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My Bariatric Life Massive Weight Gain & Loss Ruined My Face but Dr. Catherine Winslow Made My Dreams Come True -- and No Scars!

2013 was a year of transformation for me. I had...

2013 was a year of transformation for me. I had facial rejuvenation and body contouring from head to knee! It all began with a tummy tuck on April 18th. Those results we're so dramatic that I decided to follow through on my long-held dream to do a total transformation.

Massive weight loss had left my face and body with sagging skin that aged me. Following my tummy tuck, I had my stage 2 body contouring on 10-10-13. That took care of everything below the neck. Then on 12-12-13 I took care of everything above the neck with facial rejuvenation by Dr. Winslow.

On my birthday in March of 2013 I was a size 14 and looked the 49 years that I had turned. But after my plastics I am a size 4 and look like I am in my 30s from head-to-toe. I am so very glad that I did this. I feel wonderful.

Dr. Winslow did incredible work. No one even comes close, and especially not for this kind of money. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have found two plastic surgeons who are each at the very top of their field (one for faces and one for bodies) and who do not charge people outrageous prices.

I never though that I would have a face and body like this at age 49! It is amazing what a highly skilled and talented plastic surgeon can achieve. I love my face and my body now. I am thrilled!!!

I know that you probably want to see photos, but I do not post photos of my face on the web. Not in any way that I would be recognizable anyway. You can see my body pix on my other reviews on RealSelf by visiting my profile.

OK, I have gathered my courage to post a few photos

Dr. Winslow did an amazing job on my neck, as shown in these before and after photos.

2-months post op

Next month, on March 18th, I turn 50. How old do I really look?

Face by Dr. Catherine Winslow, Body by Dr. Joseph F. Capella

The pix show my total body transformation at 2-mos post facial rejuvenation by Dr. Catherine Winslow and 4-mos post body contouring with Dr. Joseph F. Capella. I look like a completely new person!

You may visit my profile to see my other reviews and my "before" photos. I have lost: 15 years of aging on my face, 37 pounds of excess flesh and fat on my body, and 43 inches on my bust, chest, waist, abdo, thighs, knees, and arms. I have gone from a size 14/16 before body contouring plastic surgery to a size 4.

I still cannot believe what a dramatic transformation this has been. I am so blessed.

A Delightful Post-op with Dr. Winslow Today

I emailed a few pix to Dr. Winslow and asked about some scar tissue. There seemed to be an area under my chin that was harder and two small areas on the sides of my face near my ears. She responded to me right away -- as she always does -- and told me that I looked AMAZING and that I was welcomed to come in and see her.

When I arrived at her office this morning, all of the lovely women on her staff were excited to see my new face! They are always so welcoming and happy -- so much positive energy -- every time I go there. In the waiting area I met another patient. She was older than me, and looked absolutely stunning and elegant. I asked her if she had face work done with Dr. Winslow and she said yes. She was perfect -- Dr. Winslow did not do anything crazy like I have seen some plastic surgeon's do to mature women's faces. Wow, Dr. Winslow's work just completely blows me away. She does the best I have ever seen!

First I met with Heather, whom is my aesthetician at Heather Brown Studios, and who is the darling woman that referred me to Dr. Winslow. Heather had not seen me since my surgery. When I showed her my areas of concern, she had me feel under her chin and the two areas on the sides of her face that I had concerns about. Long story short, I was not used to feeling the bones on the sides of my face or the tightness under my chin that is NORMAL because I had so much excess skin on my face for so long (owing sagging from massive weight loss). How hilarious is that?!?! I keep discovering all these things about my body, like bones I have not felt since I was a teenager/early 20s.

Dr. Winslow and Triste the nurse came in next and Dr. Winslow greeted me with a big hug and smile. She is awesome -- always makes me feel so very welcomed to be there in her practice and always makes sure she has answered all my questions before I leave. So the four of us had some girl talk about my new body and face and it was fun! I shared with them some of my "before" photos of my body. They have only seen me as a size 4, but back in April of 2013 when I began my body contouring journey I was a size 14. I told them a few entertaining stories about reactions I have gotten from men and we all had a great laugh.

Dr. Winslow told me to lightly massage my face as the vigorous massage I had been doing may be causing inflammation. The right side of my face is still swollen more than the left (you might notice that in the pix I posted on Feb 5th). I was VERY happy when she told me that the right side will look like the left side once I am a little further out from my surgery.

It just so happened that I met with both of my plastic surgeons this week, each one a leader in their respective fields (facial plastic surgery, body contouring after weight loss). I shared photos with both of them of my body and face. Each surgeon found the other surgeon's work to be excellent. I am so stinking lucky to have found them... really, I am overjoyed... this sort of wonderful thing just doesn't happen to me... but it did!!!

I tell people all the time: You are not buying a procedure. You are buying a plastic surgeon. There are very few surgeons (if any) who could have delivered the results that Dr. Winslow delivered to me. She is amazingly talented and has a lovely bedside manner. I am so thrilled that I found her!

