I came across this site in my search for plastic...
I came across this site in my search for plastic surgeons and have found it to be such a great help! I swore that I would let others follow my journey so that I may help others as well. Just to give a brief background, I'm 24 years old and I have struggled with weight problems since I was in elementary school. Although I was active, I have always been over the recommended weight for my age. By high school I started skipping meals and trying to not eat for weeks. This devastatingly resulted in more weight gain. When I started college I weighed the most I ever had, 230 lbs. Once I was out of my family home and on my own, I had control over my own food and had easy access to a gym. In the last six years food my life I have lost 90 lbs. Although I'm very happy with my progress, Im left with a hideous stomach and breasts two sizes smaller than originally. I finally decided that I need to do this for me and for the husband that I can't even let see me naked! I have scheduled my surgery for march 8 in Dominican republic. I chose Dr. Robles based on the reviews, certifications, and pictures I've seen. I am so excited and nervous. Does anyone have any tips, suggestions for things to bring or any pre surgery advice? Thank you!!
A little over a month left and I'm still not...
A little over a month left and I'm still not nervous, only excited. The money and total costs are the only thing stressing me out! I'm trying to be as relaxed as possible, I got my blood work done, I'm eating healthy and taking my vitamins. I plan on recovering like a champ! Does anyone have any money saving advice on this procedure? For example, I've read some reviews where the patient actually bought a hand held massager instead of getting them done by a professional?? Thanks for any advice!
So my blood work came back great(yay) and I'm...
So my blood work came back great(yay) and I'm working so hard to be ready for this surgery! Only 32 days left, I can't believe it!! I have been eating insanely healthy and working out a ton. This has been a lifestyle change for me over the last few years but I'm being extra strict. I eat paleo diet and I've went on the 21 day sugar detox! I have also been good about my vitamins. I'm very much looking forward to finally feel like my hard work was worth it. Laura and the Doctor have continuously been helpful throughout the process as well. I can't wait to meet some of the amazing ladies that seem to be going around the same time.
Oh man, about a week until I depart for Dominican...
Oh man, about a week until I depart for Dominican Republic. I'm mostly nervous right now! I have been very stressed with work and other things so I haven't had time to get excited at this point, only nervous. I just want to be on the other side of this thing! I still haven't bought anything but plan on doing that today or tomorrow. I am probably going to get only a few items that were suggested by Laura. Any suggestions are still appreciated!
Okay ladies, I am three days post op so I wanted...
Okay ladies, I am three days post op so I wanted to do a detailed review of where I am with this journey. First of all the flight was fine, Dominican Republic customs and immigration was fairly easy to navigate. Remember ladies, when you arrive at the airport go get your tourist card first (10 USD), some people go through the customs line without this and have to wait in two additional lines. After I got my bags, as promised, the driver (Leo) was waiting for me with a sign. He was very nice but spoke little English. He did try, though. I don't know why nobody mentions this but the drivers in Dominican Republic are so scary! Driving to the clinic, I was admittedly a nervous wreck. We had to drive through "parte de pobre"- part of the poor. Not pleasant, and I was very worried the clinic was here. Once we got to the clinic my worries were gone. It is a much better facility than anything else I saw in the city. I finally met Laura, she is very sweet and pretty. The very very first thing we did was payment, though, which I was not exactly comfortable with. I would ave preferred to been cleared for surgery by the doctor and tests, first. Anyway, I did pay and did all of the paperwork (yep, I signed my life away). We then did pictures and x-rays and I was taken to a room that had not been turned, no linens or towels, etc. I was instructed to wait and I didn't hear a thing for the rest of the night. I felt like a lost puppy. Not many people speak english at this clinic and nobody had an idea where Laura went. Thaknfully the realself ladies are so wonderful and the one I met made sure a nurse got me linens and food! I finally got in touch with Laura at 9 pm and she called and had people come in to do my blood work. I tried to take a shower and it was COLD (how come nobody mentioned the lack of hot water?!) They did blood work and questionaire after midnight... surgery was supposed to be early in the morning and I was