I've been meaning to log in and write this review for a few days now. When researching my surgery I found this site to be very helpful so I figured I would come and give back.
First, let me say that the level of care and service provided by Dr. Pantoja and his staff was amazing. I would have no reservations about referring a friend to him. His facility was top-notch and my room was private and comfortable.
Here's a summary of what happened. My husband and I arrived in San Diego the day before surgery. We had Dr. Pantoja's driver pick us up at the airport and drive us to the hotel. We stayed at the Hotel Real del Rio. The hotel was okay; it was clean and satisfactory but the bed wasn't that comfortable and we found the staff to be a little surly. Not a big deal - we weren't there for luxury.
The next day we walked over to Dr. Pantoja's office. My appointment was at 9am. Nadia and Ruth were there and were super friendly and helpful. I filled out paperwork, took "before" pictures, had my blood work done, had a breast sonogram (they do this if you're having breast work done) and the EKG. Everything came back normal and I was cleared to go. I finally met with Dr. Pantoja to have my consultation. He is very nice and treats you like he would his own family. Both my husband and I were very comfortable with him. You can tell that he cares about the health and well-being of his patients.This whole process took about 1.5 to 2 hours.
Finally they brought me upstairs and I changed into surgery clothes. OMG. Compression stockings SUCK. The anesthesiologist came in to chat with me and a few minutes later I was walking into the operating room. I had the spinal block/epidural which was kind of weird. Dr. Pantoja started with the liposuction/BBL and then moved onto the BL/BA. Honestly, I was partly awake while he was doing the liposuction but I couldn't feel anything. It was odd. When he started on my breasts I remember yelling "I CAN FEEL THAT" and I was out like a light. Next thing I knew...I was being wheeled into my recovery room.
Although the spinal block was odd I definitely prefer that to general anesthesia. I didn't have any nausea and wasn't really groggy.
I didn't have any real pain when I first woke up from the surgery but I started to get very, very uncomfortable overnight. I couldn't sleep on my stomach because I had my breasts done and my butt was KILLING ME. Let's just say that was one of the longest nights of my life. I begged the nurse to help me up and let me walk around but she said she couldn't because I didn't have my faja on yet.
Finally the morning came and I was in PAIN. My breasts didn't hurt at all! All the pain was from the liposuction/BBL. It was terrible and I have a HIGH tolerance for pain. They had to do blood work again to check my hemoglobin levels and I started crying because I was so frustrated with how my body felt. Oh boy - then they put me in my post-surgery bra and faja. Not good times at all. Dr. Pantoja came in to check on me and helped get me in the faja. That thing is miserable. I hated it. I'm going to burn it when this is all over. My blood work came back fine, my husband arrived and we were released. I actually walked back to the hotel because being up and around felt better than laying down.
We stayed in TJ until Saturday morning. I had a follow up with Dr. P that morning (remove my drains/few stitches) and then his driver drove us back to San Diego where we stayed for another few days. That drive was horrible. It took us about 2 hours to get to the hotel in San Diego and the driver's car didn't have any air conditioning. Ugh. I don't know how I got through that.
So I'm very happy with my results but let me tell you - this surgery HURTS like you can't even imagine. It's really just the liposuction. I don't know if I'm in so much pain because he was super aggressive with the lipo or what but I don't recommend it unless you have a high tolerance for pain. I also don't recommend having both procedures done at the same time. In hindsight, I wish I would have done the BBL first and then come back for the breast lift/implants. It's just a lot for your body to handle. I can't really explain what the liposuction feels like. It's like you're numb but burned all at the same time. MAKE SURE you bring american pain medications with you. The pain killer he prescribes is nothing more than heavy duty motrin. It didn't do anything for me. Apparently the mexican government has gotten rid of all the heavy pain killers due to all the drug-related drama going on in other parts of Mexico.
I'm now 16 days post-op and the pain is getting better each day. The only thing that still bothers me is my lower back. I'm swollen as all heck and it HURTS. My breasts look GREAT. Dr. Pantoja did a fantastic job. My body and butt looks good but since I'm still super swollen it's hard to envision what the final results will be.
I'm just looking forward to the day that I feel normal again. I bought a new faja because I couldn't stand the one they gave me (it rode up into my armpits and cut into my skin) but I still hate wearing it. I find it so uncomfortable under clothes but I guess it's necessary.
Oh - I ended up getting a full anchor breast lift with 520cc/560cc textured round implants (over the muscle). They're big and perky and I love 'em.
I'll post pictures once some of the swelling has gone down.
Round 2 w Dr. Cabral on March 3rd!! Review of CIPLA and Daisy's Recovery House Included
I've been meaning to log in and write this review...
I've been meaning to log in and write this review for a few days now. When researching my surgery I found this site to be very helpful so I figured I would come and give back.
So I'm three weeks post op today and I'm still...
Had a Round 2 - Dr Cabral - March 3rd, 2015. Review of CIPLA and Daisy's Recovery House included.
First things first, I will try to post pictures when my husband gets home later tonight - I know that's what we're all looking for.
