18 years ago my beloved first son was born at...

18 years ago my beloved first son was born at almost 10 pounds. A second large baby followed by years of weight loss yoyoing has left me with a deflated, sad stomach. I have been wishing, planning and thinking about it for many years and I'm finally ready. I've researched a number of doctors both locally and abroad. I hate to say that a lot of the work that I've seen by local doctors isn't really impressive and there were a lot of boxy looks. So I started looking at other areas. It seems that the Latin countries are really doing this procedure very well. After weighing the options between Mexico and the Dominican Republic, I finally decided on going to Mexico. While the pricing for the surgery in DR was less, after factoring in the plane ticket there was only a nominal savings. Also, didn't want to spend 15 hours on a plane after having the procedure done vs two hr flight by going to Mexico. That was well worth it to me. I wasn't going to write a review but I valued the reviews of so many other women on here that I thought I would share my experience. My date is February 18th with Dr. Laura Carmina Cardenas. So far, her coordinator has been responsive, informative and very helpful. I'm confident I've made a great choice. Dra. Cardenas is also one of the board certified plastic surgeons in MX and comes highly recommended. I'm having an extended TT, lipo and BBL. I'm on the fence about the BBL because I really do like my natural shape of my butt, I just want a little natural enhancement. So - we'll see. I'd really like to get a breast augmentation as well but finances and my propensity to be a big wuss is stopping me. So, I've done the research, got the money, made arrangements for time off, put my family on notice and am now gathering supplies. I'll be staying in the Beauty Care Recovery House for 7 days at Dra. Cardenas' suggestion. She wanted me to stay 10-14 days but I need to come home after a week. I'll be alone so I'm sure I'll be more than ready. I also want to say that my husband has been so supportive and awesome through this whole process. I really appreciate all his support.

Can't hardly sleep

Aaaaannnnddd..I'm officially obsessed. This is all I think about. I can hardly sleep and I'm driving everyone nuts by roaming the hall at night like the ghost of plastic surgery future. This is becoming more and more real. I scheduled time off work and have started to buy supplies. I read through some of the supply lists though and I can't help but wonder if I'm really going to need all that stuff! My father came to America with less suitcases than I would require by bringing everything on these advisory lists. My plan is to take my oldest suitcase, fill it with supplies and old, comfy clothes that I don't really use or wear anymore along with cheap underclothes. I just want to toss everything at the end of my stay that I don't absolutely need along with aforementioned old suitcase, board the plane with my small carry on and go about my business. My other dilemma is blood work. I had my CBC results and my iron completed last month and I'm all good there. But I need to get my other tests done that she requires. The problem is that I don't really have a PCP, just my gynecologist that I pop in to once a year. I'm a bit worried about what he'll say about going to MX. Frankly, I don't want to hear it and have him eff up my vibe. So I'm just thinking about having Dr. Cardenas office do it when I arrive. Sigh - am I just the biggest spazz in the world right now or are these totally normal feelings/actions?

Now that my relationship with mah belly is coming to an end, I've been thinking back about everything that is wrapped up in it. When I was about 8 months pregnant for my son who is now 18, his father left me. He was in and out of his life sporadically until he was about 4 and then he left for good. Thankfully, I met a great man a couple years later and we've been happily married for almost 12 years now. One of the last conversations I had with my son's father was after I had worked really hard to lose a bunch of weight and I was feeling pretty cute. I still had my mommy tummy but otherwise, I was about a size 8. He said to me, "It doesn't matter how much weight you lose or how much you run, you'll still always have that ass in the front." For years, that hurt me. And I guess in a way it still does since I remember it so vividly and how humiliated I felt. Years have passed and I'm older and wiser now and am SO grateful I didn't end up with that horrible man that I thought I wanted so badly. I would have missed out on meeting my husband and having our daughter along with a great father to both children. But, why - does just thinking about him saying that to me still have a tinge of humiliation? For years I carried that shame with me. Wearing two girdles at a time, strategically placing scarves, purses, my hands, children, any obstacle I could find in front of my stomach. Every single time I walked anywhere, I was hiding myself in some kind of way. So for me and I suspect many of us, having this surgery is about much more than vanity. It's about finally putting to rest those hurtful things and those insecure feelings. I wonder if I will recognize my body again. I told my husband the other day that I couldn't wait to finally be able to look into the mirror and see my old self. Except, I don't want the old self that accepted bullshit from bad men and didn't believe in myself. I've worked really hard in my personal and professional life to grow in a way that even I never thought would be possible. I just want my old, new self. I think this is a great step and the last piece of the puzzle for me to finally be able to say that I, indeed, have come a long way baby. Anyway, sorry about the rambling. I am not sure I was prepared at how viscerally emotional this process would be. Still - I'm moving forward and on the countdown. Now...if only Delta would drop their damn flight prices again. Seriously, how the hell does that thing jump $122 in one day?? But I digress.....