just having blood work?? The cardiologist came in at 7 am to run tests and then I waited around again. I don't even know when people came to take me back for surgery because there was so much waiting. The highlight of the day was meeting with Dr. Robles, I did like her and felt she was professional and nice. Finally I got the blue pill and was seriously freaking out. I knew if I had already hated my experience at the clinic that things may not go so well... They took me to surgery and I woke up twice during the surgery. It didn't hurt but I was asking them to put me back to sleep and told them I could feel the stitches. I remember crying a little during that time (scary, right?). I even remember being wheeled into my room and moved from the surgery table to the bed. The next few hours were lots and lots of puking! I threw up 8 times. I had a little beeper to call the nurse that somehow stopped working and the amount of people that came to see me dwindled quite a bit. I also realized a lot couldn't understand be so it was very hard to get anything I needed. At one time Laura was calling the room but I was in so much pain that I could not turn to get the phone. I am not going to lie, this was one of the worst experiences of my life. Your core is so sore after surgery and throwing up is excruciating. On top of that I had NO food in my stomach because my surgery was so late that I had fasted about 20 hours. SO BAD. I was in and out for a day and was just really upset about the whole thing. I felt so much regret. Finally Robles came in and cleaned all of my wounds and I was sent away. Now ladies, just so you know, not all of Robles patients are sent to Virginia. I know RealSelf talks a lot about this recovery house but you don't really get a choice in where you go, it's about availabilty. For me, she was booked until Monday so the plan was to send me to Angela's house until Monday, when they would move me to Virginia's after. The drive back to the house was hell, I was on the verge of throwing up the entire time. We made it and Angela was so very sweet. There were two other girls staying as well and they were very great. My first night there was um...bloody. I didn't know what was going on and all I knew was blood was leaking from my drains and from my back! I don't know if it was the loss of blood but that made me almost pass out, as well! Angela and the two other girls were so supportive. The next two days have had ups and downs . I am SUPER swollen, from my face to my toes. The garmet is SO tight because of that and it really worried me. When I called Robles about my concerns, though, she had me come in just in case. She told me it was all normal and gave me some instructions to help (drink a lot of water, open and close hands, elevate legs, compression socks). I think my scar looks very good so far (so low and thin). Also, Laura talked to me about the nurses and the clinic experience, which she was not very happy about. I hope that the road is only uphill but I am sure I will have both ups and downs. Good luck to all of you having surgery and I will continue to update. Just a side note, I am having a tough recovery but not all the ladies I have encountered are, so please don't use my experience as your only one!
PO day 4! I just wanted to clear up a few things....
PO day 4! I just wanted to clear up a few things. I told you all that I woke up during surgery, and a few other people have as well. Today, one of the girls at the recovery house actually spoke to the anethesiologist and was told the reason behind this. They actually do this on purpose in DR plastic surgery. They give general anethesia and the same epidural that is used with pregnant women to keep them numbed from the neck down. They do not want you to be completely asleep because they need to know you are still breathing, alert and able to tell if there is discomfort. Since many women will be flipped over for lipo/butt transfer, they need to know that you are okay even if you are not facing them. If you are mostly alert they try to talk to you and comfort you by holding your hand/rubbing your head (which I do remember). You should not, however, feel any discomfort. This is different for each person because the blue pill can either knock you out for a long time or for only a few hours. This seems much less scary now, so I hope this clears up some questions you may have! If it completely freaks you out talk to your PS before, I know another girl specifically requested NOT to wake up and she did not.
Secondly, after speaking with Laura yesterday regarding my experience at the clinic she has informed me that there will be a meeting with the administration and that the nurses that were around the week I was there will be fired. Apparently I was not the only complaint (I know from speaking with other patients) and most of the nurses from this night were new. Please do not let my experience at this clinic hurt the reputation, as I do think they have been attentive thus far.
