the front butt again?

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1264
Joined: Jul 2012

I am counting on more chemo for recurrances, not on another surgery.
But if it happens...I guess it will be $10K I will never get back LOL.

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1264
Joined: Jul 2012

OK girls, next time I come up with an expensive dumb idea, promise me to smack me upside the head and cut up my credit cards.

I had my “full tummy tuck” surgery on Friday, Jan 25th. Scientific name is “abdominoplasty with body contouring”.  Surgery took 3 hours under anaesthesia. I was supposed to go home after, but hospital kept me for two days because of bleeding and low hemoglobin. Now I am finally at home reunited with my beloved laptop and the rest of my family. I do not regret my decision…yet.

On the positive side: my “puffy front butt” is gone, it’s flatter than it has been since kindergarten. Abdominal muscles were tightened. Once again I have a waist. Ugly vertical scars from 1) hysterectomy, 2) appendectomy and 3) IP chemo port are erased like it never happened. My surgeon was dreamy with a sexy accent and soft long fingers. Sorry I digress…

Everything else sucks:  hip-to-hip angry red incision full of staples; super-tight abdominal binder, 2 drains filling up with gross red fluid; arms full of new holes from IV and blood tests,  a brand new hole that (once it heals) will become my fake belly button, swelling and colorful bruises all over the place. And the pain, OMG, the pain! I feel like I was run over by an 18-wheeler.  I am popping Percocets like tic-tacs chasing them with handfuls of Tylenol 3’s.

Pain should become manageable after 48 hrs., we’ll see about that. Staples come out on day 4, drains - in a week or two. Recovery time is 6 weeks if no complications (infection, clots, wound separation, skin necrosis, etc.).  And I am at the higher risk of every complication: I am fat, not that young, a couch potato, a life-long smoker, 9 months since cancer diagnosis, 4 months since hysterectomy, 2 months since last chemo, 1 week since IP port removal.

Obviously the rest of my body remains… “voluptuous”, to say the least. I was chubby to begin with. Plus I gained 35 lbs on chemo. I am working on it. I already wiped 2 inches of dust off my treadmill and exercise bike in the basement. And one day I will start using them. I am on the low carb, low fat, and no salt diet. Well, I am till about 10pm, after that all bets are off.  But if diet and “exercise” do not do the trick, I will just wear Spanx for the rest of my life to hide my generous booty.

Stay tuned for my next self-improvement projects: a couple of prison tattoos and a nose ring. J

kikz's picture
kikz
Posts: 1281
Joined: Jun 2010

you are doing well, Miss Flat Tummy!  If I was younger, I may have considered doing it.  But then again I have so much flab from years of losing and gaining that it would be too much.  I once told a friend it would be great if they could gather all the excess flab and tie it in a knot at the top of my head.  Of course I would have to wear a hat the rest of my life.

I lost 45 pounds during treatment but gained it back a few months into remission so I ended up weighing exactly what I did before I got sick.  That's pretty crazy.  I have lost 20 since but still need to lose another 80 or so pounds which seems impossible at this point.  I used to lose weight so quickly but it took a year to lose the 20 and I have been at a standstill the last few months.  With everything that is going on, my heart isn't into  Weight Watcher's but I still go to meetings and stay on plan most of the time.  I just decided that if I reallly want something, I am going to have it.  Life is too short and with our diagnosis... 

Anyway, I hope this surgery makes you feel better.  I believe a person should do whatever it takes to make themselves happy.  Others may not agree but, oh well, they are not on your journey.

My best to you, Alexandra.  When you heal up, show us a picture of yuor new waistline. 

 

Karen

zinaida's picture
zinaida
Posts: 220
Joined: Oct 2007

Good for you Alexandra ! I hope you wiil feel good soon. You are brave women! I love every things you writing down. You are my dream women, wich one I like to be! But I know  now you are real! Forgive my english. I wish you the best, Zina. :)

Glad to be done's picture
Glad to be done
Posts: 558
Joined: Jul 2012

Girl you have some serious guts........  More like serious balls than guts.  Kudos to you.   I now know after reading your story I will NEVER do it.  LOL.....  I am not none to tolerate pain at all.....  I did do great after my hysterectomy but this just sounds like way to much to me.....  I had a friend that had it done a few years back and she said had she known before what it would be like after she never would have done it....

I am glad you did well and hope the pain subsides soon...

 

 

Glad to be done's picture
Glad to be done
Posts: 558
Joined: Jul 2012

BTW...  I love your screw cancer picture.  Mind if I copy that??

 

Green Leaf's picture
Green Leaf
Posts: 24
Joined: Jun 2012

I admire your courage as well as your new photo.

I wish everything is going better and better for you.

wholfmeister's picture
wholfmeister
Posts: 265
Joined: Dec 2012

I was wondering if you went through with it!  I'm sorry there will be some rough days, but you'll make it!  You still have your feisty, spicy, fightin' spirit that we all love!  Go easy on yourself, and lighten up on the cigarettes, if you can, at least until your wounds heal.  Smoking is terrible for wound healing.  We all love you and support you in pursuit of health and happiness!

Glad to be done's picture
Glad to be done
Posts: 558
Joined: Jul 2012

Alexandra thinking of you?  How are you doing?  I hope your pain is subsiding....Sealed

 

 

Alexandra's picture
Alexandra
Posts: 1264
Joined: Jul 2012

Thank y'all for the kind wishes and not judging. Спасибо Зина, я из Москвы, вы и я можем открыть русское отделение.

Eileen, I lifted the "screw cancer" picture off the internet; it's for grabs.

The new wig is called Voltage by Raquel Welch, color Glazed Sand R1621S+, it's my third Voltage and fifth Raquel Welch overall. I like to get little presents from myself. When I got it in the mail yesterday, I was doing a little happy dance and 2 bloody drains were festively jumping with me.

zinaida's picture
zinaida
Posts: 220
Joined: Oct 2007

Вы меня прятно удивили !  Кроме того,  что вы прекрасно владеете английским , имеете чувство юмора в америкагнской традиции.  вы еще и мой соотечественник . У нас есть еще одна русскоговоряшая женщина.  Она живет в Санфранциско.  Может быть действительно можно организовать страничку для русскоговорщих на этом сайте.  Я свяжусь с этой женщиной через одноклассники , чтобы она к нам присоединилась.  Всего вам доброго, Зина. :)

khsherwood's picture
khsherwood
Posts: 29
Joined: Jan 2011

Wow! You are one brave woman. So many surgeries so close together! 

I had three surgeries this past year but they were separated by months and really I feel that it was hard to keep bouncing back. One thing I learned though is that the first week following surgery is the worst. That seems obvious, but I mean, oh my God, how am I going to get through this kind of pain, especially when the anethesia wears finally wears off after 48 hours. Magically, about one week after things get easier, and I feel that I can manage. You just need to get through that first week. Take the pain meds as prescibed and I promise it will soon get better. But you are obviously a pro at this, so why am I telling you this? We are learning from you. Thank you for telling us how you are doing. Please keep us updated.

By the way, you don't look fat at all in your picture. In fact you look very cute. Great wig! Kelly

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