It’s no secret that I have had plastic surgery. Friends who are considering getting some work done always sheepishly ask the same questions. Did it hurt? How much did it cost? Was it worth it?
Do you want to know too? (If not you might want to stop reading.)
I had a full tummy tuck of both my upper and middle abdomen. I needed it, I had twins – twice. My stomach was gross. Grosser than gross. The little kids used to point at it and say, “Mommy, why is your stomach all crumply?” (Most days I refrained from replying, “because of you!”) Even at my skinniest I had a flap of skin that folded over the top of my jeans. I had the first set of twins when I was 22, so I had to stare at it for 10 long years.
When Dallas and I decided to have another baby (which wound up being twins again) I agreed to try to get pregnant under one condition: post-baby tummy tuck. He agreed because he’s a good guy. He may have been tired of listening to my constant whining about the state of my abdomen. I can’t be sure, I only listen to about half of what he says.
A year after I had Reese and Jackson I made a serious effort to lose the remaining 10 pounds and get back into shape. I ate right and exercised regularly. I tried to run. I wanted to be a runner. But I couldn’t. Every time I ran I would get cramps in my lower abdomen. I tried not eating before running, drinking more water, drinking less water, changing my stride, and all sorts of breathing techniques. I gave up running.
In 2009 I decided I was ready for the procedure. I interviewed three plastic surgeons before settling on the one who acted like a doctor instead of a salesman. Her practice also came recommended by my friend Christine. She was great. If your plastic surgeon is more interested in pitching the sale to you than talking about medicine – run for the hills. (Walk if your tummy gets to crampy.)
Yes, it hurt. It’s major surgery, of course it hurts. I had to stay overnight at the surgery center. When I was released I couldn’t walk upright for almost a week. Here’s a tip: After having abdominal surgery, don’t walk down stairs while checking stupid Facebook on your stupid iPhone. You might stumble and it will feel like your guts are being ripped out.
Dallas was away for the surgery, so my Dad came to help me. He had to give me shots (of medication to prevent blood clots – not vodka) in the shoulder for the first five days. On the fourth day he told me he was afraid of needles. I know. He’s pretty much the best Dad ever. Of all time.
My doctor used silver tape and honey on my wound. Yes, you read that right, honey. Regular honey in the bear-shaped container. It has healing and anti-bacterial properties and works better than Neosporin. Crazy right? I still use honey on cuts at home. That’s why I’m so sweet.
After a couple of weeks I was almost completely back to normal. Except I had a super-flat stomach. The only downside was my bellybutton. It looks a little weird. Since they pulled the skin down and cut off the crumply part, they had to cut a new hole for it. It never went back to a normal color. It’s kind of brownish and weird, like I’m smuggling raisins in my navel.
I had the procedure done in Georgia. The cost for the tummy tuck, start to finish including all the Dr. visits and overnight stay was $6,000. That’s a lot of money – but it was totally worth it. I’m not obsessed with my appearance, I promise. (I spent $6,000 to have my tummy tuck, but sometimes I still put my hair up in a scrunchy.) I know it’s hard to believe considering I spent that much on it – but it wasn’t just about how I looked it was about how I felt. Once I didn’t have to stare at my crumply belly anymore I was happy. Plus, I could run again. Not only did they cut out the ugly skin, they also stitched my separated abdominal muscles back together. No more organs flip-flopping around when I run. That might be the best perk of all.
You can see my pre-surgery and post-surgery photos here. Please refrain from using the word crumply when you look at the pre-surgery photo.
Was it worth? Absolutely. As my friend Christine said, even if I had to have it all reversed tomorrow, I’d still be glad I did it. That’s how much better it made me feel these last three years. Worth every dollar and then some.