It Rubs The Lotion On Its Skin

This feeling is surreal. I'm getting much closer to my date and I just want it to be here already. So far, I've bought a boppy pillow and epi-foam. I've got a shit ton of stuff in my online Walmart cart that I still need to get. My other pressing issue is that I need to get the rest of my blood work done. I already had my CBC done and sent to Cardenas and it is fine. But I still have the rest of them that I have no idea how I'm going to get done. I called and got an appt with my gyn and I'm going to ask him if he will. Honestly, I have no idea what he'll say so I'm just thinking about getting it all done in Mx when I get there. How I wish Dra. Cardenas could just set up the blood work with a local place. I hate having to go grovel to my local Dr. And in other, Murphy's law news, my teenage son has to have shoulder surgery tomorrow. Thanks to my terrible health insurance, my total out of pocket for his surgery will be...wait for it....the same amount as mine. Of course. I considered (briefly) cancelling my surgery but I didn't. Mostly because his hospital will work with me on payments and I have been waiting for this moment forever! Selfish? Possibly. I'm good to go on my vitamins and I'm greasing up my bod every day so I'm hopeful for a great surgery day. Does anyone have any insight on the blood tests?

One more thing...

I ditched all the FB plastic surgery groups I was in. Most of them were for surgeries happening in the DR anyway. Originally that was where I was planning to go but I'm happy with my decision. Maybe I'm just getting old but I'm disappointed that so many women can act so ridiculous and fight over the most stupid things. The last straw came when a woman bitched that she couldn't believe so many married women were talking about having to "save money" for surgery and that they should just have ballers picking up the tab. Um, really?? Oh yes, how irresponsible for married women with families to try to consider their family situation and fit an elective surgery into their budget by **gasp** saving. Sigh....Is that the type of woman my son has to look forward to in the future? Gross.

Blood work tip and other ramblings.....

I was kind of sweating going to my doctor to ask for blood tests. Mostly because he is only my gyn and I rarely see him. I don't really have a PCP so he is the closest thing I've got. It's always a nightmare to try and get an appointment and I would have been left in the lurch if he said no. Anyhoo, I took matters into my own hands and found an online lab that you can purchase the tests from. In fact, I was even able to use my HSA card. I ordered and paid for the tests (about $200) that I needed online and then printed out the order to have my blood drawn at a local lab. I had my results within one business day. Score! Still need my EKG but I'll just do that when I get to TJ. Sent the results off to Dra. Cardenas and we're all good. Feeling more and more real every day.

I honestly can't believe I'm doing this. I mean, I'm glad and all, but here is my typical thought process every day.

"This is going to be the greatest thing EVER!"
"This is going to be the worst thing EVER!"
"What the EFF am I thinking?"
"My kid is going to college next year. WTF are you doing?"
"This is going to be the GREATEST thing EVER!"
"That's it, I'm cancelling."
"I'm going to look so hot."
"I'm incredibly selfish. I'm one of THOSE moms."
"But I'm going to look so hot."
"Yep, I'm doing it."
"Nope, cancelling."
"Decided. I'm doing it."

And so forth.....It's exhausting being me.

Ok....Must be done. Pics...

Cautionary Tale: Do not ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever get a tattoo on your stomach prior to having children. Or ever. Just don't do it. I have hated this thing since and I that's a big plus to this surgery is finally having it gone.

