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I still can't believe I'm even doing this but...

I still can't believe I'm even doing this but seeing as how I just paid for BCRH in full for 10 days and put the deposit down to book Dr. Cardenas for 7/17...I guess I'm in!! :)

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. :)

Here's a cooter-less shot of me from the front. :)

More photos because, whatever. :)

Fatimeh deserves a medal for dealing with my neurotic ass!!

Seriously, I email this girl like four times a day, every day, and she's never crabby or mean or condescending. I would kill me!!

Oh, and she just sent me these...

My garments for after surgery and I. CAN'T. STOP. LAUGHING. The thought of what a beauty I'm going to be for a few weeks is endlessly entertaining to me!

Is it just me or has time just completely stopped??!

It feels like 7/17 will never be here and I'm so ready, I just want it to be done so I can start recovering! It's amazing, when your brain is ready...YOUR FREAKING BRAIN IS READY. I'm so impatient! Sigh...

A question for you married gals...

My husband has been really supportive of this whole process, especially considering how much it's going to cost. But as it gets closer, he seems less and less interested, if that makes sense? Like, he hasn't really expressed any concerns, doesn't really have much to say about it...and we're talking about a 6-hour surgery here! Have any of your men acted like this or is it just mine? I need help understanding the male psyche because I. AM. STUMPED. And frustrated. And getting more than a little pissed. Grrrrrr.

A question for my fellow Cardenas girls...

Ok gals...just wondering how many of you have a pooch of fat above your belly button like I do, and if so, what happens to that after a tummy tuck. I basically have two bellies, one above my belly button and one below. I'd like to believe they're all pure skin but I know they're not. The bottom belly gets cut off in the surgery, but what happens to the top part? I think I remember Dr. C saying that they can't lipo it, so does that mean your overall result after surgery won't be that flat because of that? So. Lame!!

My surgery countdown app :)

I need Real Self love. And cupcakes.

It's absolutely crazy to me how people react when I tell them I'm having surgery in Mexico, without ever even having gone down there to check it out. I'm so sick of explaining to my friends that no, I'm not going to die, and no, I'm not going to a back alley abortion clinic, and yes, they speak English. I know they just love me and are concerned but it's gotten to the point that I stopped telling people because I don't want to have to explain myself. And really, why do people give a shit what I do with MY money? Sigh. And I want a cupcake. Like, now. At 8:57 am. I MIGHT be PMSing, can you tell?

Tomorrow is the day!!!

I can't believe it's already here but the hubby and I leave this afternoon for Mexico...checking in at BCRH and then have to be there for surgery at 8:00 am tomorrow!! EEEEEKKK! I'm having a last minute dilemma and want some opinions. In addition to the CTT and lipo I'm having FG to butt and was going to do a neck lift as well. The gist is, if I really want Dr. Cardenas to give me a big, round butt, I will have plenty of fat left over from the tummy tuck and lipo that she could use (she's told me this). But if that's the case, she won't be able to do the neck lift at the same time. My "turkey gobbler" has always pissed me off so it's definitely something I want to get done at some point, and taking this much time off work is not easy for me at all, so I was going to have the neck done at the same time. But if I'm not happy with the butt results and have to do a second round, I won't have nearly enough fat to graft as I do right now. And if I get the butt done now, who knows when I'll be able to take the time off again to have the neck done! Sigh. Decisions, decisions. Part of me feels like, I've lived with such a flat ass for so long that any extra volume would be a bonus...thoughts? I'm posting a picture of my current jiggly neck on the left with my desired results on the right, and Dr. C says this is an achievable goal. Help! xoxo

Got to Beauty Care and just counting down now...

I live in OC so the hubby and I drove to the San Diego airport, parked the car in long term parking ($11/day) and shuttled it to the airport where Gabriel from BCRH picked us up. He is SUPER sweet! Got to BC and the attending nurse was Elizabeth, who I adore, but she left for the night and now it's Susanna. She seems very sweet too. Also met Carmen and she smells so damn good! Must ask her what perfume she's wearing. ???? I have to be at the surgery center at 8:00 am tomorrow...surprisingly I'm way more calm right now than I have been for a week so that's awesome! Here are some pictures of my home for the next 10 days...hubby and I got a private room and its SO much larger than I expected...

