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  • Tummy Tuck, Abdominoplasty, Before, After

    See Kaiya’s Before & After Plastic Surgery Pictures Album.

    25 year old Kaiya (username: KaiyaMikumi) lost an impressive 130 lbs by working out and eating healthy. Frustrated at not being able to show off her results, Kaiya decided to remove the 8 lbs of excess skin she had left by undergoing a full tummy tuck with fleur-de-lis (anchor) incision. Kaiya has been thinking about plastic surgery for a few years but it wasn’t until six months ago, with the loving support of her parents, sisters, and boyfriend, that she felt brave enough to undergo surgery. She researched the procedure by visiting Make Me Heal’s Tummy Tuck Board, where she found “information, advice, support and discussion [that] made plastic surgery a wonderful and rich learning experience rather than something private, frightening and confusing.” Kaiya had consultations with three doctors but chose Dr. Tyrone in Gainesville, Florida because she liked his technique, the closeness of the facility to her parents’ home, and because she knew he would be sensitive with the placement of her scar. Along with her full tummy tuck, Kaiya had tumescent liposuction of the flanks and lower abdomen and removed less than 1000 cc’s. Recovering for two weeks after her surgery with her “Surgery Stash” of “vitamins, snacks, tissues, prescription medications,” Kaiya has returned to work completely happy with her results. In only one month after surgery, Kaiya has gone from a 12-14 dress size to a slim 8-10.

    Kaiya’s advice for anyone considering plastic surgery is:

    “Don’t hold back because you think you shouldn’t spend the time, money or effort on yourself — every human being has the right to feel good about themselves, and is totally worth it. Cosmetic surgery is rarely about vanity, and very often about self-esteem and confidence, and self-love. Those are important.”

    Please join us for an interview with Kaiya:

    Make Me Heal: When did you first have the idea to have your procedure(s)?

    Kaiya: As soon as I’d hit a stable point in my weight loss, three or four years ago. I didn’t think it was possible until six months ago, however. I wasn’t brave enough!

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

    Kaiya: I was SO tired of working out and eating healthy, but never being able to show off the results of losing 130 pounds by wearing a bikini, or tight-fitting pants. I felt like I deserved to feel beautiful, for all the hard work I put into making my body well.

    Make Me Heal: How long did it take you to make a decision and was it an easy or difficult one to make?

    Kaiya: The decision itself was easy — I knew I wanted this surgery, and badly — but actually going through with it was difficult. I was worried what people would think, and questioned the cost and the recovery time that I would have to invest.

    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?

    Kaiya: I did not tell too many people, but those that I did (significant other, parents, sisters and a few close friends) gave me incredible amounts of encouragement and support. I never felt from them that I was doing the wrong thing.

    Make Me Heal: How did you research the procedure and come to decide on this particular procedure?

    Kaiya: My father was a surgeon and my mother is a nurse, so I had the freedom of discussing my surgical options with my family for a long time. I met with three different plastic surgeons, all of whom had different suggestions (full tummy-tuck without vertical incision, full tummy tuck with a vertical incision, circumferential tummy tuck). I had to make a decision regarding how much scarring I wanted, and how much of the results I wanted to compromise. I eventually went with the procedure that had the median amount of scarring, with a pretty noticeable vertical scar, but that left my back (one of my favorite features) scar-free. I’m very glad I made the decision I did!

    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.

    Kaiya: I think the Make Me Heal message boards are the most wonderful pre- and post-operative tool for patients at home. The information, advice, support and discussion found there has made plastic surgery a wonderful and rich learning experience rather than something private, frightening and confusing. I’d recommend it to anyone even in the researching stage of their surgery journey!!! The picture libraries and albums were also incredibly helpful. I think that if more surgeons were listed in the doctor directory, I would have used that resource more.

    Make Me Heal: How did you come to choose your doctor?

    Kaiya: I had three consultations with three different doctors — one in my current (college) town, and two in my hometown (two hours away). The decision was difficult, since all three plastic surgeons were friendly, helpful and obviously talented individuals. I decided on the surgeon in my current town (ironically, he was the youngest of the three doctors I consulted with) for several reasons: first, I thought he had the best understanding of female aesthetics and would be the most sensitive with regards to scar placement; secondly, I liked the technique he wanted to use for me the most; thirdly, he was located very close to my home as well as my parents’ home, so that recovery, post-operative visits, and emergencies would be handled much faster. Cost was not an important factor, although the cost differences would not have been very great.

