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  • Joan_completeJoan Mancini (member name: hourglass), 42, is a very active person who exercises regularly. Joan turned to Vaser Liposuction after seeing that her thighs did not respond to regular exercise or weight loss as the rest of her body. “I thought that if I could get rid of those areas I would be more motivated to keep my body in the best shape possible,” says Joan. So on June 19, 2006, Joan had liposuction done on both her outer and inner thighs and knees, removing a total of 2000cc from her body. As the following interview reveals, thorough research and realistic expectations were key reasons for her happy story. Joan used Dr. Laurence Berkowitz in Campbell, California.

    See Joan’s Before & After Plastic Surgery Album.

    MMH: When did you first have the idea to have your procedure(s)?

    Joan: I had been thinking about having the procedure for years but finally had the money and had a personal referral to Dr. Berkowitz through 2 different friends.


    MMH: What were your motivations (physical, emotional, social, etc.) behind your decision to have the procedure(s)?

    Joan: I was motivated by several reasons; I had tried for years to use diet and exercise to slim down my thighs but even at my lowest weight my thighs never really responded. At the age of 42 I am very active and wanted to be able to run easier and continue a healthy lifestyle; I thought that if I could get rid of those areas I would be more motivated to keep my body in the best shape possible. I did it for me; I really didn’t care much about the social motivations. As a person who years ago recovered from bulimia, I am finally healthy in my attitudes about my body and don’t look to others for my esteem in that area. I just wanted to be the best I could be and for my hard work to show!

    MMH: How long did it take you to make a decision and was it an easy or difficult one to make? Please explain why it was easy or difficult.

    Joan: Once I had the idea in my head and knew of a couple people who had successful results, the decision was very easy to make. The hardest part of the decision was worrying about the procedure being successful and also spending the money on me because it felt selfish.

    MMH: Did your family, friends, and any other people in your close circle give you support, opposition, or did you make this decision without considering them?

    Joan: My partner and my very closest friends gave me support in my decision. I did not tell my family until right before the surgery because I thought that they would not understand my decision.

    MMH: How did you research the procedure(s) and come to decide on this particular procedure(s). Please discuss your research process and all research sources you used (online, books, recommendations, word of mouth).

    Joan: I decided to use this procedure because that was the one that Dr. Berkowitz uses. After my consultation I really believed that he was realistic with expectations and I trusted that he would use the best procedure possible. I also liked that Vaser claimed to have a quicker recovery rate.

    MMH: Please discuss if you used any of Make Me Heal’s resources such as the message boards, pictures library, doctor directory and doctor reviews, and any recovery and preparation products that you used.

    Joan: I used Make me Heal’s message boards extensively while I prepared for my surgery. I think I was a “make me heal addict” for a while right before and after my surgery as I wanted to know everything possible to ensure the best recovery and results.

    MMH: How did you come to choose your doctor? Please mention how many consultations you had with different doctors before making your decision.

    Joan: I chose my doctor through personal referral and did not consult with any doctors other than him.

    MMH: Please discuss if you have any role in deciding the type of technique used for your surgery by the doctor, incision placements, implant brand, anesthesia type, etc.

    Joan: I did not have a choice of technique but I did have a choice about the anesthesia. I liked the idea of twilight and the anesthesiologist that was used that day also told me that with an epidural there seemed to be less risk of a blood clot. I was very happy with the whole anesthesia process.

    MMH: How did you prepare for the surgery? You can discuss everything from products you purchased, home preparations, and preparations involving your family and work. If you purchased any products featured on the Makemeheal.com site, please specify them.

    Joan: I am a teacher so I scheduled my surgery for the first day of my summer vacation! I purchased items recommended by people on make me heal like plastic drop cloths, several stage 2 garments from make me heal in several sizes as I shrunk down!, arnica, apple cider vinegar . I filled my prescriptions for the anti nausea meds and vicodin as requested by my doctor.

    MMH: How were you feeling the night before the surgery and on the moments before the surgery itself? Please discuss thoughts, fears, emotions, and prayers.

