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From Fat to Fab! Dr. Joseph F. Capella, Ramsey, NJ Transformed Me! Body Lift, Arm Lift, Breast Lift, Thigh Lift and Monsplasty

I had a tummy tuck and mons lift with Dr. Joseph F...

I had a tummy tuck and mons lift with Dr. Joseph F. Capella on April 18, 2013. My results were amazing. So I've decided to do a total body transformation. I am scheduled for a 6-hr surgery on October 10th. Dr. Capella will revise my tummy tuck to a lower body lift, do further tightening of my mons, and perform a medial thigh lift, arm lift, flankplasty, and breast lift. I am super excited!

Have begun my pre-admittance tests, excited and scared

Went for the EKG today. The tech said I should pull my dress all the way up to my shoulders and she'd give me a blanket to cover my lower body. I told her not to bother, that I have been through plastic surgery and have no modesty left.

Tomorrow is the mammogram. Then next Wednesday I get my fasting labs and will be examined by my ObGyn to be cleared for surgery.

I am excited for my surgery. I imagine how curious it is going to be to wake up much smaller than when I went to sleep. However I got butterflies in my stomach when I saw a few pix of the OR today. Not sure why but I got scared.

So glad that I will be spending the two weeks prior to surgery in California with my daughter, SIL, and granddaughter for her birthday. I'll be having fun and not worrying about surgery. Once in NJ I have plans with friends to keep me in a positive spirit.

It won't be long now... just about a month out from my transformation.

Cleared for Surgery!

I've been apprehensive about getting cleared for surgery. Would my blood levels be good? Was I anemic? How are my iron and B12?

THEY ARE ALL GOOD!

I've got some other issues going on but nothing that will stop me from surgery. I am working with my PCP to rule out Addison's Disease. I've got some symptoms and so we want to check it out. There is a special protocol that needs to be followed for surgery if a patient has Addison's Disease.

I've been so stressed the last few weeks. Now with everything in order, I am going to enjoy this journey that I have waited so long for. I have wanted Dr. Capella to do these surgeries since 2006. It is great to realize a dream.

Have been freaking out

So, when I wrote above that I have been stressed the last few weeks that was an understatement. I was a hot mess... I totally lost my cool a few times, so embarrassing really. Twice I have phoned my surgeon in hysterics and tried to cancel the surgery. It was not the surgery per se that was setting me off but rather relatively little things related to the surgery. Dr. Capella made these problems go away on both occasions and talked me down out of the tree (so to speak).

I finally made a conscious decision to let go. I had been spiraling out of control getting carried away with my emotions. It took me an entire day to process the letting go, and I my stomach was in knots the entire day even though I was at the salon for 2-hours getting pampered. Since then I have felt fine.

I am grounded and will go into surgery with a positive attitude. I've waited for this moment for a long, long time.

Saying goodbye to my fat clothes

I relocated several months ago and my clothes are still packed. Yes, I will put off what I do not enjoy doing. Finally this morning I've been going through bags and bags and bags -- the contractor-sized bags -- of clothes. Honestly I could wardrobe 3 women with an extensive selection of clothes for each. That's how much I own. It is ridiculous. Anyway, barely anything fits. As I mentioned previously, I went from a size 14 (and they were tight) to a size 8 after my tummy tuck. So this morning I am bidding farewell to the past.

Most everything will go to charity. A few things here and there fit. Some I may be able to have altered. And there are a few pieces that are so new and expensive like my Tahari and Kasper suits. I plan to sell these on eBay to help finance my new wardrobe. I thought that I would lament getting rid of some of my beautiful suits and such. Instead I feel like I am ceremoniously shaking off the past and saying hello to a whole new future.

I am going to wait at least 3.5 months before I buy anything after my body lift. I made the mistake of buying many size 12 clothes after my TT. Then at 3.5-mos post op I dropped to a size 8 almost overnight. Within two weeks I lost an additional 2" off my waist and those clothes no longer fit.

Goodbye past, hello future... I look forward to the journey!

Down to the wire and I am being screened for rare diseases

I have been in contact with my new PCP quite a bit over the past week. He seems very competent and willing to work in partnership with me. I've presented to him with chief complaints of lightheadedness, headaches, and BP spikes, plus a few other symptoms too numerous to list.

To cut to the chase, I asked him to screen me for Addison's Disease. This is a rare disease and not likely that I have it. But he agreed that based on my symptoms we should check it out. The reason this is important is because people with Addison's can go into coma or die from anesthesia unless they are treated with cortisone.

He also may check me for pheochromocytoma, another rare disease, which he suggested owing to my BP spikes continuing even though he put me on lisinopril. My understanding is that people who have this can go into cardiac arrest from anesthesia.

I will learn more on Wednesday during my consult with an endocrinologist. Keep your fingers crossed for me for all to be well. I do not want my surgery cancelled. As I am on a plane headed for Cali on Friday, we are really taking this down to the wire. It has been a real nail biter that last few weeks.

"You have an open balance of $0.30"

Yes, just got that message in an email from Terry the surgical coordinator at Dr. Capella's office. I already have paid Capella Plastic Surgery over $25,000.00 cash and plan to have another surgery for about $12k with him. And this clerk is going to so much as raise an eyebrow over 30 cents? My friend who has an appointment with him next week said to tell Terry that she'd pay her the 30 cents for me. LMFAO.

Really looking forward to this!

Since I made the decision to let go of my angst last week, I have been calm, cool, and collected. Even the tests for these rare diseases do not have me stressed anymore. I just hope that they do not postpone my surgery if something should come back "positive."

Now I am excited once again for my surgery. I don't even have all of my questions answered at this point but I am not stressing over it. I will have two consults with Dr. Capella before surgery and will get my answers then.

I am off on a plane to Cali on Friday. The next two weeks will be fun! Then after that is my surgery and a two week recovery in NJ. Wish me luck!

Rare diseases ruled out... more or less

So far, two rare diseases have been ruled out and I am told the other is highly unlikely. This is what I suspected, but even so I had been quite anxious over it (and everything else) leading up to this week. It is always best to err on the side of caution with all things medical and I am thankful that I have physicians who listened to my concerns, took them seriously, and looked to rule out even rare conditions rather than dismiss the notion based on their unlikely probability. Although I will say that I had to push the Endo to do my screening tests that the PCP wanted for pheochromocytoma. Note to everyone reading this - it is YOUR body, so don't be intimidated by physicians and take a wait and see approach; early intervention can be key in many conditions.

I discussed pheochromocytoma with Dr. Capella today and he said more than likely it would have shown up in my last surgery (April) if I had it. That was relieving. I don't want anything to stop my surgery.

The Endo said I absolutely do not have Addison's but mentioned that I have symptoms that might indicate Conn syndrome or aldosteronism. So I told him to test me for that. He is running some blood tests and doing a 24-hr urine collection. I believe all the results will be available next week - some of the labs he requested are unusual and have to be sent to a special lab and thus take longer to process. From what I have read the aldosteronism doesn't seem to be a cause to post pone the surgery. All of these conditions are related to the adrenal glands, so there could be something going on there.

Geez, it just occurred to me that wherever I go today I will have to take the giant urine collection bottle with me. Every drop of urine today must be captured. Lovely... I will be at the aesthetician for 2-hours. Thank goodness it is a private salon and so only she and I will be there.

Well, I am on my flight tomorrow and so very much looking forward to seeing my girls and SIL! I may not be online until after my surgery, so please wish me good health, speedy recovery, and a beautiful body.

Cheers!

I have been trying to get here since 2006

I had my gastric bypass surgery in 2003 and lost over 100 lbs. It certainly saved my health and my life, but silly as this sounds, I always felt gipped because I did not have the weight loss that I had anticipated. However, now with my tummy tuck I feel like I hit the jackpot. I never thought that at age 49 I could have a body like this, especially when I was once morbidly obese.

I am so thrilled with my life after my tummy tuck that I’ve decided to follow through with my plan to get “all of me” done. Since 2006 I have dreamed of getting a total body transformation with Dr. Capella. This included a lower body lift (tummy tuck, mons lift, outer thigh lift, and buttock lift), upper body lift (arm lift, breast lift, and flankplasty), breast augmentation, and face and neck lift.

However I decided to start with a tummy tuck rather than get all of those surgeries on my wish list. I decided that I would judge the results of my tummy tuck and weigh this against the potential results, pain, scars, and cost of the additional procedures. From there, I would determine if I would undergo additional body contouring.

I had many consults with Dr. Capella to fully understand what my results and my scars would look like. That was the biggest decision for me – was I willing to trade off some excess skin and cellulite for scars? By this time, I was not too concerned with the pain of recovery or the cost associated with body contouring. Dr. Capella pulled my skin to show me how my body and face would look tightened. He showed me where my incisions would be and pointed to my old gastric bypass scar and told me that my incisions would look like that over time. It was clear to me what I wanted to do.

I cannot wait for October 10th. I am excited and nervous.

Why not?

I remember when I met Dr. Capella for the first time in 2006. Discussing what I wanted from my surgeries I told him that I knew I'd never be able to wear a bikini. He giggled and said, "Why not?!?!" This is the only thing that I remember from our conversation and since it has stuck with me so long, it must have been meaningful to me.

This summer I wore a bikini for the first time in decades. And that was just from a tummy tuck. I cannot imagine what I will look like next summer.

Tests showed Cortisol Levels High

My extensive blood work and 24-hr urine test showed that my cortisol levels are high. So my Endo wants to do a different type of 24-hr urine collection. Well, I am in CA on vacation and going to NJ next week for my surgery. The test will not take place until I go back home to Indy the end of the month.

High cortisol levels explain why I was freaking out so badly. I quote: "With this ‘haze’ of hormone that is always high and active in your bloodstream (and you won’t know it until you test for it….), it creates a nightmare existence for you. It is an emotional haze, too. It’s not in your head, it’s zeroed in and targets our entire emotional structure. And unless the person is on top of this uncontrollable anxiety emotional state, they live a life in Hell. And so do the people who are associated with this person."

All of my physical and emotional symptoms began in early June. Of all the physicians I've seen recently, my Endocrinologist was the ONLY physician to ask the fundamental question: What changed for you in June? I told him that I suffered a traumatic event. He cared enough to dig deeper and process with me the trauma that I had been through. Of all my trusted doctors, he was the only physician that did not turn a blind eye to me, and this is what I had been looking for all along: to be validated and believed.

Sudden trauma can create the high cortisol levels situation. My upcoming plastic surgery is triggering the cortisol. This is PTSD - it doesn’t have to be in a war zone or in combat–it can be at a house fire, sexual assault, death of a loved one, etc.

1-Week Until Surgery, I've Pumped Up My Work Outs

I read that Dr. Hurwitz, who I believe is the innovator of the body lift, recommended that his patients train for these big surgeries as if training for a marathon. So, for the last two weeks I've really upped my game. I am here in beautiful Monterey with my daughter and she does TurboFire High Intensity Training (HIT) so I've joined her in that. Plus, we've gone on some very long hikes and have generally been very active. I also continue my ab circuit. My abdo is very swollen from the HIT but it certainly builds my cardiovascular system. I hope that it is enough to improve my recovery form this 6-hr surgery!

Right before surgery his office tells me they do not have my medical clearance!

This is the last straw for me, Dr. Capella's incompetent and nasty surgical coordinator Terry sent an email to me at the end of the day Friday stating she doesn't have my medical clearance or EKG and the hospital would cancel my surgery on next Thursday if she did not have the forms by EOD Monday. Well, I was there when my docotr's nurse faxed the paperwork to Dr. C last month, so Terry is lying (I have been told by other patients that she does this). I also emailed Dr. C's office twice asking if they had received it. Now I am on vacation in California and on a plane to NJ on Sunday for surgery on Thursday Oct 10. This clerk has been a pain in the ass all along and I have complained to Dr. C about her numerous times. I also have had many patients complain to me about her being nasty and lazy. As Dr. C is out of the country an unreachable, and his practiced closed early on Friday, I had to have his PA Scott paged. I told Scott this is their problem and at this point I do not care if my surgery gets canceled and they could refund my $18k and hotels and airfare. Really, this is just too much.