This might be a long review because I want to give my fellow RS women all the info I can. I traveled by myself - which was fine - I didn't want my husband to have to take care of me like the first time around. Bless his heart, he's a wonderful husband but (not that I blame him) not the best nurse.
Okay, so this was my second round. I had my first round with Dr Pantoja in Mexico just over 2 years ago. I was very happy with my results but just wanted a bit more contouring of my backside. After a bunch of research, I decided on Dr. Cabral.
I got to DR on Monday, March 2nd. **IMPORTANT TIME SAVING TIP** Please, please, please buy your tourist card before leaving. You can do it online and it's still just $10. Print it out, bring it with you - that way you don't have to wait on line to buy it there. Just google dominican republic tourist card and I'm sure you can find the site. They will not let you through immigration without buying this card first. I believe it's good for a year after purchase so no need to worry that it will expire. It saved me a bunch of time when first arriving in DR.
Okay, so after going through immigration, I try to find my recovery house driver. He was supposed to be there with a sign in hand waiting for me. However, since I got thru immigration so quick, he wasn't there yet. I'll admit, I was freaking out a bit but I texted Daisy (owner of Daisy's recovery house) and she assured me he was on his way. After about a 20 minute wait, he showed up and we were on our way. **Important safety tip** Ladies - please just use some common sense when at the airport. There will be a bunch of people there so keep your stuff close and don't let anyone help you unless you're 100% confident they're from your recovery house. I speak spanish, so I did okay but a lot of folks see Americans and think we're easy marks. (This is just my opinion)
I get into the car with the driver who was sweet as all get out but didn't speak a lick of english. We headed directly to CIPLA so I could get my bloodwork/other tests done. This took for-f*cking-ever. Ladies, get used to waiting. There really isn't much of a schedule down there. My driver stayed with me the whole time - poor guy. After what seemed like a trillion hours, I finally met with Dr. Cabral to have my consultation. It was pretty quick. I explained what I wanted to fix and he totally understood. Honestly, I didn't want more booty - just wanted him to fix up what I already had. He told me he'd make me beautiful and then sent me on my way. Dr. Cabral was very nice but didn't spend that much time with me. Whatever - I'm not there to make friends with the guy - I had faith that he understood my desires and that's really all I cared about. Unfortunately, the cardiologist had left for the day so I was told I'd have to come back at 6:30am the next day to meet with the cardiologist before surgery. Ugh. More waiting.
Day of surgery - March 3rd. My overnight nurse and I arrive at CIPLA at 6:30 to wait for the cardiologist. OMG. He didn't show up until almost 9am. Again, the waiting seems like the hardest part. I was so frustrated just sitting there in the hot-ass CIPLA hallway waiting for this guy. Finally he shows up - I have my EKG and all that - takes a total of about 8 minutes - and then I'm back up to Cabral's office. This is where the clusterf*ckery begins. You still have to be admitted to the hospital and wait for a room to become available. UGH! So they send me down to be admitted to the hospital. More waiting b/c there are so many women and only two docs to do the paperwork. After getting thru that, I think I'm golden. NOPE. Now you have to wait for a room to open up. OMG! At this point I was like....I can't take this waiting....this is so annoying....I'm leaving. After about an hour of waiting for a room, my overnight nurse decides to take the bull by the horns - she goes up to the nurses station....says something and FINALLY I get a room. So, in sum, I got the hospital at 6:30 and now it's probably 12:30. Yeah....that's a lot of f*cking waiting.
**NOTE ABOUT THE ROOMS AT CIPLA** You will have a TV, private bathroom, a closet to keep your stuff, a couch, a chair and a hospital bed. That's it. You want a blanket? Bring your own. You want a pillow? Bring your own! I asked for a pillow and never got one - I was told it was "better" without a pillow. Ummm - NO. I asked for a blanket and got two flimsy sheets. Ummmm - NO. Needless to say, my experience at CIPLA = not so good. I'll get into that later/different review.
Fortunately, things started to move quickly once I got my room. Dr Cabral came in, marked me up and asked a nurse to bring me the blue pill. I took the blue pill, got into my surgery "outfit" and laid back down on the bed. I started to relax and felt pretty good. :-) About 15 min later, someone comes in to take me to surgery. I say goodbye to my overnight nurse and I was off.
Epidural time!!! Since the blue pill didn't knock me out, I was awake for the epidural. I don't want to scare anyone but - this hurt like a mutha. I don't know if the doc had to numb me in a few places, or if I moved, or if he f*cked up - but it felt like it took him 3 tries to get it right. Ugh. Horrible.
After that - they lay me on my stomach and surgery begins. Again - I don't want to scare anymore but I'm pretty sure I was awake through most of the surgery. I didn't have much pain but it's still an odd sensation to feel them lipo'ing your back! There were a couple of times I felt pain - I screamed and they must have upped the meds because I was knocked back out.