Finding the real me

Getting a Dx of diabetes was such a turning point in my life. It was a wake-up call that I answered. Had I not gotten diabetes, then I likely would not have gotten bariatric surgery and plastic surgery and turned my health and my life around.

It is hard to look at old photos and reflect back on how I abused my body for so long. But it is a wonderful dose of reality to see how far I have come and reminder that I must now and forever take excellent care of my body. If you click thru to my profile, you may read about the other surgeries I have had and see before and after photographs of my results.

I once weighed 285 pounds and was on 10 prescription medications for obesity related diseases. I did a total,body transformation in 2013. Everything on my wish list has been completed except the breast augmentation, which I plan to get in June of 2014.

I have been free of obesity and my obesity related illnesses for more than a decade. The plastic surgery was the completion of erasing the sins of my past, getting rid of the telltale skin that was a constant reminder that I was a failure with regard to respecting my body for so long.

Never could I have done this without my gastric bypass and body contouring. But they aren't the easy way out. It took dedication to change the behaviors that led me to be morbidly obese in the first place. I eat very healthy - no processed foods, no grains (that includes corn), no red meat, no sugar sweetened beverages, no "diet" beverages or foods, no artificial sweeteners, no potatoes. I eat everything fresh, and organic as much as possible.

I workout. I love planks and squats and HIIT and lifting weights and sprints with my dog blue and BodyCombat class. I hate yoga and BodyJam class and cycling and Burpees and just about any cardio machine.

I am grateful that I persisted in doing that. I am thankful that I had insurance coverage for my weight loss surgery. I am blessed to have had the money for body contouring. I am deeply endeared to my two very talented and relatively affordably plastic surgeons - Dr. Catherine Winslow and Dr. Joseph F. Capella. Most of all, I am so very happy to be the person I am today.

Not only did it shame me to look at my naked body in the mirror, but also it kept me from fully being present to living a life I love. I am so stinking happy nowadays. Today I'm a size small and living larger than ever!

Whoever you are reading this, know that you have within you what it takes to succeed. My wish for you is that you live a life you love and love the life you live.

A funny thing happened at the BMV

Today I attempted to renew my driver's license. I presented my passport for ID. But upon looking at the photo taken a few years ago, then looking to my face, then back and forth between the passport photo and my face a few times, the woman at BMV said, "This is you?" I laughed and gave her my driver's license, "Yes. Look here. It is me." She looked at my DL photo and said, "This doesn't look like you." She said it in the most polite and complimentary way. She beleived it was me, but was incredulous at how different I looked. She called her co-workers over to look at my "before" photos. Comments included, "Wow" and "You've lost a lot of weight" and various remarks about how stylish I am.

Needless to say it was the best ever experience I have had at the Bureau of Motor Vehicle. hahahaha I am so enjoying having fun with my transformation.

The Big Reveal - What Procedures Dr. Winslow Did on My Face

On my flight to California the women in my row discussed what they did to relieve the shock of turning 50. One woman said she created a blog to journal her experience, and I forget what the other woman had done but it was equally tame. I surprised them and made them laugh when I told them that I had plastic surgery to take the sting out of turning 50. My birthday is tomorrow and I am 5-mos post body contouring with Dr. Joseph F. Capella and 3-mos post facelift with Dr. Catherine Winslow.

Here are the facial procedures I had done with Dr. Winslow:
Facelift
Neck lift
SMAS to tear troughs
Upper eye lid lift
Chin implant
Lip lift
Filler to lips, marionette lines, and nasal folds

I have one surgery left for breast augmentation and body contouring revisions with Dr. Capella on May 29th. You may follow my journey here http://www.realself.com/review/ramsey-nj-stage-breast-augmentation-dr-joseph-capella-ramsey-nj-super-excited#/

My Photo Shoot in NYC

One week before my 50th birthday, I did a photo shoot in New York City with a colleague and friend who is a photographer. It was terrific fun and he got some great shots! I felt like a model!!

Feeling like I Just Celebrated My 30th Birthday, Not My 50th

Thanks to the brilliance of Dr. Winslow, I feel like I just turned 30 not 50!!!

Color pix from my photo shoot

Getting Back My High School Face

Dr. Catherine Winslow gave me - at 50 yrs old - a matured version of the face I had in high school. My face had been damaged from years of morbid obesity and massive weight loss. Today I am a size small and living larger than ever!

You May Look Inhuman after Plastic Surgery

Be prepared that if you get a face lift by a facial plastic surgeon that s/he is likely to do a whole lot more to maximize improvement and rejuvenation than a regular plastic surgeon will. If so, the extensive amount of work might leave you looking inhuman for a week or more. And you may not look like yourself months. But, ultimately you will look like yourself, only better, much better. It truly takes a year to see your ultimate results, but after 3-4-months you will be looking great.

Here are a few early post op photos so you can see what I mean.

Dr. Catherine Winslow is amazing!

Dr. Winslow continues to impress me - and I am not easily impressed! While some surgeons leave your side after surgery, and others leave your side after recovery, Dr. Winslow continues to provide the same level of excellence to me now even at 5-mos post op that she has provided since my initial consult.