    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.

    Kaiya: I had the freedom to discuss with my doctor any aspects of the procedure that I did not like, but fortunately I (and my parents) were in agreement with his preferences. I did not know where my incision placements would be until the day of my surgery, but he went over them with me. I had no implants, and I was placed under local anesthesia with a sedative (“twilight” anesthesia); I did not want general anesthesia.

    Make Me Heal: How did you prepare for the surgery?

    Kaiya: A lot of my preparation came from reading the message board for Tummy Tucks at Make Me Heal. I took two weeks off from work (although I only needed one week off, and came back early!), shopped for things I thought I might need (such as vitamins, snacks, tissues, prescription medications) and assembled them in a basket I nicknamed my “Surgery Stash”. That basket, keeping me company on my couch as I recovered after my procedure, was a great holding-place for my T.V. remote, my books, my cell phone, and everything else I needed! I did not do much in the way of home preparations, except to make sure I had a comfortable place to go home to after my surgery (climbing the stairs to bed seemed too daunting the first day), and a clear path to the bathroom.

    Make Me Heal: How were you feeling the night before the surgery and on the moments before the surgery itself?

    Kaiya: I was very calm the night before my surgery, and was very scared the morning of. Thankfully, my doctor had a wonderful surgical staff who put me at ease and assuaged my fears very well. Right before my surgery, I felt very calm (thanks to the sedative and my mother and the nurses being there with me), and my last thought before the surgery began was “I’ve wanted this for so long… this is my gift to myself.”

    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?

    Kaiya: My recovery process was remarkably easy!!! I was in good physical shape before the procedure, and exercise plus very healthy eating habits made the recovery process much faster, in my opinion. There were very few truly “bad” aspects of my recovery; among them however were the post-surgery drains (oh, how I hated those things!!!), the stiffness associated with such a large procedure, the swelling my body would experience as it healed, and the boredom of sitting around at home for a week. Thankfully, I have the best boyfriend anyone could ask for, and he (and my family) were around me constantly, making sure I was comfortable and cared for.

    Make Me Heal: Please discuss the pain or discomfort you experienced during the recovery?

    Kaiya: I was never in an unreasonable deal of pain. I did not have a pain pump, and pain was managed in the first 2-3 days with low doses of Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen), and later by acetaminophen alone. My experience with this procedure was that, rather than sharp and acute pain, I had a certain amount of soreness and stiffness that gradually subsided. I can liken the pain to a very intense workout.

    Make Me Heal: 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?

    Kaiya: I was prepared, for the most part — I did learn many little things that no amount of preparation could have warned me about (e.g., what a seroma was like). My recovery was very smooth, so I don’t know what I could have done to make it easier.

    Make Me Heal: What are your top recovery tips to other patients?

    Kaiya: REST in the first days after the procedure (because you will have a long time to be active later on). Don’t compromise your health and results. Also, getting into good exercise and eating habits will make recovery easier — a well-working body has less to do, to heal you, than a sickly malnourished one. Also, get support in as many ways as you can — have people to talk to, join a message board or support group, confide in people you know will be constructive. Surgery is a big ordeal, and made easier if you are not alone.

    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?

    Kaiya: I took two weeks off, but returned to work on my fifth day after the surgery (for half-days, in the first few days back). My job is not physically demanding, so work was not difficult for me. I did not tell my coworkers what kind of surgery I had, simply that it was corrective and abdominal (the truth, just not the specifics!) and while many people remarked on how different I looked, most of them chalked it up to losing weight as a result of having major surgery (which was true, too)… and I didn’t elaborate.

    Make Me Heal: How happy are you with the results?

    Kaiya: I am ecstatic!

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

    Kaiya: I am much more confident; I feel like I’m actually my age (instead of much older) without dragging around 8 pounds of excess skin and tissue that didn’t represent who I was. My relationship with my partner is better. I laugh a lot more.

    Make Me Heal: Would you have done anything differently if you had the chance?

    Kaiya: I would have done this procedure sooner, possibly — although I did choose a good time to have it.

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

    Kaiya: Don’t hold back because you think you shouldn’t spend the time, money or effort on yourself — every human being has the right to feel good about themselves, and is totally worth it. Cosmetic surgery is rarely about vanity, and very often about self-esteem and confidence, and self-love. Those are important.

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

    Kaiya: Make Me Heal was wonderful; I would not have had the great experience of this journey without you! :)

    See Kaiya’s Before & After Plastic Surgery Pictures Album.