Saturday, 29 September 2012

5 months after surgery

Hi everyone!

I've waited to heal as much as I could before posting the 'after' pictures, but here we go, the result after 5 months of recovery. I'm pleased with the results, even if my breast have  not maintained their size and are only marginally bigger than before. Regardless, I've gone through an internal boost of my body image and I feel good about my new shape. Even if I'm still an A cup, I have pretty much stopped wearing padded bras (so much more comfortable!) and I am wearing figure hugging clothing with a lot more confidence.

I was planning a third surgery to do my tummy and front of thighs with another transfer to the breasts, but something got in the way and I've put that on hold for now. I might re-visit that idea in the future, but for now I'm happy with what's been achieved so far.

The little scars that are dotted around my body will fade more over time, no one has mentioned them when they've been exposed over the summer, and in a year I'm sure they will be barely noticeable for me too. 

Front and side, 5 months in

Back and side, 5 months after

Small scars on knees, hips and breasts
Here is a side by side of front and back, I think the result is really good even if I still have small breasts, still have cellulite, and still have the little scars all over. I'm pleased with it and I hope you've found the blog interesting, and that it has been of some help in your own process. Thanks for reading!
Before and After, 5 months on

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Days 3-11 after inner thighs and knees

Healing after this surgery has taken much longer and been much more uncomfortable than after the first one. As you can see from the pictures, within the first few days I developed some fairly epic bruising (so much for Arnica!), which spread with a green hue down my shins into a black and blue pool at my ankles making it all feel a bit tender and look very messy. Long skirts and dresses have been purchased, just in case spring does arrive at some point this year.

The adits on my right leg stopped leaking on Day 4, while the left one kept going strong till Day 7 meaning I had to buy in some extra bandages. The swelling didn't start going down till Day 9, and is still today at 11 days post-op, very uncomfortable and painful to manage with. I really hope it goes down a lot more, and fast, as my skin feels very hard in places and it's very very tight. I struggle to walk in normal strides, lift and bend my knees, move my legs apart, bend forwards etc without feeling like it's tearing off from my muscles. Going from sitting or lying to standing is very stiff and sore. The incision sites are very noticeable to the touch, like little hard lumps, and I'm still more comfortable in the compression garment, since it feels like it holds my skin onto my bones a bit more!

Before the surgeries I thought about whether my skin would feel 'loose' afterwards, or if it would contract nicely. I hoped for the latter as I'm still young and I've never been a yo-yo dieter which might have led to the skin being less elastic. The other worry would be that the channels beneath my skin would make it look as if I had more cellulite, and that in gaining a less bulgy profile overall I'd lose on smoothness of the skin.

I spoke to Dr. Gupta about some of this as he was working on me, and he explained that the reason why he goes deep with the cannulas is specifically to pull fat from as close to the muscle as possible, leaving a smoothing layer of fat just under the surface of the skin. From what I can see so far I'm not quite getting away with it. Looking in the mirror and at pictures, plus the feeling when I run my hands over them, my thighs are going to be and look lumpier. My hope is that it's still early days, and that over time things will become a bit smoother, but I have to make peace with the fact that that they might not. I just hope it's still swelling, and not scar tissue forming under my skin.

In other disheartening news, my chest have gone from measuring 85cm pre-op, to 90cm immediately post-op, 88cm at their Day 9, and now at Day 20: 85cm again. They do still look a little bit bigger than before, being a bit fuller and rounder if not projecting outwards as much, but the increase in size is definitely less than I had hoped. Not quite sure how else to feel about that, other than crossing fingers I might have a last chance top 'top up' at a later stage. 

So here is the picture update so far, it's Day 18 for outer thighs and while mostly faded you can still see shadows of the bruises, while all the adits are still very red.
Bruising on inner thighs and knees, Day 4.

Inner thighs Day 9

Detail of knees Day 9
Ankles Day 9

Day 18 outer thighs, Day 9 inner thighs and knees

Day 18 outer thighs, Day 9 inner thighs and knees

Friday, 27 April 2012

Picture update on thighs and knees!

