CTT w/muscle repair, FG to butt, lipo entire back, neck, thighs w/Dr. Cardenas...DONE! SO HAPPY one year later!!
I still can't believe I'm even doing this but...
I've always been a bigger girl but at my highest, I was 252 POUNDS!!! (I'm 5'8) Did Weight Watchers, HCG and finally Phentermine w/low carbs and started dragging my ass to the gym at 5:30 am every single day, now I'm down to 175. :) :) :)
I carry literally ALL my weight in my midsection (I have little chicken arms and legs) so even though I've lost less than 100 lbs, I have to get a CTT to cut out all the fat and my hip "handles". I figured while I was there, why not see about getting at least a little bit of an ass, as I've always wanted one but I'm so flat I'm almost concave. I had consultations with three doctors here in the US but read so many good things about Dr. Cardenas on Real Self that I booked a consultation with her and my husband I made a day trip to Mexico to meet her and see the surgery center and recovery house.
She is AMAZING and Fatimeh is truly the sweetest person EVER! She actually took my husband and I in Dr. Cardenas's car to visit BCRH, then drove us to the border. She was so helpful and informative, and Dr. Cardenas isn't all snooty like so many of the doctors here are. My mind was made up, my husband agreed, and although initially the thought of surgery in a foregin country terrified me, thanks to WhiteGirlNoBooty, I feel completely comfortable booking her. I'm so excited!!
I'm enclosing pictures because that's all I ever wanted to see when I was doing my stalking ("research") so please be kind...and don't look too closely, or you'll see my cooter. :)
Fatimeh deserves a medal for dealing with my neurotic ass!!
Oh, and she just sent me these...
Is it just me or has time just completely stopped??!
A question for you married gals...
A question for my fellow Cardenas girls...
I need Real Self love. And cupcakes.
Tomorrow is the day!!!
Got to Beauty Care and just counting down now...
I'm off to Beauty Care...
I did it you guys!!!
Saw Dr. Cardenas....
Some butt naked pictures...not for the faint of heart...
Love the gals at BCRH...
Some more pics...
Can't sleep so why not?
- I woke up in surgery like a lot of us did. I remember reading about it while researching and thinking, "Hell no, I am not going anywhere I will wake up!" because the thought of being awake during surgery made me want to yak. It's not what you think though...you feel absolutely NO pain at all, just a pulling sensation, I would imagine like a C-section. I remember asking Dr. Leyva (anesthesiologist), "Is this supposed to happen? Does eveyone do this?" and he just smiled and said, "Yes, yes, we're almost done." It's nothing to be concerned about at all, I promise.
- Fatimeh will bring you the garment you purchase from Dr. C about three days after surgery. I have mine but can't wear it yet because I have some "congestion" near the incision area that the doctor is worried about.
- if you're staying at BCRH and you pack more than one suitcase, you're probably overpacking. I'm here for 10 days...I'm going on day four and have only opened my suitcase once and that was the day of surgery. Since then, I've been in a hospital gown.
- The ladies at BCRH will help you shower. They will also clean your butt, dry you off, change your drains, dress your wounds and see your vagina every time you get up, down or mive around in general. It's ok, this is their job. I think I was more embarrassed about it than they are, but that only lasted a day or two.
- This whole thing is definitely a mental roller coaster as well as a physical one. Some days it's harder than others to keep your spirits up. I'm struggling with that now, so I guess the only advice I can give is that once the surgery is done, it's done, and the only way through it is blood, sweat and tears.
I'm off to try and sleep more...toodles!!
Also, did you guys know...
I think I underestimated the emotional aspect of this journey...
An update with LOTS of pics...
Got my garment today...
If I don't sleep soon, I'm going to kill someone!
If you're considering Cardenas...do it!!
Leaving today :(...
Emotions are getting the best of me...
13 days post op and the pain in this journey had been nothing compared to the emotions...
