Diastasis Recti – 4 Weeks Post Op

I’ve been sharing over on Instagram about my recovery from surgery on April 2nd to get my Diastasis Recti repaired, but I know a lot of you over here aren’t on IG.

Over the past two years I have been trying to resolve the issues I’ve had with back pain and the excess skin I have from triplets. No one was able to provide me with any help or guidance.

My PCP told me, “It’s not like they can just stitch the muscles back together.” No that’s actually exactly what they do.

My OBGYN had never heard of DR, but was willing to refer me to a general surgeon.

The general surgeon proceeded to tell me “There are many causes for back pain; DR is NEVER one of them.”
Actually that’s the first and most predominant symptom of DR.

December 2017, I finally saw a plastic surgeon. He was the first person who didn’t look at me like I was crazy. 2018 was a year of losing as much weight as a could and getting stronger, all in the hopes of getting insurance to cover at least a part of bill.

The repeatedly refused: Having your stomach muscles stitched back together so that you have a functioning core is considered a cosmetic procedure.

Last winter sucked. There’s no other way to put it. It was icy and miserable. Walking every night was a death trap, and I eventually gave up. Throw in all the other stuff we were dealing with and it just didn’t happen. (I share more about that HERE).

Now that I’ve caught you up to speed.

On April 2nd, I went into surgery. What should’ve been 3.5 hours ended up being over 5 hours. My separation, which was thought to be 7-8 cm (just under 3″) ended up being 15 cm (6″).

I hate anesthesia. It takes forever for me to come out of it and days to recover from it. I actually realized that the reason I don’t like drinking is that being buzzed/drunk reminds me of anesthesia recovery. Not good.

Today, I am 4 weeks out of recovery. I’m doing more, spending more time upright, but I’m still weeks, if not months, away from reaching my baseline. I’m terrified that I’m going to do something and end up with a failed repair (i.e. the muscles re-separate). It does happen, but hopefully not to me.

Many of the failed repairs are chocked up to using dis-solvable sutures, which of course I have. My doctor talked me through the reasoning and I agree with him: The existence of a foreign object in your body and the possible complications. Also, if a re-tear occurs with permanent sutures, it’s very likely that it will shred the muscle, making the next option for repair mesh.

I’m not going to reiterate all the details of my recovery here…if you’re interested you can go to Instagram (the profile is public, so you don’t need an account to access it).

I refrained from showing the most gruesome of the photos (those are on Instagram), but here are before/after pictures from the day before surgery to 4 weeks post-op. I can’t get them any bigger, but you should be able to click on them to see them bigger.

This is one of the most measurable pictures for me. Obviously there is a drastic difference between before and after, BUT you can see my freckles in this one, which shows just HOW MUCH extra skin was removed from my upper abdomen. I have no more stretch marks on my stomach, only the ones on my flanks/hips.

I did try my bathing suit on today. I have a few more weeks of being in a full binder (imagine a velcro and elastic corset from boobs to hips) 24/7 then I can remove it to sleep at night, with, I’m assuming 4-6 weeks of wearing it during the day. Then I’ll transition to a compression garment (think spanx).

I wasn’t sure how that was going to work with the pool, but my bathing suit bottoms should be ok. The problem is that it’s my upper stomach that needs the support.

As for my stats, the day of surgery my measurements were 45-40-45.5 (bust/waist/hips) and I was weighing 190. Today I’m measuring 45.5-37-45 and weighing 183.5. I’m expecting my waist measurement to go down a little as the swelling resolves and I’m able to exercise more.

I miss being physical, whether it was walking, lifting, or just being able to do stuff. It will come. For now, I’m just grateful that the first place I gain weight is my boobs.

So for now, I just keep taking it slow. I’m still not doing much around the house, the odd load of laundry, making breakfast or lunch, easy dinners. I pick the kids up from school, and honestly, all of that is enough. Much more and I’m super tired and swollen.

I’ll get there. I knew going in that I had 2-3 months of recovery until I was at bare-minimum, a year before I’m back to me and exercising. One month down!

Diastasis Recti – 1 Week Post Op

I’m a week out from surgery and doing well.

I thought I’d clear up some confusion about what exactly I had surgery for, and what that means, seeing that people have had a variety of perceptions about what I had done.

The surgery I had last week was to fix my Diastasis Recti, or abdominal muscles. I had a 15 cm (6″ separation between my abs from pregnancy) that needed to be closed.

For the past few years, particularly since Peter’s birth, I have dealt with chronic/severe back pain as a result of a weakened core because my abs were not where they should be. (I’ve attached a video below about this).

You probably don’t realize just HOW MUCH you use your abdominal muscles every day: getting up, sitting down, standing, reaching, climbing, EVERYTHING.

Right now, I have a 20″ incision from hip to hip and a 10″ incision from my rib cage down, due to repairing the damage of having triplets (muscle, skin, etc)….and No, I wouldn’t change any of this for any reason.

My incision is healing fine and isn’t causing me much, if any, pain, BUT I am not allowed to stand up straight. I have to stay in a recliner for several weeks, can’t sleep in my bed, can’t lift ANYTHING over 2lbs, I can’t drive, can’t cook or clean or do dishes. VERY STRICT RESTRICTIONS as the muscles heal back together.

Suffice it to say, I’m not leaving my house any time soon…my goal is to make it to church on Easter Sunday, but even that is a rather lofty goal.

This surgery was not a surprise and it was a long time coming. For the past two years I’ve tried alternative means of dealing with the muscle separation, but mine was just too big.

This is, unfortunately, not a surgery that most insurances cover. For some reason, insurances feel that having your muscles stitched back together is vain and a medically unnecessary surgery (ie cosmetic). Believe me, we’ve fought with them for the most of the past 2 years.

This is one of the unspoken topics of pregnancy. More women have this issue than realize, and because insurances don’t cover anything to do with it they continue to live in pain, struggling to get through daily tasks.

I have been to OBGYNs who looked at me like I have six heads, because they’ve never heard of this. I have been told by doctors, “it’s not like they can just stitch the muscles back together”. General surgeons have told me that Diastasis Recti is NEVER the cause of chronic back pain. Yea 😑

Bottom line…yes, this was major surgery. Yes, this is going to take months to recover from (3-4 months minimum to baseline, 1 year until full recovery). But, I am doing well. Things are healing nicely. I will recover from this…my biggest struggle right now is letting EVERYTHING go that I can’t do.

I’ve been sharing way more updates and detail over on my instagram account…you can find that here @JMW.Diastasis.Recti.Repair That’s where you can find all the gory pictures and gruesome details of surgery.

If you have questions….ASK ME!!! I’m more than willing to discuss this! PEOPLE NEED TO DISCUSS THIS 🙂