It’s hard remembering that back in the day I was...
Now, let’s fast forward to my new reality. Unfortunately, when I graduated college, I had to turn in my toe shoes and sparkly dance costumes for a job in Corporate America. Now instead of dancing for 2-3 hours a day, I was working late nights in a cubicle in downtown Chicago. While my activity level was clearly changing (remember, I didn’t need the gym….I HATED the gym), my eating habits weren’t. While I didn’t have horrible problems with food (it wasn’t like I was dining at McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner), they weren’t great either. I didn’t take time to pack healthy snacks, and my job was so demanding, that dinner didn’t happen until 8PM or later some nights. I was starting to wonder why my size 2 jeans, black suit pants, and beautiful pencil skirts were becoming a little snug. However, I didn’t pay that close attention because 2s soon became 6s and by the time my career had evolved and moved me to North Carolina, I was a size 14. Now let me be clear….I’m typically a realist who doesn’t beat around the bush and is NEVER in denial about anything. I knew I had clearly gained weight but, for the first time in my life, I constantly made excuses and told myself “this isn’t that bad.” I swept my new found weight loss completely under the rug…..because it was EASIER that way. And then September 2010 happened. I had a moment….a HORRIFYING moment. I was on a sales call and a stranger in the waiting room said to me “Oh dear, you look so cute, when are you due?” I smiled and jokingly said “Oh, it’s not a baby, it’s just my belly.” After I left and returned to my car, I cried and cried and cried some more. That woman (who if I saw again I would hug and say “thank you”) finally made my issue real to me. She humanized it. She basically said, without really knowing it, what my friends and family wouldn’t…..”you’re fat.”
At that moment, I couldn’t make excuses anymore. I couldn’t say “it was OK” or that “it wasn’t that bad.” I admitted to myself that I had really let myself go. And, I reminded myself that I hadn’t looked in a mirror (especially without my clothes on) in a very long time. I hadn’t been in a bathing suit for 4 years. I admitted that my weight gain, even though I was doing my best to ignore it, was really controlling my life and keeping me from doing and wearing things I loved.
After that eye opening experience I began a weight loss journey that took me about a year and a half. I lost about 50 lbs. I dieted and exercised. I hired a personal trainer who changed my life. It was hard, in fact at times, it down right sucked. But, I’m proud of what I accomplished. While I still “fall off the wagon” occasionally and will never LOVE the gym, I refuse to ever go back to that place. However, even after all my hard work, I still have stubborn areas that wouldn’t go away. My stomach (or my gut as I fondly call it) is still my biggest problem. Even when I was in my best shape when I was younger, it was always where I carried weight. It bothered me then and certainly bothers me now. It still limits what I wear because I don’t want it to stick out in cute shirts or hang over my cute “skinny” jeans. I’m still VERY self-conscious about it and feel it casts a shadow over all my hard work. Sometimes I feel like I can’t even fully enjoy and be excited about all the weight I lost because of my stomach. But now, I want to look the way I feel inside…..and I truly feel awesome. I don’t want to spend any more time trying to decide on the outfit that does the best job covering up my stomach and I want to wear a bathing suit. So, I decided to continue to take control over my life and my body and get liposuction surgery. I thought about this decision for a long time and didn’t take it lightly. And, while some of my friends and family think I nuts, and feel it’s an extreme measure, I know, apart from the losing the weight in the first place, is going to be the best decision I EVER made! STAY TUNED
Day of Surgery
The car ride home was unpleasant. I felt every bump. And once I got home, the pain medication became my best friend. I took them religiously every 4 hours and it made the pain at least manageable. I remained in a pretty groggy haze. I was oozing a bit through the garments, which was rather gross, but normal. I basically laid in bed the rest of the night and slept on and off. I was exhausted and didn’t feel up to much else. Later in the evening, Dr. Pyle called me personally to check in on me and make sure I was doing OK. Boy did I appreciate that! All and all, I have to say, my first surgery experience was as good of one as I could have hoped for. And, while I was glad it was over, I was SO happy I made this decision!
24 hours after surgery
However, I knew my first day couldn’t be completely uneventful. During one of my dreaded visits to the bathroom, I wasn’t too excited when I noticed (even though I was “warned” during my pre-op appointment) my swollen (and I mean SWOLLEN) vagina. It was beyond strange to wake up the day after surgery only to find your vagina is the size of a reddish, purple apple. Perfect. It wasn’t painful at all just really strange to look at!
So, I wish I had something more exciting to report. I was super tired, so I slept most of the day. And, when I was awake, I was really groggy from the pain meds, so I spent most of the day laid up in my bed or on the couch avoiding having to look at my vagina at all costs.
So, what happens once you’ve decided to “go under the knife?” I made the decision to have plastic surgery, but what next? There are so many offices and choices to make how do I decide who is going to be the person I trust to put me under and perform a pretty invasive surgery? I mean, most people want to AVOID surgery and here I am actually choosing to HAVE it. Not to mention, I’d never even had an IV before, let alone have the first clue about what this experience should be like. So, the search began. Google and Facebook became by best friend. I read reviews and visited websites until my eyes bled. They all seemed fine enough, but were starting to run together. I realized I needed more than the internet, so I began scheduling consultations. It was comforting to me that I could have the opportunity to meet the surgeon and staff who would be taking care of me. The even more amazing part was that I was reminded how empowered I was. I had a CHOICE. No one was going to tell me where I had to go. I could decide. I visited many offices with a friendly enough staff and surgeons, good credentials and compelling before and after pictures, but no office really won me over. And, I needed that. And then I had my appointment with Davis Plastic Surgery. I’ve been told by my married friends that you just “know” when you put on a wedding dress that it’s the “one” you’re supposed to walk down the aisle in. Well, and I don’t care if it seems like a rather dramatic comparison, that’s EXACTLY how I felt in that office. From the moment I walked in, I was greeted (by my first name no less) and made to feel so comfortable and welcomed. The office struck the perfect balance of being professional, but still warm and inviting. I hadn’t even had a chance to settle in before I was called back for my appointment. I was surprised, but pleased, that I didn’t have to wait but a few minutes in the waiting room. When I got back to the exam room I was soon greeted by a smiling Dr. Pyle. He must have sensed I was nervous because the first thing he said was, “People don’t come here because they feel amazing about themselves. Relax, we’ll get through is.” He read my mind and INSTANTLY put me at ease. We sat down and he began asking me all sorts of questions….why I came in, what my areas of concerns were, what I knew about the process, etc. And, it felt so authentic. He didn’t just see me as a “surgery case”, but a real person. He tried to get to know me. He was so thorough and patiently listened as I told him my story and answered my barrage of questions with ease. I also loved the fact that he talked TO me, not AT me. He didn’t try and dazzle me with technical terms that I didn’t understand, but just talked to me like a real person. Even the examination, which quite frankly can feel embarrassing and never-ending, was handled with such compassion. He made me feel like he cared and that we were partners. He was also honest and explained in detail what I could realistically expect from this procedure. After we talked and reviewed all my options, he was confident that I was a great candidate for the liposuction surgery and said I could expect a really positive result. He seemed to be excited that he was confident that he could deliver what I was looking for, and that made me excited (not nervous) for the first time during the entire process. Once the examination was finished, I was introduced to their Patient Care Coordinator, Gretta. Again, so authentic and comforting. She was so encouraging and talked about her own experience with deciding to have plastic surgery. It was nice to hear another story from a fellow female who had already been through what I was about to embark on.