I emailed her today and she got back to me immediately -- just as she has always done. As a business professional I use a lot of email to communicate, and I have never in all my career seen anyone as quick to respond as Dr. Winslow. That's a a fact -- and it make me feel respected and valued as her patient.

What's more, before I even completed my second email to her, Dr. Winslow's practice was calling me on the phone to schedule an appointment. I truly appreciate and admire that level of professionalism.

I have been in the cosmetic plastic surgery field for more than a year now and I have seen a whole lot of mediocre work and sub-par patient care from other surgeons. But Dr. Winslow hits the high note - the highest note - in terms of the quality of her work and the care she provides before, during, and after surgery. Dr. Winslow is amazing and as I have said many times now, I am so happy that I found her.

My Bariatric Life "before" and "after" plastic surgery - yes, this really is me!

Having gone through my transformation, I think that I now know how people feel having hit the lottery after decades of living in poverty. My results from facial rejuvenation with Dr. Catherine Winslow and body contouring plastic surgery with Dr. Joseph F. Capella are so good, that it is sometimes surreal. After a decade of not having achieved the body and face I wanted to achieve from weight loss surgery, there are times when I feel as if this is just a wonderful dream. And I might awaken from this wonderful dream, lying in my bed in my former puddle of flesh, and not caring much about how I looked.

Just a little more than a year ago, the "before" photo above was taken at Easter. Yes, hard to believe that the person in both images is one and the same. The "after" photo was taken this past March, just 3-mos after my facial plastics with Dr. Winslow and 5-mos after my stage 2 body contouring with Dr. Capella.

I now have the body that weight loss surgery could not give me. It has been decades since I looked this good. Dr. Winslow must have taken 15-years off my face! She gave me a mature version of the pretty face I had in high school. I am going to my high school class reunion this year and I will be very proud to show everyone that I look nearly the same as I did the last time they saw me (32 years ago).

As of this writing, I have lost 50-inches and 40-pounds. I went from a size 14 jeans being tight to size 2 jeans in less than a year since my tummy tuck (my first plastic surgery). Never did I imagine that a simple tummy tuck would lead to this.

If it can happen to me, then it can happen to you. And it's a whole lot more possible than your chances of winning the lottery! It really can and does happen. Just checkout the ~thousand photos on Dr. Capella's website. As for Dr. Winslow, if you think her website gallery is impressive, just wait until you see the before and after photos in her practice.

I hit the lottery alright!

Dr. Winslow Gave Me Back the Pretty Face I had in High School

Years of morbid obesity and massive weight loss did lots of damage to my once pretty face. But Dr. Winslow took out her magic scalpel and Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, she made my wish come true! I have a matured version of the pretty face that I had in high school.

The before and after photos show my face at the time of high school graduation in 1982, then my executive portrait taken in 2012, and finally my face at 50-yrs old taken in 2014. I don't think it gets any better than this.

I am convinced that very few facial plastic surgeons can do what Dr. Winslow has done for me.

Outdoor photo shoot - 6-mos post facial plastic surgery

I did another photo shoot with my photographer friend. He loves to shoot me and I love to be shot, so it works out nicely. We did some outdoor scenes this time at the Grounds for Scultpure. A woman who works there thought I was a real model - hilarious! It was another fun time! I love living life fully after plastic surgery. I am having such a good time!

My Bariatric Life 6-mos Post FaceLift etc with Catherine Winslow MD (Winslow Facial Plastic Surgery)

I had my 6-mos post op yesterday (well, it is really 7-mos but who's counting). Everyone greeted me with big smiles. Triste the nurse asked how come I look better each time she sees me. Dr. Winslow greeted me with her usual, "Hello gorgeous!" I love this place!

Everything is healing nicely. This truly was an easy surgery and recovery -- and compared to my body contouring plastic surgeries, it was a breeze! The one thing I will say that helped tremendously is a fellow patient prepared me well in advance that my face would look almost inhuman for a while. I looked pretty bad for the first two-months (see earlier post with photos). Later, my husband would say I looked good but I did not look like me. But Dr. Winslow assured me that I would look like me, only better. She was right. At 3-mos post op I had a matured version of the face I had in high school. By 6-mod post op my face looked even "smoother" -- is the best way I can put it.

During my exam, Triste said that she doesn't like the way my body is absorbing Juvaderm and will try Restylane next time for my filler. We discussed the hollows under my eyes that are now more noticeable since my swelling from surgery has gone down. Triste, who is simply AMAZING with injecting filler, said we will try Voluma to even out the surface. Filler is nothing short of amazing in reducing facial creases and making me look instantly younger -- see my Juvaderm review if interested. Here's an analogy: Think of how dramatic hair dye is in making you look younger by covering your grey hair. That is how dramatic filler can be to making your face look younger.