Maybe I am over-reacting?

As you know my cortisol levels are high and that makes me over react to stressors. I will speak with Dr. C tomorrow and see if we can resolve this next surgery (face and neck lift, implants).

I spent 2-hrs speaking with Dr. Capella and Scott today

One of the many things that I admire about Dr. Capella is the many hours that he has spent consulting with me about my surgery. If you've been following my journey you will know that I have at times gotten very scared and wanted to back out of the surgery. That is one of the reasons that Dr. Capella gave me so much time today. I am very glad that he supported me through those tough times and that I am finally having this surgery, which I have wanted since 2006. One more day to go... I see him again tomorrow morning then I am in surgery Thursday bright and early.

Sick the day before surgery

I have been feeling something come on, either a sinus infection or allergies. Last night I ate an entire 80 gummy Vit C and have been on antibiotics. Today I woke up with congestion, nausea, temp of 99, chills and burning eyes. Time to break out the Benedryl and more antibiotics.

*uck me!

As if I have not been humiliated enough, I just now began menstruating. I am very early. Perfect. The thigh lift requires your legs to be spread far apart on spreader bars for cutting and then into the frog leg position for sewing. Now breaking out the Pamprin and OBs.

Surgery day is here!

Well it is past midnight so that means my surgery day has arrived. In 6.5 hours I will be at HUMC beginning the process. My illness is much improved from yesterday so no worries there. I am wide awake and feeling good. The only thing is, the thought of being under for six hours is lingering in the back of my mind. It scares me. A few weeks ago I was convinced that I would die during surgery. I hope that I do not have any panic attacks going into surgery. Well, I think that I will power down now and take in this beautiful view of the NYC skyline. See y'all on the curvy side.

Being transparent with your surgeon

I cannot place enough importance in choosing the right surgeon. Not only one who is expertly skilled in body contouring after massive weight loss but also one who is happy to take care of you before and after surgery. I had to discuss some very personal things with my physician and PA that were not easy for me to address. But because it may have impacted my safety, and because I have an open and trusting relationship with my doctors, I was able to be completely transparent with them. They did make some adjustments to their approach and my surgery went very well.

Walking into the OR

I felt calm during the days leading up to my surgery, although the night before I did have some butterflies in my stomach about the 6-hour long procedure. I remember the short walk down the hall to the OR the next morning. I was calm and prepared. I really wanted this. But when I walked through those doors and looked around to see a huge surgical team milling about it was overwhelming. I saw groups of nurses grabbing and preparing things. There were people about me but I seemed to stand there alone and lost in the shuffle. Then I saw my surgeon waiting in front of a cloth spread on the floor. I knew what that was, I was to stand on the cloth and be washed in Betadine. Just then I felt I would cry. The surgery became very real for me at that moment, and it was scary. But before I could lose control, I felt a nurse leading me to my surgeon. Everything seemed in slow mo and fast mo at the same time. She removed my robe and gown and immediately my surgeon and PA painted my body with the Betadine. My PA asked me how I was feeling and as I chatted my sense of calm was restored. Things kept moving at a rapid pace. I sat on the OR table and my surgeon and PA twisted me into the supine position. Nurses were putting surgical socks and leg compression devices on both my legs, the anesthesiologist was fiddling with my arm for the IV, and another nurse was standing beside me calling for blankets, which my PA put on me. It seemed like everyone was working super fast. I had been through this before for my TT and my recollection was that it moved much slower. I looked around and saw my surgeon reading something on the computer and my PA sitting on a stool. I grabbed the nurse's hand and we exchanged a few comforting words and I was out. I never felt unconsciousness coming on like I did last time for the TT. It seems the next instant I was watching my doctors saying goodbye and leaving the OR and the nurses are hoisting me onto a gurney and into recovery. I was comfortable with the exception of my tailbone hurting like a son of a gun. I loved that I was alert and talking with the nurses who were feeding me turkey and applesauce. Then a wave of nausea set in...

First two days of recovery were hard

I had a reaction to the narcotics even with taking Zofran to help with the nausea. We tried several different types of pain killers and Zofran and I felt awful from it to the point that I refused any further pain killers. I was feeling fine, superfine even, until 2 am in the morning when intense pain in my abdo hit me.

The pain was not in the surgery site per se. It felt like something was pulling from the surgery site, though, if that makes sense. The pain was in my upper abdo and if I touched it I would cry out. Then it seemed to grow across my abdo. I cried on and off from 2-6 am that first night after my surgery. The pain was of course worse because I wasn't on any pain killers. Unfortunately by the time my surgeon arrived at 6 am the pain had subsided. I was watching the clock waiting for him to arrive as I wanted to show him what was happening.

On top of this, I was immobilized. My tailbone hurt like heck but I could not move to takeaway the pressure. They placed a donut under me but it did not help. I could not even move my hair from behind my neck and it was sticking to me from all the tears.

To make things worse, At the care center they did not want to clean me and I was menstruating. I was glad that I brought cleansing clothes with me, but I could not reach all the way down between my legs to get all the blood. They actually wanted me to lay here on a pad and bleed for 3 nights and not clean me. What the heck, they change old people's diapers and clean them so what was the big deal?

So there I lay in pain and crying and trying to clean myself as best I could. I managed to get my tampon in even with the cath in the way. The nurse would not help me with that either. It is not easy to change a tampon with a catheter in and your arms all cut and bandaged.

At the shift change one aid asked me why I had been crying. I told her of the pain and of my ordeal. She and a nurse apologized that I had been treated that way and they cleaned me up and put a new tampon in me. Yes, all dignity has now been removed but when I am feeling pain or discomfort I am not embarrassed to let healthcare professionals take care of me in whatever way they need to. I am just so relieved to have their help. It was actually quite funny because the aid who was in her 50s had never used tampons. She watched the nurse while I was bent forward as she inserted my tampon and asked some funny questions. She wanted her to make sure she left the string hanging out so that it did not get lost inside me and wanted to know if that had ever happened to me. The nurse and I did our best to explain why tampons don't crawl up inside your uterus. Anyway, the levity made a somewhat embarrassing situation better.

I asked my surgeon for a non narcotic pain reliever and he prescribed Ultram. It was enough to take the edge off but not effective at deep pain management. So the next night was hard, as well...

Second day of recovery was hard

I was able to get out of bed with assistance from a nurse and aid. It was not at all easy because I would not let them pull on me or drag me. We used a slip sheet and they pushed on my back. Finally I had to grab onto both their hands and they allowed me to pull myself as they also pulled. I was up and using a walker after that. I was surprised at how much pain I was in because I was told that I would be up and about the next day. I would sit in different chairs in the room and on the edge of the bed. I simply could not get comfortable. My tailbone and arse were on fire with pain.

Later that night some awful pains returned in my sides going all the way up my abdomen. It felt like burning and prickers sticking into me and a pulling sensation. I guess it is the skin stretching or nerves firing off??? I kept moving my binder to try to get it off the areas where I hurt. The pain was bad but at least I was not crying.

I kept watching the clock waiting in pain for my surgeon to arrive. I think that I must have broken down and taken narcotics because when he arrived I was pretty out of it. And of course just like the night before, the pain was gone so I couldn't show him where it was and he could not observe what was happening.

He cut away and removed my bandages and I recall him telling me that I would feel better getting them off as they wee constrictive. At that point all that I could feel was pain. He and the nurse pulled my arms to lift me and remove my robe and the surgical bra and abdo binder. I do not recall there being any pain with the removal of the surgical binder but I do remember crying out and telling my surgeon not to pull my arm so hard. He was as gentle as possible, as was the nurse, but I was in pain.

I also recall crying out in pain when he removed the gauze from the incisions in my arms and legs because it had stuck in certain places to the incisions.

He cut my binder into three strips so that I could use one in the shower to hold the drains and one dry one to hold the drains otherwise. Plus one extra. I was glad not to have that big scratchy binder on me any more.

I did not think that I would have any pain from the incisions but I did. I did not have incision pain from my tummy tuck that I had already had done. My surgeon said he thinks that the pain may be so great from the TT muscle plication that patients never notice the pain of the incision. I agree with that.

I remember my surgeon saying something about my boobs being small but looking good because they were now nicely shaped. I think that I was rubbing them and saying how hard they were. But it was funny to hear that my small boobs looked good because I have long been told that my big boobs looked good. I look to be about a B cup.

Later I had the nurse remove the catheter and had an aide give me a shower. I felt like a whole new person and I began walking without the walker. That night was my first pain-free night and I slept like a baby.

Pain free after my 2nd night and on my own after the 4th night

Since those two hard nights I have been pain-free. I do have the discomfort of swelling and the tenderness of my incisions, but not real pain as I had been experiencing prior.

I stayed in the care center a total of 4 nights just to make sure I would be safe on my own in the hotel for the next 10 nights before flying home. I made sure that I could shower and dress myself, walk well enough on my own, and get in and out of a flat bed unassisted.

I felt so good my day of discharge that my friend and I went driving through the Hudson River Valley to see the Fall foliage. We would get out at stops along the way and take in the views. Then we went to dinner.

Once back at my hotel, I asked my friend to set up everything so it was accessible to me. This meant putting out all of my food, setting up my water bottle, and placing my open suitcase up high so I could access the contents.

I am staying in an ADA room at the hotel so that I have a walk in shower with chair, hands rails next to the toilet, etc. it makes it safer and easier for me to take care of myself. I make sure that my cell phone is plugged in on my nightstand as is the hotel phone. Both are within easy reach of my bed should I have an emergency.

Recovery

As for recovery, my doctors told me it would be easier than this so I feel a bit like an old lady that cannot keep up with younger patients. I have had some of the drain sites leaking, which isn't a big deal per se except that it is ruining my pants. I have some nausea, light headedness, and headache. The first day at the hotel I was experiencing chills and sweats but my temp was in the 90s and within normal limits. I don't know if I overdid it with the outing or if whatever infection I had pre op is coming back or if this is something related to the surgery itself.

I bought some Delsym for the dry hacking cough I've been having for the past few days. I am surprised at how exerted I become just doing the littlest activity. Going to my surgeon's office yesterday and then for a light dinner really knocked me out. I came back to the hotel and slept for hours.

I think that I am going to really push the fluids today to see if that helps. My last blood test showed I was a little dehydrated. That could really make one feel crummy.

A visit from the paramedics

Oh, I did have the paramedics come yesterday morning. My surgeon had asked me to call him if I experienced shortness of breath. I had not been experiencing any so I was not concerned. But early in the am I was awakened from a dream with shortness of breath. It was pretty weird.

I lay there for a while In bed to see if my breathing would normalize. And I tried to fall back to sleep. Then suddenly I thought what if it is a pulmonary embolism and my SOB increased. So although I did not think anything serious was wrong, I called my surgeon as I had promised. I told him that I did not know if this SOB was serious or just anxiety. So he told me to call the hotel front desk and have them bring the paramedics who could tell the difference.

The paramedics arrived fairly quickly. My BP and pulse were elevated but my lungs were clear and my blood oxegyn was good. So I don't have a PE, which is what I thought all along but both my surgeon and the paramedic said it is best to make sure and always call for help when you have shortness of breath.

First set of drains pulled

Last night I went to see my surgeon and PA for my one week post op. They pulled two of my drains. I get the other two pulled next week.

I have had a lot of blood leaking from the drains sites. I wasn't hemorhaging (sp) but my pants are ruined with blood stains down the leg, across the groin, and in the front. But I am happy to say that all of my incisions look really good and healthy. They checked over my incisions and thought the same. My surgeon said one or more drains were clogged so the PA stripped the remaining two.

I am walking more erect today so I guess pulling the drains had something to do with that. I am looking forward to next week when they pull the last set so I can finally see my body unobstructed in the full length mirror and see what I look like. I sure hope that I am fully erect by then.

So far I am in love with my thighs and my mons. They look so great!!! It will be nice to stand erect and actually see my boobs and arms together. And I still need to be able to see my arse. I want to see a full head on view from the back.

