It's been just over 8 weeks since my tummy tuck. Can you believe it?
Someone asked me if I still feel pain. Yes, I do. My doctor told me it would take 6 weeks before I'd feel good. He didn't lie.It took that long...and I'm still a work-in-progress. It took 4 weeks to be able to function fairly normally (drive myself, do light housework, walk half a mile, etc.) but I still didn't have feeling in my stomach - total numbness one side to the other- and it still felt like my skin and muscles were being stretched tight (because they had been). It still hurt quite a bit. At 6 weeks, I felt better, but not 100% better. I finally could go without the support garments (hallelujah!), walk over a mile, clean the bathroom, vacuum, and work full-time. At 8 weeks, I have regained a lot of the feeling back in my stomach, just the very center (about an inch diameter around my brand new belly button) still feels numb. My muscles still feel sore but not as much. There are times I actually forget about my tummy because the soreness isn't too bad. My skin rarely feels tight, just if I've sat too long in the same position.
I can finally sleep on my stomach, but it hurts when I roll over onto it. Once I'm on my stomach, there's no pain, it just hurts to get there. Thankfully, it doesn't hurt so much that I wake up every time I turn over like it used to. Sleeping for hours uninterrupted is a blessing. It hurts to sneeze. A lot. Laughing and coughing still cause minor pain as well, but not as bad as sneezing. I had no idea you use your stomach muscles when sneezing. For that matter, I've learned of all sorts of activities that use my stomach muscles that I hadn't realized before. I can't sit up by myself unless I hold on to something, and then it still hurts quite a bit. Usually, Steve puts his arm in front of me so I can use it to pull myself up.
My stomach muscles are very weak, so I'm slowly trying to increase their strength - I do a few girl pushups and some crunches every night. I tried to do a plank the other night it but was too painful, even with Steve holding up my middle a little to take off some of the pressure. Next week I'm starting a yoga class at work. It's twice a week. I'll have to be very careful to not overdo it and hurt myself too much, but I'm really looking forward to it. Yoga is a great way to build up strength in your core.
I told Steve the other night that I hope to be all healed in two weeks. That means no numbness and no tightness/soreness. I'd love to not hurt when I sneeze or cough or laugh, but a part of me can't comprehend that - it's been so long since I've been pain-free that it doesn't seem possible. However, every week I seem to make huge strides towards completely healed that it's totally possible that I will be in two weeks...or three or four. *smile*
I've come a long way and it feels good to be where I am. I absolutely love wearing clothes! I realize what a silly statement that is, but it's true. I love wearing pants more than I ever did before. Skirts and dresses could sort of hide my stomach, but pants showed it off. So, I chose my shirts carefully when I wore pants - they had to be long enough to cover my tummy. What freedom to choose shirts regardless of their length! In fact, I love wearing shirts that aren't too long now so I can see how good I look in my pants. I bought a new pair of jeans that has a belt and can actually wear shirts tucked in. It's a whole new world for me.
It's been a long healing process, longer than I fully comprehended going into it; however, it's been worth it. Even in the beginning, when I was in so much pain and couldn't do anything by myself and had those awful drainage tubes, there were moments that made it worthwhile. Spending lots of time with my mom, Steve's tenderness and loving service, sitting in bed with Sadie curled up next to me for a couple hours every day, wearing pajamas all day, Mom doing my hair, making out with my hubby, the first time I wore real clothes (after the drains came out) and seeing how flat my tummy was - these are memories of the early days of my recovery, moments that cut through the pain of healing, memories that I cherish. Now, as I feel better every day, every week, I'm rejoicing in my new stomach, my new confidence. It's totally been worth it!
That said...I'm not going under the knife again for a very, very, very long time!!! *smile*