Trinetta Talks Atlanta Plastic - Season 2
the story behind the "butt gut"
written by Trinetta Love
It’s a Wrap!
We wrapped up filming today, April 5, 2016. I can’t believe that the final day of filming has come. It’s been a long, interesting, and at times extremely challenging journey. The filming schedule was not an easy task with my busy schedule, but, I was determined to make it work. So, here I am, at the end of a thrilling ride, and I’m both excited and relieved. It feels great to complete a mission successfully, but, I must admit that there were times when I just wanted to quit.
It was in September 2015 when I received a casting notice for Atlanta Plastic – Season 2 from my Agent (Skinny Corleone). I didn’t think too much of it, however, one of my dearest sister-friends urged me to “go for it!” She knew about my bowl obstruction story, surgery, and about the horrible scar (and butt gut) it left behind. She wanted me to tell my story and to get the scar and butt gut “fixed.” I’m mostly a private person, especially when it comes to dealing with an illness or a horrible event in my life, however, the more I thought about why I even allowed the first hospital to turn me away twice (2x’s) is because I didn’t know what was happening to my body. I didn’t realize that I could die! And, that's when I decided to share my story.
In the beginning
It was in March of 2011 when I started off my Saturday morning workout routine: 1) get up; 2) get pumped; 3) get it in at the gym and break a sweat! I made it through my rigorous workout feeling great about myself, high on life, and ready for the day. But, soon after I arrived home, I started experiencing excruciating pain in the abdominal area. I was in so much pain that I kept falling hard to the floor. My cell phone rang and I answered, but only to tell the caller that I was in too much pain to talk, and immediately hung up. What was going on I wondered?? I don’t have children and so I don’t know what labor pain feels like, but, what I’ve heard about the pain of labor sort of matched the pain I was experiencing. A few hours later I started vomiting violently, but it wasn’t any ordinary vomit. It was brown vomit, and far more disgusting than any vomit I’ve ever seen or tasted. After vomiting for a while, I decided that it was time to go to the hospital. So, I called up my neighbor and headed to Hospital A (name not used purposely). I waited around in the emergency room for an extended period of time and when the nurse finally was able to see me, she asked me questions about my pain level on a scale on one to ten, and I told her a “twenty!” When the doctor was finally able to see me, his final answer was that I was just “backed-up” (constipated). He suggested I go to the drug store and get some laxatives and I should be fine. I did as I was instructed and bought and then took laxatives and waited while still in terrible pain and discomfort. The vomiting of the brown stuff continued and my worry grew. I decided that I wasn’t getting any better, and so I rushed back to the emergency room of Hospital A hoping to get some help and some answers but to no avail. The Doctor at Hospital A told me the same thing as before “you’re backed-up” and you need to give the laxative more time to work. I returned home in even worst condition this time. The pain was still over the top painful, and the disgusting brown vomit continued to pour from my mouth. As I sat home alone in the dark rocking back and forth in complete pain, I decided to call my Mom and tell her what was happening. My Mom could hear the pain in my voice and pleaded with me to call 911 immediately. I still thought that the Doctor was right and that the laxative would work shortly. However, because my Mother sounded so devastated and extremely concerned I decided to take her advice and call 911.
Help Is On The Way
The ambulance showed up and rushed me to Hospital B. Upon arrival to Hospital B, I was quickly examined, and was asked some vital questions about my condition. The medical professionals at Hospital B knew what was happening to me and knew exactly what to do. The nurse in charge placed an NG tube (Nasogastric Tube) through my nose and down my throat. The NG tube was inserted in order to drain my stomach and all the contents inside. The Doctor later informed me that I had a “bowel obstruction.” She told me that I had a huge fibroid that got tangled up in my intestines which caused the obstruction. She told me that she needed to drain my stomach in hopes that my bowls would “untie” itself.
The NG tube stayed inserted for approximately four days, and I must say the amount of waste that came out of me was astonishing. The NG tube was taken out only to have to be re-inserted a couple of times. I was both horrified and totally disgusted. It was literally a “filthy” situation. My Mother commented saying “I didn’t know so much waste could be in such a small person’s body.” The nurses continued to empty the waste bottle and we continued to wait to see if my intestines would untie, but, after a few days of waiting, the Doctor finally made the call.