I am an idiot!

It seems the reason that I am feeling light headed, headache, and just crummy may be that my fluid level may be low. I have been taking a double dose of OTC diuretic to relieve the swelling and my PA told me that is exactly what I should NOT do. He told me to push the fluids and stop the diuretics.

Feeling so good so soon!

I feel so darn good one week post upper and lower body lift, thigh lift and monsplasty that I feel like exercising. I sure wish that I could work out. I am so freaking bored in this hotel room by myself! The best I can do is go for a walk.

Blue...

Emotional ups and downs are normal after surgery, this I know. So I thought that I would not encounter this, since I was prepared for it. Wrong. I began the morning crying about my arse and boobs and trunk. Then I lamented about how pretty I had looked before surgery and now I could not even stand up straight.

I went to see my surgeon and PA to discuss my concerns. I was quite sure they would be able to explain everything and address my concerns. And they did. Still, right now I'd like to fast forward 3-months. I felt the same way after my tummy tuck... I wanted to make time fly.

"Bat Sh*t Crazy"

Unfortunately in life there are no "do overs" and we can't take back our words once spoken (or written). Words are very powerful. They release feelings deep inside us, such as gratitude or fear.

Throughout this review I have expressed deep gratitude for Dr. Capella. But I also have released deep feelings of fear surrounding my 6-hour surgery by lashing out against his practice. Trivial things have sent me into a panic again and again. Although it was not done with malice, my words when read here on this review hurt those people who were trying to help me.

Terry, Dr. Capella's surgical coordinator, told me today that I went bat sh*t crazy and wrote those posts above. Yes, I sure did. She told me my emotions were out of control. Yes, they surely were. She was extremely hurt and angry, and for that I am very sorry.

Throughout this review I have written about freaking out, being hysterical, trying twice to cancel my surgery, against the backdrop of facing this surgery on my own, emotional trauma, and a battery of tests and doctors' appointments to screen me for rare diseases, and clinical findings that my cortisol levels are high. What was supposed to be an uplifting experience and major life achievement has been a bat sh*t crazy emotional journey that is not yet over.

I've got to get through this recovery. Then I have one more surgery and recovery ahead.

Did I mention that I love my vag?

I had monster crotch all my life. It was at its worst when I was fat, but still not normal when I was thin. I recall how freaking humiliated I was to have to stand naked for my PS with that thing. But he is a miracle worker.

After my tummy tuck, he made me look normal. No more monster crotch. It was a remarkable transformation.

I asked him to do better at my next surgery. He said sure, I can make you tighter. I know just how I am going to fix you.

So he revised me. And now I cannot believe how freaking sexy my vag looks. And my thighs. And my flat tummy. It is the total package but I can't help but gaze at my vag in the mirror. I cannot believe what a phenomenal job he did.

I asked him to make me look normal. But he made me look spectacular. Wow.

Last set of drains pulled, hurrah!

I had my second set of drains pulled today and I am nearly walking upright. I am so glad to get rid of those bulbs around my waist! There was barely any fluid in them and what was there was nearly clear. Doctor said that is about as good as it gets!

He said my incisions all look very good and that my healing is going very well after such a big surgery. I agree. I can compare my incisions this time around to my TT incision last April and these incisions just seem to be healing much more beautifully. I attribute it to the supplements I take, especially the glutamine, as well as being in much better physical condition this time around. I weigh less, eat better, and exercise - in fact I pumped up my work outs two weeks prior to surgery to build my body to endure and have a better recovery. A big thanks to my daughter/coach for motivating me and developing the work outs and hikes!

I cannot wait for the next 3-mos to fly by so my body is healed and I can see my results. The waiting is hard! I look crummy without being able to do hair and makeup, wear nice clothes, and being all swollen. My waist is gone! I feel fat. I know it is just temporary but I feel that I look crappy like I did 6-mos ago before my tummy tuck, well maybe not THAT bad, but close.

At least with my next (and final) surgery I will not have this back sliding. That last surgery will be my face/neck lift and implants, as well as any tweaks to my current surgery if needed.

I will post some pre op pix when I get them from my surgeon's office.

Fever, chills

Sometime after my surgeon pulled the drains yesterday I began to get chills. I was freezing and trying everything to get warm. I took a hot shower, ate some hot soup, and turn up the hotel room heat high. Finally I took my temp and it was 101.5.

I called my surgeon and he said to take some Tylenol and call him in the morning. He said thwt sometimes when they pull the last drains the patient gets a fever although he is not really sure why.

I took the acetaminophen but had a hard night. I kept having chills and sweats from the fever. This morning I feel just lousy and I still have a fever of 101.1. So he is calling in a script for Cipro for me and told me to walk around and do deep breathing to try to knock this thing out. I have to fly home tomorrow and don't want to feel like this when I do.

He asked if any of my incisions looked red or inflamed. Nope. They look as good as ever. I do still have thwt hacking cough that I have had for about a week. I don't know if it is related to anything.

I just ate an Omelet and feel like vomiting. All I want to do is sleep.

Inspiration

Renew, release, let go. Yesterday's gone. There's nothing you can do to bring it back. You can't "should've" done something. You can only DO something. Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day!
— Steve Maraboli

If you're on the fence about weight loss surgery or plastic surgery, what is it that is holding you back from realizing your dreams?

Pre Op Stats - It only gets better from here!

Sep 8, 2013
Height 5'7"
Weight 177lbs
Size 8 jeans
Bust w/o bra and bent over at the waist (so all the back blubber comes forward) 45"
Chest beneath breast 38"
Waist 32.5"
Lower abdo 38"
Hips 40"
Knee top 17.5"
Upper arms 14.5"
Arms just above elbow 11.75"

I've tried on my tight-fitting size 8 jeans at 1-week post op and they are loose. Woot woot! I think I will be a size 6 in 3-mos or so. My daughter told me, "Welcome to my world!" I will post stats at 3-mos post op. Stay tuned!

Guilty Pleasures from Body Contouring

Maybe it is the fever making me feel steamy, but here are some of the guilty pleasures I want from my body contouring...

My a** look hot in a pair of cheekies
My thighs and crotch look irresistible in a thigh highs
My breasts look delicious in the nude
...and in a wet t-shirt
Have adventurous unbridled sex, often
My friend who is a local artist paint a seductive nude of me (this is his specialty)
My colleague who is a photographer shoot sensual B&Ws of my naked body
Make a video of my transformation from fat to femme fatale

Naughty me for be so daring to share, but we're all ladies here, right? And let's be honest, this surgery is more about sex than anything else... do you feel my vibe?

Finally got a look at my a**

I finagled my iPad and shot my backside in the mirrors here at the hotel - the ones in my room, of course, LOL! I cannot sleep tonight for some reason, so what better way to pass time? I have been wondering for two weeks what the heck my a** looks like! I know it will change a lot, but initially I hated my a** when I saw it in my surgeon's office, well what I could see of it anyway. It is not what I was expecting, and hopefully as time goes on it does get as round as I imagined it would be, but it does look much better than I had originally thought. He got rid of my square old ladies a** and of course it is firm and smooth. So it is looking pretty good for two weeks out and at 3-mos I hope it is spectacular and I look hot in cheekies!!! It absolutely does not look like the a** of a 49yo woman. I think I need to nude sunbath and tan my a**, hahaha!

Look at my amazing thighs, and my a** isn't too bad, either, for 2 weeks post op!

Small skin opening - sh*t!

Dang, I was hoping to avoid this! There is a small opening in my left armpit, and a black dot in the center which my surgeon said may be a stitch. I think that I know why this happened. My right groin has been sore in the incision area, and getting in and out of cars has been difficult. On Tuesday I grabbed the handle thwt is in the ceiling of the back of the carb to lower myself in and out of the cab so as not to hurt my groin. I used my left arm and probably put a lot of stress, my some of my body weight, as I reached thwt high and lowered myself in and out. Dang! Surgeon said to keep it dry.

Pre op and post op a** pix

Look at my amazing thighs and arms, and my a** isn't too bad, either, for 2 weeks post op!

Already thinking about my implants

I have a large frame and my current stats are above. I expect to be a size 6 jeans and 36 B bra once my swelling goes down. I am 49yo, and post partum (nearly 30yrs ago). I am very excited about getting my new boobs and really torn between what size I should go. I am very particular about how they will look in the end. I definitely like the young boobs of ladies whom have not had children. I know it is not possible to make my breasts look like that, but I would like to get as close as possible.

Prior to my BL, I was a 38D/DD. I want to look sexy and curvy with my boobs, especially since I am pretty straight from the waist to hips. My top is actually larger than my hips, I think this is called an inverted triangle shape. With this body type, I wonder if going to large with my breasts will make me look large (fat). So, I am trying to decide if I should go C, D, DD, DDD.

Most of all I do not want to look matronly (I am 49yo) or like a puta. I certainly would appreciate any advice from those who have been through it.

My surgeon does the nicest breasts I have ever seen.

Going home, finally

I have been away from home for over a month. The first half of my trip was fantastic! The second half was difficult but I a, so glad that I am through it and will have a beautiful body in a few months. I want to make time fly to Feb 1st!

Actually, I feel like I am leaving home

I have loved in NJ all my life. It is home. My friend are here. My family is here. And I still own a house here. I only moved to the Midwest six months ago, when I was one week postop from my tummy tuck. I actually drove those 700 miles, myself, in my low riding sports car. And that tummy tuck recovery was much harder than this recovery. I am riding in style in the bulkhead on United Express, LOL.

Anyway, I feel melancholy to be leaving home and going to where I now live, a beautiful historic home over 6000sq.ft. On the River. That is not a bad place to call home. Maybe I just have to get used to it, like I have to get used to my new body. And if I don't, I always can leave. What I do know is that life is short and I refuse to be unhappy. So I will go where happiness takes me.

Sitting here at Newark airport, I am an feel the familiar rat race of the area. Life is slower in the Midwest, even though I live downtown in the city. I look around and my travel mates look as if they have come off the set of Children of the Corn. I do not mean that pejoratively. It is just that I have never seen so many homogenous fair skinned and blonde haired people in my life. It is all white bread, no marbled rye (like me), no whole wheat, no pumpernickel. I like my people tall, dark, and handsome... They way we serve it up Jersey style.

I suppose someone coming from the Midwest to NJ might have the same impression, that we all look the same. My girlfriends and I all are brunette, the men in my life have always been dark-haired and olive skinned. I also have olive skin, although my summer tan is fading I still am darker than most people in the Midwest. I wonder if they find me as unattractive as I find them?

Skin openings in both arm pits and groin

Red and swollen area around incision above right buttock is painful

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

I've been gone from home for more than a month, although having lived in the Midwest for only 5-mos I can hardly say it feels like home yet. My flight was delayed, as were all my flights delayed on this trip. It was odd going through the airport in a wheel chair and having people do basic things for me. I like my freedom, autonomy, and independence. I do not like being incapacitated.

Temps were in the 30s where I landed. I was very glad that I brought a winter jacket with me. It was the first time that I had to use it on my trip. When I began this adventure I was in shorts.

My husband had a home cooked meal waiting for me. I am thankful the airport is not far from home, and soon I was walking into the warmth of my home ready for that hot meal: organic chicken breast and sauteed fresh mushrooms, peppers, and onions.

But first I had to say HI to my three dogs. My big Boxer Blue, who is my sprinting buddy, immediately began hopping and excitedly running towards the door. I was dressed in one of my work out outfits and sneakers and so he thought we were ready to go for our usual run in the park. Max and Circa, my Boston Terriers, jumped at my legs and wanted to be petted. Of all, Blue was most happy to see me. He sat beside me and let me pet him for a long time.

When I had my tummy tuck last April, my husband was very grossed out by the incision. With this surgery he had warned me that he did not want to see my body until it was healed. So I was pleasantly surprised when he began to explore my body with all of its incisions so soon. When I asked my surgeon about sex he said to play it by ear. Being two weeks post op, I decided to follow doctor's orders and see what was possible.