I'm not trying to scare any of you off...even today I would do
It again. But I am trying to let you know what to expect. Thankfully I have another Real Self user (WhiteGirlNoBooty) to chat or text with when I'm feeling really down. It has honestly been one of my saving graces, to hear that no, I'm not the only one, and yes, she cried for days too, and it does get better. So if any of you out there are just recently recovering or have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I'll try to be as helpful, patient and understanding as she's been to me. You're not alone, ladies. xoxo
Today is the two week anniversary since my surgery...
- The EFFING garment. The first time it got put on me, it hurt but I could deal with it. The second day, it immediately felt like it was pinching a nerve in my pubic area on the right side, where my incision is. And it HURT. Like, me sobbing kind of hurt. They got it on and I was able to live with it but the next day was worse. I haven't worn it since I left there. Also, 3-4 of my little eyelet hook thingies were starting to rip out, so I figured maybe it was just a size too small. I ordered another one online one size up. The hubby and I tried to put that one on tonight...no dice. The pain is so sharp and localized that it actually makes me cry out. It feels like someone has grabbed a piece of my insides (a very small piece) and twisted. I can even feel it when I sit down now, though it's more bothersome than painful then. I do still have my front drain in, so maybe that's what I'm feeling, and that should be out in the next couple of days so we'll see. But still, now I'm terrified that I'm undoing everything I did by not wearing the garment, and I can't stop crying about it. I'll be calling Fatimeh in the morning, but of course I'll be unnecessarily stressing about it until then. Soooo...anyone else have this problem?
- I really, truly thought I'd be more self sufficient than I am by now. I still can't drive, I still can't shower myself and I still can't stand for more than a few minutes without using a walker. I got a lot of work done so I get it but damn, it would be nice to be able to put on makeup, wax my facial hair, get my hair done and go to Target, you know? Sigh.
- How come nobody talks about the weird pregnancy, baby moving feeling you get after a tummy tuck? SUCH a trip. It feels exactly like when my little humans were rolling around in my belly. Just letting you all know, it's normal. I hope.
So, all that bullshit aside, I'm still glad I got it done. I may be a blubbering, emotional, dirty, hairy mess now, but I fully plan to be a skinny bitch. SOON.
It's been a while...lots to update!!
"Let me 'splain. No, is too much. Let me sum up." (Princess Bride, anyone?)
Everything was fine but I was still struggling with that damn garment and that stupid pinching. I emailed Dr. Cardenas because I was having images of all that surgery and all that money going down the drain and my body being all jacked up from not wearing it. She thought maybe I had a pinched nerve in my groin and suggested that I try to wear it a few clasps at a time and Fatimeh, God bless her, apparently had the same issue with her own garment. I tried but still ended up crying so I decided to order another garment one size up and see if that helped. Until it came though, I was garment free.
My husband took out my second drain after the drain site was starting to get thick and crusty and irritated. I was draining right about .25 so I told Dr. Cardenas that and she said it should be fine. I whined and whimpered like a little bitch but he got it out with nothing more than that creepy "Is there an effing cockroach INSIDE my back?" feeling. Coincidentally, I also got my garment the next day so we squeezed my super swollen ass into it and yes, it still hurt, but it was nowhere near like the other one. Hunky dory, right?
The next day I noticed a bloody spot on the front of my garment where my incision was. I put some gauze on it and didn't worry about it. My friend came by to get my younger son and take him shopping and when she brought him home, I hobbled outside to see her for a bit. Stood (still not upright by the way) outside talking to her for about 10 minutes, came back in and the blood had soaked through the gauze on to the garment. Hmmmm. So I opened up the garment and it looked like a portion of my incision in the front had split open. Lame, but whatever right?