As for my recovery, I am on day 4 post op and I am going to be buying compression socks today and seeing the doctor again just to check my drain, there is some bleeding at the site. I am slowly getting better but the swelling has not been reduced yet. Slowly but surely, I hope!
PO Day 10!
Oh my gosh, it does get better! I...
PO Day 10!
Oh my gosh, it does get better! I cannot believe I finally made it through this past week. I have definitely had my share of ups (okay not many ups) and downs but today I sent my before/after picture to my husband (the first time he has EVER seen me naked!) and he said he was sooo sooo happy for me and that I looked really REALLY good :-D I teared up, truthfully. All of the meltdowns, the worry, the money, it will be worth it. I am still going to do my best to prepare any of you ladies for 1. tummy tuck surgery 2. surgery in the DR.
Since my last post I have been just hanging out at the recovery house. As you may know, I am not at Virginia's house. I do like Angela's house but there are some down sides to not being at Virginia's. First, Angela has not worked with Dra. Robles before and therefore does not know how she performs. I had a drain in my lower back and I didn't know I had it or its purpose. The first night I was bleeding (draining) all over and she was more scared than I was! That does not put your mind at ease, I tell you! She had to call the dr and the dr explained to her that it was all normal. The next day I had crazy swelling, more than any of the other girls in the house and she kept telling me that it was not good, and I was scared again! I had quite a few drain problems and she did not know how to deal with them, as the doctor she worked with previously took the drains out after 5 days. She kept saying that the drain was finished when I know that it was not. Thankfully the dr took me everytime and fixed the issue promptly! I saw Dra. Robles I believe 5 times during my stay! (I would like to note she is so helpful and makes sure to put your mind at ease. ) Also, Angela does not have the hospital beds, so pillows pillows pillows and NEVER being comfortable. She makes delicious food but I don't consider it "healing food" just really good Dominican food. It was often fried and had quite a bit of salt, which really negatively affects me. Also, only some of the rooms in her home have AC so I would get hot often. Basically, I liked her hospitality and her demeanor but I think she needs to work with Robles before she is ready to take on some of her patients. I know there are so many ladies these past few weeks with really really bad reviews, I would consider myself one of them, but I want to tell you that I think Dr. Robles is still an excellent doctor. I really do trust her! My last appointment was today and her, Laura and I sat down to talk about what is going on. They asked my full opinion about the situation and how they can be better. Girls, I told them my feedback and yours! I told them that girls are scared about waking up during surgery and that they need to provide information PRIOR to surgery about this. I also told them that they CANNOT put girls in other recovery houses unless Dra. Robles specifically works with the people first and trains them! I told them about the crappy (or just not healthy) food that a lot of the recovery houses are providing. I tried to explain to them that we are coming from far away, we are scared anyway and then we are not comforted at all by the lack of help and knowledge of our caretakers! I really think that Dra. Robles listened and understood. She told me personally that she is looking for english-speaking nurses to take care of only her clients in the clinic and in recovery houses. They want to only use Virginia and maybe one other recovery house in the future and they are going to explore all of the issues I brought up. I do not know if you are comforted by this but I did feel it was genuine. Laura took notes the entire time and even went over everything I said.
Let's see, as far as advice with DR, I really can't put it in words like LuvMiento, I really encourage you to go read her review! In the hospital, make sure you have your phone right next to your bed!! There is often no hot water but try to run it for 10 min and you might get warm. The driving is crazy, so pray and hold on. I do like both of the drivers, Leo and Wilson. Don't bring too many panties or clothes in general, you will not wear most of them. Short dresses and long large t-shirts for sleeping are ideal for the drain. I didn't bring compression socks, mistake for me, I did need them! guaze is probably also good to bring and even surgical tape, you are going to start getting creative with that leaky drain! Drink water water water water and some juice. And to be honest, if you can, bring someone. I can't explain how lonely I felt down here by myself. My husband could not join me, he is in the military and is not allowed to go to DR, but going through something this life changing alone is not fun. I am so independent and things like this are usually a breeze for me, but I did not do well with being alone here. Make sure before you leave that you get ALL of your questions answered by the doctor (I went in with pen and paper), ask for copies of all of your medical records, and get a note from Laura authorizing you to leave the country after surgery. I also requested wheelchair service in the airport so Laura is arranging that for me.