After my exam, I spoke a bit with Dr. Winslow as to why she became a plastic surgeon. She began doing facial reconstruction on children in the Oklahoma bombing and when she put a little boy's face back together whom had been shot at point bank range in the jaw, she knew she had found her calling. She went on to work at Walter Reed Medical Center during the years when so many soldiers were coming back from the Middle East "in pieces." I am sure she put many faces and many lives back together, whole and complete again. That is a very powerful thing to be able to do for someone. I am in awe, quite frankly.

Dr. Winslow has done over 1000 facelifts. I asked her what is more powerful/rewarding for her, the facial reconstruction work she does, saving her patient's lives whom have melanoma, or cosmetic surgery? Dr. Winslow said it is all very rewarding. She went on to explain how wonderful it is to perform facial rejuvenation on a patient who then goes on to live life fully and joyfully -- feeling wonderful inside and out (my words not Dr. Winslow's).

Yeah, I know exactly what she is talking about. I am about the happiest I have ever been in my life. Even though I was a confident woman before weight loss and plastic surgery, I was not confident about my looks. I did not realize just how much that was holding me back. Now I have confidence in my appearance and thus I am doing things I never would have done before. It really is hard to explain, but my constraints have been lifted and nothing is holding me back from doing anything I want to do.

Life is beautiful. Thank you, Dr. Winslow, Triste, and Erin (my nurses)!

A plastic surgeon's training, experience, credentials, and body of work are what matter

Beware of the lipstick on a pig phenomena -- you walk into a plastic surgeon's practice and are blown away by a beautiful spa-like atmosphere, fancy address, and slick website as opposed to what is really important. Any surgeon can pay a designer to create a beautiful interior. Any surgeon can hire a digital marketer to create an impressive website. Do not be distracted by the lipstick on a pig.

What really matters is a plastic surgeon's training, experience, credentials, and body of work. When I walk into Dr. Winslow's practice I feel like I have walked into a doctor's office not a spa. That is what I want. This is a big surgery, serious stuff that I had done. I am not coming for a hot stone pedicure. I am not looking for fountains and lemon-mint water and plush robes. I once fell prey to a plastic surgeon who ran his practice like that -- big BIG mistake!

I looked at Dr. Winslow's training and her experience doing facial reconstruction, putting children's faces back together after the Oklahoma bombing. I looked at her service at Walter Reed putting soldiers' faces back together after Afghanastan. I look at her training and credentials, having done more than 1000 facelifts. I looked at her extremely impressive before and after photos of cosmetic surgery procedures. I asked Dr. Winslow all the tough questions about infection rates and how she would handle me in an emergency. Her replies made me feel safe and secure in her care.

I liked that she was able to offer solutions, sometimes multiple solutions, for all my areas of concern. I never felt that she pushed a procedure on me or recommended something I did not need. In fact, when I told her that I was not ready to give up tanning, she told me not to do the chemical peel during my surgery. I respect that she was more interested in my satisfaction than her profit margin. There is a lot of upsetting that goes on in this industry. Watch out for the snack oil salesmen.

As for Dr. Winslow, I am so very happy to recommend her for facial plastic surgery, and Triste her nurse for filler. If you like what Winslow Facial Plastic Surgery did for me (and the price I paid) then you may want to explore what she can do for you.

I am so happy that I found Winslow Facial Plastic Surgery and went through with ALL of the procedures that I had done. Never did I dream I could look and feel so good at 50yo!

Living the dream...

In an earlier post, I wrote that Dr. Winslow remarked how very satisfying it is to do cosmetic plastic surgery on someone who then feels so wonderful that s/he goes on to live life more fully. And THAT is exactly what I have been doing!

I am seizing the moment, doing things I never would have done with my fat body and sagging face. Most importantly I am enjoying life to the fullest.

So far I have:
Run a 3k with my daughter and granddaughter
Signed up for a 5k
Got a body piercing (you'd be surprised where)
Danced like no one was watching in the middle of the boardwalk with my granddaughter
Did same in front of a huge crowd at the fair
Wore a bikini
Went topless on a nude beach
Own lots and lots of thongs,which I was never able to wear before
Wear mini skirts (sometimes with thongs)
Signed up for crew
Signed up for several ropes course and zip lining
Done not one but two professional photo shoots

What it is all about is having fun. Living life fully without letting inhibitions and fear prevent me from doing what it is I want to do. I love my life!

And just between us girls, I enjoy the effect I have on men. I don't want to sound like a biotch. It is just that it has been quite a while since I could make a man's knees quiver. And it feels nice. We usually laugh about my experiences at Dr. Winslow's office. I'm talking about genuine innocent expressions from men, not crude gestures. Here are a few that make my heart smile:
- I looked up from my purse just in time to see a man walking towards me mouth the word "Wow" to himself. Then he gave me a huge smile.
- a man walked into the co-ed dressing room at Banana Republic and literally tripped over himself when he saw me.
- as I got out of the car I looked a young man in the face and he said, oh wow, I must have died and gone to heaven because you look like an angel. (I know that is cheesy but he was just this kind of dumb cute kid and so it was a little sweet)
- a jeweler in Carmel CA caught me walking across the street in a mini dress and said, "you and your legs just made my day."
- on a business trip I sat in one of the only available seats at a beachfront bars and a conversation ensued with the man sitting next to me. At one point he said he was 50 something and asked if I was obscenely younger than him.