Well, that was the beginning. Day by day I watched my front incision open more and more. Finally when I could see yellow tissue and it was seeping all the time, I emailed Dr. Cardenas. She told me that there was a part of the incision that she had warned me might split open and have me cream to put on it when it was pink again and healed (she did). She told me to clean it with a wound cleanser twice a day and out Neosporin on it and it should heal fine on its own, so that's what I did. Well, it kept opening up and I kept crying, and as harmless as it may be, there is something supremely scary and mind blowing about cleaning out the inside of your stomach, so I kept emailing her every day. She finally she told me she wanted to see me again to show me how to properly clean the wound (and probably get me to chill the eff out). So hubby and I went back to see her last Thursday.
She held my hand and told me that this I'd developed superficial necrosis, which was pretty much my biggest fear for this surgery. She thought it might have been caused by lack of blood supply to or too much tension on the wound. She cleaned it out (holy shit, did she dog in there...good grief), cut out all the dead tissue and started me on antibiotics. She told me she wanted to see me again the next week to stitch it closed, but to be honest I don't know if she was doing that because that's what it needed or because I was literally dry heaving every time I looked at it. Oh, and I cried. Like, nonstop. So that was fun too.
So, I kept her informed via email pictures every day. The wound opened up much more after she cleaned it which she said she knew would happen but it needed to be open to be clean. It's now probably about 6-7" across and almost 1" wide in some places.
I'm going back tomorrow for a wound revision surgery. I assumed she could just give me a local and stitch me up awake, but I have to be out under. Lame. Two surgeries in less than a month doesn't sound fun. She's going to do a deep cleaning, trim the edges of the incision and stitch together the new healthy tissue, shutting it completely. I'll get a new drain (ugh) for a bit and non-dissolvable stitches for four weeks.
This has been one of the hardest things I've ever been through, both physically AND emotionally. I'm still bedridden at almost a month, my swelling (especially my hips, my poor hips) is out of control because I haven't been able to wear a garment, and I have a gaping open wound on my stomach that may be clean but looks like an alien is going to pop out. I've cried and cried and cried some more. I know the chances of this complication happening are very slim so please don't let my story affect your decision, but I can't believe it happened to me. I don't smoke and never have, I'm not diabetic, and I'm only 36 years old. WTF?!?
I haven't updated here because I really just need some positivity in my life right now and I really didn't want to hear people telling me to rush to the ER here, or that this is what happens when you go to Mexico, etc. I have some friends here who have said basically those things, and all it does is stress and freak me out, which isn't good for my healing at this point.
So...if you don't have anything nice to say, please don't say anything at all. I'm trying to hang on to my sanity and see that light at the end of the tunnel, and "That looks infected, get to a doctor here stat" isn't going to help. I trust Dr. Cardenas and her staff. I mean hell, I trusted her enough to cut me open in an eight hour surgery, right?
I'm posting some pictures because if it was me, I'd want to see. The captions explain where in my recovery process I was when they were taken. I do have a literal day-by-day photo journal of the wound progression but that's a lot of photos and a lot of details so I'm not posting them. If you really, REALLY want to see them let me know and I'll send them to you.
Happy thoughts for tomorrow and keep on trucking, right??
Wound revision surgery didn't go quite as planned...
Dr. Cardenas did tell me that after looking at it deeper, she thinks my body is having a reaction to the dissolvable stitches which is very uncommon. At this point, I'd just give anything to be closed up and functioning again. This has been the four longest weeks of my life and I feel like my recovery is just beginning. :(
I'm posting a picture from today but its mostly covered...I honestly can't even look at it because it makes me so sad. Dr. Cardenas has it packed with gauze.
Still waiting for the culture results and I'm being moved to BCRH today...
I miss my kids terribly and am dealing with massive mommy guilt because they. Start school next week. My husband has to leave today which way bums me out but I guess there's not much I can do but wait and trust the process.
Hugs and shit. :) xoxo
Well, shit. :(
My husband had to leave yesterday because our kids are starting school this week and that was hard but not much I can do about it. Oh, and I apparently have also developed a yeast infection from all the antibiotics so I'm on meds for that too. Being a girl is AWESOME.