Tummy Tuck in general (the things I wish people had told me!!!)
This surgery is no joke. I knew I hated my stomach, I knew I wanted a new one, I thought I did enough research to mentally prepare myself but I was SO wrong. The few days after surgery are going to suck. You may get sick from the anethesia (I did!!). You will be completely drained and you will probably sleep a lot! You will be in pain, specifically if you have lipo. You will not be able to get comfortable at night, ever. You are going to be in a love/hate relationship with your garmet. It is NOT comfortable but it's helping you to drain so you know that you need it. You will probably have to purchase a smaller one at some point because you need to always make sure it is snug! Try to request the crotchless garmet, otherwise you will be struggling with a snap on/off panty-type garmet! That is NOT fun when you have to pee all the time! You won't be able to shower for almost a month straight, yep you will feel disgusting. You will not be able to have sex for a while, you will have to wear the garmet for AT LEAST two months straight. Exercise is limited for up to 6 months (OH MY GOSH!). You have a lot of aftercare instructions and limitations. And the hardest part for me-- You will go into this thinking that after a few days you will be smaller than before surgery...WRONG! You will be bigger, in my case, much bigger! Don't even bother brining jeans, that will depress you when you cannot fit into them. Every single person is different and so your healing will be different from someone else. This is a very involved surgery and you are basically shutting down your lymphatic system and recovering from it can take over a year. Yes, it's the truth. You may be swelling off and on for a whole year. Your face, your feet, your arms, legs, butt, belly, back, everything will probably be swollen and it will go down (varies on a person by person basis). You will probably get depressed and regret your decision at some point during your recovery. I DEFINITELY have... I know that I will again in the upcoming months. This will not be easy, I promise you that, but if you read my review and you still think to yourself, I NEED this surgery, it will be worth it. Today is the first day that I thought it was worth it. If any of you have questions, please PM me, I want to help you ladies go into this much more prepared than I was! Good luck :) I'll be posting before/after pics as soon as I can!
I am now 17 days post op and I haven't updated...
I am now 17 days post op and I haven't updated because there isn't much to tell. The swelling is subsiding at a snails pace >:-( I am trying to be patient but ugh it it frustrating. I'm not quite upright yet but a little straighter each day. I went and had a lymphatic massage today and to be honest I probably wont be going back. I think I could google and do the same. Ive also researched dry brushing and I think ill try this to help my lymphatics system. I talked with the massage therapist who seems very knowledgeable and has had work done herself and she stressed what I already knew- eating healthy is absolutely vital! I have taken out dairy, soy, gluten and wheat almost entirely from my diet (exception of Greek yogurt which has a lot of protein). She also recommended a supplement. I will only post the name at a later time if it works for me. Aside from that I'm keeping my eye on the prize. I know I need a new garment and ordered one that ended up being too small :( Laura thought I would be xs and I ordered a s but now I need a m ... waste of $$! Anyway, I will keep you all posted and hopefully get new pics on my 3 week po.
Well tomorrow is 3 weeks and let me tell you that...