So it's been 11 days since I did my outer thighs and hips, and 2 days since inner thighs and knees.
Taking the bandages off this morning I'd expelled a bit more fluid, but as you might see in the pictures gravity is still pushing some out of the lower adits, and the areas are so swollen still I struggle to see much of a difference yet. The one obvious place would be at the very top of my thighs, those two little pillows of fat are clearly reduced. It bodes well for the rest, I'm sure everything will settle down nicely and over the weekend I should start seeing a better result. The new bruising is not too bad, and the massive old bruising is fading bit by bit. It's still going to be opaque tights for a while forward but since the London weather hardly encourages bare-legged frolicking in the park yet, I'm happy to hide my pins from view for a bit longer.

Everything is quite sore to the touch but walking is a bit easier, I can scale the stairs one step at a time today instead of double stepping it like a toddler! The plan for today is to just keep moving, keep fluids draining and get ready for a weekend of hitting cafes with friends that I haven't seen much through all this. I'll keep updates and pictures coming as I heal, in the meantime feel free to ask me anything!

Inner knees day 2

Inner knees day 2, still leaking

Inner thighs and knees day 2

11 days outer thighs, 2 days inner thighs and knees

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Surgery day for inner thighs and knees, and a day of recovery

Right, so while these areas seem to be a bit more sensitive on me than outer thighs were, yesterday went really well and I'm now lounging at home looking a bit like a stuffed sausage. I'm glad I prepared the house again with food and drink, toiletries, clothes, binbags, chargers etc, all ready and accessible in locations where I'd be most likely to need them. This makes everything so much easier and less painful, and sets you up for getting the most comfortable rest you can get.

Turning up in Knightsbride an hour early (I'll never be good at estimating travel time in London) I went for a walk around the block to pick a good spot for the car to pick me up from, as last time I had to jump in while he pulled over on the Sloane double reds. For reference, 14 Basil is a good spot, you can cut through the alley by Karen Millen on Brompton and have them waiting there. Anyway, I loitered around some clothes shops for a while reminding myself of how much I loathe shopping, before heading up to do the pre-surgery checks. I signed another consent form, had my blood pressure and weight recorded, then went off to change into the fetching paper garments provided. I was just as excited to get the inner pockets of fat done as I had been about the outer sections, and again I opted out of the Lorazepam preferring to be clear and alert even if it meant I might be more uncomfortable. I'd asked Dr. Gupta if he'd be willing to help take some snaps for me, which he graciously obliged to and so I present to you: the sharpie adorned version of my thighs:

Sharpie markings for where the fat will be reduced.
For about 10 minutes there was a bit of drama as I realized I'd forgotten my compression garment from last time, and I was supposed to be using the same one after this procedure. A little clinic taskforce suddenly sprang into action and in no time another garment had been ordered, much to my relief! If it hadn't been available on short notice, me and my sharpie marks would be going home, fat still included. On the up side, for Dr. Gupta it would have meant he'd have time for lunch, and not have to listen to me harass him about skipping meals for another couple of hours. (Dr. Gupta; workaholics need to eat too!)

But we were all set to go and I got in place on the bed, was covered in warm towels by lovley nurse Claire and maneuvered into position so my right thigh was perfectly placed for Dr Gupta to start work on. First with the small points of local anesthetic, then with a slightly longer needle spreading it through the rest of the tissue. Once numb to any pain, he proceeded to fill me up with the saline solution that would pressurize and loosen the fat cells, a rather funny and rather wet affair as little fountains of water kept springing up out of the adits! The cannula, which has several little openings along the length of it, made a little vibration-like feeling as it moved through the layers, and the occasional tiny stinging sensation popped up here and there. Otherwise, the process of pumping 1 1/2 liters of water into each thigh is not a painful one, just... slightly odd. They felt so full and hard that I wondered how he could possible fit any more in, and they looked absolutely ridiculous with their bulgy swollen areas of pale, yellow skin perfectly framed by the blue marks he'd made earlier. I would have asked for a picture of it but it's probably the sort of thing that would make some people feel a bit woozy! Each thigh took about 30 minutes to fill up and by the end I was a bit like those musclemen whose thighs are so big they can't actually touch their toes together. It made rolling around into position a clumsy effort, but they both made sure I didn't fall on the floor! Hardly the time to worry about lounging elegantly, we chatted on about travels, work, food, excercise and holidays while the second thigh was filled up, and Dr Gupta was ordered off to have a cup of tea and bite to eat while we waited for the tissue to become soft again.

