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  • CricketfullCricket Caldwell, (member name: cryscket) had a liposuction and tummy tuck on January 29, 2006 removing 2500 cc of volume that enabled her to literally cut her waist size in half – from a size 12 to a 6. Besides the obvious incredible physical benefits, the makeover was part of a personal transformation that brought back laughter into her marriage and help Cricket have the confidence to land a new job a few weeks after her makeover. In this uplifting interview, Cricket shares how the change in her attitude helped her life in various ways. Cricket’s surgeon for all her procedures is Dr. George Valentini based in Clarksville (http://westernkentuckyplasticsurgery.com).

    See Cricket’s Before & After Plastic Surgery Album.

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

    Cricket: After I had lost a considerable amount of weight after giving birth to my son.

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

    Cricket: I was mostly tired of feeling like I had something on me that did not belong there and it caused me to close myself up inside the house and to my husband and friends. It turned me into a hermit. I was ready to get out again and to smile and be happy!

    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.

    Cricket: It took me about two years. Difficult because of the cost but mostly because I thought I could diet and work out to get rid of my big belly. Once I realized that my muscles would never go back the way they once were and I needed muscle reconstruction, that’s when I knew I had to have the tummy tuck. My husband had a lot of doubts about the surgery and wasn’t too keen on it. But he, like me, wanted so desperately to see a smile on my face again. We were both tired of me hating myself.


    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?

    Cricket: I told everyone I knew. My husband was a little bit hesitant. My mother was ALL FOR IT. My mother being so supportive definitely gave me the strength to move ahead and soldier forward and to just go for it.

    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).

    Cricket: A friend of mine named Ashlee had the same problem with her stomach and she did a lot of research and finally went to Dr. Valentini for a consultation. This was before I ever had my 10 pound whopper of a baby! He told her all the things that were later told to me by not only him but people at my gym. (she didn’t get to have the procedure due to money issues). Also I watched TV, Dr. 90210, The Swan (my favorite!) and some others. I did a lot of research on the internet, looking up definitions of Board Certified and researching exactly what that meant and what a PS who do tummy tucks needed to be Board Certified in. I looked at many online photo albums, a lot of Before and After. I read a lot at the Make Me Heal forums and learned SO MUCH on how to prepare myself for the surgery. I think I could’ve been in some trouble after the surgery had I not read up on what to expect here at MMH.

    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.

    Cricket: The Forums were a world of support for me. I don’t even want to think about what I would have done without the forums! I gained so much knowledge here. I learned how to be realistic about the outcome. I learned about all the possibilities of both positive and negative things that could go down. I saw all the pictures and educated myself on necrosis and how to increase my chances of avoiding it. I learned the term “dog ears”, lol. I saw that many people needed revisions and there was a chance that I might need them too. I learned about Bromelain and Arnica (which I took). I gained knowledge of the different garments and binders etc.

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

    Cricket: I only had consultations with one doctor, Dr. Valentini. We have a community channel that he appears on very often and they do a whole segment on him several times a month. He is highly recommended and very much respected here. Due to my anxiety and some personal experiences that happened to me, I did not want to see many doctors or be examined by them. (which I have since overcome) “Clicking” with Dr. Valentini was VITAL to me going ahead with this surgery. Had I not liked him and felt comfortable with him, I’d still be living with that enormous loose skinned stomach today.

    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.

    Cricket: I did a lot of research. I read a lot of other women’s stories on their surgeries and looked at their pictures. I took Bromelain and Arnica. I drank 3qts of water a day weeks before my surgery. My mother and aunt came to be with me. I did a lot of praying and talking with my husband. He went and took out a loan. I did not work at the time because I was so reclusive, but I got one very soon after my surgery!! My husband took some time off work.

    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.

    Cricket: I had several nightmares before the surgery, mostly about the pain I’d feel during recovery or nightmares about me acting bad while under the influence of the drugs given for surgery, lol. Nightmares about apologizing to my mother for having a potty-mouth and being mean to the staff. I also had many, many, many good dreams. Dreams about trying on cute little skirts in small sizes and them fit me…looking into the mirror and seeing a flat, pretty stomach.