Whoopsie, forgot the picture...

I'm off to Beauty Care...

Check in is at 8:00. Wish me luck and prayers!!! Kisses!!!

One last look at the old me...yucky!

I did it you guys!!!

Sitting in my Beauty Care bed and probably going to crash again soon but I made it through! My hubby says I was gone for almost eight hours but who knows how much of that is actual surgery time. I'll update more tomorrow when I'm a little more coherent...not feeling loopy at all right now, just really, really tired. I'm posting a picture of my a couple hours after and my mark up photos, just for shits and giggles and to boost all you ladies' self esteem just a wee bit. :)

Saw Dr. Cardenas....

Said she took off about 5000 liters (10 lbs) in skin and fat and put 1300 ccs in each cheek BUT surprisingly my butt isn't saggy and I have a short muscle there so she's not sure how much of that is going to stick. Guess we wait and see....my ass feels like its on fire and I almost punched my husband in the throat when he made me laugh, so there's some insight as to how I'm feeling. :)

Some butt naked pictures...not for the faint of heart...

I mean, shit, it's me and I'M traumatized by looking at them. But have at it. PS Love me some Nurse Liz at BCRH and I can't even imagine doing this at home by myself. Seriously. It's SO worth it, you guys.

Love the gals at BCRH...

Seriously, coming here was the best decision I made. I'm still super uncomfortable but Liz, Susanna, Carmalita and Carmen are the best and truly go out of their way to keep me as comfortable as possible. LOVE them!!

Some more pics...

Check out the lipo bruising and the extremely LOW incision right above my cooter. God bless Dr. Cardenas!

Forgot pics again, sigh...

Can't sleep so why not?

It's 3:42 am here and I can't sleep, so I figured now is as good a time as any for a few little tidbits of info for all you upcoming Dr. C patients. :)
- 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!!

Busy day!

I pooped (a little in the chair, thought it was a fart...whoopsie)...felt two pounds lighter. Also had a massage and it felt great afterwards but yes, that shit hurts a bit. Also, poking my back with a needle and squeezing the juices out? Surreal. Oh, and started my period. Awesome. Effing Mother Nature.

Also, did you guys know...

A side effect of the muscle repair is that you get very full, very fast. Dr. Cardenas says this is because the tightened muscles push down on the stomach tricking it into feeling full, so you don't eat as much. BEST. SIDE EFFECT. EVER.

I think I underestimated the emotional aspect of this journey...

I can't stop crying. I want to lay flat, I want to get out of this bed, I want to feel NORMAL again...and I'm only on day four post op. I knew the pain would suck and I knew the downtime would be hard because regularly I'm not really a relaxer, but I had no idea how hard it would be. I just woke up my husband at 3:45 just to hold my hand. Is this normal?

An update with LOTS of pics...

Sorry I haven't updated lately but this has been a roller coaster for sure. I'll update more later but here are a ton of pictures to let you all know how it's going. :)

Oh, this one too...

Swelling is crazy...

Got my garment today...

Getting in took three people (Dr. Cardenas, Liz and my husband) but now that it's on, I love it. I've already peed in it but I'm scared to death to poop! What if I poop on it (pretty sure I will by the way)? Sigh. On a good note, my ass and silhouette look absolutely FABULOUS in it, so that's fun. :)

Garment photos didn't attach...

If I don't sleep soon, I'm going to kill someone!

Any if you have insomnia after surgery? I'm going nuts here. I literally get about two hours of sleep a night...I'm normally a stomach sleeper so I knew this would be difficult but this is crazy. I'm exhausted. :(

If you're considering Cardenas...do it!!

Seriously, you guys. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise if it's something you want. Carmalita took this today and I can't even believe it's me. :) (Warning: Cooter shot.)

Why do I struggle so badly with photos? Arrrgggh!!

Boredom makes me creative...

Look, there's a chicken in my drain!!

Lipo is no joke!!

Leaving today :(...