We also saw what was possible the next morning. We took it slow and gentle. But I guess it was too soon and combined with the stress to the body from the hours of travel I was very swollen. I think the travel responsible for the swelling, or maybe I am entering swell hell, or both. But later that night I took a handheld mirror and looked over my body. I saw that my right armpit had opened as did my right groin, which had been troubling me for some time with pain. My right arm also was red around the incision and looked nasty. I do not know if sex had any effect on these incisions opening but I told my husband that I am off limits until further notice.

There also was a red and inflammed area around the incision above the right buttock. And this area was very painful to the touch. I tried to lay in bed and it was not possible. I had to sleep on my left side all night, which wasn't so great for my left arm.

Anyway, I phoned my surgeon because in the paperwork I signed, it states to call the office immediately if excessive pain, increased swelling or redness around the incision sites happen. I sent pix to him and took my temp before calling him; temp was normal 98.6. He asked me to get a CBC done so he can check my WBC. I will have to wait until Monday morning for that.

Today I am taking it extra easy. I am pushing proteins, supplements, and lots of water. I've asked my husband to take me to the international market so I can get some mineral water to help with my healing as well as some ingredients to make an easy soup recipe that my friend made for me while I was in NJ. Homemade soup is always so comforting and healing.

I remain in good spirits. Pre op I thought that I would freak out if my incision opened but I did not. While I certainly prefer it had not happened, it is inconvenient more than anything else.

Have a nice weekend everyone! I've posted pix above of the back and armpits and groin.

Happy about my weight... Wait, did I just say that?

My doctors removed 5lbs of fat/skin and 1 liter of fat with lipo. I got on the scale this AM and weighed 171, which is great considering I am still swollen and began surgery at 177lbs.

Feeling ugly

I told my husband that I hate feeling ugly, the way I felt 6-mos ago before my tummy tuck. He was surprised at my remark and said "You aren't ugly." I said that I arrived to NJ looking pretty and now I feel ugly. And he said "Feeling ugly and actually looking ugly are two different things."

I cannot wait until I can do hair and makeup and put on my nice clothes again. Fly time, fly!

Surgical Incision Dehiscence

Dehiscence is a surgical complication where the edges of a wound no longer meet. It is also known as “wound separation.”

The opening on my right arm increased in length overnight. I guess it is about 3 inches in length. In the plus column, it looks like my groin closed up! My surgeon told me that the opening should stabilize in a few days when I reach my 3-week post op mark. He said until then keep gauze on the area and when I asked about Xeroform he said I was welcome to try that. My order will be here in a few days.

Right arm opened more overnight

I am finally posting the pic

Real Beauty Sketches

This is a very touching and eye-opening video about women and body image. Break out the tissues and watch :-)

Hello 160s!

This morning on the scale my weight showed 169. I have not been in the 160s since I was probably 20 yrs old. Back then, 169 lbs would have been considered overweight and I was probably in a junior size 11 or 13 jeans. Now that clothing manufacturers have changed their sizing, no doubt due to America's ever-expanding waistline, I am a size 6 or 8 jeans. And I do not think many people would consider me overweight today.

I have lost 30lbs since having my tummy tuck 6-mos ago.

Arm wounds are healing

My white blood count is normal so there are no signs of infection with my arms opening up. And my surgeon says he sees in the photos that they are beginning to heal. As for the redness along my arm and back incisions, he told me that tension often creates redness.

I am super happy that with this surgery and my last I have not had any major complications. The arms and groin opening during this surgery are not all that surprising to me; I knew there was a pretty good chance that it would happen. They probably look a lot worse in the photos than they feel. They burn and certainly I cannot lift them too high, but it is more of an annoyance than anything else. I also hate the stickiness of the skin to skin contact in the armpit if I do not use gauze. Oh and the smell is gross.

Dr. C said things appear to be moving in the right direction. I think my Xeroform pads arrive today so hopefully that speeds healing along nicely.

ASPS Study Shows Weight Loss after a Tummy Tuck

I lost 25-lbs following my tummy tuck surgery last April. My surgeon removed 6-lbs. and I lost an additional 19-lbs, which I believe is due to the restriction of the muscle plication. I simply felt full after eating a small amount of food. It was as if the restriction of my gastric bypass had been renewed by the abdominoplasty.

Now the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) has announced that a new pilot study published in the February issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery shows that patients who had a tummy tuck reported increased satiety, especially those patients who were overweight or obese. Satiety is the measure of how full you feel after eating a certain amount of food during a meal. Just like me, these patients felt full when eating less after their abdominoplasty.

In addition to feeling full faster after their tummy tuck, the study showed that patients who had more fat removed during their procedures continued to lose weight post-surgery. The removal of fatty tissue, which can contain hormones that drive your appetite up, resulted in less of an appetite. The more fat tissue removed during the procedure the more the patients reported feeling less of an appetite post-surgery. Researchers believe the removal of this tissue is responsible for the decrease in appetite and the increase in satiety.

Pre Op Stats continued

I left off the all important thigh stat above, pre -op on Sep 8 my thigh measured 23.5" around.

Right Arm Now Opened Even More, Looks Gross

Crap, just when I thought my healing was heading in the right direction my arm opens even more. I am concerned at this point and as luck would have it, of course, my surgeon's office is now closed.

Compare this pic to the one that I posted earlier today of the right arm. Yikes.

Lots of good news

I spoke with Dr. Capella this morning and he said I know it looks pretty bad but it isn't. So three are two things going on. First in the armpit is the wound opening. That is small. That line down my arm and the circular area is not a wound. It is dead skin sloughing off because they pulled me so tight. He said the layers underneath are fine and intact. I told him it is starting to bleed and he replied that is the next phase. He sees granulation there and I have begun the healing process. He said I am three weeks today and the area is stabilized and will not get any larger. He said the scar will be thicker but they can revise that for me at no cost in the office. Anyway he said to just keep the gauze on it to keep it dry in the arm pit. I do not like the gauze on the dead skin on the arm because it sticks but that is what I am using for now. I have some special gauze arriving today that has an ointment in it.

I have some odd values in my CBC and asked him if I was anemic. He said my hemoglobin is lower than what I came in to surgery with but that it is in normal range. The other values that are off he told me to ask my PCP, whom I will see tomorrow.

My core is very swollen and my waist is 4" larger than when I went into surgery. I look likea tree trunk. Dr. Capella told me that I am very swollen. He said I may have 10 lbs of swelling and told me to go weight myself. I told him I did and I weigh 10lbs less than when I came into surgery. I am 166 this morning. Yeah me!

"You're so small," he said. LOL!

I had to get a PET scan today. The technician explained the equipment to me because I am claustrophobic. He told me that the diameter is 3" bigger than the MRI machine and said, "You're so small, you will fit no problem." hahahaha I was amused and surprised to hear him say that about my body. I thought to myself, you should have seen me 6 mos ago.

I am wearing a pair of sweat pants size M that not so long ago were very tight on me. Today they are saggy and baggy. I love being "so small." LOL

Wound separation in arms, dead skin cells

Clean incisions and perfectly round areolas on the breasts

Film crew is here

Well, this has nothing to do with plastic surgery but I just had to share anyway! There is a film crew outside my house shooting a scene on my front porch for an upcoming indie film. Here is the view from my veranda of the team at work.

Right arm is looking better

Doctor says it is nearly all granulation tissue now. I am still having trouble with the openings in the axilla. I do not know if it needs more time but doctor is checking for hyper granulation. I am waiting to hear back from him tomorrow. My guess is that it just needs more time. There is so much movement in that area that it probably stresses it.

How would you deal with disappointment after body contouring plastic surgery?

A woman recently asked a good question for which I do not have an answer. She wanted to know how someone can cope with her surgery results if she's unsatisfied with them and can’t afford additional or revisionary surgery? Can anyone weigh-in on this?

I am not sure how I would deal with this if it happened to me. I was very specific with Dr. Capella about what I wanted to achieve and he said he could deliver it. So I am not even thinking in those "what if" terms that the woman mentioned to me. I believe I have chosen my surgeon very well.

i loved the results of my tummy tuck and subsequent weight loss. But it took me 3.5 months to see the final outcome. I am only 3.5 weeks now and there are areas of my body that I did not like almost immediately after surgery. They will change over time but I did discuss my concerns with my surgeon. Right away Dr. Capella told me he would revise me if I did not like the way I looked.

He was very calming in explaining how he went about my breast lift and areola reduction so that I understood how much care he took in doing the procedure. I know that he really likes the way that they came out, because he made comments about them several times after surgery to that effect. And I felt very bad having to tell him that I did not like them, but my point is that he was more than willing to revise them even though he though they looked great so that I would be happy with them. He does not charge for revisions but anything done in the OR will incur anesthesia and OR costs. As I have one more surgery coming up with dr. Capella those costs will mostly be absorbed. So, as I mentioned, I am not concerned abut having to deal with disappointment.

But what if your surgeon did not deliver the results you expected? How would you deal with disappointment if you could not afford revisionary or additional plastic surgery? If faced with that situation I do not know what I would do after having spent all my money to get the body I want.

1 Month Post Op Today!

I am so happy to be at the one-month mark today. Four weeks ago at this time, I was freshly out of surgery and in the recovery room alert, happy, and eating applesauce and turkey.

As I reflect back upon that day, my thoughts immediately are of my surgeon's bright and smiling face peeking in at me from the door of my patient room. He gave me the biggest hello of my life, and I thought how could he be so cheerful at 7am? His exuberance was endearing and I wondered if it was that he was THAT happy to be doing my surgery or if he was attempting to put me at ease.

As for me, I was in a half conscious state of mind and numb to the the people and events around me. This was, I think, a defense mechanism of the ego to protect myself from anxiety. I was concerned that I might have a panic attack in the OR. I had been on an emotional roller coaster up until the night before surgery. But that evening a calm overcame me and I slept like a baby.

Last night I looked through all the old photographs that Dr. Capella took of my body before he did my first stage plastic surgery in April. It struck me that already I have forgotten just how awful I looked before I began this journey. Today one of the stylists at my salon told me, "You are a gorgeous woman." It is almost impossible to understand just how transformative plastic surgery can be in such a short period of time. And I am still evolving.

Finally feel like me again

It took an entire month for me to fee like me again. I arrived in NJ a few a days before my surgery looking and feeling mighty fine. I even did a photo shoot at Point Pleasant Beach two days pre op.

But after surgery I looked and felt like crap. I could not do hair and makeup because I could not raise my arms owing to the lift. And I could not wear my nice clothes owing to all the incisions and swelling. And of course I could not exercise or go about my usual activities. It was hard emotionally. I felt like the person I was before my tummy tuck.

Yesterday I was at my salon and asked the owner to give me a new look. Cindy is so talented. She looked at the new shape of my face and body and gave me a killer cut. Today I went back for color. OMG, I love love love my new look.

What's more, today was the first day that I did a full makeup application and wore my nice clothes. I am looking good! And I am glad to say my size 8 jeans are now too big on me, especially in the he thighs and ass.

I went to the mall and tried on Hudson jeans and the size 27 (a size 6) fit nicely. I am not buying anything yet. I need to wait until about 4 mos post op to see my final results. After my tummy tuck I made the mistake of buying clothes too soon and now they are way too big.

It feels so good to look and feel like myself again. As Anna Nicole sad after her weight loss, "I'm back!"

Finally! I no longer feel big

I lost a lot of weight and a lot of inches after my tummy tuck http://www.realself.com/review/ramsey-nj-my-tummy-tuck-results-more-than-expected. I looked like crap before my TT. I had really let myself go. I would go without makeup, wear baggy clothes, and throw my hair up into a ponytail. And I had put on a few pounds.

It took 3.5 months for me to see the results of my tummy tuck. I went from my size 14 jeans being tight pre op to a perfect size 8 jean post op. What was really phenomenal is that up to 3 months post op I was a size 12. In two weeks I lost 2 inches off my waist and dropped to a size 8. I never even wore size 10 clothes, but just went directly to an 8. My total weight loss was 25lbs and I lost about 20 inches off my waist, lower abdo, and hips.