Dr. Cardenas and staff are taking great care of me. I keep debating trying to take a picture of my wounds (I have one on my side as well, a smaller one) but they truly are really disturbing to look at even for me and the last thing I want to do is scare anyone else off from this surgery because of my freak complication. I just can't wait for this portion of my journey to be over and life to move forward!
Kisses and hugs.
Dr. Cardenas just closed me up...
Now that I'm closed I'll post an open picture of my wound. I know it's gross but abdominal wounds aren't all that cute anyway.
On the plus side, it did look like a Tupperware container, so at least my sandwich and my fruit won't touch each other. :)
Supposed to go home tomorrow!!
Rosie the shower nazi made me shower today and I feel 100 times better. Fatimeh let me borrow tweezers and a mirror so I was able to pluck my eyebrows and my man hairs, which means I'm not a complete hairy beast anymore. Thank GOD for that.
Hoping and praying this incision stays closed and everything heals the way it should this time...I honestly don't think I could do this shit again. ????
Heading back to TJ tomorrow...
I'm swollwn like crazy...like painfully so in my hips. Maybe it is time to wear the damn garment? I'm just worried about the pressure it will put on my incisions.
So it's been almost six weeks since my surgery and I've had one yeast infection, three surgeries, four antibiotics, 11 IVs and 25 days in the clinic. Awesome!
Here's what my wounds look like now all stitches up. There's a spot that concerns me because I had a very similar one right after my tummy tuck and it ended up opening up, but we're just watching it for now. It's the third picture, the little blood blister looking area.
Sorry for all the pubes but dude. I'm barely shaving my legs at this point, and my hair is three different colors. I'm a peach.
Hugs and shit.
FINALLY on the road to recovery!!
So I'm making progress! Baby steps, right?
This has been a VERY long, emotional journey for me and my family. Almost seven weeks after surgery, I'm basically just really beginning to recover. I'll keep you all posted but things seem to finally be looking up for me. :)
Hugs and shit. xoxo
Some side-by-side comparison photos...
Getting better every day!!
Also...my ass. I had pretty much written it off because of my prolonged recovery. I mean, I've basically been sitting on it 24/7 for the last seven weeks, right? Well, I put on some jeans for the first time and holy shit folks, I have got AN ASS! I love it! It's not perfect but it's so much more than I could have hoped for. So thrilled!!!
Photos...don't judge my choice of underwear!!
Enjoy Spongebob and all my lumps and bumps. :)
Getting my stitches out tomorrow...
Oh, and today's photos of my incisions for those who have asked. :)
Stitches are out (YAY!) and I'm back to work on Monday (BOO!)
The great news is, I'm back in my garment! I LOVE my new body but I do think not being able to wear the garment for seven weeks affected my results...I feel just a little lumpy and bumpy and not totally smooth. Of course, that may also be normal and I'm still 4000 times better than I was before so I can definitely live with it.
I'm still swollen and my lower back hates me most of the time but I'm starting to feel normal again. In fact, I have to go back to work on Monday. Ugh. So lame. But bills have to be paid, right?
I'm feeling great and finally seeing some results, which really helps. Dr. Cardenas told me to massage my swollen areas and the incision too to get rid of some of the ropey, hard tissue underneath.
Still plugging along...
Hugs and shit.
Better photos of my incision...
Still healing and getting better every day!
The results from my neck lipo...
Ok, maybe. Ask me again in a year. :)
A few more photos...
FINALLY able to enjoy my new body!
Here are some updated photos...this is the best thing I've ever done for myself and I don't regret it for one second, complications and all. The results Dr. Cardenas have me are completely amazing.
It's happening, guys. I'm becoming a plastic surgery whore.
The problem is, I have probably $15,000 worth of dental work that needs to be taken care of first, and that's $15,000 Mexico prices! So a lot...crowns, root canals, implants, veneers...I must prioritize.
Teeth first...then ass. I wonder how much Dr. Cardenas charges for a second round BBL? :)
New photos, almost three months later. SO WORTH IT!!!
Here's a pretty great full body shot...