And I'm happy to be going home but damn, I'm gonna miss these ladies, especially Liz and Carmalita! Plus I'm kinda terrified I won't be able to take care of myself, seeing as how I'm still having issues trying to wipe myself. :) Today was the first day I woke up and actually felt halfway normal...not as sore, not as swollen, able to stand up more. Got one of my drains out which I was TERRIFIED of but honestly, it didn't hurt at all and just feels like a bug crawling inside your back. It lasts like three seconds and then done. The hubs took a picture of me last night and I honestly CANNOT get over how much she sculpted my entire body, especially my back. I know a lot of people have issues with Dr. Cardenas's BBLs being flat and wide but to be honest, my priority was the TT which she's so good at...the ass was just a bonus. And I'm a very wide girl anyway, so the fact that she was able to cut off my hip handles alone makes my ass look 100 times better. Anyway, here's my back and ass, and if it fluffs up, great...and if it doesn't, oh well. It's still SO much better than what God gave me. :)

Sigh. Freaking Real Self. Here's an ass and back picture...

Emotions are getting the best of me...

Ok. I came home yesterday and this has been the most emotional journey for me. I'm starting to cry every day and I swear I'm having little mini anxiety attacks at night from not being able to do anything on my own yet or even change sleeping positions. I'm tired, I'm sore and I'm pretty sure I'm momentarily depressed. Yes, my results are amazing but even looking at those isn't helping anymore. On top of all that, my garment hurts incredibly bad to put on due to the tightness, but mostly due to an area under my incision that is inflamed and gets "pinched" every time I put it on. I literally cry every time I have to get it put on. I feel like I'm losing my mind right now... :(

13 days post op and the pain in this journey had been nothing compared to the emotions...

For anyone planning on having this surgery, I can't stress enough how much of an emotional roller coaster this will be. I'm now 13 days post op and my thought before having this done was that everyone was exaggerating how rough it would be emotionally. I mean, really? Pain was my concern, not depression or sadness. Holy shit balls, was I wrong. The pain is definitely there but it goes away...the frustration, sadness, tiredness and fear seems to stick around a lot longer, at least for me. I'll have one great, "I can do it!!!" day followed immediately by one awful, crying, "What the hell did I do to myself?" day. It's insane. I'm tired. I'm restless. I'm frustrated. I'm totally OVER this whole thing, and I'm only two weeks post op. I've finally stopped reading other TT stories because the girls who are walking a mile right days after surgery make me and my body feel like a total loser. Yesterday was the first day I was able to get up on my own without help. I still use a walker for support and I'm still not standing up straight. Like a lot of you, I had A LOT of work done at one time and I'm 36 years old, so I can't keep comparing myself to the 24 year old who had a basic tummy tuck and nothing else.

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...

And I wouldn't change a thing. I really wouldn't. Dr. Cardenas is amazing, her staff is amazing and I believe 100% that I made the right choice. Having said that...I just finished crying, and here's why.

- 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!!

Ok, all., can't believe how much has happened since I left BCRH on 7/27.

"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?

Sigh.

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??

xoxo

Wound revision surgery didn't go quite as planned...

Well, shit. Dr. Cardenas was unable to close me up yesterday because there wasn't enough clean tissue. She did a deep cleaning and took a culture to make sure there's no infection in there, which we should have the results back from by Friday. She did say that the wound looks clean and she can see the new granulated tissue so that's good, but she's not comfortable closing me up until she's 100% sure there's no infection. So my best case scenario is that it's not infected and I get closed up on Saturday, worst case is there is an infection and we have to start more aggressive antibiotics for three days before surgery, which would put us at Wednesday. :( I'm currently staying at the clinic per her request so I can be local and she can monitor me. I'm not sure if I'll be moved to BCRH or not, but she has been very gracious and wonderful throughout this whole thing (she even knocks me out for deep cleanings because mentally I can't take it right now).

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.

Here's the photo, it wouldn't upload...

Still waiting for the culture results and I'm being moved to BCRH today...

Should have the results today but no idea when so if they're negative for infection I'll have surgery to close the wound on Monday, if they're positive I'll have it on Tuesday. I've been at the clinic since Tuesday but am being moved to Beauty Care today and no, I haven't paid for ANY of this. Dr. Cardenas has gone above and beyond trying to accommodate me, hold my hand, keep me positive etc. I don't regret one bit going to her and don't blame her for anything that's happened to me...this is a complication that anyone, anywhere can experience and there's nothing anyone can do. I've read a few comments on other posts about me having an infection and I just wanted to clarify that I DON'T have one, at least not that I know of. I do have a large open wound, whether it's from a reaction to the stitches, or necrosis, or tension on the incision, but I DO NOT have an infection. It looks terrible and is ore than a little scary but I honestly feel like in receiving the best care I can get here.

