(Left: Before, Right: After)
30 year old Byron had always been concerned about his weight since he was a child. He knew he didn’t want to be overweight the rest of his life, so he made the decision to start losing the weight. Byron lost 200 pounds from diet in exercise in 1999. After this massive weight loss, Byron was left with an abundance of draped skin. He realized that the only way for him to really to enjoy this weight loss would be undergoing plastic surgery. After meeting with several plastic surgeons, he finally found the perfect one, Dr. Brenda Draper, who performed an extended tummy tuck, liposuction, a chest lift, BOTOX, and juvederm in November of 2007.
Byron’s advice for anyone having plastic surgery:
“It is of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE with any procedure that you know your provider well. Do TONS of research before committing to one. Ask to see before and after pictures of their work, ask to speak to a willing patient of theirs over the phone and ask them blunt questions…”
Please join us below for an interview with Byron:
Make Me Heal: When did you first have the idea to have your procedure(s)?
Byron: After having lost 200 lbs. the skin draped about me was continuing to worsen. I knew that I had to do something if I wanted to really be able to enjoy the fruits of all my hard work.
Make Me Heal: What were your motivations (physical, emotional, social, etc.) behind your decision to have the procedure(s)?
Byron: I knew that somewhere underneath all that skin was a hansom young man waiting to get out. I worked so hard and at the time I was about 20yo. I knew I wouldn’t be happy wearing clothing 2 sizes too big for the rest of my life. I worked tirelessly baking that cake, but surgery would be the icing. I was never looking for the perfect body, just what I considered a normal one.
Make Me Heal: How long did it take you to make a decision and was it an easy or difficult one to make?
Byron: The choice to have surgery was easy. As soon as I knew there was an option to rid myself of my redundant skin, the choice was made. The difficulty came in choosing a surgeon. I saw several and though I will not say my experience is typical, 5 or 6 of them just wouldn’t cut it for me. They seemed busy, preoccupied, uninterested in my ideas. I was throrouhgly researched and studied before I went. I think most of them didn’t like the idea of a 20yo guy coming in with pictures and facts and study materials etc. They wanted to be the expert educating the clueless and didn’t realize it shouldn’t be about what they want no matter what my age was. Then I found Dr. Brenda Draper. At our initial consult I was, even having visited with several other surgeons, extremely nervous and a bit wary. My experience with many of the others was less than positive.
Immediately of note was how calming her voice was. I’m not sure she was ready for me, but I had a research folder with pictures, straight-forward questions, drawings etc. ready to pick the whole thing apart. She never batted an eye. She was very kind and sensitive. She could sense, I believe, just how uncomfortable it was for me, a 20 year old kid to be showing and discussing such unloved parts of my anatomy with a stranger.
Unlike many of the other physicians with whom I had gone through the consult experience, she made me feel like there was nothing wrong with me. Now I can’t exactly explain how one does that when one is going in to discuss “what’s wrong”, but she accomplished it. She never rushed me or dismissed my concerns or questions. I felt so at home. I felt as though I were sitting in the living room of a trusted friend who just happened to be a plastic surgeon.
Her office was clean and tastefully decorated. Her staff was very kind, accommodating, down to earth and not at all pretentious. Her bedside manner has been unsurpassed by any physician I have seen or worked with as a nurse. Her follow up was excellent, skill top notch and results speak for themselves
Make Me Heal: 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?
Byron: Most of us who seek out improvement are hoping to put an end to our relentless camouflage habit. I was pretty good at hiding what I didn’t like and people really had no idea the extent of my problem. That’s why I suppose a lot of people were confused and said things like, “You’re good just the way you are, don’t do this”. Others were so happy for me they beamed with as much delight as I did. It wasn’t until after the surgeries that I was comfortable showing off what it was the doctor and myself were “fixing”. A lot of apologies followed and support flowed freely. My parents were always in my corner then and that was very important.
Make Me Heal: How did you research the procedure and come to decide on this particular procedure?
