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  • Karen’s Tummy Tuck Marvel

    April 4, 2008 in Personal Interviews by Makemeheal.com Staff | Leave a Comment

    Tummy Tuck, Abdominoplasty, Photos

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

    After having a daughter in 2006, Karen (username: karenaoldham) joked about having a tummy tuck without really considering it until her personal trainer and OBGYN told her that plastic surgery was the only way to get rid of excess skin. Karen lost all her baby weight and more when she achieved a milestone in December 2007. She made another goal for herself to run a mini-marathon in October 2008 wearing only a bra tank. Karen wanted to remove all the excess skin in her abdomen to reveal a toned tummy and started researching online by looking at before and after pictures of women. Listening to the advice of her co-worker, Karen chose Dr Doepker from Evansville, Indiana and set her date for a tummy tuck on February 26, 2008. Despite a reaction to Darvocet that landed her in the emergency room, Karen is recovering beautifully after her surgery. Karen is happy that she has met her friends in the Make Me Heal Tummy Tuck boards and is glad she has a place where she can share her results and get feedback in return. Although it has only been two months after her tummy tuck, Karen says that she is 90% recovered and so is 90% happy with her results.

    Karen’s advice for anyone contemplating plastic surgery is:

    “Make sure you get exactly what you want in the first operation. Don’t be like people who keep going up for “repairs” or “more work.” Take care of your body once the procedure is over. Surgery is not an easy out for eating right and exercising.”

    Please join us below for an interview with the lovely Karen:

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

    Karen: In 2006, one year after having my daughter, I joked about having a tummy tuck. After being told by a personal fitness trainer and my OBGYN that surgery was the only way to get rid of extra skin, I thought more seriously about it. In the fall of 2007 I began researching and focusing on the procedure. In January 2008 I booked my appointment.

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

    Karen: My motivating factor was the idea that I’d worked very hard on my physical appearance. After having my baby, all my work went down the tubes. I worked again for 2 solid years and in December 2007 was the thinnest I’d ever been. I knew that I wasn’t going to waste all the energy in the gym to not be able to see the results. Being an avid runner, I set a goal that in the next mini-marathon I ran in October 2008, I would run it in a bra tank and have an awesome stomach.

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

    Karen: Please explain why it was easy or difficult. I made my decision very quickly. It was an easy decision because this was something that I would either constantly complain about to my family, or I would invest in the surgery and have the body I’ve wanted.

    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?

    Karen: My husband at first opposed it because of the cost. After researching methods of payment, he is the one who came up with the idea of financing the surgery. My mother at first hated the idea and told me I was nuts. She then researched it on the internet and told me that she’d seen the results and I should go for it. My in-laws had always said that if they had the money, they’d pay for me to do it. Everyone supported me leading up the surgery. Then post surgery, things fell apart and people looked at me differently. I was called vain and told that I didn’t need the surgery and shouldn’t have done it. I had about 3 days of depression when I completely hated what I’d done.

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

    Karen: I researched through “Yahoo.com.” And found pictures of people my size and what their before/after pictures looked like. I researched the difference between a full and mini tummy tuck. I talked to 2 different plastic surgeons. I had talked to a co-worker about ‘having work done’ and she recommended her plastic surgeon. I talked to Dr Doepker’s office several times, watched videos, had an initial meeting with him that lasted almost 2 hours and decided that a mini was best due to my skin structure and body type. He went into the details of where the incision would be, vs. the style of clothes I wear and let me decide where I wanted the cut.

    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.

    Karen: I found Make Me Heal on a Monday night when I was extremely depressed after the surgery. The women there were very open and honest and it helped tremendously. I wish I had found this webpage prior to my surgery to help as a guide of what to expect.

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

    Karen: In October 2005 I met with a female plastic surgeon, just out of curiosity. In the fall of 2007 a co-worker suggested Dr. Doepker and I met with him in January 2008. I had 1 initial consultation, a follow-up visit, a pre-op visit, and then the necessary follow-up appointments.

    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.