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. :(

Got my culture results back yesterday and it was positive for bacteria, which means my wound is contaminated. Ugh. The good news is that all my other bloodwork came back normal so Dr. Cardenas thinks the contamination is localized to the wound only and isn't systemic. So YAY for that! Also, she started me on strong antibiotics on Tuesday when I got here and she thinks they may be strong enough to kill the infection, so she took another culture yesterday and we'll see what it says. If the infection is gone, I should have surgery Tuesday. If not, we'll probably need to add another antibiotic and wait another 72 hours and see what happens. So please, say a prayer or cross your fingers or whatever you need to do to send luck my way!

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...

Culture finally came back negative so I had surgery to get closed up tonight. Got a new drain and non-dissolvable stitches for four weeks. I haven't seen it all yet but it CAN'T be any worse than the open wound so I'm happy. Also just peed in a bedpan for the first time and that was interesting. :)

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!!

Super excited but also a little worried because I'm still in a little bit of pain, plus I have to remain on IV antibiotics through Sunday. My sister-in-law is a nurse and has agreed to administer them for me, so that's good. They dilute them here at the clinic and they still hurt, so I hope they send them home diluted.

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. ????

xoxo

Heading back to TJ tomorrow...

But should be no big deal. Dr. Cardenas sent me home with an IV (my sister-in-law is a nurse and am can administer meds for me) and two antibiotics to finish through tonight. She called me to tell me that just to be super safe she wants me to be on the meds for another four days since I'm closed up and she really, really wants to make sure the bacteria is gone. So I'm going back tomorrow and saying through Friday, to get my IV antibiotics and just to be observed. It sucks but better safe than sorry, right?

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!!

Sorry for the delay in updates...I've been home since Friday but am just trying to get back in the swing of things. I finished my IV antibiotics with Dr. Cardenas and am SO incredibly happy to report that things are finally looking up for me! My incision is starting to dry out and scab up, which is super hopeful. I've been standing up more and more every day and although I'm not fully upright yet, it's a start! Yesterday I took my first trip out of the house in seven weeks (besides Mexico) to Target with the husband. They didn't have any of the scooter carts available (lame) so I just used the cart as a walker and had to sit down a few times, but I made it! Also drove for the first time to Rite Aid to get MORE yeast infection stuff (suck it, antibiotics). I've been off pain killers except for the occasional ibuprofen for a couple of weeks now. I also ordered a new garment which is more of a girdle type with dual full zippers, which I think will be easier for me to get in and out of and put less pressure on my incision. I should get it this week but until then I've just been having my husband wrap the shit out of me with a large ACE bandage. And it's like 100 degrees here with a humidity factor of I'm pretty sure 180%, so that's fun.

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...

That rally show just how far I've come. I'm still very swollen, especially in my back, which is my ass has no curve, but still...pretty amazing. :)

Getting better every day!!

I'm driving all the time again, showered standing up for the first time today and am almost completely vertical! My incision has dried and scabbed up and looks great, and although the swelling is still an issue, I feel 1000 times better than I did just two weeks ago.

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!!!

xoxo

Damn, submitted the update too soon....more ass photos. :)

More pictures...definitely still swollen but happy!

Photos...don't judge my choice of underwear!!

I'm still swollen, especially in my lower back (photo #2), hips and pubic area (photo #1). But all in all, I'm very happy so far. I think I'm pretty much upright but it does make my stomach feel very tight. I'm supposed to go back to Dr. Cardenas this week to get my stitches out and I can't wait for that...then I'll be pretty much human again!! Back to work a week from tomorrow which blows but I have a desk job so hopefully I'll be fine.

Enjoy Spongebob and all my lumps and bumps. :)

xoxo

Getting my stitches out tomorrow...