I Can't believe I just posted my gross gut all over the interwebs Haha!

But, I'm hopeful that I'll have a kick ass "after".

Can Time Go Any Slower??

Come on Feb 19th!

Flight Out Tomorrow

Well, it's here. My flight leaves tomorrow at three. I have to go get a few things tomorrow morning but other than that - I'm ready. Whew. See you on the flat side ladies. Wish me luck!

Beauty Care Recovery House

Real quick. Everyone here is so warm and accommodating. Surgery is tomorrow morning so I'm just relaxing tonight. Food is delicious and the house very nice.

Day 1

I'll keep this quick. I'm at the hospital in recovery. Staff and nurses are wonderful, Dra. Cardenas is so regal and knowledgeable. I'm wrapped up like a mummy right now so I'm haven't seen anything yet. My legs are still numb from the epidural and it's kind of freaking me out but I'm sure that will resolve itself soon. Thanks everyone for your well wishes!

Live To Tell About it

Well I'm still at the rh and I'm flying out tomorrow. Wanted to give a quick update. Recovery is no joke but they do everything they can to make it more comfortable for you. I put on my compression garment yesterday and that helped a ton. Kind of hard to distinguish my results right now because I'm still so swollen and bent over but I think I'm going to be thrilled. I can't say enough good things about Dr. C and her administrative and nursing staff. Also, the food here is so good, healthy and helps with the process so much. I miss my family something terrible though so I'm anxious to go home even though I could easily stay here another week. I'll post pics soon....

A few pics

More

Few more

The Absolute WORST thing about Recovery

You heard it here first.

Damn daytime TV. What...in...the...actual...hell?

This actually explains a lot about current times.

On the Road To Recovery

Welp, I'm home. First off, I'm married to the best man on the planet. He held it down so good while I was gone and continues to take care of me. Have both drains still but they are both below 25cc's so I'll likely be able to take those out by Sunday. The bruising is a ton better and the swelling seems to be going down. I have just been resting a lot and following Dr.s orders. But my back is killing me. Can't wait to start standing up a little more. I'm obsessive right now about staying bent over because I terrified of anything happening to my incision. Advice:

1.Do plan on staying at least 10-14 days after a tt. I stayed 7 but could have used the extra.
2. Don't overpack. Seriously, I hardly opened my suitcase. BCRH has everything you need and i stayed in a hospital gown most of the time. I could have easily gotten by with a change of clothes for travel, toiletries and maybe a few nightgowns, comfy socks or slippers and been just fine.
3. Don't forget to request wheelchair assistance at the airport. There is no way i could have gone through check in, security and boarding standing up all that time.
4. Get the massages by Maripaz. She is wonderful and they make a huge difference with the liposuction soreness.
5. The nurses work hard. Plan on bringing them a little something as a tip.
6. Bring an ipad, kindle, laptop to keep you occupied. The rooms have TV in them but it's nice to have a little variety.
7. Like Dra. Cardenas says, stay positive! Recovery is a roller coaster, your attitude makes all the difference.

A few more things

I can't say enough good things about Dra. Cardenas, Fatimeh, Loan, Carmen, Ronnie, nurses Suzie and Nadi and the others that I have totally spaced their names. Honestly people, everyone did their best to make me feel welcome, comfortable and cared for.

The Struggle Is Real

Well - where to begin. So each day brings with it a slight improvement. But it's been hard. This is such a multifaceted recovery. I can feel the healing in the muscle repair and everywhere else.The drains are out and my incision is almost closed except for one of the drain holes. It's taking its time right now but it is healing. For me, this process is very laborious. I'm still hunched over and am pretty uncomfortable. My upper thighs must have been affected by the nerves being cut and I have some nerve pain that feels like pins and needles. I had this same pain after my hysterectomy and csections. It will probably take some time to resolve. I went back to work and I'm exhausted at the end of the day. The good news is that i can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Swelling is down. I still can't wear my pre-op pants so I'm just rocking stretchy skirts and flats. It is really tough not to get discouraged and I've had some breakdown moments. The key is to stand back up and give yourself another pep talk.

New pics

Pic Coming Along

Excuse my funky work bathroom mirror.