At my 4-mos post op, however, I asked my surgeon why I still felt so big. He told me that maybe I was still getting used to my body. I think that was partly the reason, because there were times that I would catch a glimpse of my reflection in a store window and have to do a double take. Was that beautiful body me?

But I also think that the remaining redundant flesh on my body made me look large especially in revealing clothes. My arms were rounded below the shoulders making me look wide. Certainly my thighs were big. My breasts were DD. My ass had nice projection from the side view.

Now after my second round of plastics, my arms are thin and the roundness gone, which makes me look more narrow. My thighs and ass are smaller and my size 8 jeans that once fit tightly are now especially baggy in the ass and thighs, particularly right under the buttocks. And my DD noobs are now B.

Initially I hated my breasts and ass. I was not at all happy that I lost projection with the lift of my buttocks. But now I really like that my profile view looks thin. I finally no longer feel big.

I plan to get implants next year and I seriously wonder if going big (D, DD) will make me look and feel large again. I do not want to feel fat.

Update on arm/axilla wounds and a first look at my breast lift

So the arm wound is getting better at 29 days post op, but the axilla look worse to me. I may not instant what I am seeing so I have asked my surgeon for clarification and I am waiting for his email reply.

Here is a first look at my breast lift. I went from a D/ DD to about a B. Initially I hated my lift but with time I see some improvement. They look great in the sports bra but are not as perky when I am nude. If I do not like them, Dr. Capella already has told me he would revise them. Next year he will do my augmentation. I wonder if I will go C, D, or DD?

My square old ladies ass, pre op

This past Summer, after my amazing tummy tuck, I wore a bikini at the beach. I had been about twenty years old that last time I did that. Truly, my tummy looked like it was that of a twenty year old woman. It was wonderful.

But I noticed there was a mismatch. When I turned around my back looked like the back of a forty-nine year old woman who was once morbidly obese. As did my thighs, my buttocks, my arms, and my breasts. And, to be brutally honest, so did my once pretty face.

I hardly can believe that I am posting this pic all over the Internet. Blech.

My new thighs!

Here are a few blurry (sorry) photos of my gorgeous thighs. My thighs were a mess after massive weight loss and Dr. Capella made them lovely and youthful. They surely don't look like surgery thighs or the thighs of a 49yo woman who was once morbidly obese.

And here is what I looked like before abdominoplasty

Wow, I had really let myself go. Now you can really appreciate what a remarkable transformation this has been for me!

To date, and mind you I am only 1-mos post upper and lower body lift (no TT), and inner thigh lift, and 7-mos post tummy tuck, I have lost 30lbs and more than 30in since this photo was taken in April 2013. I was probably a size 16 jeans at the time. I certainly know my 14s were tight on me. Now I am a size 6 jeans. I can even wear juniors. And I am still swollen!

And the way that Dr. Capella is sculpting my gobs of fat into a beautiful tight youthful body is remarkable. I knew that he would work wonders with my body. He is a very gifted surgeon and I am ever so happy to be in his care. Thank you, Dr. Capella!

This journey is much more than losing weight

Fran tweeted me, "glad to see people understand this journey is much more than losing weight. It's finding the person you were meant to be."

Before and after - granny panties to thong

My granny panties from 7-mos ago with my thong layered on top...

My Pre Op Thighs... oh my...

I'd might as well shown all of you my pre-op thighs... it takes courage ot post this photo but it the only way that you can appreciate the transformation.

Someone talk me out of my tree

That's what my colleague and I say when we are not in our usual happy state of mind. Often times in our stressful digital health marketing roles, we were pissed at lack of competency and accountability in team members, and harried by audacious timelines and budget restraints. But today I need someone to talk me out of my tree because I am feeling so very discouraged.

RS is a very positive and supportive community. I get messages both public and private complimenting me on how positive I am even through adversity. And my arm wounds are very minor, inconsequential even, when stood up against the adversities I have faced. Recognizing this, I will proceed to whine anyway.

I am so very frustrated with my arms. They are not healing. I have limited range of motion. I am confused by the conflicting information and directions I am getting from my surgeon. I feel that he does not have his attention to the details of this and neglected to send the nitrate sticks last week. To make the matter worse, he never returned my call today from 2:30pm.

So there is my whine. Now who will talk me out of my tree?

Climbed down from the tree with a little help from my friends

Thanks everyone who jumped in with supportive words both publicly and privately. I am feeling better now after reading everyone's comments and after speaking with Dr. Capella. In fact, I am going out to buy a pair of pants that actually fit so I can see my new slim body and really cheer myself up. I will post a pic if I come back with something awesome... By the time I get to the store it will be the 4 o'clock swell hour so wish me luck. Thanks again for being so positive... Cheers!

New clothes that fit my slimmer body

As promised, here is a pic of me in the sweater dress size S and leggings size XS that I bought at Loft over the weekend.

I was tempted to buy the size 4 jeans that looked so good, too, but who knows if they'll fit in a few months. I am only approaching 6 weeks post op and when I had my first surgery, a tummy tuck, my body changed drastically at 3.5 months postop and all of the new clothes I bought no longer fit. Such a waste of money! At least the leggings and sweater dress will fit no matter how my figure changes.

A size 4?!?!? I cannot believe it.

Correction: Sweater dress size XS and leggings size S (I transposed the sizes)

Correction to post above: Sweater dress size XS and leggings size S (I transposed the sizes). I wish I could edit the posting.

The choice is yours...

You've only got 3 choices in life: Give up, give in, or give it all you’ve got!

ISO a Gym Where I Can Get My Mojo On!

I looked at two gyms today. The first had lots of quality equipment but all were crowded into a small space, lots of TVs and no music, a sauna, personal trainers that cost extra to setup a fitness routine for the member, and a half decent roster of classes albeit most offered in the mornings. I looked in on one of the classes to see a bunch of very uninspired women lightly twisting dumbells with their wrists?!?! Maybe it was a senior class because I am used to TurboFire HIT workouts that kick my ass. Just about everyone there was very out of shape and sloppily dressed in oversize t-shirts. I was not inspired. Plus it was 30-min away, although the price wasn't bad.

The next gym had lots of equipment but it seemed like a lower end version, the atmosphere was more energetic and played music in addition to having TVs, had a couple of cool 15 and 30 min circuits, NO classes, free fitness assessment and setup of a training circuit by a CPT, the members were kind of ghetto and the men were already eyeing me up, the women were more inspired than at the other gym. I hated the way the gym pushed "no judgement zone" and told me that I would be discouraged from wearing only my sports bra and capris to workout in. I also was warned that the male members might be lecherous. I guess I would have been more welcomed there 7-mos ago when I was fat. It was about 15-min from my home and the price was very cheap.

So deciding that neither gym offers all that I am looking for, I am going to checkout a third gym tomorrow. I actually nabbed a 2-week free trial pass to that one and will workout during my visit tomorrow. The place looks good online. It is by far the largest of the three gyms, and offers a ton of classes both in terms of variety and time of day offered. It has whirlpool, steam room, and sauna, indoor track and running lanes, special training events, and lots of equipment. Needless to say it is by far the most expensive of the three gyms. Mama always said you get what you pay for...

I hope there are bodybuilders among the members. I need someone in better shape than me to be inspired by. And I want to wear my nice workout clothes and not be the center of attention... let the male members fix their gazes on the gals who are younger and firmer than me!

Oh, and I hope there is music. I need that for inspiration, too!

Redefine your boundaries...

If you want something you've never had, then you've got to do something you've never done!

Found my home gym... I think

Yesterday I did a cycling class at the National Institute for Fitness and Sport. It felt so good to be back in the saddle again pushing myself instead of being a couch blob. I think this will be my home gym. It has just about everything I am looking for - 65000sq.ft., bright and airy, tons of equipment, indoor track, a variety of classes offered throughout the day (looking forward to Zumba and yoga), special training events like boot camps and mini marathons, whirlpool, steam room, sauna, nice clientele across a variety of ages and fitness levels, good hours, free parking, located downtown and close to home. I think the fee is about $50/month, not bad. I believe there also is the opportunity to use the indoor pool at the Natatorium.

I checked out two of the area's crossfit gyms online. This is likely the mind set I am looking for -- people who are really into Paleo/Primal eating clean, heavy nutrition, and bodybuilding. But they are expensive as well as very limited in what they offer. Maybe good for a future home gym but not what will suit me right now, especially since I am not ready to do a lot of weight lifting owing to my healing/recovery from sx.

Dinner tonight

A glass of Shiraz and a St. Andre triple creme Brie from France. Yum. I am treating myself. Picked up a tight new workout outfit from Fila, too. So it looks like a HIIT workout is on my agenda for tonight.... After American Horror Story.

Arms are doing better

I used silver nitrate sticks on the axilla tonight. The right arm wound has already begun to heal over so I could not use the sticks there. I recently pumped up my protein really high and that seemed to aid recovery. A naturopath had told me to do 150-200g protein a day. Also two sutures worked their way out of the wound so the foreign object may have had to do something with the delayed healing. In any event I am glad that I am showing major improvement.

Moment of truth... my D/DD boobs

I just snapped a few selfies of me wearing my DD bra under my shirt I. So... whatdaya think girls... should I go large with my implants? Do they make me look like a large person? For reference the shirt is size S and the leggings are XS.

BodyCombat

I loved the BodyCombat 57 class at the gym today... 1700 crunches done during the 60-min workout. Wow! Before class, I did an hour of ab work. Maybe I won't need a rib removed in order to get a small waist, hahaha!

Here's a sample vid of BodyCombat 57. I highly recommend!

The Great Boob Debate

A few (really bad) selfies of me as a C-cup vs. a DD cup in athletic wear. So who votes for C and who votes for DD?

My transformation progress in photos

I thought that I had posted this already. I guess not :-)

The left pic was me in April, just before my tummy tuck. I was a size 14/16. And if you check out my photos on the tummy tuck forum you will see my nude body, which was ugly and with a very deformed pubic area that had shamed me all of my life. I have tears running down my face right now just thinking back.

The center pic is me about 4-months after my tummy tuck. I lost 21 inches and 21 pounds. The right pic is me about 6-weeks after my second-phase surgery (upper and lower body lift and inner thigh lift). The dress from Loft is size XS and the leggings are size S. My pubic mound is so beautiful now. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to no longer be deformed in a part of my body that I so much associated with my sexuality.

And now for the photo

Doh!

Thanksgiving: 30 pounds and 35 inches lost!

I had my second-phase body contouring exactly 7-weeks ago today. When I began my "Fat to Fab" body contouring journey on April 18, 2013, I looked and felt like crap. As of today, Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2013, I have lost 30 pounds and 35 inches and I feel wonderful.

Thank you, Dr. Capella, for helping me to change my body, my health, my life.

Black Friday Find: LOFT size 4 jeans, first time ever!

Black Friday 2013 - my first time ever to wear size 4 jeans. Booyah!

Arms are healing nicely

At 7.5 weeks post op, 5 weeks after my right arm wound and both axilla dehiscence, I have healed nearly everything in the right arm. The wound has closed and is amazingly thin! The axilla in the right arm is healing faster than the left because I used two silver nitrate sticks in the left arm versus one in the right before my surgeon told me to discontinue use. My range of motion has improved, as well, just as my doctor said it would. This is definitely a waiting game and my progress was a little slowed because I went back to being active early on with my doctor's permission. It was more important to me to return to life as usual rather than to baby my arms. I am very happy to be over the hump of healing. It will not be long now!

2-mos post op consult with my surgeon

I had my follow-up consult yesterday via phone with Dr. Capella. Everything is going very well. The composite pic above shows my transformation from pre op in April, 3-mos post tummy tuck, 6-mos post tummy tuck, and 2-mos post the four procedures that I had in my body lift surgery -- which is how I look today (December).

Discovering my body

I've had discussions with a few gals who've had recent body contouring after massive weight loss. It struck all of us that we are discovering the bones in our bodies that have long been hidden under flab.