Okay - here was the absolute worst part for me. I decided that I wanted to have my facial lips done, i.e., fat injected into my facial lips. Here's the thing - I don't think the epidural can numb your face - so I felt EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of the fat injections into my lips. OMG. It hurt like you cannot believe. If he had told me that I would be able to feel that - I would have said "screw it" and left my lips alone. It was horrible - I do not recommend it.
That was the end of surgery. I was brought back to my room. Shivering and freezing as per the norm - was given a flimsy sheet and that was it. My overnight nurse came back a few hours later and kept me company. I was able to sleep for most of the afternoon/night. It was painful, but I was so exhausted that I slept. Keep in mind, I really just had lipo- no BBL so I wasn't worried about sleeping on my back and I didn't have pain in my butt/thighs. My lips hurt like f*ck and I just generally felt like crap.
I make it thru the night somehow and I'm really looking forward to getting the heck up outta CIPLA. Well, not so fast - they tell me I need a blood transfusion (sorry ladies but I don't know what my hemo was before or after the surgery). Fine - blood transfo it is. $110 later - I start to feel human again. Still really wanting to get the hell outta there. Dr. Cabral's assistants finally make it to my room to unwrap me, clean me and get me into my faja. Um...let's put it this way.....they are not gentle. I started crying because I hurt so bad and was just feeling frustrated. They take off all the bandages, wipe me down, help me out of the bed and onto the recliner and start to get me into the faja. I'm still crying at this point. One of the assistants pushes down on my back to drain me a bit. I thought I was going to PUNCH her. Finally, I'm in the faja....they put clean sheets on the bed and I'm back in bed....exhausted and sleeping. I forget what time I woke up but guess what...more waiting!!! It appears most people are discharged from CIPLA fairly in the morning. Not this girl. I was there until almost 9pm. I needed another blood transfusion. Great. I'll get into the details of the care I received while in CIPLA in another post. I probably could have stayed at CIPLA another night but I really wanted out of there and to be back in the more comfortable recovery home. They finally released me around 9pm and the driver took me back to Daisy's recovery house. At this point I was emotionally wrecked, in pain and just wanted to be left alone. I finally get to my bed and slept through the night.
To be continued....
Review of CIPLA
When it came time for my second blood transfusion, the nurse set up the IV line incorrectly so the drop wasn't working at all. Considering the doctor on call told me I could leave after the second blood transfo....you can imagine that I was annoyed that things weren't moving along.
In sum, CIPLA is depressing but a necessary 'evil' if you want to have surgery with any of these doctors. Please have a friend or nurse stay with you.....it is even more depressing if you're there alone.
Not that I'm going to have a round three but would I go back to CIPLA??? -Probably not.
A few pictures
Things you definitely need to bring
Baby wipes/adult washcloths
Maxi pads - if you think you have enough - buy some more!
Snack bars/breakfast bars/etc
A robe or other comfy long tshirt to wear around the house
One or two pairs of underwear (for when they're washing your faja)
One or two maxi dresses
A cardigan or sweater - it gets COLD in some of those offices
Bring a pillow and a blanket if you're staying at CIPLA and think you'll want these items.
Three Weeks Out - Post Op with Dr. Cabral
I'm not nearly in as much pain as before. I'm definitely up and doing things by myself. I still have some soreness and my skin is still super sensitive to the touch but other than that, doing quite well. I cannot WAIT to see what my final results will be.
I also wanted to take a minute a write a short review of Daisy's recovery house. It took me a while to decide if I was actually going to write this up but I figured most people would want to know. So here's the general scoop - Daisy's RH is okay. It's kept relatively clean, the A/C works well, the WiFi works well, etc. I had a single room but had to share a bathroom with another room. Not a big deal, but not ideal either. The care you receive from the nurses/staff is excellent. I probably would have cried the entire time if it hadn't been for the sweet women who work there.
So, now for the negatives. First, they keep the downstairs back door open all the time so there are mosquitoes all over the place. I get it - tropical country and all - but the last thing you want to deal with when you're already not feeling well is itchy scratchy bites from little sh!t mosquitoes. Second, the food was just average. They generally don't ask you what you want and it's always a crap shoot as to what you're going to find waiting for you for your meal. Again, nothing was downright nasty - just very average. Third, all the beds are twin size beds that she must have bought cheap from the local IKEA because they are not the most comfortable things in the world.
Fourth, the driver is super sweet but keeping a schedule is not his strong point. Two of the ladies that were headed to the airport at the same time as me missed their flight because the driver was running so late. Actually, he never even showed up - one of the nurse's husbands was kind enough to take us to the airport!!!! Very frustrating!!! Finally, although Daisy herself comes off as very sweet - she really only comes to the house to collect her money and that's it. She chatted with us for about 8 minutes and then left. I think I saw her at the house maybe two times. Since this is her business, I would have expected her to have a more hands-on approach - but whatever. Also, I hate to say this - but make sure you give her exact change for whatever you're paying her for. Technically she still owes me $15 because she couldn't make change when I paid my balance but I'm not going to be all dramatic over it.
In sum, would I stay there again?? Probably not. :-(