Local nurse and mom of 8 shares her decision to have a tummy tuck.
By Linda Hankemeier
As the mom of eight, Tere (pronounced “Terri”) knows what it means to work hard to get her figure back after childbirth. However, after her last pregnancy — giving birth to triplets at age 51 — the exercise and diet that had worked so well after her earlier pregnancies wasn’t successful in getting “everything” back to normal this last time.
“I had triplets, which included a C-section. But even with the demands on my body, I was able to restart my exercise routine and managed to get back down to my prepregnancy weight,” Tere shared. “But, even with reaching that goal, I was still surprised that my midsection never went back to normal. The excess skin in my stomach wasn’t going anywhere.”
As all eight of her children grew, Tere continued her active lifestyle and her healthy habits such as exercise and proper diet. But, her midsection never seemed to change. Ten years later, her stomach looked pretty much like it did six months after her last delivery. And the extra weight around her midsection made it difficult for her to run, try on clothing, and maintain the active life she wanted. “I wasn’t worried about having the perfect body or making a spouse happy, as my husband loved me just as I was,” Tere commented. “This surgery was about getting my life back to normal.”
Realizing the shape of her stomach was beyond her control, Tere made the decision to look at medical options. She began researching abdominoplasty, more commonly called a “tummy tuck,” and met with one of the board-certified plastic surgeons of Twin City Plastic Surgery.
As a nurse, Tere was an informed patient. She researched types of procedures, consequences, and recovery times, and had many questions for the doctor and staff that were specific to her health and medical situation. “The number one question on my mind regarding any surgery was risk versus benefit, especially at my age.” Tere shared. “After all, I have eight kids and a husband. I needed to know my options, weigh the pros and cons, and make an informed decision.”
Twin City Plastic Surgery’s doctor and staff worked closely with Tere discussing in depth the surgical procedure itself, the process, recovery, and even recommended to Tere different possible procedures to address her concerns. In the end, she decided the tummy tuck and muscle wall repair would give her the results she wanted, and her surgeon confirmed she was a great candidate for the procedure. She was physically strong and maintained a healthy lifestyle, so a tummy tuck would be a great way to remove the excess skin and fat and return her to the active lifestyle she had prior, which was greatly needed as her triplets were nearing the preteen years.
Even her recovery went well. “Prior to surgery, I spent time exercising my legs to be stronger. Two days after surgery I was up walking, but careful. I walked bent over for about two weeks to make sure I didn’t pull any stomach muscles or loosen my stitches.”
As a part of her procedure, a pain pump tube was inserted in Tere’s stomach along the incision area. The pump provided her round-the-clock pain management. At times the pain was a little more severe, but she was able to manage it with oral pain medication. Within the first week, she found that extra strength over-the-counter pain medication successfully managed the pain. Within two weeks of surgery, she started working part-time again, and could comfortably walk, sit, and drive a car.
Tere resumed her normal exercise routine about two to three months post-surgery, starting first with walking and biking. Six months after her tummy tuck, Tere completed a 100-mile bike ride and was feeling fit again.
One year after her surgery, Tere said she feels amazing. Her stomach is hard and toned, with no lingering side effects of the surgery. Even her scar is hardly noticeable. “I’m so thankful I had a tummy tuck,” Tere shared. “I feel like my stomach is back to normal. But, more importantly, my life is back to normal.”