The solution they pump into you is room temperature so while not cold, there is certainly something about the difference to body temperature and stress on the tissue that can make you feel a bit shivery. It's easy to tense up thus making yourself more tired and sore than necessary, so I bundled the towels around me and tried breathing deeply and relaxing all muscles, and before long it was time to start the fat withdrawal. Nurse Claire and I asked some questions about the differences to VaserLipo and the reasons why Dr. Gupta prefers to use his MicroLipo technique, what he looks for and feels for in determining the progress during surgery. He told us about his experiences training with Dr. Klein, the various sized cannulas used in the fat removal, the benefits of MicroLipo for recovery time, and about how he works the cannula through the layers, feeling and looking for where to go and the right moment to stop. It was really lovely to hear the focus and passion Dr. Gupta has for his work, and what it means for him that his patients end up with a result that makes a difference in their lives. Consummate professionals, warm, personable and attentive, I was in great hands both with him and Claire.

Dr. Gupta spent about 30 minutes on each leg passing the cannula back and forth and in and out of the various entry points, and I could watch the outcome pass through the clear hose and drain into the collection canisters. Little suction noises could be heard every now and then but otherwise it was mostly just Claire and I humming along to the radio or the three of us chatting and laughing. I was yawning and fighting the urge to stretch out like a cat, warm and dozy in the little room, only occasionally startled by a feeling of dull pressure if he got a bit close to a muscle. While I could definitely feel more of the action going on this time than last time, I'd still be reluctant to call it painful, more like a really deep massage that sporadically has just that bit too much sensation for it to be relaxing. The fat removed this time wasn't of as 'clear' a quality as last time with more bloodstained fluids coming out now. From a quick glance at my legs I think I'll have a nice difference, but I'm curious about my knees as they still looked a bit podgy, swollen or not. In the end I think we ended up with two canisters of about 600ml fat/300ml fluid from each leg, and Claire and I joked that they looked a bit like lava lamps. I may never be able to look at one the same way ever again!

As I was being wrapped up in layers of absorbent dressings and hoisted into my new garment, I was warned that I might leak a lot more this time since more fluids had been injected. At that point I was actually glad I had an extra bodysuit at home, so I could use one while washing the other without being out of compression. I changed back into my flowy dress that hides all secrets, and even managed to put my own shoes on this time! Armed with a bag of replacement pads and wraps I had a cup of tea while waiting for my car, said goodbye and waddled off, feeling great if a little stiff. It'd been only three hours and the areas were still quite numb, but an hour after I got home it started wearing off quite quickly. I lay down for a bit and took some pain killers, but as soon as I got up to try for the kitchen it was as if my legs were on fire, and I gingerly staggered back to bed to catch my breath. I thought there would be no way I'd make it to the bathroom so I was grateful for the cup I'd placed next to the bed, it meant I could at least manage without walking anywhere. Still, I was pretty much bed bound for the rest of the night, very different from the first procedure but an interesting exercise in breathing through pain.

I slept ok if a little restlessly, and I was thrilled to find this morning that I could actually get up and walk around again! I decided to remove my bodysuit while sitting/lying down so I wouldn't get dizzy, then I slowly stood up so I could change the dressings. They were definitely holding a lot more fluid than last time, but I hadn't leaked through much and only a few stains were on the garment. I had a look in the mirror but couldn't really see as much of an immediate difference as last time, so I wrapped myself up again and pulled on a clean suit opting to take pictures tomorrow instead. Hopefully more fluid will come out overnight and the swelling go down a bit, so I can get a clearer picture of where I'm at. I've felt fine all day and only took a couple of Co-codamols this morning, otherwise I've been up and down stairs doing laundry and some work around the house, not exactly at normal speed but at least not in significant discomfort!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Day 9, and the morning before MicroLipo on inner thighs and knees!

In this window between old swelling subsiding and more swelling being created, I thought I'd do my measurements again. I'm not really chasing any specific numbers for my end result, I'd just like the general bellybutton-down-area to be less, and the bellybutton-up-area to be a bit more! Actually, I'd like the 'on the pantyline' and 'widest part of buttocks' measurements to remain much the same, since I'm mostly trying to create an effect where the widest part of my body is no longer below my darling ample behind!