At first my husband was a little insecure about my new look. But now he seems to find amusing the way that men react to me. For example, my husband and I were at an equestrian event and this rich old man was totally charming to me and made me a drink while completely ignoring my husband, whom it was obvious I was with. My husband and I thought it was very funny. Hmmm, perhaps we missed our opportunity at an "indecent proposal" - that's a movie reference in a ease you haven't seen it.

Black tie affair selfie

Last week I attended an awards gala at Gotham Hall in NYC. It was the first time that many of my colleagues have seen me since my plastic surgery (it was a black tie business event). It was such an incredible feeling for me to feel beautiful and elegant. I've attended this event every year for the past 4-years and I'd never felt this way at events prior. It also was very nice to hear the endearing praises of my colleagues -- a few know that I had plastic surgery and were dying to see the new me; others just think the midwest is doing me well (I moved to Indy from NJ last year).

I never anticipated plastic surgery would make me feel so differently about who I am. I've always had confidence but now it goes deeper, to my very core, and pours out of every pore. I am not talking about arrogance. I am referring to truly knowing who I am and being very confident in that, so much so that I have nothing to hide or am too timid to share. I guess it comes down to this: I love myself now. And that is wonderful, because we cannot truly and fully love others unless we love ourselves.

I'll try to post the formals shots that were taken at the event at some point in the future. For now, I have posted a selfie taken just prior to leaving the Marquis on Times Square. It takes a lot of confidence to pull off a red dress at a black tie event. I think I carried it well. I sure felt like I did, and that is what matters.

Love to all.

My Bariatric Life AMAZING Transformation

My Bariatric Life AMAZING Transformation
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Looks so good you won't need makeup

Dr. Winslow does such great work that you will even look good without makeup! At least that's what happened to me.

Live bold, live now!

Dare to be bold and wear a red dress (or a gold glittery dress) to a NYC black tie affair! Here's to women who ROCK the 50 and up category. Thanks for the face, Dr. Winslow!

Consult

I had a long over-due consult this week with Triste, and saw Dr. Winslow for a moment before she went into surgery to make some lucky woman beautiful! This should have been my 9-mos post op consult but with all of the traveling I've been doing, I am basically 11-mos out at this point.

I cannot believe how quickly time has flown by this past year. The changes that have taken place for me physically and emotionally are so powerful. My facial plastic surgery has been such an easy journey with none of the drama or challenges of my body contouring plastic surgery. My experience with Dr. Winslow and Triste and Alyssa and Michelle and Heather and everyone at Winslow Facial Plastic Surgery has been terrific. Wow, Dr. Winslow and Triste are super talented.

I am so very grateful to Heather for referring me. That simple little thing changed my life. I was going to have my facial plastic surgery with my body contouring plastic surgeon, Dr. Joseph F. Capella. He was excellent with my body but could not have addressed all the areas that Dr. Catherine Winslow was able to address as a top facial plastic surgeon. Dr. Capella was very happy that I went to Dr. Winslow and he loved her work on me; as it turned out, he did not want to do my face. I know so much more about plastic surgery now than I did when this journey started, and my advice to you dear reader is to go to a facial plastic surgeon for your face, and specifically to go to Dr. Winslow.

So in December I will be one-year post op. Dr. Winslow is going to tweak my facelift -- this is perfection NOT correction. She'll do a tuck up to pull my neck, which has loosened a little (which is common for the tissues after any plastic surgery to eventually loosen and settle) and pull the stubborn right side of my face a little firmer. Dr. Winslow doesn't charge for revisions, and she is being generous as some surgeons simply are stingy about revising their work... remember they aren't making any money on revisions and I know of patients whom have wanted revisions and their surgeons simply said no. SMH. You can tell a lot about a doctor's care for their patient when they will revise a job already very well done so as to guild the lily.

So ladies, should I get anything else done while I am under Dr. Winslow's magic scalpel?

My Bariatric Life before and after with Dr. Catherine Winslow

The photo on the left was taken the day before my stage 2 body contouring plastic surgery with Dr. Joseph F. Capella. The photo on the right was taken 3-mos after my facial plastic surgery with Dr. Catherine Winslow. The heavy jowling and hooded eyes are gone, and my upper lip that was nearly non-existent can be seen in the after photo.

These side by side photos are very powerful to show the transformation. Thanks for the pretty face, Dr. Winslow! Ugh and I have to thank my stylist for a much better cut!!!!!!!!! Buh-bye frizz-head. And of course thanks to Dr. Capella for a far better body. Someone told me that they took from from a 1.5 to an 8.5, LOL. I don't know where I rank on the 1-10 scale but I love love love my transformation.