Hugs and shit. xoxo
USA surgeons vs. Dr. Cardenas in Mexico...my take on the matter :)
PROS FOR MEXICO (IN MY HUMBLE OPINION)
1. Price: Surgery is MUCH cheaper in Mexico, which everyone knows. But keep in mind there may be supplemental charges you need to pay, namely travel expenses depending on where you are (mine was gas, but airfare etc if you're in another state). To give you an idea, I spent $6800 with Dr. C for a circumferential tummy tuck, lipo over my entire back and also on my thighs and chin and fat grafting to my butt, plus another $2000 to stay in a private room at BCRH for 10 days, for a total of $8800. I got three different quotes from doctors in the US before I decided, which ranged from $10,000 for a regular tummy tuck extending around the hips and nothing else to $12,800 for a regular tummy tuck plus fat grafting. These quotes didn't include any after care and actually that leads me to my next point...
2. After care: In Mexico, I had the surgery, stayed overnight in the surgery center and then went to a recovery house (TOTALLY optional, not everyone does this) for 10 days, which I paid additional for. Here, all three doctors told me that my surgery would be an outpatient procedure and I would be sent home that night. This was a HUGE factor in my decision. I can't even imagine trying to recover the way I did at home. I couldn't sit up, I couldn't stand...hell, I couldn't even wipe my own ass or shower by myself. I know lots of people do it but for me, having registered nurses around 24 hours a day to help with anything that may go wrong was a huge win for Mexico. Having said that, I'm sure there are places here in the US you can go to for after care, but I'm guessing they're not cheap.
3. Surgery: I did A LOT of research before I decided. Like, hours and hours and hours and hours spent on the internet and I started to notice a trend...it seemed like the women who had their surgery done in Mexico ended up with a much curvier, womanly body. They had more of an hourglass shape where women in the US seemed to end up squarer to me, more like, well, Spongebob. Remember, this was just MY personal opinion...I'm not saying every woman who has surgery here ends up square, but all of the women in the books in the doctor's offices I interviewed were...and that was by far the biggest reason I decided to go with Dr. Cardenas. Also, I do think that Mexico surgeons are much more aggressive than US surgeons in regards to lipo and sculpting, which is part of the reason you end up with that hourglass shape.
4. MEDICAL CARE: Dr. Cardenas is very, very approachable. She's humble and down to earth and laughed at my stupid jokes and the nurses were all warm and fuzzy and loving. Of course, it might have been because I was crying 18 hours a day, but whatever. The doctors I interviewed here talked to me like I was a toddler and rolled their eyes when I asked about lipo. Lame.
PROS FOR THE US (ALSO IN MY HUMBLE OPINION)
1. Distance/Border Crossing: Everything that I read about having surgery in Mexico was like, "You're only two hours away from home! That's less than the drive to Los Angeles!" Ummm, sure...unless you end up with a complication or a raging bacterial infection and have to actually stay there for weeks. I spent 30 days in Mexico between the surgery center and the recovery house. My husband was with me probably 15 of those days but had to return because of work and the kids. That meant I spent 15 days alone there, terrified that I wasn't going to be ok. I love Dr. Cardenas and I trust her with my life (obviously), but being there alone, missing my kids and not having anyone available to even visit...it was hard. Really hard. If my doctor had been here, I wouldn't have had to stay. I could've have driven to their office every day and then driven home. But when your doctor is a day trip away and you have to be on IV antibiotics for two weeks...you just stay there becuase it's easier.
And the border is AWFUL. Yes, it's only a two hour drive...THERE. What nobody tells you is that getting (walking or driving, it doesn't really matter) back across the border into the US can take you anywhere from 45 minutes to four hours. Seriously. If I had a 9:00 am appt, we would leave the house at 6:30 am and wouldn't get home until 5:30 pm. It was just a crapshoot how long the border crossing would take. I told Dr. Cardenas she REALLY needs an office in San Diego...she laughed at me. :)
2. LANGUAGE: Dr. Cardenas, Dr. Leyva, Fatimeh, the front office staff and MOST of the nurses at the surgery center and BCRH speak English fairly well. But not all. In fact, one of the nurses at the surgery center doesn't speak any, which makes it difficult when you're relying on her to get you up, out of bed and into the toilet. It can be extrememly frustrating. Also, they have TVs at the surgery center but it's really only intended to keep patients for one night after surgery...so there's only maybe one or two English stations and if you don't like it, you're screwed, unless you speak Spanish.