Well tomorrow is 3 weeks and let me tell you that today is one of the downs. I am SO tired of being fat (bloated/swollen). I have not felt so big in my life and although I am aware it takes time, it seems like it has not gotten better AT ALL. Everyone else is going down in their garments and slowly getting smaller, while I stay the same. I know I didn't look good naked before but at least I looked good in clothes! I cannot imagine how I could work harder, I got a massage, I do dry brushing daily, I drink a TON of water, I eat SUPER healthy (no gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, sugar), limit salt, drink pineapple/cucumer juice and started taking all recommended supplements to help me. Nope, nothing, nada. I'm whining but I'm also trying to warn you ladies that are getting tummy tucks--- this is not fun. You probably won't be in a bikini in 2 months and you probably won't feel cute, hott, sexy for a fricken while. I know I'm not the only one that feels this way but I'm over it, quite frankly! End rant.
Hey ladies, I need your help please! It is quite...
Hey ladies, I need your help please! It is quite difficult to get in touch with Dra. Robles, which has been kind of frustrating. She thinks it is okay for me to shower but last time I took off my dressings there were 3 spots on my scar that were bleeding a little ( I think the dressing took a scab off it). Have any of you had this problem after 3 weeks? Also, my scar seems pretty dark. It may be because i'm SUPER white and I know that it will fade over time, but at 3 weeks is this normal? She didn't seem to have concerns but she is also busy busy and I don't really know if she has seen my pictures. One more question- when you finally showered, did you put neosporin on the scars before the shower? I think that is what she is telling me to do... Thanks loves!
So 4 weeks today! I'm going to try to post some...
So 4 weeks today! I'm going to try to post some update pictures today, it really helps to see how far I've come. Some of the swelling has gone down and yay I have a shape! I'm not a square any more and I don't look like I have big ribs lol ... Basically I'm very happy with the progress. When I undress later, which mind you is a very time consuming process, I will try to get pics of the scar. I think it is healing very nicely. I have very few scabs left and no open places at all. I'm not sure what the bb is supposed to look like but I have no concerns right now, maybe you ladies can shed some light when I post pictures.
How do I feel? I have ups and downs. The main pain I have is back pain from the bent over position and how I sleep. Now that I have a pain pill for night though I have hardly any pain. My right breast gets sharp pains when i lay down sometimes as well. Now I do have a ton of discomfort, which I suppose is from the garment. Yes I know it needs to be tight but does the material have to be itchy and does it have to squeeze into my skin?! My gosh! By night I want to become the hulk and rip that thing off my body. The good thing is once I'm cleared to be out of the garment I told my husband I'm walking around naked every day! Ha ha I can't believe that I am that comfortable now! Baby steps...
Finally an update! Well I don't have too much to...
Finally an update! Well I don't have too much to tell. My body is apparently a slow recoverer when it comes to the swelling. Other than the swelling though I feel strong and healthy, I am getting my stamina back and I have been walking about 3 miles a day on days I can make it to the park and I'm not too exhausted. The swelling is a killer though!! It is hurting me by mid afternoon because the garment starts poking in my skin and I have blisters from it! I am assuming it is slowly getting better considering I'm on my 5th faja in almost 6 weeks! I have gone to the smallest size in the garments I have been using (they aren't any huge name but its a Colombian brand and I hear they are great compression but they are completely uncomfortable). I've been doing those you tube massages nightly and drinking a ton of water and having fruit daily. I just want to see my body already!! I pray it has one of those wake up and swell hell has left *fingers crossed* I think otherwise my healing is okay. I sometimes freak myself out and think there is something wrong, the other day my swelling went down enough to feel ribs and I thought it was a hard lump in my side... My husband thinks I'm an idiot :-) I'm posting pictures tonight. I'm six weeks tomorrow and for a side note, pictures were taken at night at my most swollen time and I had salty food last night so I think I'm a bit extra swollen.
I do want to add something about my experience- I went with my husband on my birthday to try on lingerie for the first time ever!! I felt so sexy and excited that soon enough I will have a good enough body for myself :) I then tried on some dresses and I cried! I cried with happiness because I liked how I looked in a dress and didn't have to worry about skin bulging out of the dress! It was one of the most amazing feelings I've ever had:-)
So frustrated right now. I'm almost 8 weeks and I...