Here are the facial procedures I had done with Dr. Winslow:
Facelift
Neck lift
SMAS to tear troughs
Upper eye lid lift
Chin implant
Lip lift
Filler

Many massive weight loss women are fortunate that the sagging skin is only on their bodies. I was not so fortunate. Part of that is genetics. My face reminds me very much of the jowling my paternal grandmother had on her face. How would you feel if your face reminded you of your grandmother?!?! I am so glad that Dr. Winslow was able to work the miracle that she did. I would look pretty silly with a tight body (from my body contouring with Dr. Capella) and a saggy baggy face. After my stage 2 body contouring I looked 20/30-something from the shoulders down and 50 from the shoulders up! Now all of me matches!

Next month I go back for a tuck-up and then its just maintenance from there on in. Please wish me luck! Surgery still scares me although I am so much stronger than I was when this journey began in April 2013. Look for a new review on that surgery coming in December.

Got my surgery date and medical clearance!

I am medically cleared and will be having my tuck up on December 18th with Dr. Catherine Winslow. I feel calm and I hope I stay that way. This is a short and simple revision and I won't be under that long. A few days later I leave for my trip to Canada. My face bra will come off on Christmas Day! I guess the Christmas Eve photos will be memorable in the years to come with me in my face bra!

#ThrowbackThursday - my face before Dr. Winslow worked her magic!

Dr. Winslow does such wonderful, amazing work. See for yourself in my "before" photos taken in mid October 2013, about 2-mos before my facial plastic surgery with Dr. Winslow.

Plastic surgery changes are more than skin deep

The great thing about sharing our patient experiences on social media — the promise of what I call word of mouth health — is that it will inspire other women who are just like us to see the world of possibilities. And with that shift in consciousness, we help each other to realize our dreams are attainable, that dramatic change is not only possible but probable, and that plastic surgery can effect lasting changes that are more than skin deep. On this most important note, how I now feel about myself has transformed in some spectacular ways.

Cheers to the bloggers, the sharers, the content curators who sought to inspire us to think very differently about the self-imposed limitations we bring to ourselves and our lives. Unlock your Imagination!

#ThankfulNovember I Lost 135 Pounds and Reclaimed My Life

My Bariatric Life conquering a 4-hr advance ropes course. Best day ever!
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November is the month of gratitude and we each have something for which to be thankful! To acknowledge my many blessings, I’ve joined the #ThankfulNovember Challenge that has swept the country. Every day this month I am among the many people who will Tweet something that I am thankful for on Twitter with the hashtag #ThankfulNovember. Why don’t you join in giving thanks, too?

Among my many blessings, I want to deeply explore in this post one thing for which I am tremendously thankful for this year. Here is my story: I am an obesity health activist and I write on the web as My Bariatric Life. I've worked very hard to get to the level of fitness and health that I have achieved today. It wasn’t always this way.

As a twenty-something year old I quickly began to go from fit to fat -- why? I'll never know. What I do know is that I became a processed food junkie and couch potato with diabetes, celiac disease, depression, acid reflux, asthma, and hypertension. In my 30s, I was morbidly obese and on ~10 prescription medications for obesity-related illnesses and headed to an early grave. I needed a drastic, life-changing intervention. My health and my life were literally at stake.

Since 2003 I've maintained massive weight loss from RNY gastric bypass with Dr. Vishal Mehta (Mehta Obesity Center) and remain free from 9 of the 10 prescription medications. I went from a size 24W to a size 14.

I am one-year out from my body contouring plastic surgery with Dr. Joseph F. Capella (Capella Plastic Surgery) and approaching one-year out from my facial plastic surgery with Dr. Catherine Winslow (Winslow Facial Plastic Surgery). My plastic surgeons removed the last traces of my former obesity -- the hanging skin that remained from massive weight gain and loss and interfered with my daily living and inhibited my self esteem. The plastic surgery was the completion of erasing the sins of my past, getting rid of the telltale skin that was a constant reminder that I was a failure with regard to respecting my body for so long. I went from a size 14 to a size 2.

It is hard to look at old photos and reflect back on how I abused my body for so long. But it is a wonderful dose of reality to see how far I have come and reminder that I must now and forever take excellent care of my body. Getting a diagnosis of diabetes was such a turning point in my life. It was a wake-up call that I answered. Had I not gotten diabetes, then I likely would not have gotten bariatric surgery and plastic surgery and turned my health and my life around.

My words cannot do justice to the life changing transformation plastic surgery has been for me this past year. Having gone through my transformation, I think that I now know how people feel having hit the lottery after decades of living in poverty. My results from facial rejuvenation with Dr. Catherine Winslow and body contouring plastic surgery with Dr. Joseph F. Capella are so good, that it is sometimes surreal. After a decade of not having achieved the body and face I wanted to achieve from bariatric surgery, there are times when I feel as if this is just a wonderful dream. And I might awaken from this wonderful dream, lying in my bed in my former puddle of flesh, and not caring much about how I looked.