In fact in one discussion we were debating what the bone was protruding from the sides of our bodies. The ladies were torn between was it the rib cage or the hip bone? It turned out to be the hip bone. Hilarious.

Another conversation centered around our protruding pelvic bones... I just love mine!

As for my hips and rib cage, they are close together. I can get about two finger widths between them. I am wondering how other women are built. Does anyone care to comment?

Another thing that I learned is that the female external sex organ is called the vulva, not the vagina...

I guess I have not paid much attention to my body for a long time. So glad that I got this done. And I just have to say again, I freaking love my thighs!

GAP size XS, unbelievable

This was my first trip to GAP since my surgery. I took one look at the size XS shirts that were so narrow and thought to myself they'd never fit. So I grabbed size S and M and headed to the dressing rooms. Lo and behold the S were loose. I went back and grabbed the XS and it fit comfortably. Yeah me! I still cannot get my head around the small sizes I am wearing.

At LOFT today I was checking out a mannequin that looked quite thin. So I grabbed ahold of the jeans it was wearing and saw they were size 4, the very size that I wear at LOFT. I cannot possibly look as thin as that mannequin, can I.

I posted a selfie on Facebook of me in one of my FILA workout outfits size XS leggings and S shirt. An old friend from high school commented, "How the heck are you in a size XS? That is what size we wore in high school!" True, I was thin in high school, thinner than I am now, but even then I was not an XS.

This is still unbelievable to me. It really is. I am so glad that I chose Dr. Capella and I cannot wait for him to complete my body contouring. Not many surgeons could have delivered these results, and when you look at the total package - surgical experience, quality of care, price - then Dr. Capella stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Is this swelling or am I getting curvy?

Well, it appears that I am losing some of my leanness and getting curvy at 2-mos post op. My breasts and ass have gotten larger.

My ass is 2 inches bigger than it was post op -- I know because I measure myself fairly often. I also can tell by looking at my profile shot here that my ass has much more projection than it did in the earlier pix that I shot.

After surgery I was not happy to have lost projection in my ass. But then I really came to love my leanness. Now I am back to having projection again and I miss my lean little ass. Holy hell, will I ever be happy?!?! LOL

It all began when I started working out recently. So I do not know if this is swelling, which my doctor said it could be, or if it is the loosening up that he told me would happen. I guess in another month or two I will see my final shape. It is kind of cool to see my body changing in unexpected ways. Whether I end up lean or curvy I will be happy either way.

Beware the hidden costs of plastic surgery!!!!!!!!!!

When budgeting for your plastic surgery, be aware that there are hidden costs that the doctor never tells you about! My doctor made me so small after body contouring that I had to give my entire wardrobe to charity because everything is HUGE on me. Now I have to buy an entire wardrobe. I never budgeted for that! hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How a surgeon manages a patient after surgery...

They say a picture is worth a thousand words but what the pictures don’t show is my relationship with Dr. Capella. I had a few minor complications with my arms after this surgery and Dr. Capella was all over me -- just like he was all over me after my tummy tuck. The TT was my first surgery and I was scared. There was never anything wrong with me but Dr. Capella carried me through it until I was satisfied that I was OK (it was just normal swelling and nothing more).

As for this surgery, Dr. Capella saw me every morning in the Care Center and even on weekends. He made sure that both he and I were completely sure that I could take care of myself on my own at the hotel before I left the care center. As for aftercare, he insisted on knowing the hotel I was staying at alone in NJ. He wanted a way to get in touch with me super-fast and said he or his office would call me if they had not heard from me for a few days.

My first night in the hotel he asked that I call him at any hour of the night if I were to have a complication. He had me specifically promise to call him if I had shortness of breath and he would have me admitted to a nearby hospital. Well, I did awake from a dream with labored breathing at 4am and called him. I told him I did not know if it was anxiety induced or something serious. He told me to have the front desk send the paramedic and they would be able to tell. Later that day after surgery, Dr. Capella called me to make sure I was OK. I was fine. It was just anxiety.

Other times before I left NJ I had fevers, groin pain, depression, and my axilla opened. He saw me immediately each time and treated me. He called in prescriptions and had them delivered to my hotel. At one point his PA Scott possibly saved my life because I was taking diuretics w/o doctor's orders and depleting my body of water and potassium. I was pretty ill and he picked up on it.

Once I developed the minor arm wound back home, Dr. Capella sent me for a CBC to make sure I did not have an infection. He monitored my healing via photos and emails and phone calls. He phoned me during his lunch time on a number of occasions, as well as answered my emails and calls across the weekend. And my arm wound healed pretty much right on schedule, just as he said it would.

How a surgeon manages a patient after surgery is a true testament to his/her character and dedication. Body contouring surgery is not a singular transaction, wherein once the surgery is completed the interaction can be considered to be done. Your surgeon will need to be responsive to your needs and concerns during the months of recovery that will follow.

I have said it many times, and it bears repeating: You are not buying a procedure. You are buying a plastic surgeon.

Merry Christmas and 35 pounds down!

I am at an all time low weight in my adult years, down 35 pounds since my starting weight before plastic surgery. Yahoo! I am going to shop for a new outfit today. I'll let you know if I get anything good!

Merry Christmas everyone

LOFT shopping spree... wee!!!!!!!!!

I did get a great outfit at LOFT on the 24th... but I could not stop myself and so I got some things on the 25th (online) and the 26th. LOFT is one of my faves (along with Banana Republic, Gap, Jockey, VS, and Lucky Brand jeans) and they were having a great sale! So since I have absolutely a complete wardrobe to replace thanks to Dr. Capella, I splurged on a few things. It was fun!!!

I got a beautiful black pencil skirt and black sweater and a white blazer - love the outfit and the beautiful silhouette it creates paired with black tights and knee-high boots. I also bought a pretty grey jacket and grey sweater to mix and match with the skirt etc.

I got two more pair of the sexy boot jeans, one in black and one in dark grey, and another great sweater dress -- this one in black. The dress will look great with either of the jackets. And what I need most of all are tops, so I grabbed a few more sweaters.

I have found that I have to try on everything before I buy. Even in LOFT, my size varies widely. The grey jacket is a 6 and the white jacket is a 10! The jeans are 4s and the skirt is an 8. All of the sweaters are XS as is the sweater dress. But blouses simply do not fit -- a medium is completely busting open in the breast and gigantic in the waist!

Having invested all of this money into my body, I am simply not going to buy clothes that look nothing short of great on me.

Go get those bargains while they last ladies! I grabbed everything for about $360!!!

I am a Matisse piece mold

I recently viewed the Matisse exhibit. Matisse was enthralled by the female form as well as with showing others his process for sculpting the female form. In his bronze statues of beautiful nude female bodies I could see "lines." These lines are left from the piece mold when the castings are made. Most artists remove the lines but Matisse left the, so others could see how the sculpture was created.

These sculptures of the perfect female form created by Matisse with the piece mold lines left in full view reminded me of my own body, perfectly sculpted with my incision lines showing how I was created.

Never underestimate your power to transform yourself

I got tired up waking up each day and looking in the mirror and not liking what I saw. I finally grew tired of procrastinating and excuses. Today the reason I can wear a bikini at 49 yo is Dr. Joseph F. Capella + $26k + hard work.

What are you waiting for? It's your ass. Move it!

From size 24W to size 14 to size 4

I am super excited about my transformation this year. I never, ever expected such amazing results but Dr. Capella tells me I am a typical patient. I guess it is very different to see before and after photos of women in his gallery versus actually having experienced your own transformation. Sometimes I still cannot believe this is me! Dr. Capella is a brilliant surgeon.

Happy New Year, Happy New Me

I ended the old year with a trip to Louisville, and began the new year with yet another shopping spree. Louisville was a bit of a culture shock. We began at an antiques show and the welcome sign on the door reminded us that NO LOADED FIREARMS PERMITTED. Upon leaving the show we met up with a billboard for a tractor pull or something along those lines. My husband told me, "We're in the country." I corrected him, "We are in the city." He replied, "Don't let the skyscrapers fool you. We are in the country." LOL Well, life is about experiences and I was entertained by the experience of Louisville. The most unusual was a trip through Mega Cave to see Christmas lights (a clever idea). Unlike NJ, where I am from, elaborate Nativity scenes are openly displayed against an audio track of hymns.

As for the shopping spree, I scooped up fabulous sales at LOFT, Gap, Banana Republic, and Lucky Brand. The best deals were at LOFT but I nabbed a pair of $130 jeans at Lucky Brand for $30! It is so much fun to buy all these small sizes AND save a ton of cash. If you haven't read my story, I need to replace my entire wardrobe because everything I owned went to charity. That is because the total body lift that I had this year took me from a size 14/16 to a 4/6.

So the takeaway of my story is about living life to the fullest. Whatever you desire, pursue it with all of your heart. For me, that began with giving up my fears around plastic surgery - the operations in and of themselves - as well as the cost of surgery. I am delighted that I finally did this. If you aren't familiar with my story, I have been waiting since 2006 to have this surgery with Dr. Capella.

Now that I have conquered those fears, there are other areas of my life where I have let fear hold me back. And this year I resolve not to let fear keep me from doing what I desire to do. I hope you will do the same for yourself and your life.

Happy new you, too!

Slender with big boobs. LIKE!

When I was in junior high, my Gap jeans used to have a label sewn into the waist band that had the size printed on them. I always cut that off or blacked out the waist size with a Sharpie!

Nowadays jeans don't advertise your size to the world, but I almost wish they did. I still cannot believe I am wearing size 4 jeans. This pair in the pic is from Lucky Brand. BONUS they were marked down to $30 from $130! Woo hoo, double win!!

Also, continuing the topic of the Great Boob Debate, in this pic I am wearing 38 DD bra from Victoria Secret and XS tee from LOFT. I am really liking the way that I look with my DD girls back. If you recall, I went down to about a B after my breast lift. But as the tissues loosened up, they went to C, then D, and now maybe a DD.

The only thing is, my boobs no longer fill out the top of my bra like they did pre op. So I think I will go for a small implant to give me upper pole fullness, as well as to round out my breasts. I want them to look beautiful in the nude.

Almost there... Just one more round to go.

Results at 3-mos post op

Needless to say I am very happy.

Here are my stats at 3-mos post-operative
Bust w/o bra, standing: 41.5
Bust w/o bra and bent over: 44
Chest beneath breast: 36
Waist: 32
Lower abdo: 35
Hips: 38.5
Thighs: 21.75
Knee top: 16.5
Arms upper: 12
Arms above elbow: 11
Weight 162
Size 4 jeans, size XS and S shirts

The difference between my stage 1 and stage 2 body contouring:
I lost an additional
15 pounds (5lbs and 1 liter of fat were removed during surgery) and
21.5 inches

My ultimate results to date from body contouring (stages 1 and 2):
Weight lost: 36 pounds (11lbs and 1 liter of fat removed during surgeries)
Inches lost: 42.5 inches
Sizes lost: down 5 sizes, from size 14 to size 4

36 C after breast lift (from 38 DD)

I finally went to Victoria's Secret to be measured. The dressing rooms were full and so the "bra specialist" asked me if I wanted to be measured in the hall!?!? Hmmm, NO.

I went into the dressing room with her and I removed my top and bra (behind a closed door, thank you). So ta dah, my ta tas are 36 C. I have been wondering for some time now just what size I am.

And now I think back to my comment, which was, if Dr. Capella could get me to a 36 C with the breast lift then I would not get implants. But alas I want upper pole fullness and a rounded breast shape, so I will need a small implant. I truly do not want to go large with my breasts and I am thinking that when he raises my nipple/areola that it will make my breast smaller. So I am hoping that a small implant will not take me past a C.

I tried on one of their sample bras that makes the breasts two sizes bigger and I did not like the way it looked at all.

You asked for it...

For those of you that wanted to see my ass and thighs...