I'm almost surprised the numbers have changed so little considering I think I visually look very different now, but everything is up or down in a good direction! I'm not entirely sure why my waist is getting smaller, perhaps it's the fact that the compression garment is keeping me so tight I can't seem to manage big meals. Instead I'm eating smaller but more often, thus kicking my metabolic rate up a notch? Perhaps there is still swelling to go down too, it's a little hard to tell but I'm going to wait and not measure myself again for at least a week. For the record, I still weigh 57 kg so there is no weightloss, just a shape change!

Measurements day 9, first measurements in parentheses

I started taking the arnica 30c on Monday and I hope that'll set me up for a less bruised next few days, but I must say I'm pretty impressed with just the cream too. I also have some witch hazel astringent that I apply before the arnica cream, and some witch hazel gel that I might try soon. Perhaps if I get some new symmetrical bruises today I'll treat one leg with arnica cream and one with witch hazel gel, and see which one clears up first! I normally bruise like a peach anyway, so I'm grateful for all remedies. That said, I haven't resorted to some of the other cures for bruises I've found online, like crushed parsley, melted chocolate (although that sounds fun!) and live leeches!

Right, off to the Knightsbridge surgery again, I'll try to sneak my camera in today and get some snaps!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Day 6 picture update

Another round of pictures this morning to document progress! All the adits are healing nicely, most of the scabs on the breast have started coming off on their own. In the pictures you can still see the red marks that the first first aid tape I used to make replacement band aids for these adits caused. It looks worse than it is, but they're peeling now as expected and with moisturizing and exfoliation they'll fade away. The thigh adits, which are generally a bit larger in size, will need a bit more time to fully heal, and at this point I do I expect them to leave a few noticeable scars. I might pick up some scar reduction serum, gel or cream in preparation for this! I'm still sore around thighs and lovehandles, and bruising seems to be appearing in new areas, like behind and on my knees and faintly down my shins. No puncture sites were made in these areas in surgery, so it must just be my body reacting to the general trauma and the compression garment manipulating blood flow.

I'm not sure whether my skin will process the bruising better with or without the compression garment, so today I opted for an in between- I put on a pair of Spanx that are keeping me quite tight without adding as much bulk or restricting movement as much as the surgery provided garment does. I've used generous amounts of arnica cream for the last couple of days, and I'm happy that I've gone from blue/purple to slightly more yellow/green versions. I have about three weeks till I'd like all marks to have faded, including the bruises I'll incur when I do inner thighs and knees on Wednesday.

I'm fairly pleased with the results, I feel like there is still some swelling on the lovehandles and thighs, while my breasts might have come down to where they'll more or less stay. I'm happy with their size and don't really mind that they're still a bit 'cockeyed'! I might go a tiny bit bigger in a few months but I think my frame is small enough to where even a modest B cup looks nice. So far so good!

Day 6

Day 6

Day 6 upper body

Day 6 lower body

Day 6 lower body

Day 6 bruises and adits on thighs

Day 6 adits on thighs and breasts

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Days 1-4 after surgery

Tuesday morning and Day 1 after surgery, the day most people will warn you is the worst one when it comes to pain and soreness. I wasn't really in too much pain except for when I went to get up or to lie down. When walking around or lying on the sofa I felt fine, a bit sore of course but nothing more than what you'd expect after some serious exercise. Before hitting the shower I took some pictures of the stylish bandages and band aids, just to give you an idea of how truly unflattering it all is (especially the diaper like massive underpants they put me in!) I'd leaked blood stained saline solution through the dressings on one thigh, but it'd only just stained the garment and hadn't gone through to the bedsheets.

Because my breasts didn't need a binder or a sportsbra they were the only parts for which I could really get an idea of the final result. The band aids were holding up well, some were dry, some had just soaked up fluid while others looked like some fat had leaked out too. I wasn't actually given extras of these to replace, so I ended up cutting up some of the sheets of absorbent dressing I'd been given into little squares and fastening them with regular brown first aid tape. The size was about what I'd expected, not too big but just a slightly larger version of the shape I had. They are of course a bit swollen still, and with an estimated 90% survival rate of the injected fat they will end up a bit smaller than in these pictures. I'm hoping for a nice B cup this time, and the option to repeat this procedure in a few months time should I wish to increase by a bit more.

