See Stephanie’s Before & After Plastic Surgery Pictures Album.
23 year old Stephanie (user name: TheFirstLady) lost nearly 115 pounds in the last four years from a disciplined diet and regular exercise. Prior to losing this weight, she had DD breasts, which went down to a B after all the weight loss. According to Stephanie, they looked deflated and saggy and she had issues filling out her tops. She still felt insecure about her breasts and excess skin on her stomach. She tried to burn this off with further diet and exercise but couldn’t get rid of it. Stephanie had been contemplating plastic surgery for a long time, but there was always something discouraging her from going through with a procedure, whether practicality or money. During this same year, she was dealing with some very difficult personal and family issues, as she found out her father had bone cancer, her step-mother needed dialysis along with a kidney transplant, and Stephanie herself needed surgery to remove pre-cancerous cells. In July, when things seemed like they were hitting rock bottom, she decided to make some changes in her life, and the big change would be undergoing a breast augmentation and full tummy tuck by the end of October. After saving the appropriate funds and securing financing, she had her surgery done on October 20, 2008 by Dr. Galante. She took comfort in writing about her experience in the Make Me Heal blogs. Stephanie is now very excited to wear her first bikini while on vacation later this year!
Stephanie’s advice for anyone having plastic surgery:
“If you want to have cosmetic surgery, do it! Be prepared to work for it and your determination and character be tested. Don’t be afraid of how painful it might be after surgery, or let the fear of the unknown paralyze you into not doing something so meaningful and life-changing for yourself.”
Please join us below for an interview with Stephanie:
Make Me Heal: When did you first have the idea to have your procedure(s)?
Stephanie: Almost a year ago. When I was fat all I that liked about myself was my boobs, and when I lost the weight, I ended up hating them. I never thought they would shrivel so much. I only contemplated a BA at that time. Realization of the need and the decision for a tummy tuck came much later.
Make Me Heal: What were your motivations (physical, emotional, social, etc.) behind your decision to have the procedure(s)?
Stephanie: There were a few articles of clothing I never thought I would be able to wear, but wanted to desperately since I was a teenager. A funky pair of pants and a string bikini top to be exact. No one gave me the thought to have surgery. Everyone I know said that it was phenomenal that I lost the weight at all, but unfortunately I knew I would never be satisfied. The decision was mine, and only mine. Though earlier this year plastic surgery was just a fantasy.
Make Me Heal: How long did it take you to make a decision and was it an easy or difficult one to make?
Stephanie: Overnight, actually. This year has been the hardest, so far. A long string of bad luck, bad news, bad attitudes, and the slow destruction of a loving and “perfect” relationship left me a broken and withered shadow of my former self. I felt so alone and hopeless. Help came in the form of a book, and with that a better understanding of why things happen the way they do. This book explained that horrible events in life are necessary to learn life’s lessons. You may not see nor understand the reasoning now, but when its all over, you will. If I had the power to reverse what happened this year, I wouldn’t. It was the catalyst needed to change my mind, my attitude, and my character. I decided to work as much as I could to keep my mind off of things. I knew what I needed to jumpstart my confidence again, surgery. Not just a BA like I had originally thought, but a step into unknown and expensive territory, a full tummy tuck. But that was it. Scared, tired, lazy, cranky or not, I was going to do it. Within 3 months I had the money, a doctor, and the surgery date. I now know it is absolutely amazing the amount of strength we all possess, when we are forced to find it within ourselves.
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?
Stephanie: My mother was so excited about my decision. She knew how important it was to me, and allowed me to save everything I could to get my surgery. The rest of my family doesn’t know, but I will end up telling them at some point. It was my decision, my money, my happiness.
Make Me Heal: How did you research the procedure and come to decide on this particular procedure?
Stephanie: I looked over so many before and afters, and doctors’ websites, and explanations of procedures to have a very good understanding of what was going to happen while I was in surgery and my recovery thereafter. Google and Youtube have some pretty informative but graphic videos of just about any procedure.
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.
Stephanie: The blogs were amazing. Who better than a person who actually had the surgery to explain it. Every gross detail, heads up, milestones, and frustrations were unlike anything I read on those websites.
Make Me Heal: How did you come to choose your doctor?
Stephanie: I consulted 3 different doctors to compare their opinions on what should be done during surgery. The first doctor’s opinion differed wildly from the last two, and with research from the internet, I was led to agree with the latter. My favorite was the last doctor seen, Dr. Platis. Unfortunately his fees were over 5 thousand dollars more than I expected, so I chose Dr. Galante, my second consultation. Later, I found out that he had done my grandmothers eyelids, and removed cancer from my grandfathers face almost 15 years ago. He was quick with me, and didn’t seem very thorough, but he most definitely knew what he was talking about. I’m satisfied with my choice and my results thus far. Ultimately, with more consults, the better to compare opinions.
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.
Stephanie: I didn’t play a big role in the decision making like I know I should have. I kept kind of quiet and let him do the talking. You should never do that. I was lucky and had a Dr. that truly knew what he was talking about. This surgery is on your body, so ask many questions and be as annoying as you feel you need to.
Make Me Heal: How did you prepare for the surgery?