So frustrated right now. I'm almost 8 weeks and I truly thought I would be in good shape by 6 weeks, what a joke. So the worst thing right now is the itching just started- oh my goodness!!! I thought I would die! Talk about painful trying to scratch through an already tight and uncomfortable garment. I'm still swollen like crazy and it is reduced at a much much slower rate now, if at all. I know I know patience but I just thought if I was in great shape before surgery than I would recover faster... I should have just gorged those last few months because it obviously doesn't matter ;-). I'm just being grumpy and I am sure things will get better i just want to feel normal again.
3 Months PO
29 May 2013
2 months post
Well, I haven't updated much because I have been quite busy. I am now 3 months PO (well on Friday). I was getting very frustrated because my swelling hadn't gone down in over a month so I sent pictures to the doctor and she said "massages, massages, massages". I think it's crap but I went to the lymphatic masseuse and had a really good talk with her. She said 1. take the compression garment off!! She said that it was starting to cut off my circulation and that after 3 months I do not need to wear it. I know a lot of Robles patients and probably Robles would argue with that, but I am SO much happier out of that thing. My legs have stopped swelling. My stomach hasn't gone down anymore yet BUT it sure hasn't gotten any bigger, lol. I walked around with a bra and panties on an entire day because I felt so FREE. And because I had never let my husband see my stomach and just really felt confident. That day was hands down the best day in my recovery. 2. The masseuse told me to buy a handheld massager so I didn't have to come to her 3 times a week. The brand is brookstone Max Dual Node or the Thumber dual node. They are like 200 bucks and she said to do it every night. This helps break down scar tissue as well. I guess in the scheme of things 50 bucks/massage for 4 massages would be the same amount so I'm down. I have also started jogging, doing yoga and exercise videos. It makes me feel much better. I will post pictures of my progress today, hopefully :)
4 month PO
26 Jul 2013
4 months post
I told myself I wouldn't update until I was small and loved my results... sorry to tell you all but that still has not happened. I hate my body and do not really liked my results. Working out seems to be worse for my body because I blow up like a whale. Eating makes me blow up like a whale. Sitting down too long makes me blow up, going out in the sun, eating too much salt, drinking any alcohol, basically everything makes me blow up like a whale. Even when I'm the "smallest" I am still bigger than before surgery. I really am upset about this. My husband said to me "do you think your doctor just didn't do a good job?" Honestly, I just do not know. I don't see an end to the swelling and I have not once seen this body I was promised. Massages, healthy eating, bromelein, arnica montana, rebounding...nothing has worked for me.
24 Aug 2013
5 months post
I am going to give my final review now. I am almost six months now and I thought I would be even close to where I want to be, I'm not. I hate my body and I am constantly swelling. I have been to my primary doctor multiple times and we have done ultra sounds and she has felt my stomach and there is just nothing she can do. I feel defeated. I was so hopeful for this surgery. I wanted the loose skin from losing weight to be gone and now I'm stuck with a pregnant belly constantly. My poor husband tries to be supportive but he sees it too and thinks the dr just didn't do a good job. I did everything right ladies and I just didn't have good results, I guess that happens sometimes :-/ I wore my garment three months straight and all I was told was "keep wearing it" while every other dr that saw me said I need to take it off because it cuts off my circulation in weird places. The massages did not help, the extra pills, nothing. As far as Dr Robles is concerned, she's kind and I have seen great results from her but I just cannot recommend her at this point. Her follow up has been non existent and I have only rarely talked with Laura. Oh well, there it is.
I chose this doctor because of her tummy tuck pictures! I've never seen better work. It's also affordable and I have been offered great help from her assistant. However, after six months out of surgery I cannot recommend this doctor. I now have a pregnant belly constantly and I swell all the time. I followed instructions and I'm still stuck with a body that I hate. Her follow up after surgery was non existent and it took tons of texts and emails to get a response from her or her assistant. I am so disappointed in this experience.