And I'm so thrilled but a little nervous. I have a couple of stitches, one in particular, that looks like the skin has actually healed over it so all I keep thinking is. How the hell is she going to get that out? I'm having visions Xacto knives and crying. I guess it really doesn't matter because they need to come out and really, after this long journey, should be nothing pain wise, right? RIGHT?!?

Oh, and today's photos of my incisions for those who have asked. :)

xoxo

Stitches are out (YAY!) and I'm back to work on Monday (BOO!)

So I saw Dr. Cardenas yesterday and she took my stitches out...totally painless and SO cool to watch! There are a couple of deeper stitches on the side that just kinda poked out so she trimmed them and said the skin will cover them as it heals...they were too deep for her to pull out without hurting me. All in all I'm super pleased with how my incision looks. The only area the skin splitting open affected is right above my vag, where it's crooked now because she had to pull the skin up to close me up, but honestly, nobody will ever see that besides my husband so whatever. I'm sure she'd do a scar revision but since I've already had three surgeries with her, I'm good for awhile. :)

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...

At the two areas where it split open. The line itself looks soooo good...in fact, it honestly looks better than the rest of my incision that DIDN'T split open!

Before & after...PRETTY. FREAKING. RAD.

Still healing and getting better every day!

Some pictures...Dr. Cardenas is amazing at hourglass shapes. :)

Apparently I suck at posting pictures. From the side...

The results from my neck lipo...

I'm pretty happy with how the lipo Dr. Cardenas gave me on my neck turned out. I mean, it's definitely not the same results I would have had with a necklift but it also wasn't $3000 more and another surgery. I can definitely see a difference. She didn't have me wear any sort of strappy headgear compression garment thing, which I thought was weird but I always forgot to ask why not. All in all though, I'm satisfied with the results...much more so than my thighs, which are just kind of saggy and hanging now. I seriously need a thigh lift but WILL NOT be going through surgery again.

Ok, maybe. Ask me again in a year. :)

My boy took this photo...

A few more photos...

I honestly can't believe the difference a few weeks makes. It's like, you're totally bedridden and unable to move without discomfort and then all of a sudden...you're not. And it gets better every day!! I am 99% back to normal and the ONLY reason I'm not 100% is because the swelling in my lower back and hips still gets me sometimes. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, ladies!! I swear!

FINALLY able to enjoy my new body!

I'm feeling so great now and the only lasting issue I have is the swelling in my lower back but it's definitely something I can deal with. I'm back at the gym (no abs at all and taking it easy), I've become one with my garment and I can have sex again! Woo hoo! Hubby is SUPER happy about that. :)

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.

I'm so happy with my results that now I of course want a bigger ass. In my defense, mine did get a little smashed from sitting on it for seven weeks solid. I'd also really like a thigh lift and a neck lift but truth be told, I don't know if I'm willing to get cut open and risk infection again. So for now, I'm obsessed with the ass.

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 pictures...

It's hysterical that I HATED this God awful garment for so long...and now I'm totally attached to it. It's a love/hate, but I'm coming up on the eight week mark and will probably need to take it off soon, which means my perfectly smooth thighs and ass won't be perfectly smooth anymore. Lame.

New photos, almost three months later. SO WORTH IT!!!

Today!

My boy had his first Homecoming and someone took this picture of us. I LOVE my results. :)

Here's a pretty great full body shot...

And it's not a lot of clothing, but the cooter and the boobies are covered up, so you guys should be thrilled. :) I STILL can't believe that this is MY body. I can't believe that I can wear cute chonies and my fat flap doesn't hang over, or that I can wear a thong and my hip handles don't stick out. THIS IS SO COOL, GUYS.

Hugs and shit. xoxo

USA surgeons vs. Dr. Cardenas in Mexico...my take on the matter :)

I've gotten quite a few messages from people asking me why I chose Dr. Cardenas over American doctors. Most people seem to think it was because of the money and that was a bonus, but it wasn't the reason. Here's my take on the differences (both bad AND good) between getting surgery in the US and getting it in Mexico (and I'm only speaking for Dr. Cardenas here, since I obviously don't have any other MX surgery experience).

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?

Sorry, all...turns out when you start feeling better and your body heals, your life resumes. Who knew?

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

I am so special.

