Nip/Tuck — The Secret Of My Flat Tummy

My son took this shot of me and my new belly button on Sentosa in June.

One of the questions I get asked most is how my breasts still look “normal”.

Two answers:
1. They aren’t! My right breast is a complete reconstruction, but you can’t tell because…
2. My surgeon Andrew Khoo is a genius.

Basically Dr Khoo did a “reuse-recycle” on my body. When I had to have my breast tissue removed, he took the “spare tire” all of us moms have and made it into a new breast for me. The procedure is called a TRAM Flap and sounds horrendous, but the results really are quite marvelous.

+ breast
– tummy
= Nice silhouette!

Of course, as with any plastic surgery, it’s a bit of “false advertising”. Sans clothes, you’d see all the train tracks it took to create this new figure. So, as they say, I do look better with my clothes on.

My new flat tummy has become an object of desire of a few friends. I constantly remind them that it was gotten with much pain for many months! (But let’s face it, we women just like the end-results.)

Two weeks ago my friend S and I were talking about how to get a flat tummy. We agreed exercise was bogus — yes you get endorphins, you might get a tight tushie, even toned biceps. But can exercise get rid of that mummy-tummy— that wobbly, jiggly “smile” just under the bellybutton? No, it cannot.

Not unless you’re Gisele Bundchen who started exercising 5 minutes after her baby was born.

This is Gisele Bundchen in Vogue (April 2010) AFTER she gave birth to her son Benjamin. Sick, I know.

But for us mortals, the options are few. Fact is, most of us just have loose skin under our belly button. It’s not really that much fat. It’s the wibbly-wobbly that’s not great to look at.

S asked if liposuction was a good idea. I reminded her about the man who went in for a lunchtime lipo procedure who died that night. To me, lipo’s a little like vacuuming your mouth in the dark. There’s just too great a chance something—like a filling, or a tonsil—that’s not supposed to get sucked out, gets sucked out. Or ruptured.

I said, “Look if you’re going to do a procedure, then you may as well do a tummy tuck.”

I explained that that was basically what I had — except instead of tossing the bag of fat, my good doctor recycled it into a breast. Oh, happy me.

S put her hand out to feel my tummy. “Shoot, it really is flat…except for this part. That’s not your tummy is it?”

“That’s my vajajay, woman!” I rolled my eyes as she quickly ungroped me.

I guess my surgery had its privileges. I do enjoy my new tummy — and try my utmost to keep it looking as “pre-baby” as I can with core exercises. It’s a relief to be able to wear hipster jeans and not have to try and stuff the muffin top back under the belt!

With Dr Andrew Khoo of Mount Elizabeth Hospital — the best no-nonsense plastic surgeon on this planet!

I saw Dr Khoo in late June for my one-year follow-up. He was 80% pleased with my healing, except for a 4-inch stretch of keloid along my tummy scar, and a fold in my breast scar.

“If you want, we can fix that quite easily,” he suggested, ignoring my grimace. “I just have to do a cut here, and sew it up.”

Ugh, more cutting. More sewing. Ugh.

“Or, we could just leave it alone.”

Big smile.

Thank God for great doctors, whose hands are gifted to save lives and restore confidence to women whose body parts are claimed by cancer. I am forever grateful.