6 inches of death
The Doctor made the call to go in and do surgery to remove the fibroid that was causing all the chaos in my bowels. The surgery was a success, but, I was left with minus 6 inches of bowel. The Doctor informed me that she had to remove 6 inches of my bowel because 6 inches of my bowel had died. I was in shock and saddened until she told me that if she had to remove any additional bowel that I would have to wear a colostomy bag. That bit of medical information and good fortune lightened my mood. My mood changed from negative to positive really quickly! The Doctor also let me know how many people die from bowel obstruction, and so again, I’m thankful to be alive to tell my story.
The surgery left me with a long, vertical, deep ugly scar on my stomach. I was devastated by my new reality as my stomach was one asset on my body that I absolutely loved! As my scar began to heal, it also began to set deeper into my belly as if it were saying “I’m making myself at home and getting settled in for life.” It was such a struggle to stay on the positive side of life when you’re an entertainer who relies heavily on your physical appearance. And, as a woman, showing nice smooth skin is a plus! Now, I was left with having to “cover up” my stomach and make sure to hide the scar so that no one would see it or even worse, take photos of it! My whole world changed and so did my wardrobe. I had to now buy high waist pants, shorts, skirts, etc. And, I also had to be sure that I wore shirts that would be long enough to cover or hide any part of my scar. And, bikini bathing suits were now a thing of the past. So long to the crop top!
A Chance of a “Lifetime”
I got an email from my agent about the casting call for Atlanta Plastic (Season 2), but I didn’t give it too much thought. I mentioned the email to my sister-friend in New York (“Di”), who knew about my scar and the story behind the scar. She said “T, you should do this!” I replied “Girl, I don’t know, I don’t want people in my business like that.” But, after going back and forth with her and then later tossing the idea in my mind, I finally came to one big thought. The only way that I could or would expose myself like this is to make it count for something – make it meaningful in a major way. What if I can help in shedding light on bowel obstruction? What if I can save someone else from having to suffer in pain for so long or warn someone about not allowing any hospital to turn them away when they have feces coming out of their mouth? What if I could help save someone’s life? And, that’s when I agreed that I would go forward with sharing my story. So, I submitted my story, along with photos, to the casting agent. I did my part, and so I was satisfied and went on with my life. A few weeks later I was contacted, and interviewed. Again, I did my part and continued on with life. A couple weeks later I received an email informing me that I had been cast on Atlanta Plastic (Season 2). I was excited, shocked, and happy!
Atlanta Plastic Season 2 (filming)
I didn’t know that filming this would stretch me in ways like never before. Filming on camera is nothing new to me – but, filming with little clothes on and exposing my “biggest and deepest” flaw to the world made me want to run for the hills! Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love being in front of the camera, but, with clothes on that cover up my flaws, mainly my “butt gut”. Now, I’m on national television and it’s time to show and tell the world how ugly my tummy truly is and it made me want to cry. Because I’m a professional, I know how to smile and act happy even when I’m sad or depressed. So, although this is reality, there was a lot of acting going on with me – especially when I had to expose my “butt gut.” I’m being real honest when I say that if I could have participated without exposing my butt gut, I would have been happy. But, hey, I knew what I signed up and dedicated myself to do so I had to stay focused and on course. I had to continually remind myself why I agreed to go forward with my story. And, I had to remember the people’s lives that I would help and/or save instead of focusing on me and my imperfections!
Meet & Greet
I met with Dr. Aisha McKinght-Baron. She was kind, patient, and explained everything in perfect detail. After examining me, she told me that because I work out and I’m fit that I didn’t have a lot of tissue or fat to work with in order to perform a “full” tummy tuck. So, she gave me two options for plastic surgery: 1) she could do a scar revision to make my vertical scar a bit smaller; 2) she could do a “mini” tummy tuck that would remove the scar entirely and leave me with a smaller horizontal scar. I opted for option #2 without any hesitation. I figured that if I’m going to do this, I’m going all the way! Just the thought of never having a butt gut anymore excited me. But, I have to admit that I wished that there was a way to do this without having to go under the knife - period. I was still a bit traumatized from having emergency bowel obstruction surgery a few years ago. So, I had mixed feelings, both happy and hesitant.