3. RECOVERY: I don't know if this is really a pro for the US, but it seems to me that the recovery time from surgeons here is shorter, but I'm guessing that's because they won't do as much work on you at the same time as Mexico surgeons will.
So there you have it. People have asked me over and over again if I regret going to Mexico for my surgery, and my answer has always been no. I really, really love Dr. Cardenas. She did EXACTLY what I wanted with my body...but I did exchange some inconveniences and difficulties for that. Ultimately, it's up to you what's best for you. If you want a lot of work done, just remember the recovery will be much harder and the risk for complications is higher. Having said that...I experienced some of those complications and although it was really hard going through, I survived and couldn't be any happier with the way I look. Who knows, maybe I would have been this happy going with a US surgeon too. I don't ever question that I made the right choice for ME and MY BODY, and that's all any of us can do.
Hugs and shit. :) xoxo
Six months out...it's probably time to update, huh?
I'll be six months out on 1/17/14 and I have to say, this was the best decision I've ever made for myself, even with my complications and prolonged recovery. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. :)
As of right now, I weigh 160 (I'm 5'8"). I was about 180 at surgery time and Dr. Cardenas told me she took off roughly around 8-10 lbs during surgery, so I've lost a little more since then. My goal weight forever and ever was 150, but to be honest I'm perfectly happy where I am now. I'm not and will never be a small girl, but thanks to Dr. C my body is exactly where I want it. Well...Dr. C and ME. I still have to drag my ass out of bed at 5:00 am every morning to hit the gym or walk, and I watch everything I eat. It BLOWS. Such is life.
I don't have any lingering effects from the surgeries other than some numbness between my belly button and scar, and also my hips, I'm guessing from the BBL. Speaking of, I'd still like more ass but that can wait. I'm not going anywhere. :)
Some pictures...and thank you all for all the support and advice you gave. If I didn't have Real Self I think I would have lost my mind during recovery. Now I look back on it and I can't believe I actually DID it. Love you all!!! xoxo
More pics for my RS friends!!
Hugs and shit. xoxo
Three months ago vs. today...
I actually own a little black dress, you guys!!!
Guess what I'm trying? Running. Haaahhhaaahaaa!!!
I'll get there...I'm still training and also maintaining my daily work outs. Here's me every morning, with my boobies strapped in a too-tight sports bra and my jigglyness sucked in some workout pants. This should be interesting.
Hugs and shit. xoxo
Also, my boobies think its hilarious that I expect them to be held up by a tiny top with two thin strings. So that's fun too.
Hugs and shit. :) xoxo
My newest obsession and more before and afters...
Oh, and more before and afters. And some new bikini pictures but I still haven't loved one enough to buy it.
And my boobs are becoming an issue in my quest to actually rock a bikini this summer because they simply refuse to be contained and pop out the sides. Stupid girl parts.
Hugs and shit to all you beautiful gals. ?
Almost one year later and this is honestly the best thing I've ever done for myself!!
This woman knows her shit! She is amazing at making a woman's body look like a woman's body, not a 12-year old boy's. she and her staff will hold your hand, walk you through everything and not be condescending to you, regardless of how many times you email/ask the same questions (speaking from experience here.) Trust me, if they can put up with my neurotic ass, they can out up with anybody. If you're having multiple procedures or a lot of body contouring, be prepared for a rough recovery, both mentally and physically...but she will work miracles on you. Check out my photos and see what I mean. I wouldn't trade her for any surgeon in the US. LOVES.