    Joan: I was very excited and a bit nervous the night before the surgery. The anesthesiologist called me that night and I really felt assured that I would be pain free and in good hands. I was happy that he gave me the option of being as “knocked out” as I wanted to be. I did not want to remember anything! My biggest fear was of somehow being worse off by being disfigured or somehow something bad happening. The morning of the surgery though, as I was prepped by the nurse, I felt an overwhelming calm come over me. I prayed and just decided that since I wasn’t going to have any control over the outcome, I was going to let go of my fears and trust in God and my doctor to take good care of me. I felt very peaceful as I was wheeled into surgery.

    MMH: How was the recovery process? Please discuss what side effects you experienced? What were the worse parts of the recovery? Did anyone help you during the recovery?

    Joan: The recovery process was easier than I expected. I think the draining was pretty gross! My boyfriend helped me the day of my surgery and my best friend came the following day to hang out with me since my boyfriend had a business trip. I think the swelling was also one of the worst parts. I was scared to see how big I looked right after surgery as I had read that there is a period before swelling sets in when you look like you are going to look eventually. I didn’t really have that period; I swelled right away! I was a bit obsessed during the recovery period, taking pictures often and comparing to other pictures. I did have some insomnia during my recovery as I seemed to be almost having highs and lows. I only took the vicodin for one day as I didn’t like the spacey feeling. I switched initially to tylenol and then to ibuprofen a few days later when the doctor said it was ok.

    MMH: Please discuss the pain or discomfort you experienced during the recovery?

    Joan: I really did not have a great deal of pain. I had a lot of numbness and tingling as the nerves regained sensation and I had different aches during different periods of the recovery but overall the pain was much less than I expected.

    MMH: How well prepared were you for the recovery from physical, emotional, and mental respects? Did you do any research (i.e. online, books, message boards, etc.) to make your recovery smoother?

    Joan: I was very well prepared because of make me heal fellow lipo patients. I think that they gave me much more thorough advice than my doctor did.

    MMH: What are your top recovery tips to other patients?

    Joan: I think my biggest recovery tip is to have realistic expectations about the time it takes for results to show. Also I recommend that they get a support system going by meeting other recoverees through make me heal or some other forum. I got great support this way and valuable feedback when I posted pics etc. I also have a post on mmh about funny things related to plastic surgery. It’s in a post dated back then and is called something like: You know you have had plastic surgery when.. People wrote to me telling me how funny it was and it made me feel good to provide some lighthearted humor and encouragement to those alongside me in the recovery.

    MMH: How long did you take off from work? What did you tell your co-workers about taking this time off? Did anyone notice your cosmetic procedures at work and what did you tell them if they asked about it?

    Joan: I was off from work for the summer, but I do think I could have gone back to work in a week or less. People did notice my results, and some just thought I had continued the dieting and exercise that I had done while preparing for my surgery,. I lost about 12 lbs before my surgery as recommended by my PS.

    MMH: How happy are you with the results? I am very happy with the results.

    MMH: How has your makeover impacted your life from personal, social, career, and other respects?

    Joan: My makeover has increased my confidence and made me feel more comfortable in my body. I can run without tying a sweatshirt around my waist and I no longer feel like people are staring at my huge thighs.

    MMH: Would you have done anything differently if you had the chance?

    Joan: I may have consulted with more doctors; I loved my PS but I do think he was a bit higher in price than some others. I also may have had endermology if I had the money to do it right after the surgery.

    MMH: What is your final word of advice to other people considering the procedure(s) you had?

    Joan: I would say: DO IT! but I would also warn people of the dangers of getting addicted to PS. I noticed a lot of women on MMH who seemed to just keep finding parts of them that aren’t perfect. We are not made to be perfect! I think there is a point where people go overboard; certain areas are resistant to fat reduction and for those I believe lipo is great. I do think lipo should be a last resort after serious diet and exercise have not impacted those fat areas.

    MMH: Was Make Me Heal beneficial to you along your journey?

    Joan: Make me heal was an awesome support to me in my journey. Miki was an incredibly supportive moderator and I truly enjoyed sharing stories with all of the fellow MMH recoverees.

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