Byron: My research was all done online. Initially I hadn’t heard of Makemeheal.com (the first surgery), but I’d love to have known about it then.
Make Me Heal: 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.
Byron: After the initial surgery, research for the subsequent surgery 8 or 9 years later was contributed to largely by www.makemeheal.com the photos allow a person to really get an unbiased opinion of what it is like to recover, to heal, what results they can expect. The sharing of support and info has been invaluable.
Make Me Heal: 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.
Byron: Dr. Draper is very interested in discussing the options available to her patients. She lays out for you, based upon her experience, what she believes would work best. It’s a “together” thing with her all the way. She believes communication is key to getting realistic results for patients. She is wary of scarring and discussed at length all the possible scenarios and allowed me to choose according to my preference.
Make Me Heal: How did you prepare for the surgery?
Byron: I took quite a bit of time off from work, I purchased lots of things. Some of the most important I would reccomend would be dressing change supplies and “bath wipes”.
Make Me Heal: How were you feeling the night before the surgery and on the moments before the surgery itself?
Byron: As I suppose is typical, I doubt a slept much the night before. I was very apprehensive. I suppose some degree of nervousness is natural. All it took though was a little visit with the beloved doc to reassure me that everything would be alright. And it was.
Make Me Heal: 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?
Byron: Recovery, for me, was a bugger for that first week. For the tummy tuck, the worst part of the discomfort was my back, not being able to stand up straight for a couple of weeks was pretty tough, but the abdomen, to the best of my memory was just like I’d done a million crunches or something similar to it. Really the pain was totally bearable.
Make Me Heal: How well prepared were you for the recovery from physical, emotional, and mental respects?
Byron: I was very well prepared by the office and medical staff at my doctors office. Nothing, though, can really prepare you except going through it.
Make Me Heal: What are your top recovery tips to other patients?
Byron: READ READ READ! Get online and learn as much as you can about the entire process from start to finish. The better educated you are the better off you’ll be.
Make Me Heal: 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?
Byron: Well another lesson learned was to keep things a bit more to myself. At first, I was proud, excited and blabbed and bragged to all my friends, most of whom seemed very excited for me. There are those in everyone’s life who just will not understand, who will doubt, question motivations, pass judgement. In the work place it is really better to just avoid this I’ve learned. If I had it to do over again I would have just said, “I’m going to be having a little corrective surgery.” Let them wonder. Enigmas are things people love to be around. Once they know how the trick works though, they don’t go to the magic show anymore.
Make Me Heal: How happy are you with the results?
Make Me Heal: How has your makeover impacted your life from personal, social, career, and other respects?
Byron: HUGELY. I am a new person both inside and out. I have a website explaining much of this in better detail. I invite the interviewer to quote from whatever they can find there that might help and also to link people to it. www.aidesignsweb.com/chasingadonis
Make Me Heal: Would you have done anything differently if you had the chance?
Byron: I would’ve done it sooner.
Make Me Heal: What is your final word of advice to other people considering the procedure(s) you had?
Byron: It is of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE with any procedure that you know your provider well. Do TONS of research before committing to one. Ask to see before and after pictures of their work, ask to speak to a willing patient of theirs over the phone and ask them blunt questions like, “How long have you been injecting this particular filler?” or “What are some examples you’ve seen of this surgery “botched” and why?” This is your body for goodness sake. If they think your probing is silly for something so mundane or they are unwilling to divulge then why would you want to give them your HARD EARNED money to alter your body?
I can’t stress enough that the hands that weild the scalpel, needle, laser, will determine what kind of results you get. Sure a small amount of it is your body, but largely it is the skill and expertise of your provider that will determine what you’ll be looking at when recovered. Pay attention to their staff! Are they kind and happy and seem content? That says a lot about who they work for! Is their office tastefully decorated and clean? Never settle for less than! And if and when you find a great provider, stick with them! They’re too precious to lose track of!
Make Me Heal: Was Make Me Heal beneficial to you along your journey?
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