    Looking down and not seeing some alien-foreign looking thing on my stomach area! As I was laying there before the surgery, in my mind I was thinking, “Just relax Cricket, these people are here to help you…they are your friends.” But I was also very afraid I’d be mean to someone…my mother says I turned mean before a surgery when I was little. I had that on my mind real strong and kept telling everyone ahead of time to forgive me if I did that and I’m sorry.

    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?

    Cricket: When they woke me up and told me it was over and it went well, I began to cry right there on the table. I WAS SO HAPPY!!!! I cannot even begin to tell you the elation I felt knowing that it was gone. All that gross skin and fat was gone and I didn’t have to look at it ever again! HALLELUJAH! I cried many happy tears in the recovery room. The first day I don’t remember a whole lot. However, that first week was NOT EASY.

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

    Cricket: Not being able to sleep on my sides was hell. The drains were a nuisance and the drain sites hurt. I felt an intense burning feeling every time I stood up. Burning and pulling. Very painful. I had a hard time sleeping. My mother and husband waited on me hand and foot. At one point I had an allergic reaction to the anti-biotic and had to stop all meds until I saw my PS again and I swelled up big-time in my hips and stomach from not taking the vita-medica, arnica and bromelain–that was bad.(all documented in picture album) Back pain was the worst! At one point I said: “If Ozzy Osbourne and that guy from the Carol Burnette show had a child, it’d look like me right now.

    How much longer do I have to endure the hunched over, walking in small little steps and racing towards a chair to sit in??!! I can’t even walk into the kitchen to get a glass of water without feeling extreme back pain and the need to sit down immediately! *cries* When will I feel some relief?” TOO FUNNY!! (now that is…not then!)

    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?

    Cricket: I was pretty prepared. I did well emotionally and mentally. I knew I’d be kind a wimpy physically because I had SUCH A HARD TIME when I had my son. So I knew to expect it and wasn’t surprised by it. I am CONFIDENT that my research at Make Me Heal helped me prepare and kept me from going into a deep depression over being shocked by all the things I maybe would not have expected…no doubt in my mind there at all.

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

    Cricket: Take vita-medica, arnica and bromelain, remind yourself of all the other stories of women and men who’ve gone through the same thing, wear a tight garment, camp out on a recliner as long as you need to, PLENTY OF PILLOWS and a body pillow are a must! Have someone to care for you the first few days and if you have children, please make arrangements for at least the first week. I know we’re all different, but I cannot imagine how I would’ve dealt with my 4yr old that first week without help.

    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?

    Cricket: I did not work at the time. I was a hermit. But I got a job afterwards!!!! :)

    MMH: How happy are you with the results?

    Cricket: VERY VERY HAPPY, THRILLED! It’s not perfect like some people expect it to be, but I am ecstatic about how my tummy looks now compared to how it used to look!

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

    Cricket: Goodbye gross old stomach! Hello New Me!! :) I finally had the courage to get out of the house. All my friends commented on how much I had changed…not just physically. I smiled more! I laughed more! I had a bounce in my step and a giggle in my voice! I was a happy person who wanted to experience life! I even got a brand new job a few weeks after my surgery. I got a promotion after only a few months. That’s something I could’ve never accomplished before the surgery. I would’ve never had the guts to open up to people before and realize that I was a likable person. And guess what, I’ve rediscovered what a comedienne I can be in social situations. My husband said that’s one of the things he missed the most about me and could certainly tell I was my old self again because I had went back to cracking jokes.

    My PS and his staff have told me that I don’t look like the same person, but more importantly, I do not act like the same person either…not even close. The smile on my face never goes away and the joy I feel inside never fades. I’m still amazed at the difference in not only my body, but my soul.

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

    Cricket: NO!

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

    Cricket: If it bothers you the way it did me, get the surgery. Educate yourself. Do plenty of research. Find out all the things that could happen, all the risks. Read up on other people’s stories and experiences. Know what to expect. Know that it probably won’t go perfectly smooth at all times. Learn what can be done to correct things that might not go right. Know your options. Please, please, please be realistic and know what to expect. It is imperative you learn this so you do not get depressed during recovery. And above all, keep your head up!! :) There’s hope!

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

    Cricket: Absolutely!

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