Correction: 36 D after breast lift - no implant - from a 38 DD

Well, I must say I cannot believe my breasts are a 36 D. The bra specialist at Victoria Secret must have measured me wrong when she said I was a 36 C. I went back to the store today to buy a bra. I grabbed a few 36 C and 36 D bras and headed to,the dressing room. Well none of the C cups fit. The D fit perfectly. Now only if I had the cleavage and upper pole fullness without the bra that I have with it! Dr. Capella will make that happen for me in June. Oh, and the bra and matching thong are quite stunning.

Motivation

I love my workouts. Still, it is too bad that a body like her's is not achievable through plastic surgery, LOL!

?What does it feel like to go from physically unattractive to physically attractive?

I read this on Quora - thanks to Kuteguy for sending it to me - now I want to share it and open it up for discussion: "We've all heard the story of the ugly duckling who turns into a swan but does this actually happen in real life? Has anyone gone from ugly to pretty or I'll even take average to beautiful? What kind of reactions did you get from strangers before and after? How did it change you? Do you now take advantage of your looks?"

I just read another article that discussed why companies should pay beautiful CEOs more money. It is because when a beautiful CEO appears in the media, stock prices go up. The article goes on to discuss the advantages that beautiful people have in business, typically getting paid more and being viewed as more trustworthy.

I concur. I have written several times, on various social media, how plastic surgeons are in the business of selling beauty and thus I would never go to a plastic surgeon who was not very good looking. Both of my plastic surgeons (Dr. Capella who did my body work and Dr. Catherine Winslow who did my face work) are not only highly skilled surgeons in their respective fields, but also they are physically beautiful people. I am fully aware that their looks have no bearing whatsoever on the results they will give me -- but that being said, it makes me somehow feel that they will. My mind logically (or illogically) tells me that an ugly surgeon would not have the same appreciation for beauty and thusly not deliver the best results to me.

As for me, I have been ugly and I have been beautiful and everything in-between throughout different time periods in my life. Ok, maybe ugly is too harsh a term, but I was unattractive at times. Although my personality, talent, and skills have remained constant despite my changing physical appearance, I have experienced the bias of beauty when it comes to being hired for roles in my career. When I am beautiful the better roles come more easily. I am sure that I am more confident presenting myself when I look beautiful, and that certainly translates well for my interviewer, but my looks are no doubt a factor.

Conversely, when I was morbidly obese, I could not get hired in my profession and had to do consulting work for many years. As soon as I lost the weight, I got a very high paying position with a medical advertising agency.

Advertising... Another profession where beauty is of premium importance. You are selling brand image for your high paying clients. And just like me with my bias towards beautiful plastic surgeons, people have a bias towards beautiful ad agency movers and shakers.

I have been in healthcare marketing my entire career. The industry is filled with good looking people. After all, good looking people are considered more healthy, more trustworthy, more everything that is good. So when it comes to health and marketing health, beauty is an important asset. Have you ever seen an ugly pharmaceutical sales rep waiting in your physician's practice? No. Never.

As for my personal life, I really have not experienced a difference in the way that my family, friends, neighbors, or even strangers treat me based on my beauty or lack thereof. My guess is that family, friends, and neighbors see the real me, the person that I am inside, regardless of my exterior. An for strangers, they probably just don't care either way.

Would anyone care to share their thoughts on the topic?

Love my body, dislike my new waist

I am 3-mos and 1-week post op from my body lift. And if you have been following my journey then you know I have complained about my thick waist. I love the way my waist was in my avatar, which was after my tummy tuck. As of now, my waist is 1 inch larger than it was then and it seems to make a huge difference in how I look.

I am really loving this body of mine. Dr. Capella is a brilliant surgeon in a class all by himself. But I feel that my thick waist makes me look top heavy and boxy. When I spoke on the phone with Dr. Capella last month, he said that I have flesh in the horizontal vector that would almost need a thigh lift approach (to correct my core medially). That would require incisions along both sides of my torso, as he does not do the anchor cut. However, he does not want to incise my sides because he does not find the trade off of scars is worth the result I will achieve.

I am really hoping that when he examines me in person that he finds another approach that he can take to correct this. The flesh is on my sides and back and I do not like that my front is tight as a drum and my back is loose. The reason that I got the LBL conversion from the TT was so that the back would match the front. I am truly hoping that he can excise the fat on my back through the incision above my buttocks.

When I wear a binder to bed at night then next morning my waist is smaller. And if I wear it a few nights in a row it is considerably smaller. However not wearing it, my waist gets bigger again.

I have been working out but my core is not responding as of yet. But why would I be able to exercise this off when none of the other excess flesh could be exercises away?

Don't let labels hold you back

Love this vid from Pantene (not a products endorsement from me, though, as I don't like Pantene. I am a fan of Davines and Aveda). We as the formerly overweight and obese probably have worn a number of labels throughout our lives (#fat, #heifer). Then even after weight loss surgery, we were labeled still (#easywayout). To hell with labels, ladies. We've come a long way. Don't let labels -- or anything else for that matter - hold you back from living a life you love. Look at who you were years ago before your transformation, and look at who you are today. You are unstoppable! Own it!

Gratitude

A few of my RealSelf friends have been sharing about all that their spouses did for them through their plastic surgery recoveries. So I wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge my husband. Even though he did not think that I needed to have body contouring, he full supported me and was there for me every step of the way, especially after my stage 2 body contouring and my face lift, which took place within two months of each other.

I had some complications after my stage 2 surgery that rendered me useless for a good month. All that time my husband lovingly nursed me to health and took over all of my household responsibilities on top of his own. His love and compassion touched me in a way that I had not anticipated. It meant the world to me.

Then he did it all again when I had my face lift. He is my hero. Sorry ladies, but he is taken.

Answering people who ask, "Why do you look different?"

I posted a pic on facebook and my aunt commented that I looked somehow different and wanted to know what I did. Well, the truth is that I transformed my self from head to knees in 2013. But I wasn't going to post THAT on Facebook. So I had gotten a new look as a "cover." Well, my stylist actually gave me a new look because my body had changed so much. But while I sat in her chair, she told me that many people create a diversion to fool the eye after weight loss surgery or plastic surgery. So when people say "you look different" you then have a cover story.

So I posted to my aunt on facebook that I got new hair color, new cut, new makeup, and I lost 35 pounds and 42 inches. I sometimes post about working out. So I guess they think I lost through diet and exercise, which is sort of true, but it happened because of the plastic surgery mostly.

So as a best practice if you want to avoid having to be in the awkward position of answering prying neighbors and nosy coworkers, then create a diversion with a vastly new look (hair and makeup).

Do You Know Your Real Self?

Just for fun, but this is extremely accurate (now that I've had plastic surgery, LOL)!

PISCES – The Partner for Life (February 19 to March 20)
Caring and kind. Smart. Likes to be the center of attention. Very organized. High appeal to opposite sex. Likes to have the last word. Good to find, but hard to keep. Passionate, wonderful lovers. Fun to be around. Too trusting at times and gets hurt easily. VERY caring. They always try to do the right thing and sometimes get the short end of the stick. They sometimes get used by others and get hurt because of their trusting. Extremely weird but in a good way. Good sense of humor!! Thoughtful. Loves to joke. Very popular. Silly, fun and sweet. Good friend to others but needs to be choosy on who they allow their friends to be.

Size 2 woo hoo

What a simply aggravating day! I am glad it is over. The one good thing that I cansa y about this day is that I am wearing size 2 boyfriend jeans from LOFT. Sure, boyfriend jeans always run one size bigger, but none-the-less I like seeing that label on my waist. Hee haw!

For those of you interested, I am posting photos of my thigh lift incisions on my thigh lift review.

Back in NJ, everything looks the same except me :-)

I snapped this pic of myself in a public bathroom on my road trip to NJ yesterday. I had lots of time on my hands and bored with my iPad, I decided to play with my phone.

I still can't believe this is what I look like. It seems too good to be true, like this is something that happens to some lucky person, but not to me. And I wonder when I will awaken from this wonderful dream, back in my fat saggy body. I recall when I was 4-mos post my first plastic surgery, a tummy tuck, I asked Dr. Capella why I still felt big. He told me that maybe my mind hadn't caught up with my body yet. The changes happen so quickly and are so dramatic. I think to an extent my mind is still catching up to my body. This is an amazing journey and you just cannot understand the magic of it all until you experience it for yourself.

Everywhere I went out and about today in NJ, men were eyeing me. This doesn't happen in the Midwest city that I moved to after my tummy tuck. Men are more gentile there. One man today even mouthed the word "wow" as he looked at me. I don't think he meant for me to see that, and he smiled and said "hi." It was very flattering. Thanks mister!

BTW, it feels good to be home.

I've Lost 46 inches and 37 pounds and 5 sizes!

I am preparing for my 4-mos post op with Dr. Capella this coming week. We are doing a phone consult so I put together my stats and some photos for our discussion. I am so happy with my results to date and glad to say there was a pot of gold waiting for me at the end of this difficult journey!

Mu ultimate results to date from body contouring (stages 1 and 2):
I lost 46 inches and 37 pounds (11lbs and 1 liter of fat removed during surgeries), and 5 sizes, from size 14 to size 4

Here's how that plays out:
4” lost from bust
2.5” lost from chest
8.5” lost from waist
10.5” lost from lower abdo
6” lost from hips (and FUPA)
4” total lost from thighs
2” total lost from knee top
6” total lost from upper arms
2.25” total lost from arms just above the elbow

I am gobsmacked and so stinking happy!!!

As of Today I Have Lost 125 Pounds

I stepped on the scale this morning and weighed-in at 160 pounds. That means that I have lost 125 pounds since my weight-loss surgery in 2003. One-hundred and twenty-five pounds is as much as the dog in the photo. I have lost a mound of fat as large as that dog. In fact, I weighed 120 pounds when I was 16 years old. So I have lost more than that girl I was once.

I checked my BMI. It is 25.1, still in the over-weight category by .2 (BMI of 24.9 is normal for my height). That just goes to show how ridiculous the BMI chart is. I am thin. I would not want to get too thin. The BMI chart is a load of BS, invented by an insurance company.

I have a new dress from Banana Republic. It is pictured in the photo above. I am thrilled to say that the dress, which is size XS, looks so much better on me than the model. It hugs my curves, unlike the way it hangs on the model's all-too-thin body. How cool is that, to be able to say that I look better than the model. Yeah me!

My 4-mos post op with Dr. Capella

I had my 4-mos post op consult with Dr. Capella this past Wednesday via phone. It was very nice. We reviewed my results of my last surgery and my transformation since April 2013. If Dr. Capella had told me back in April that he could get me to a size 4 (from the tight 14 that I was) I never would have believed him. And yet here I am today, a size 4, after my stage 2 body contouring.

I still cannot believe it sometimes... as though I might wake up from this wonderful dream one day, in my bed in my former puddle of flesh and fat. I have lost 46 inches and 38 pounds.

We planned out my final surgery, and will finalize that when he sees me in person. I am so excited for my sage 3 surgery and the completion of my transformation. I am growing more excited each day in anticipation!

We ended the call with a laugh. I asked him if he remembered backs months ago what I told him that I wanted him to say after my surgery was completed. I had told him that I wanted him to say, "G_d damn, that's my best work ever!" LOL. Dr. Capella told me that I look incredible, fantastic, and he said there weren't enough adjectives to describe it. That was awfully sweet.

Super excited, I booked my travel today!

Well, the wheels are in motion! I booked my flight to NJ today and my consult with Dr. Capella. We will do my fitting for the breast augmentation and consult to finalize my surgery plan. I also will have some in-office procedure with him while I am there.

While I am in NJ, a friend who is a photographer wants me to come to his studio in NYC for a photo shoot. THAT would be terrific fun! Also while I am in NJ I will get to see the ever lovely Jass28, whom I have not seen since she was 1 week post op and I was 2 weeks post op. I cannot wait to see her again!!!

Then I am off to California from NJ to spend a few months with my girls in beautiful Monterrey. I will turn 50 on March 18th and I am so lucky to be able to spend this birthday with them! They were here for my birthday last year and the beginning of my transformation. It is fitting that they will be with me near the completion of my transformation. After a few months in Cali, I fly back to NJ for my final surgery.