Each Day A Little Better

Each day I get a little stronger, a little more healed. My right drain hole took a lot longer to heal than my left and had me worried this week but it now seems to be closing. I'm almost completely upright and starting to feel normal and beginning to get a good idea about my results. And I'm thrilled. Still have a ways to go as far as swelling but I'm getting there. I've gone to the last row of clasps on my cg and have started to add the epi foam at night for extra compression. Not much to add, just improving each day.

Pic today

Recovery phase

I remember reading through the reviews of some women on here before my surgery and they healed up so fast. Within a month or two they were already back at the gym and feeling great. I am not one of those women. My recovery has been difficult. I'm tired a lot, still dealing with significant swelling and my back feels like the skin is ripping away every morning I wake up. If you experience that too, please don't feel badly. I accept that mine will take longer. I started back walking last week on a trail. I'm glad to be more mobile but at the end of the day, I'm really sore. I like my results and I'm starting to think about a second round. Not sure yet but if like to get a BA and a little more liposuction. Taking this thing one day at a time.

What A Difference A Few Months Make

Well, I can say that I made it through. I still have areas of numbness and weird pains sometimes but for the most part I'm thrilled. My family went on vacation a few weeks ago and it was so nice to not feel so self-conscious. I'd forgotten how nice it was to not have a belly in the way. In addition to the external improvement, my back pain has vastly improved and riding my bike doesn't irritate it like it used to. I can run without having to press my stomach with my hand and hold up my workout pants. I really am glad I did this. I still wear my compression garment on occasion if I'm feeling like the day will be particularly stressful since it seems that days like those really bring on swelling. I try to be very conscious of my sodium intake and make sure I'm drinking water. I'm not totally thrilled with my belly button but I only have myself to blame for that since I tried to remove my own stitches and messed it up by accidentally cutting my skin since I couldn't feel it. It healed and my bb is very, very small since the skin around the cut also healed. I will probably get a revision later. Leave that to the pros ladies. In the early days after this, I felt some regret and wondered if I'd ever feel normal. Now, I don't regret it at all. It still hurts like a bitch to cough or sneeze and trying to do ab exercises yesterday about made me pass out so I realize that I still have a ways to go. I'm a slow healer in addition to being a crybaby. :) Ultimately, glad I did it. Regarding any type of round 2- I'm really working on trying to lose about 20 pounds and then I'll see. I'd like to have my bb revised and maybe a bit more liposuction to really shape things up along with a ba, but I won't do that until I'm at my ideal weight. Anyway, thanks all for the positive feedback and I hope that you've found my review helpful. Dr. Cardenas is great and I will be going back to her when I'm ready.
Mexico Plastic Surgeon

Dra. Cardenas has been absolutely wonderful, responsive and knowledgeable. I can't explain it, but I feel at ease with her, more than I did when I was considering other surgeons. I feel that I'm in great hands.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 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
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (56)