The physical changes were outstanding. From the plastic surgery I lost 50 inches and 50 pounds and 6 jeans sizes. I look about 15-years younger. Dr. Winslow gave me back a matured version of the pretty face I had in high school – yes, believe it or not, I was thin and pretty before I became morbidly obese in my adulthood. And Dr. Capella gave me a body better than what I had in high school. Someone told me that they took me from a 1.5 to an 8.5. It is true. Weight loss surgery may have saved my life but it left me with a distorted face and ugly body. I now have the body that weight loss surgery could not give me. You can see the change for yourself in the video montage I put together (first image in the photo slider at the top of this review). The side by side photos do not even look like the same person.

In total, I have lost 135 pounds and 11 pants sizes. I had a BMI of 44.6; now its 23.2. Never could I have done this without my gastric bypass and plastic surgeries. But they aren't the easy way out. It took dedication to change the behaviors that led me to be morbidly obese in the first place. I eat very healthy - no processed foods, no grains (that includes corn), no red meat, no sugar sweetened beverages, no "diet" beverages or foods, no artificial sweeteners, no legumes, no white potatoes, no dairy. I eat everything fresh, and organic as much as possible. Just as important as the surgeries were the changes I made to my diet and exercise habits. Following a Paleo diet and running and taking vitamins/supplements have been key.

I am grateful that I persisted in doing that. I am thankful that I had insurance coverage for my bariatric surgery. I am blessed to have had the money for body contouring and facial plastic surgeries. I am deeply endeared to my two very talented and relatively affordably plastic surgeons - Dr. Catherine Winslow and Dr. Joseph F. Capella. Most of all, I am so very happy to be the person I am today.

Not only did it shame me to look at my naked body in the mirror, but also it kept me from fully being present to living a life I love. The emotional changes have been magical. It is an amazing thing to experience your body changing so dramatically so quickly. To understand just what that feels like must be experienced for yourself; those whom have gone through it know exactly what I mean. One patient told me that "plastic surgery is so much more about finding the person you were meant to be." Another person told me that bariatric surgery saved her life and plastic surgery saved her soul. At one-year post plastics, I am now focused on finding myself and living life fully. I was never a wall flower but there were things that I let hold me back from doing exactly what it is I want to do. Well, no more. I am breaking through all my barriers and grabbing life with both hands. Life is beautiful. I’ve got a lot of life to live and I intend to live a life I love.

Whoever you are reading this, know that you have within you what it takes to succeed. If it can happen to me, then it can happen to you. And it's a whole lot more possible than your chances of winning the lottery! It really can and does happen. My wish for you is that you live a life you love and love the life you live.

Happy #ThankfulNovember!
My Bariatric Life

Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life

Pre Op appointment

I had my pre op yesterday and surgery will take place on December 16th. I am having a tuck up, scar revision, and chemical peel. It should take about 90-minutes.

The tuck up is to tighten the skin in my neck. Understand that I am a person who was morbidly obese for about 15-years and then had massive weight loss almost 12 yrs ago from gastric bypass surgery. So this massive weight gain and loss destroys the elasticity and collagen and muscles of the face in a way that a person who has been relatively weight stable all her life does not experience. Add to that, I had lost weight after my face lift, about 20-30 pounds. So these factors are what caused the lax skin in my neck. See photos attached.

I had a little bit of scar migration of the incision that was made around my nose for the lip lift. So Dr. Winslow is revising that. There is no guarantee that it will not migrate again (see above explanation) but while we are "in there" we had might as well try and hope for the best. The scar is not at all bad, so if it migrates again it is not a big deal.

I decided to go for the chemical peel, which I had opted out of the first time. I skipped it last time because I was not ready to give up tanning. Well, I was always a Jersey Shore girl but there isn't much opportunity to tan in Indy, as I have learned this past Summer. I have grown to like my more pale complexion (although one would hardly call my light olive skin pale). I also have grown to dislike the fine lines in my face and the dullness of my skin. So I am getting a 35% TCA chemical peel. Look for my review on that.

Dr. Winslow made a comment that was both flattering and funny. We were discussing the difference in people's appearance in IN versus NJ. Most everyone here is light while most people in NJ are dark. Because I have dark hair and dark eyes and olive skin, Dr. Winslow said that I am exotic by Indy standards. Hahaha, I've never considered myself exotic looking; it sounds so decadent and exciting! So I am giving an insider tip to all the single Jersey girls: Come to Indy where you'll be considered exotic!

I am so happy that Dr. Winslow is doing this for me! There are lots of surgeons out there who will not revise their work, let alone waive their fee to do so! This speaks volumes about Dr. Winslow's character and compassion. I would not trust my facial plastic surgery to anyone else. Dr. Winslow has been everything that a doctor is supposed to be, and more.

Thank you, Dr. Winslow, and Nurse Triste for taking care of me!!!

Dr. Winslow puts the face lift scar INSIDE the ear where it is "invisible"

A friend reminded me yesterday about judging the skill of a plastic surgeon by the way that the ears look after a face lift... or more specifically, how the scars around the ears look. So I wanted to share photos of my scars and talk about incision placement.

