Erin Holmes has been a Health Information Technician with Plastic Surgery Center of Tulsa for the past 2 years. She has a 10-year-old son, who is very active in sports, which keeps Erin's schedule full at all times. And Erin enjoys anything to do with being at the lake.
While we have always felt Erin was beautiful, she felt there were some physical changes she wanted to make to her appearance, so in January of this year, Dr. Brenda Schiesel performed an extended tummy tuck and liposuction on the hips, outer thighs and back.
“I had never considered having plastic surgery before I started working here and saw the amazing transformations that were happening every day. It truly is a life changing experience,” says Erin. She is so happy she made the decision. “I'm so happy I made this decision for me. My clothes fit better. I'm not hiding behind t-shirts. The confidence I have gained in myself is priceless. I feel like a weight has been lifted and now I can just enjoy life!”
Erin has agreed to share her experience with us so you can get a closer look at what she was feeling during the time leading up to her surgery, the day of surgery and during her recovery. Please keep in mind, that all surgeries are different and your experience may not be the same as Erin's experience.
Weight: 172 (at surgery), 165 (6 weeks out)
Weight Removed: 3.4 lbs of skin removed
Volume Removed: 3 liters of fat removed
Making the Decision
Approached Dr. Schiesel today about the possibility of doing a tummy tuck. We set up a time to actually do an initial consultation. Strange how I talk with patients about this every day, but when I'm talking about myself, it made me a little nervous. I think I'm actually going to do this.
Met with Dr. Schiesel. That's a lot to think about. I can see how patients have so many questions and concerns before their surgery! It's way different when it's you who is going to have the surgery. Dr. Schiesel thinks I could see a lot of change with the tummy tuck, but she thinks I need to add the liposuction as well to get a better result.
I'm going to do it. Date set. Now, I just have to wait. I'm excited and nervous all at the same time.
Night Before Surgery
Is this really happening? Tomorrow is the big day. I'm being careful to follow all the instructions I got, but I have to confess, I'm super nervous. I keep wondering, “How bad am I going to feel when I wake up? Am I going to look really different? What if something goes wrong? What if I can't see any difference at all? Do I really want to go through with this? Is it worth it? How will I heal?” I don't think I'm going to sleep much tonight.
Day of Surgery
No turning back now. Strange to be going in today as a patient and not an employee. I'm a nervous wreck. All this anticipation built up and walking in the OR, I could feel my lip start to quiver. When I laid down on the bed and my friends were around me telling me they were going to take care of me, I felt tears start to fall. It is a really emotional experience. Seeing patients every day and going through their surgery journey with them, I thought I was prepared for what I was going to go through. But everyone is different and every experience is different.
The first thing a did when I woke up is told Dr. Schiesel she was right, I did hate her just a little -- she always tells her patients they won't like her that first day!
Day 1 Post Surgery
I will say, on this first day home, I am super happy with my results. My tummy is so flat! My pain is controlled with pain meds and I am happy! On to the new me!
Day 2-3 Post Surgery
THIS IS NOT FUN. Day 2 and 3 are miserable. My muscles are very sore from the repair work and I can't get up and down without help. People keep telling me you turn a corner and then everything is good. But I haven't seen that corner yet. Everything hurts. I can't get comfortable and I have to be very careful with every movement. There's bruising running down my leg (that was from the liposuction and it went away), and my belly button has this weird little bubble on it (but that went away on its own too!) Why can't I just feel like myself? Thank God for pain meds. Here's my first recommendation – take the pain meds as your doctor prescribes them. Don't be a hero. This is surgery and it hurts.
Well, I finally did turn that corner – though it seems like it took me a really long time – I'm moving a little better and feeling a little bit better. I woke up this morning and I was able to get up and down on my own and the pain was more bearable and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! It's a win! Those first few days were pretty tough though. I had a good support system at home and a recliner! I watched Netflix 24/7!
Look at me – I'm getting back into the swing of things! I was even able to do a little housework – not that that is one of my favorite things to be doing. But it sure felt good to be able to get up and around a little bit!
Back in for my first post-op visit. I'm so happy with my results already. It was so worth it! It was good to see my work family! They have been so good to respond to my concerns during recovery. I sure understand more about what the patients are talking about when they call after surgery and why they need reassurance that this is a normal part of recovery!
My husband has been amazing through all of this. He's the best caregiver and my son keeps telling me how skinny I am!
Almost forgot -- my stitches came out. YES.
Feeling pretty good about myself! I went to my son's basketball game today! I think I'm going to make it. Winning!
Two days before going back to work. Yikes. I'm more than a little nervous about it, but I know I'm getting stronger every day. I'm moving a little better, but it is still pretty dang slow. I can really tell my body is changed now though! I'm still swollen, but that is what I would have expected. I think I'm most excited to get back to work and talk with patients because I can really share my experience with them!
Back to work. Can you believe it? I'm still bent over and so sore. And by the end of the day, I was exhausted (this is from the anesthesia) and swollen all the way down to my toes from the lipo (NOTE: that lasted about two weeks).
I'm starting to feel like myself again. It was a long haul, but so worth it. Bring on summer.
I'm getting around pretty good now. I can almost stand up completely straight! My tummy tuck is doing great, but the lipo is still sore. I have a hard time going from sitting to standing, but once I'm up and moving I'm good to go! Being a patient myself has allowed me to get to know my co-workers on a different level. Yes, they are my friends, and yes they are great to all our patients, but being a patient myself has shown me how much our staff truly cares and gives 110% to each patient. I was so at ease knowing I could call any time or come in any time. That wasn't just because I work here, we do that all the time for all of our patients. It is just a great place to work and to have plastic surgery! Our team is the best!
Post op pictures! YES. Just look at the difference! I'm so excited to see these results! I'm happy and no longer hiding behind things to cover up when a camera comes out!
I got to get rid of those compression garments. Boy does that feel good.
Restrictions were lifted last week, so I can slowly start easing back into my old routine of things. I'll take it. It has been quite a process getting to this point, but I am just amazed at the transformation I see in my body! I love looking in the mirror. I can't wait to be 110% and try on new summer clothes with confidence. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
I am four months post-surgery...woo hoo! Life is good. Starting to feel like myself again, only now I have this new body, and just in time for summer. I'm ready for Memorial weekend and spending time at the lake out on the boat for the first time since surgery...in a bathing suit, too! Everything is looking great and getting back to normal. I'm down 10 lbs post procedure and am motivated to keep losing. I do still have some mild swelling in the evenings, depending on how active I've been that day. Also, I am still experiencing minor hip tenderness. My hips will get sore at night when I lay on my side for too long. No big deal really, I just have to rotate side to side a few times in the middle of the night. Otherwise, everything is going perfectly and could not have asked for a better result.
Life is full of unexpected journeys and this was definitely one I didn't see coming. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work for, and be worked on, by amazing surgeons who are devoted to their patients and truly want them to be happy and confident. They are changing people's lives daily and I just so happened to get to be one of those people!
We have some clips of Erin's surgery!
Below are video clips of Erin's surgery. Now, remember, this is SURGERY as it actually happens. There are incisions, a little blood and exposed tissue. So, you have been warned!
(click on the photos to see larger images)