The day finally came (March 1, 2016) for me to have the surgery that would give me back my life! Robert accompanied me to surgery, so although I was bit nervous, having his positive vibes, love and support lifted my spirits. As I changed into the medical gown, I took deep breaths and said a little prayer. I was uncertain of how things would turn out or if I would really like the results of my mini-tummy tuck. Only time would tell.
As soon as I woke up the camera guys and girls said “bye Trinetta!” They had filmed and witnessed the entire surgery. I was rolled out of the surgery room and noticed that I had a compressor suit on to keep down the swelling. I felt pretty good after surgery. I was a little nauseous, and vomited a little, but the pain was minimal. My breathing was very restricted. I felt I could barely take breaths. I later learned that Dr. Baron not only gave me a mini-tummy tuck, but, she also tightened up my abdominal muscles. She said because I work out that I had muscles hiding under my scar and the butt gut. Dr. Baron literally snatched me up!
Drain to Destiny
After surgery I had two drain tubes coming out of me. I had to empty the drains when they filled up and write down how much or how little was coming out. The first time I had to empty the drains, I felt faint and lay on the floor in the bathroom. Robert was just a few feet away asleep in another room. I was too weak to call for him and so I stayed on the floor until I was able to get back up. Rising to my feet, sitting down, and then rising back up to my feet was challenging for at least a couple of weeks. But, I grew stronger and felt better as the days went by. I was given an I-pod from the show to record my behind the scenes footage of how I was coming along on my journey to recovery. One day I woke up and felt so amazing. I felt inspired and started singing a song that I would later sing to Dr. Baron on the show. The name of the song is called “Masterpiece” and it goes… “I like what I see. My new stomach has set me free. Dr. Baron has done her thing. Have you seen her masterpiece? Now I can go after everything I wanted – singer, actress, hostess – look out world I’m coming!” (©2016)
The day had finally arrived that I would “reveal” my new and improved stomach to the world! As I got dressed to go see Dr. Baron, I felt good, but, I was apprehensive about showing myself to the world in just my panties and bra (again). I realized that this time would be different. I would get to show off my 2016 version of my stomach without the infamous “butt gut.” When I arrived at the Doctor’s office, I was escorted to a room and was told to take off my clothes, but to leave on my bra and underwear, and to put on a black robe. I was nervous because Dr. Baron was going to give me an exam, and I prayed she gave me a good report, and she did. I was healing up very well and to her expectations (whew!). My main concern after healing was how soon I could start working out again. I haven’t been to the gym since late February 2016, and I was ready to get back into the full swing of working out. I told Dr. Baron, that my “new” stomach has given me even more motivation to eat cleaner, and to take my fitness to a whole new level. I was even more confident and very excited about my career and the numerous opportunities I would have because of my new tummy.
As I prepared to leave the Doctor’s office, I presented Dr. Baron with a present. The present was a quote that I created stating the facts of my life…
“An African American Woman gave me life.
An African American Woman saved my life.
An African American Woman gave me back my life!”
Dr. Baron was touched by my gift as tears welled up in her eyes. I pray that she never forgets me or what’s she’d done for me because I will never forget her or the gift she gave me. And, what she’s given me is a new sense of confidence and life purpose. I am happy to know that I will help so many people out there who may be suffering from bowel obstruction. I’m fortunate to have been given the opportunity by Atlanta Plastic and Lifetime Television to share my story on a major platform.
Thank You’s & Acknowledgements:
I would like to thank Dr. Aisha McKnight-Baron, Crawford Plastic Surgery and the entire professional, warm and friendly staff. Thank you to the entire Atlanta Plastic crew who showed care and kindness throughout my journey.
Thank you to my sister-friend, Lady “DT” Kiley for giving me the courage to “go for it” and for checking up on me continually throughout the process. Thank you to "50" for being a huge supporter along the way.
Thank you to my Mom, Dad, Family and Extended Family for love & support throughout the process. A thousand thanks goes out to the “behind the scenes” team of people who had my back and ensured that I was able to make the filming dates work (you know who you are – wink!). And, to everyone who supports me and is a part of the “TStarzz” movement worldwide. I appreciate all of you.