I don’t remember a solid point of waking up, more just bits and pieces of moments in time of coming to reality only to slip away the next. I remember feeling like I had been doing sit-ups forever, my chest being heavy, a dull ache and people in and out. Stephen was there, making sure I was ok and recording tidbits of my medically induced hilarity. My room at the ACPS surgical center was cozy, quiet and I was the most tended to that I’ve ever been in a medical setting. I didn’t have to ask for anything, they were always ahead of my needs. All of my vitals were set on timer, which allowed me much more rest time. The day of surgery, I don’t remember ever being in the recovery room, only my private room. The morning following surgery, the nurses prepared me for release quietly. I was waking up as they removed the blankets and I was scared to look down. I’ve seen several tummy tucks that made me fearful of the results, more just because of the unknown factor. I had faith in Dr. Morales, but even so, anything can happen in the OR and I had hoped it all went according to plan. As the nurses removed the layers hiding my midsection, I chanced a peek toward my abdomen. I smiled. My stomach was flat from rib cage to pelvis, there was swelling but I could tell that the surgery was immensely successful and far exceeded my own expectations. See, I’ve always hated my belly button, it slanted more sideways than up and down, it always made me self-conscious. When I went for my consultation, Dr. Morales said I would be getting a new one and that made me excited and nervous at the same time. As I looked down at my belly button, it looked real and it was up and down. The first time Stephen ever touched my belly button before, I would swat his hand away, I hated it that badly. I’ve seen other recreated belly buttons and I’ve seen some that were just a slit, some that looked like people pushed their finger into a bit of play-doh. This was different and my excitement was palpable. I looked further down to the tummy tuck line spread across the width of my body, from hip to hip, there was a red line of clotted blood under tape, but I could see that the incision was minute. To say I was ecstatic would be an understatement. Stephen arrived shortly after they prepped me for release, I slept the entire way home and the majority of the day. He nursed me the entire day, waking me to take my medications, helping me out of bed to walk to the bathroom and entertaining me on occasion. My friends stopped by to check on me and let Stephen take a break to go to the gym. Day 2 at home I was a little more alert, I was finally realizing the feelings going on within my physical self. I expected the tummy tuck to hurt the most, it didn’t. I was numb, my entire torso felt like I was wrapped in a thick layer of bubble wrap, it was an odd sensation to feel so distant from my own body. My breasts just felt slightly heavier than normal, they were high, so high that if I put my chin to my chest it would rest ever so slightly atop my new bosoms. My back, where the liposuction had been done around my bra line and flanks was the worst. It was a deep bruised feeling and showed as such through the purple swollen spaces around the incisions. The remainder of the week I was increasingly mobile, still unable to stand up straight due to the incredible tightness in my abdomen which caused my upper back to hurt from the hunchback stance I carried around every time I paced around the house in my non-so-attractive, tighter than skin stockings I was sent home in. Stephen had to give me a shower daily and redress me. Dr. Morales’ office sent me home with my recovery bag, the special compression garment for my abdomen, gauze, pads and a zip-front bra. Every day before I showered I had to eat, take my pain medication and properly hydrate, it was an exhausting chore for us both that would take upward of an hour every time from start to finish. I was required to use the restroom before the first appointment, I’m not super regular(TMI), but it was a must. I tried laxatives, I tried a ton of water, I had to try more extreme measurements but that’s a story for a different day. The first post-op appointment was the Friday after surgery, Dr. Morales was pleased with the progress as well as I. That next week was much better, I was much more mobile and able to stand up 90% erect which resulted in the pain moving to the middle of my back. Showering became faster and easier, I was able to eat a bit more and I slowly gained my personality back. Over the course of the week I felt less insulated, the swelling decreased and the bruising diminished. My second post-op appointment the following Friday went amazingly well, Dr. Morales bumped me up to the second stage compression garment a week earlier than anticipated, it is reminiscent of a roller derby jumpsuit...but the crotch is missing. Talk about awkward. It took Stephen and I a full 5 minutes to get the shrink wrapped suit over my still swelled hips to connect the suspender straps, yes, suspender straps just below my breasts all the while laughing uncontrollably at the contraption. Dr. Morales let me know that the following week would have me back in the gym and my excitement went through the roof, I missed it!