Plastic surgeons' technique for incision/scar placement varies GREATLY in a face lift. I have seen some plastic surgeons do the most awful incisions, from a long line down the side of the face in front of the ears, to incisions that run in the hairline along the sides of the forehead and in front of and around the ears, to those which then continue around the back of the head. Yikes!

My face lift incisions are inside of my ear, not in front, so they are undetectable. I only have incisions behind my ears and they have healed so well as to be undetectable. I do not have incisions in my hair line or behind my head or anywhere else other than behind the ears. It amazes me that Dr. Winslow can make such a tiny cut and effect such DRAMATIC change. Let's be honest, I had a double chin and a St. Bernard's jowls. Dr. Winslow made them both disappear with just the tiniest of incisions.

My neck lift incision always was tiny and barely there. But now it is invisible. Hurrah for me because being part Latina my olive complexion tends to scar visibly.

The proof is in the photos. See for yourself. Amazing!

Your life belongs to you and you are going to live it once, not twice or more.

The past few years I have truly come to embrace how very, very precious life is and how quickly it passes. I vow to live life fully with no regrets on my deathbed that I did not love hard enough or have fun enough or live long enough or achieved what I wanted or was held back from doing what I wanted or saying what was in my heart or from being my real self.

I am so glad that I did not let fear hold me back any longer from doing my plastic surgery. I absolutely love my results and love how it has changed me physically and emotionally. Dr. Winslow is extremely gifted.

Surgery day

I will be in surgery in an hour. Dr. Winslow is doing a revision, called a tuck up, to pull me a little tighter. Massive weight loss patients are challenging cases and boy did I ever present her with a tough case! She has done a beautiful job and I look forward to this tweak to tighten up my neck a little bit. I also will have a TCA peel and scar revision. I have decided to give myself the day off today and rest after my procedure. That is not an easy thing to do when my to do list is so full!

Day of surgery

I am super happy that Dr. Winslow had enough of my SMAS to augment my lips. Hopefully this means no more lips injections for filler because the really hurt! My lips are a bit duck like now but Dr. Winslow says that will be gone in a week or so. I just got off the phone with her. It is so very nice that she calls after surgery to see how you are doing and if you have any questions.

I do not have any pain but my lips are uncomfortable, cold and stinging.. I suspect they would hurt without pain meds. I cannot eat or drink anything without some of it coming out of my mouth.

I cannot stay awake owing to the pain killers. I have such a lower resistance to them. As well, I have little memory of surgery today. I fell asleep on the couch curled up in a blanket awaiting them to bring me back to surgery. I recall walking into the OR and Take Me to Church was playing. I recall the nurse having a hard time to find my vein. The next thing I recall is the nurse dressing me and Take Me to Churxh was playing again. The nurse told me it played once during the surgery, too. Then I remember being wheeled to the car and my husband driving me home. I went to bed immediately and woke up about 6:30pm. Now I am about to doze off again.

So far so good

Everything is going well. My face is peeling. My lips are huge. My face is tight. LOL. Who wants to kiss me?

I know that I look funky. It's part of the process. Take a look at my primary face lift photos; I did not even look human at times, but the end result was outstanding.
Indianapolis Facial Plastic Surgeon

I had my facial rejuvenation on 12-10-13 with Dr. Catherine Winslow because her facial rejuvenation results simply blew me away, while no other plastic surgeon's work even came close to getting me enthused. I have searched for a long time for a plastic surgeon whose face lift work impressed me. I could find no one. The before and afters photos always looked the same to me. Then my aesthetician told me about Dr. Winslow, that she is simply the best there is. I had very high standards going into Dr. Winslow for a consult. Meeting with Dr. Winslow was thrilling. I had so many areas of concern for my face. And she told me how she could address every one of them! Then I asked her if there was anything else that she would want to address because I did not want to look "refreshed," I told her that I wanted to look young! So she suggested some other procedures. For each procedure that I was considering, she showed me before and after photos on her wide screen monitor. I was smitten! There was no doubt in my mind: I knew there was no other surgeon who could deliver such dramatic results so consistently. Dr. Winslow is absolutely amazing at what she does, and she has a lovely bedside manner. Dr. Winslow is prompt to return emails and she definitely brings a woman's touch to the experience. She phoned me the night of my surgery to see how I was and the next day I received a lovely gift basket in the mail. Dr. Winslow also gave me many free products that other surgeons normally charge for. I just adore her and her staff and I absolutely love love love my results. And before I booked my surgery, I asked Dr. Winslow all the tough questions. She always had impressive stats to share with me and was always polite in answering some very pointed questions. What is more, Dr. Winslow gave me an excellent price on my procedures. This was a very good price that I paid for such a highly qualified surgeon to do all 7 procedures and deliver such spectacular results. Dr. Winslow stands head and shoulders above other facial plastic surgeons for: results, price, and care. My friends tell me I am gorgeous, beautiful, that I look like a model, that I look in my 20s or 30s (I am 49). I give Dr. Winslow my highest recommendation to anyone considering facial rejuvenation. Wow! Wow! Wow!

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
3 out of 5 stars Wait times
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