I'd been warned that taking the dressings off the first time to take a shower could make me feel a bit woozy, and sure enough I did have to do it in stages, taking breaks to lie down and drink some water as I peeled off section by section. The stifled blood flow suddenly being released made me feel a bit nauseous and as if I was about to faint, so I was glad I knew what to expect and how to deal with it.
Once out of the wrapping I was just thrilled to bits to see the first glimpses of my new shape, I felt a bit as if I was a drawing and someone had just taken an eraser to my outline. In fact, prior to the surgery I'd printed off the 'before' pictures and shaded out the areas I hoped would be reduced by the lipo, trying to get a realistic idea of what I'd look like based on what I'd seen possible in other people's before/after pictures. I thing doing that exercise was really useful in giving myself a realistic idea of what to expect. When dreaming of a new body it's easy to imagine something a bit more goddess like than what your starting point might allow, but  I was pleased that what I saw in the mirror was not too dissimilar to what I'd drawn up on paper. The procedure wouldn't turn me into some supermodel sylph with legs for miles and airbrushed, zero-cellulite skin, it would just make me into an adjusted version of little ol' me. And I was perfectly happy with that!

Still, I couldn't quite believe the change was real. I felt as if I had hit the 'reset' button on my body, starting over, from a better place than what my genes had ever offered me. In spite of the bruises, puncture holes and the marks from tight bandages and elastics, I suddenly felt as if from now on, for the first time in my life when I take my clothes off in front of a partner, I won't feel like I have to say 'I'm sorry.'

Morning after

Morning after
Morning after
Morning after
I threw the support garment in the wash while I took a quick shower, and while waiting for it to dry (a hairdryer made that a quick job) I took these pictures. Then I wrapped myself up in bandages again and wondered what to do with the rest of my day. Apart from being restricted in movement with the corset, I felt absolutely fine. The soreness was manageable and the pain killers were at hand if I needed them, but mostly I just relaxed, watched movies and napped while the cat kept me company.

Wednesday Day 2, and most of the puncture sites had stopped leaking. There were two bruises on each thigh (one big one as you see in the pictures and one smaller one just above that emerged a bit slower) around holes that were still releasing the fluids the doctor pumped in, and two of the adits on my breasts were still leaking a bit. I'd forgotten that the brown first aid tape I used for my homemade band aids for my breast adits would react badly with my skin, causing patches of red, dry skin to appear. I'll get pictures of this soon, it's happened before so I know they'll be red for days and eventually start flaking like a sunburn. It's no big deal just unnecessary and a little unsightly, so I replaced them with some micropore tape which should let my skin breathe normally.

I tried putting on one of my regular padded bras that I'd normally never be seen without, and they looked ridiculous trying to fit around the extra volume I now had. I went on ASOS and bought some really nice lacy, non-padded bras in a B cup, a first for both! My bruising was getting darker as I'd expected, but a lot of the puncture sites were healing up nicely and I feel pretty good about not ending up with too visible scars. I'd slept well in spite of still having to sleep on my back, and around midday I almost caved and went to work cause I was so bored being stuck at home! But I sat tight thinking I better wait and not overdo it till I wasn't leaking fluids anymore, knowing that my team at work would be absolutely fine without me!

Thursday and Day 3, finally back to work! Other than a continuing soreness as I sat down or got up, I could do absolutely everything as normal. My job, while not strenuous, does involve moving, lifting and carrying a lot and it was great to be able to get rid of some pent up energy after two days on the couch! My new bras arrived and they fit beautifully, and for the first time ever I felt as if I could go out in public with no gel inserts or padding up to the hills, and still feel womanly and sexy. That night I could sleep a bit on my sides without it being too painful. Actually, my breasts felt fine now and I could sleep on my front, but for some reason I felt like I have to be careful with them and not squash them too much yet!

Friday Day 4 was much the same, the final incision sites stopped leaking and I could put on the support garment without worrying about pulling band aids out of place. I went and got some arnica cream thinking I might have a go at seeing if I could get the bruising to let off sooner, as well as to prepare my skin for the next surgery. I don't know if it will help, but I figure it won't hurt. I might get some arnica tablets too, as people seem to recommend these pre and post surgery for both swelling and bruising. I had so much fun last night trying on some lingerie that I'd bought and some that had been hidden in the back of my drawers waiting for more confident days. Suspenders and stockings now look rather sexy rather than bulgy and a bit gross, and while my breasts have definitely settled a bit and lost some of the swelling, they still feel bigger and firmer and I'm so, so pleased. I'll do another round of pictures tomorrow to give you an idea of how the bruises and adits are coming along!