    Karen: Dr. Doepker gave me input on everything. I originally was going to have a breast augmentation done with a mini tummy tuck. He let me decide where I wanted the implant, what type, and where the incision would be. He listened when I told him I did not want “large” breasts. With my tummy, he let me have input on everything. He took note that all my panties were low-cut boy shorts and he said the incision would lay at the top and may not be hidden. His staff let me decide which facility I wanted my procedure to take place and explained the impact of price.

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

    Karen: To prepare for my surgery I kept in close contact with Dr. D’s nurse, Dawn. She helped me with any questions leading up to the surgery. At work I told my boss and a few co-workers that I was having the procedure. At home, I made sure the house was clean and organized before surgery and that the fridge was stocked for my family. We told my daughter that mommy was going to have a boo-boo and she’d have to be a big girl and help. We practiced her getting in and out of the car/carseat by herself and getting out of the tub by herself, bed time, etc. So, when post-surgery time came she was prepared and things worked perfectly. We bought her a doctor kit and she pretended to take-care of me.

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

    Karen: The night before surgery I wasn’t nervous. The morning of surgery I was a wreck. We were supposed to be there at 8a, I got there at 8:01. I was getting on my husband for not getting up on time, etc. Then, sitting in the waiting room I was breathing heavy and real fidgety. Once I was taken back, I got really nervous and started doubting if I wanted to do this. When the anesthesiologist came, I was crying.

    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?

    Karen: My mother came and stayed for 2 days to help with recovery. Tuesday night and Wednesday I was fine. On Thursday I couldn’t breath and was sick. I went to ER with a possible blood clot. My PS came and cared for me in ER. It turned out to be a severe reaction to Darvocet. That was the worst part- vomiting after having your abdomen cut open. I couldn’t drive for 2 weeks, that was hard. But, I had help from co-workers. Luckily, I’m a DJ so my recovery going back to work was very easy. I was back in the gym within 1.5 weeks and at the end of week 4 I was running again.

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

    Karen: The itching from the tape covering my incision, pain when I cough, discomfort getting in and out of cars, trouble getting out of couches, uncomfortable sleeping for 2 weeks, then only being able to lay on my side, rubs from the garment to my underarms, occasional tight shooting pain through incision sight, upper ab tightness, lower back aches, neck pains (all from compensating for not being able to stand straight),

    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?

    Karen: I was very prepared for the recovery. I had everything timelined as to when I’d be able to drive, go back to work, start working out in the gym, wearing normal clothes, lifting, etc. The only thing I wasn’t prepared for was the mental recovery. I didn’t know that there would be doubts and depression.

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

    Karen: Follow your doctor’s instructions. If you read something online, ask before trying it. I almost tried a few “home remedies” and my doctor advised against it because of side effects. Ask A LOT of questions- this is your surgery to your body.

    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?

    Karen: I took 1 week of work. A few people did know why I was gone. When I came back, people asked why I was walking funny and if I’d hurt my back. I just said, “I had surgery.” Then, after a week or so, people still asked and I told them I had elective surgery done. They looked at my chest- I asked what they thought I had done and they’d laugh saying, “Oh, I don’t know.” Then, I’d tell them I had my tummy fixed, to which they’d say, “YOU DIDN’T NEED THAT.” My family were the ones who didn’t know. At a holiday party at my in-laws, a bunch of people asked and I said that I had muscle repair work done to my stomach b/c my daughter tore things. That was good enough.

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

    Karen: Currently, I’m not 100% satisfied because its’ not 100% healed, but it’s healed 90% so I’m 90% happy. I have some concerns still, but my doctor is handling them. I feel I’ll get the results I wanted.

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

    Karen: It hasn’t had a major impact, really. Personally I’m not done making over my body. I still have months of work ahead of me with a personal trainer. Socially, it didn’t matter. Career, irrelevant. Other aspects- my husband thinks it was stupid and I obsess over it, but still says that if it will make me happy then he’s OK with it.

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

    Karen: I would have gotten my breasts done at the same time, as I’d originally planned to do.

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

    Karen: Make sure you get exactly what you want in the first operation. Don’t be like people who keep going up for “repairs” or “more work.” Take care of your body once the procedure is over. Surgery is not an easy out for eating right and exercising.

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

    Karen: It was helpful to my post-surgery journey. It gave me a way to share my results with people who’d done the same thing and get great feedback.


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


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