Stephanie: I received a booklet from my Dr. about a month and a half before surgery. Inside it advised to take multivitamins including an extra 1000mg of vit. C, stop taking NSAIDS, stop smoking, eat a balanced diet, etc. I’m in pretty good shape and don’t smoke so I didn’t have much to worry about. At home I prepared a recliner lined in fleece blankets with pillows from almost the entire house to put under my knees. I had someone around the vast majority of the time as well, which is necessary since you cant get in and out of your bed/recliner on your own. I took anti-anxiety drugs the night before and day of. Always clear their use with your Dr. first though. He also prescribed me Scopolomine, an anti-nausea drug in the form of a transdermal patch. I had no problems with nausea or vomiting at all during surgery or recovery like many people do.
Make Me Heal: How were you feeling the night before the surgery and on the moments before the surgery itself?
Stephanie: The weeks leading up to the surgery I was an absolute wreck. I worried about how to get all the bills paid, and how to manage to get the last few hundred dollars together for the surgical center. Worrying about money was better than working myself up over the procedure itself. I tried not to think about it. This was the biggest decision I have made, and had never done anything like it before. I couldn’t sleep the night before, of course. The morning of I felt like I was just going to the store or something. No big deal. While at the surgical center I was oddly relaxed, sort of a surreal atmosphere. The I.V process didn’t affect me, to my amazement. I remember standing in my room while my doctor was drawing on me. The day had come, and I don’t think it registered until the second day post-op, to be completely honest.
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?
Stephanie: The first week was hard. You have no clue just how many movements are controlled or stabilized by your core muscles. I needed help getting into and out of bed, the chair, the toilet, etc. By the third day I couldn’t do it on my own at all. I remember needing to pee and being stuck in my recliner at night when everyone was asleep. I just started crying, because it was so frustrating. I couldn’t get comfortable in any position for very long in either the bed or the recliner, and sleep for the first week just didn’t happen. The drains didn’t hurt, but they were a major pain in the neck. I wanted them out by the third day post. I hate the feeling of something hanging out of my skin, like an I.V needle, but this was on a whole other level. My mother and boyfriend, Sean, helped me as much as they could. Unfortunately, the only thing that really helps during recovery, is just time itself. I wrote about ALL my irritations and pains during surgery in my blog (Click here for Stephanie’s Make Me Heal Blog)
Make Me Heal: Please discuss the pain or discomfort you experienced during the recovery?
Stephanie: It was moderately painful to try to get around. You take make one wrong move and you sure feel it. At times I would have paralyzing pain that would shoot through my muscles where my legs and torso meet, particularly my right one. It went away as quick as it came though, and those pains were actually the nerves healing. The pains dwindled over two to three days before stopping completely. The severed nerves below my belly button made the skin numb, and if something rubbed it too much, it actually felt like it was burning at times. My BA left me swollen and sore, and very touchy. They were stiff and hard and laying any other way aside from on your back was unmanageable. Now, at one month post-op I don’t feel my stomach at all, but my breasts remain sore nor have they “dropped” yet. They are improving everyday though. All the feelings and annoyances are a test of your will. The pain was most definitely manageable, and I would do it all over again.
Make Me Heal: How well prepared were you for the recovery from physical, emotional, and mental respects?
Stephanie: I visited Youtube.com and searched for actual videos of the procedures while they were being preformed. I don’t think that would be a good thing for some people to watch, though. I was emotionally drained from events prior in the year, and physically drained from working so much the three months before surgery in order to pay for it. I kept my mind on the fact that I’m working so hard for a better future, for my happiness in life and confidence in relationships. By the last week pre-op all I could do was yearn for the three weeks off of work. I had enough, so to speak.
Make Me Heal: What are your top recovery tips to other patients?
Stephanie: Remain positive. Trust me, all the efforts before and the pains afterwards are well worth it. If you want something bad enough, you can get yourself through anything.
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?
Stephanie: I requested two weeks off, but ended up taking three. I am a bartender and moving around kegs and carrying twenty-four packs of glass bottles was completely out of the question before then. You get used to going back to work pretty quickly though. Everyone in the restaurant knew what I was having done, and were excited to see me when I returned. I’m not embarrassed at all, and you shouldn’t be either. Make the event up front, allow people to ask questions, and answer them honestly.
Make Me Heal: How happy are you with the results?
Stephanie: I’m absolutely thrilled! I can look good in a bikini for the first time in my life!
Make Me Heal: How has your makeover impacted your life from personal, social, career, and other respects?
Stephanie: It impacted everything, even things that haven’t surfaced yet. Confidence makes all the difference in the world, and finally loving and accepting yourself and your appearance is a glorious thing. (especially for a female)
Make Me Heal: Would you have done anything differently if you had the chance?
Stephanie: No. Things didn’t go perfectly, but when do they ever?
Make Me Heal: What is your final word of advice to other people considering the procedure(s) you had?
Stephanie: If you want to have cosmetic surgery, do it! Be prepared to work for it and your determination and character be tested. Don’t be afraid of how painful it might be after surgery, or let the fear of the unknown paralyze you into not doing something so meaningful and life-changing for yourself.
Make Me Heal: Was Make Me Heal beneficial to you along your journey?
Stephanie: Writing my blog was most definitely a good way to vent about frustrations, and reading others to know your not alone in feeling the way you do.
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