Wow, I cannot believe this whirlwind journey is nearing the end. I am going to miss it, somehow, and the friend that I have made in Dr. Capella.

She said, "That jacket looks so much better on you than the model."

I had the most fun on my shopping spree at Hot Mama today. The women in that store always make me feel wonderful. The store name is a bit misleading. If you haven't been there, it is a boutique-type store with trendy clothes for mothers (or mamas) who want classy trendy clothes (as opposed hoochie momma trendy clothes from a store like Bebe).

I came out of the dressing room wearing a short dress, leggings, and a "vegan leather" moto jacket. I wanted to see myself in the larger mirror and just then another woman was exiting her dressing room. She stopped me and exclaimed, "That jacket looks so much better on you than the model I saw online." I told her, "Thank you so much. That is so great to hear you say that because back in April I weighed 198 pounds!"

It got even better form there because the sales women wanted me to come out and model all the clothes for them that I was trying on. One sales woman said, "C'mon out Cheryl and show us that hot body!" So cute! I told her all about my diet, exercise, and plastic surgery with Dr. Capella and Dr. Winslow. She knew of Dr. Winslow as she is local. As for Dr. Capella, she exclaimed, "WHERE IS HE?!?!"

Here is a selfie of me in the size S dress from Hot Mama and size XS leggings from LOFT that I was wearing when I tried on the moto jacket at Hot Mama. I am wearing a denim jacket in the pic (not the moto jacket), which was taken at Victoria Secret, where I also picked up a terrific bra size 36DD. I love the writing on the mirror.

Woo hoo in size 2 jeans and ready for my final transformation

I am thrilled to be down into the 150s as of this morning. I honestly never thought that would happen! The last time I was this weight I was 20 yrs old. But my body looks even better today at 49 yrs old because everything is so tight.

at about 4.5-mos post op I had so e swelling that reduced and I am in size 2 Lucky Brand jeans now - so excited!!! And my breasts have gotten bigger. I am now in Victoria Secret 36DD. Wow, did I ever hit the jackpot with my surgeries. I am so blessed. It just keeps getting better and better.

In about a week I fly to NJ for a consult with dr. Capella for my last surgery, sizing for my implants, and some in-office procedures. I am a little apprehensive about my last surgery. I have been so extremely fortunate in terms of results and complications so far. Am I pressing my luck by going under another surgery to perfect everything? On the other hand, I want to see this through, and come out with the very best outcome possible.

My Photo Shoot

I have a colleague and friend who is a photographer. He wanted to shoot me after my transformation. So I met him at a studio in NYC. It was fabulous!

I had so much fun at the shoot and he got some awesome shots. I felt like a model walking through NYC with my gym bag of clothes slung over my shoulder and my little Boston Terrier (a retired show dog) on a leash in my other hand. When I was a teenager I had wanted to model. Now I feel as though I finally fulfilled that wish.

More from My Photo Shoot

I did the photo shoot (mentioned above) exactly one-week before my 50th birthday. Thanks to Dr. Capella and Dr. Winslow and my hard work, I do not look or feel 50 yrs old. I think the next decade is going to be very good.

Scheduled my final surgery for May 29th

Well, it looks as though my journey is coming to an end. It has been amazing, good, and bad. While part of me is glad to complete my final phase of my transformation, there is a part of me that is melancholy to see it end. I told this to Dr. Capella and he laughed smugly and said, "You'll be back." I won't, though. I don't like long good byes.

We planned out my surgery for May 29th. It will take four hours for breast implants and tweaks to the incredible work Dr. Capella has done already to my formerly fat body. Perhaps the biggest surprise to everyone is we are redoing my body lift, including the muscle plication. Dr. Capella said that since I lost so much weight since my tummytuck tuck that he can probably replicate me and make me smaller. He is amazing to do this - I cannot imagine any other surgeon would. Dr. Capella is a very special person and I surely will miss him.

I am excited and anxious at the same time.

Color pix from my 50th birthday photo shoot

Here are a few of the color pix from the photo shoot I did in NYC for my 50th birthday. The past year has been incredible. I think the coming year will be even more fabulous.

Dr. Joseph F. Capella and Dr. Catherine Winslow took me from fat to fab at 50yrs old.

Dr. Joseph F. Capella and Dr. Catherine Winslow took me from fat to fab at 50yrs old. You too, can live your best life after weight loss surgery! We each deserve to live a life we love.

Moving my stage 3 surgery date out

I have decided to move my stage 3 surgery date out to the Fall rather than do it in Spring. Oh, I so badly wanted to complete my transformation in May. But it seems the best approach is to let my tissues continue to settle and heal for the next six months. I am planning to have my surgery in September now, the exact date to be decided.

Well, in the plus column, my Summer will not be ruined with another recovery. As well, I was facing 4-5 months without sex if I had surgery on May 29 as planned. That is because I am traveling without my husband for nearly 3-months (so no sex), and then there are the 6-8 weeks of post op recovery during which there is no sex. I am ready to explode as it is and it has only been 1-month. I don't know how I could go 4-5 months.

I am going to do another sizing for my implants. I am very torn on size. Yes, The Great Boob Debate continues. I am defiantly sold on saline moderate profile. What I need to decide is 400cc, 450cc, or 500cc. Obviously I decided to go large. It is now a question of how large.

Inspiration and motivation, words of wisdom

Today is my first day of Whole30, a program of eating which is slightly more restrictive than the way that I normally eat in that I cannot have dairy. I want to see if giving up my beloved cream and cheese makes a difference in my visceral fat, which I want to loose and whittle my waist.

Whatever it is that you a re trying to accomplish for yourself through plastic surgery, I think the following words that I found from Whole9 Life LLC will inspire and motivate you to succeed. They meant something to me and I shall refer back to them the next time I do not want to run, or I want to eat something that is not good for me or my health goals.

"It is not hard. Don't you dare tell us that this is hard. Bearing cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black IS NOT HARD (I think they wrote that example just for me!). You've done harder things than this and you have no excuse not to complete your program as written (or whatever it is you are trying to do). It's only 30 days, and it's for the most important health cause on Earth -- the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime."

It is always a choice. Right now, this very minute, make that choice you have been vacillating on. Live a life you love because time is running out while you sit there ruminating on yr choices and not moving forward.
New Jersey Plastic Surgeon

You may read my previous review of Dr. Capella here for my tummy tuck surgery: http://www.realself.com/review/ramsey-nj-my-tummy-tuck-results-more-than-expected As for this surgery - a body lift of my entire upper and lower body and an inner thigh lift - he has been extremely supportive and compassionate beyond what I think any other surgeon would have done. The man is simply remarkable. I have gone through many stresses leading up to the day of my surgery and Dr. Capella was always there when I needed him, whether it was to resolve a problem or spend countless hours consulting me. He has gone above and beyond what any other surgeon would have done. I felt safe under his care both during surgery and in the recovery period that followed when I had some minor complications. There are certain special people who come into our lives that leave their imprint upon us forever. I will never forget how much care he provided to make sure that I went into surgery comfortable emotionally and with all of my questions answered. And I will always have the wonderful body that he to sculpted for me. Dr. Capella is the top plastic surgeon for post-bariatric and massive weight loss patients. He is an innovator and pioneer in the field and has one of the largest experiences in the world having performed more than 10,000 body contouring procedures. He truly excels at sculpting beauty from gobs of fat – not only am I living proof of that but also check the many hundreds of patient photos on his website who are living proof, too! I went from a size 14/16 to a size 2 in just 10-months! I promise you that if anyone can make your body look good, it is Dr. Capella. He seems too good to be true, but he really is THAT good. This I promise you.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
3 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait tmes
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Your always an insipiarion! I cut gluten &soy out and drastically reduced the dairy (no milk for 20 years now), once a week yogurt, not everyday. I can feel such a difference. My joints & back are better, and best of all I am losing weight. -3 pounds! And I feel mentally clearer. Guess i have some food sensitivities I hadn't known about. Love your focus! The world need more of you's!
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Oh, thanks so much! You always say the nicest things. I strictly cut grains out after my tummy tuck and it definitely helped me to lose weight. Prior to that I ate few grains -- but I notice if I begin to eat them again my appetite soars within 2 days. I have celiac disease so gluten would pin a job on me, but really any grains make me fat. I stopped soy milk a while back but I still ate edamame from time to time. Now it is banned. I also do not eat red meat. It is psychological. I cannot eat a sentient creature. Also with Whole30 I have to eliminate sweeteners. I do miss my morning coffee protein drink, which tastes a lot like a Starbucks frappucino. But I want to see what I feel like at the end of the 30 days without dairy and sweeteners, and without legumes which I also are previously. I am already doing everything else on the plan as part of my Bariatric life :-)
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Also, I noticed I was having a lot of problems with brain fog, to the extent that I had a neurologist screen me for mild cognitive impairment. It turned out to be gluten! I feel much clearer mentally having strictly eliminated it from my diet.
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Wow!! I came across your profile and wow what a transformation!!! You look absolutely amazing!! I'm 1 week post from TT and lipo and think I got through half of your page so far, it's great reading while I'm recuperating!! Loving your writing! Thank you for taking the time to share all your details! I love this site to find out so many little things I wouldn't have thought about! Looking forward to reading more tomorrow. Hope you're doing well!!
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Awwww, thank you so much for reading ant my journey. It has been quite the experience and I am happy to say that enduring all the healing and heartache has been worth the results I achieved. I love love love my body!
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You look fabulous!
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Thanks!!! I am so so so glad that I chose Dr. Capella for my body contouring.
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You look absolutely, positively beautiful, radiant and happy.
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Thanks so very much. I am tickled pink!
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Nice photo shoot! And I'm delighted to hear that you have a Boston Terrier - I have 2 - Bella (who recently passed away) and Sophie. They are the best little girls :)
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Thanks! I also have two Boston's - Max and Circa - and a boxer dog named Blue.
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You look gorgeous! Your transformation is nothing short of amazing! I was wondering what the total cost was between all the surgeries? I want to have a ballpark goal to shoot for!
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Thank you! To date I have spent 15k on face and 25k on body.
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you had mentioned you were unhappy with your waist, did you eventually lose inches there? I had LBL armlift and breast lift on Jan 29,2014 and feel I look boxy. Hoping once I start back at the gym I will get more curve.
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I lost around 10" in my waist but I look boxy none-the-less. I have been working out at the gym and my waist remains unchanged! It is not clear to me if this is just the way my body is shaped -- not everyone has an hour glass figure -- or if it is in any way related to the surgery. I will ask Dr. Capella when I see him on Monday.
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I forgot to get back to you. There is some excess flesh that I have in the vertical vector of my back / side of my body. Dr. Capella will do his best to remove this excess using my LBL incision and not making any new incisions (such as a vertical torsoplasty or a FDL tummy tuck). But what really seems to be the matter is that I have visceral fat -- the fat that is around the organs inside the abdominal area. I look thin but my bodpod confirmed that my body fat percentage is high, and the only place left that I have fat is the visceral fat. Unfortunately this is the most dangerous type of fat!
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Lol! 2! You look great! I'm so excited for you! I think I'll go try those exact jeans on!
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It is hilarious! I told my surgical PA last summer that I did not want to get smaller than a 12. Hahaha But I am thrilled with my body and I still cannot believe this is real. I really like Lucky Brand jeans. They come in many different cuts so there is something perfect for everyone's body type. I have Lil Maggie super low rise flare and they are a very comfy fit. My Sienna Cigarette jeans are a tighter fit and the Charlie Skinny jeans are a very slim fit. I love them all.
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Oops I think I have Charlie cigarette jeans and Sienna skinny jeans.
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Thats good to know! My waist is big an my butt is small so its hard to find jeans that dont fall down or sausage me.
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Good luck! Let me know how you make out. The sales people there are usually very helpful in finding you a fit.
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you look so freaking amazing!
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Thank you. I am so glad all this was worth it. I had my doubts sometimes. Thank you, Lord!
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Can't wait to see you my love.
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ME TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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