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Great looking results! I'm a slow healer too :( it sucks lol. But I love my results from Cardenas :) I'm thinking about a round 2 as well but can't imagine going through the recovery again. Good luck
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You look amazing what all did you have done or did you just do a tt
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Thank you! I had a tt, a very conservative bbl and liposuction to my flanks and back.
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If you don't mind me asking how much did she charge you?
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My original quote was around $6200 (not including recovery house). She ran a special in Feb offering a 10% discount though so I saved that off her original quote.
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Hey, are you ok?
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Hi! Yes, I'm OK. Just been so busy. I'm going to update with new pics. Thank you!
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Looking good please update us on your recovery
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Please post more tummy tuck pics I am considering Cardenas and while your tummy was still a bit beeter than mine to start I feel like your is a good comparison :) hope you are feeling better too! :)
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You look amazing but I must say I'm really laughing so hard it hurts right now from the infamous it rubs the lotion on its skin line. I'm in tears!!!!!!
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U look awesome!!! I can't wait for mine. What are all the supplies u bought? I feel like I'm not prepared. All I have is the 2 scripts my PS gave me and a sponge to wash up with b4 surgery. What else do I need? Help! My surgery is April 2.
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Excited for you! I would say that make sure you are taking a multivitamin. Don't go crazy with supplements, I worry that those will mess with your body chemistry too much. Also, get some nice big ole granny panties. They are nice to have although you likely won't be wearing anything but the cg for awhile. I think the biggest thing is prepping your house and having support after surgery. If you have a recliner, that bad boy will become your best friend. If you can, contact a medical supply store and see if you can score some bars for the toilet to help you up and down and a chair for the shower. You may also see if you can rent a walker. Set up your "recovery center" and make sure you have access to things you may need without getting up. Ie; meds, water, snacks, the remote, books, computer, chargers, etc. I know a lot of people go overboard on supplies but I found that I was really too sick to remember our use half the stuff. I would also recommend that you buy some gauze, neosporin or other wound dressings. Ask your ps about that. Don't worry about scar therapy right now by buying Mederma or Bio oil. You'll have time for all that later. Will your ps be providing your compression garment? He probably will but it doesn't hurt to ask. I would call them and ask if they have a list of suggested items. Good luck!
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Congratulations! I know you must feel relieved. happy healing doll :) I'm going to Dra. Cardenas as well.
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Congratulations! You are looking good despite the swelling. Happy healing and continue to rest up!
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Your forum post is amazing. I have always dreamed of a tummy tuck, I have mostly saggy skin. I haven't worn a bikini in decades and probably never will, I can't imagine being so brave as you to do all of this. I'm a whiner with a cold. You are truly amazing! I'm so glad that it worked out for you. I can't wait to see more pictures when you've healed all up. Watch out world, here she comes, the sexy lady with the flat stomach. You're gonna rock the beach. :-)
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Well thank you! I wouldn't so much call it brave as I would closing my eyes and taking the crazy plunge. Haha! I'm an enormous cry baby so know that you are in good company there. True it's painful but it's more discomfort. If you ever work up the nerve, know that it does get better each day. And you get all the good drugs :)
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Happy healing :) I'm also going to Cardenas but not for another 7 weeks. Whew! I'm so excited. Anyway if you don't mind would you give me a quick cost breakdown i.e. Recovery house cost, meds, tips, cover garment, etc etc . TIA
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Thanks! You'll love her. Recovery house was $840 and i stayed for 7 days. However, i strongly recommend staying at least 10 if you can. I really could have used a little more time. Meds were $140, garment $120, massages $40/each. I had 3 and tipped her $15 on the last. All the nurses were great but there were a couple that were very attentive and kind - I tipped them $20/each. I tipped the driver $5 each way.
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Kathryn thanks so much for your updates. That confirms to me that my 13 day is going to be well needed. I leave today @5pm to Dr. Cardenas. I'm very excited and nervous. Again, I pray for your speedy recovery.
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Thanks! This has helped a lot :D I hope ur recovery is quick and painless
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Glad your doing great.
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So happy that you had a great experience. I can't wait to see pics!!
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Hope your doing well.
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I've been leaning towards Dr Cortes in TX, Dr Fisher in Miami, now I'm considering Dr. Cardenas. I just requested a consult with her. I'm a bit reluctant about having a procedure done outside the states though. Was that ever a concern for you? If so, how'd you overcome that?
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Hi there! I understand your apprehension but I can tell you that I'm completely comfortable with my decision. I have had surgery in TJ before a year ago when I got the gastric sleeve done. That really opened my eyes to health care outside the US. I've never once felt unsafe and the care I received has been fantastic. There are times I wish that I spoke better Spanish though but I still manage. Most of the nurses speak at least some English and Dr. Cardenas is fluent so it's not a huge deal and there are translator apps you can download on your phone to help as well. Dr. C is board certified here in MX and that was important for me. They really do have a well oiled machine here as this industry is growing and becoming more renowned. The only other concern I had is finding a Dr at home willing to treat me if there was a complication. I hopeful here won't be any, but it's nice to be on the safe side. Ultimately, I'm a short flight from tj and worst car scenario I could jump on a flight and come back here. At first I was looking in the Dominican Republic but the flight was 13+ hours for me and just felt too far away if I ever needed to return. Other than that, I am confident in my decision and will likely be coming back to her later this year for breast augmentation.
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