Hello dear readers and friends,
It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been over two years since I went through diastasis recti surgery. Due to the number of requests I receive about how I’m doing these days, diastasis-wise, I feel it’s time to update. I’ll answer some of the more frequent questions I get, and I’ll go into a little more detail on what life is like, two years after the surgery.
If you’ve read the diastasis recti surgery series (you can read the first post here), you know I struggled with diastasis recti, weak core, saggy belly skin, stretch marks, back pain, just the works. And if you are also struggling with diastasis recti, then I’m sure you know exactly what I am talking about, and how awful it feels to still look pregnant six months after the baby was born.
It wasn’t fun to have the surgery, not by any means. At all. I had a particularly difficult recovery, as a hematoma in my surgery area caused a major infection a month after the surgery. Then followed six months of antibiotics, a CAT scan, blah, blah, blah. Yuck. It was awful. But I survived. 🙂
Two years later, my stomach is still undergoing changes, but they are good. They are not from the surgery itself, but some things I have been doing to help out my skin in that area. These are things that anyone can do, within reason, to help their stomach area and to help with confidence, diastasis recti surgery or not. I’ll get to that in a minute, but first:
Daily Life after the Surgery
My day to day life is busy, kinda chaotic, but good. I am up and down most of the day, and it’s great to be able to say my stomach works now, and that is what is important, when you use your core muscles for almost every move you make.
My stomach still shows the impact of the surgery and infection – a large scar stretches across where my belly button used to be. Also, since my skin was taken out, I was left with a sort of bulge at the bottom, similar to a how a pleat in fabric will leave a bump at the crease.
I forgot what it feels like to have a belly button, which is weird. 🙂
But of course, you don’t have to have a belly button to survive daily life. The first few years after my surgery, I could feel the mesh whenever I slouched, or bent over. (The surgeon inserted mesh underneath my stomach muscles, so that they could look a little more normal, and so I could “still have a six pack”. I’m glad she did put it underneath my muscles.) Now, though, I can’t feel the mesh anymore. I have no idea if that’s because my nerves have healed or something, or if I am just so used to it that it doesn’t bother me anymore.
Either way, though, it’s definitely something I can deal with. I’m happy I had the surgery, even though it was an awful ordeal to go through.
I almost always say this in my posts, but I really need to mention that my experience with this surgery was very out of the ordinary. Most surgeries turn out fine. When I started the series, of course I had no idea I was going to go through such a hard recovery, I just wanted to document it on my website in an effort to help other women (and men) who deal with it and are considering surgery. I shouldn’t be the poster child for diastasis recti surgery, but I also have an experience to share, and all the details that go along with it. It is what it is. And I can deal with that, a lot better than I dealt with diastasis recti.
To Surgery or Not to Surgery?
If you are considering repairing your stomach muscles, there are several things you can do. You can try special exercises to bring the muscles back together. I did try these exercises but I was not good about keeping up with them at all.
You can get a tummy tuck – this is not the surgery I had. The way my surgeon explained it, a tummy tuck would fix the appearance of my stomach but would not permanently fix the muscles in a way that the diastasis recti could not reoccur. I have no idea what tummy tucks are like these days, but I do know they are not covered by insurance, which was a huge factor for me.
You can have your muscles repaired by a general surgeon, and this is what I did. Insurance may or may not cover this; mine did since it wasn’t a cosmetic endeavor. Mesh was inserted underneath my muscles, and they were stitched together. Eventually they healed and adhered to the mesh.
I can’t tell you which choice you should make. It’s such a personal decision, and there are so many factors at play. I can only tell you what I did and suggest you do as much research and praying as you can to make your decision.
Happy, yet Left Wanting
I have been happy with the way my stomach functions ever since my recovery. My life has changed, for the better, as a result of it. I don’t doubt that the surgery can help you, if you are considering it. Yet, even though the doctor took several inches of saggy skin out during the process, after I finally lost my baby weight, I was stuck with saggy skin yet again. And my surgery didn’t do anything for stretch marks, lol. My skin hung in a weird way over my scar as it healed, and my scar was very dark.
This wasn’t a huge issue, because I’m not exactly a bikini model. My husband and I are the only ones who regularly see my waist, and of course we were just glad it was fixed. But there was still a little nagging feeling there, a slight disappointment about the final, final outcome. This didn’t happen right away, but a few years later after I got used to my stomach working.
So, I did something about it.
I had earned some spending money, and after seeing my friend Lauren’s before and after picture, I decided to try those It Works wraps.
I just have to tell you, every time I had seen these wrap pictures floating around the webs, I had to do a little eye roll. I mean, really? Wraps? It sounds way too good to be true. I always dismissed them as some sort of hoax or something. Until I saw Lauren’s results. I know Lauren and I know she wouldn’t lie about her pics.
So, I decided to try them. I took my before pics, which I’m glad I did, and did the four wraps in the package. I wanted to try them for several months and see what kind of results I got. Here’s my before and after, after the first package of four wraps. The first set is taken at night, and the last set is taken at morning time, so that is why the lighting is so different.
I was very happy with these results, and it didn’t take surgery to get the improvement. The scar, yes, 😉 but the tightening and toning, no. Awesome. Now I kind of get why everyone who uses them is so crazy about them.
It is a little embarrassing to share these before and afters, but I wanted to show what a difference it made for me, because well, they did something that even my surgery didn’t do, and for a heck of a lot cheaper. I recommend the wraps to you, my diastasis recti readers, since most of us are dealing with saggy skin, and honestly, need a boost of confidence without surgery.
They have a stretch mark and scar cream, and I am in the process of trying to get my huge scar and stretch marks lighter and less noticeable. I’ll be sure to update you with those pics. To be honest, I’m happy to have a way to help my stomach out a little more. (You don’t have to only use the wraps on your stomach, some people do their upper arms, neck, thighs, or back, but this was my focus.)
They also have a defining gel for cellulite, which I am going to try. I’m just now learning more about their products and they seem to have a lot that can help anyone look their best, but especially those dealing with tummy troubles of the separation kind. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer. You can see the wraps and products for yourself here.
I feel like I still have work I want to do on my stomach area, but also, I have some tricks up my sleeve so I can do this. The surgery did the job, really, and left me wanting just a little bit, but really the most important part is that my stomach muscles are back together again. Oh, happy reunion! 🙂
What do you think? Are you considering surgery for your muscles? Have you had the surgery too? I’d love to hear from you.
Best wishes for a healed tummy,