I hit submit before I was done attaching pictures. Here's more! xoxo

More pics for my RS friends!!

Hey all! Here are some more pics, including a full frontal nude which totally showcases my cooter but oh well. You guys have seen it all already anyway.

Hugs and shit. xoxo

Three months ago vs. today...

The first picture was taken three months after surgery (so, three months ago) and the second was taken today. Your body will keep changing, especially if you get back into exercising. DO NOT GO BATSHIT CRAZY AND SPEND HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS ON NEW CLOTHES. THEY WON'T FIT IN A COUPLE OF MONTHS!! :( I'm speaking from experience here...ugh.

I actually own a little black dress, you guys!!!

I wasn't going to buy it because the IFG (Inner Fat Girl) still says I can't wear tight clothing, but the BFF said I looked beautiful and not at all whorish so I did...and got hit on ALL NIGHT. Holy shitballs. It's a keeper!

More pictures...

It's honestly really not until I see side by side comparisons that I realize how far I've really come, both in weight loss and post surgery. Holy shitballs, y'all. xoxo

Guess what I'm trying? Running. Haaahhhaaahaaa!!!

My goal for 2014 is to become a runner. I'm using the Couch to 5K app and so far, IT BLOWS. I work out every single day at the gym and speed walk between 2-3 miles a day. I literally ran for one minute and thought I was going to vomit. WTF?!? I thought I was in shape!

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

Soooo...bikinis.

Yesterday I tried on a bikini for the first time since 8TH FREAKING GRADE. I don't necessarily know that I love it but really I was just trying to figure out if I can rock a bikini at all. I'm torn. On one hand, I look SO much better than I used to, so that makes me deliriously happy. On the other hand, I do still have some loose, saggy skin, particularly on my thighs and love handle area...and it's all I can focus on in a bikini. But that may just be IFB (Inner Fat Bitch) opening her stupid mouth again. Ugh. She needs to die. And I just decided I'm rocking a bikini this summer, so she can kiss my ass.

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...

So, kickboxing. Holy shit. It destroys me but I love it so much. I go to a Muay Thai gym and its an hour and 15 minutes of pure cardio, which means every crevice and inch of my body is sweating and I pretty much want to die...and then it's done and I realize I was just a badass and let's do it again. Amazing. :)

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!!

So my surgery will be one year ago on 7/17 and you guys...I am thankful every stupid day that I was able to do what I did. I haven't gained any weight back but that's because I watch what I eat and work out every day. I've noticed thought that when I DO gain weight, it's in totally different places...instead of my gut like it used to be it's in my hips and ass. Regardless, I'm so grateful for my experience and don't regret for one second choosing Dr. Cardenas. She gave me results I don't think many other doctors could have. I have curves and I don't look like a 12-year old boy and this makes me smile. :) I'm including lots of bikini pictures because for the first time since I was 13 freaking years old, I can squeeze my ass into one and actually feel good about it. The feeling is priceless!! Hugs and shit to all of you!!
Mexico Plastic Surgeon

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.

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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Your results are phenomenal! As well as your personality LOL. While I was reading your reviews I was cracking up with many of your comments. I learned very much from your post. Thank you for sharing this with all the newbies that is new to this and looking for Doctors. Congrats again!
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It's so awesome to see you look so great one year later! Fantastic girl!
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You look amazing and I can FEEL your joy in your words and in the pictures!! Thanks for keeping us updatingn - I do like hearing from folks a year or so out. P.S. nice booty!
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What a wonderful journey and year! You look FABULOUS! Congratulations and enjoy your gorgeous "new" body. :-DSuzy
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My surgery is July 17, 2014. I'm reading ur story with tears in my eyes. You look AWESOME!!!!! Thank you sharing..
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You look so great! Wow is all I can say. Enjoy.
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Geez Louise you're looking AWESOME!!!!!! Hat off to Dr Cardenas. And there's nothing wrong with that last bikini pic.
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Wow u are hilarious had fun reading ur review and just wanted to tell u , ur results are great, u are very brave. I will be getting a BBL in less than 2 months but w Dr. Campos in TJ... Good luck w ur continuing recovery :)
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You look great! I enjoyed reading your journey. Best of luck to you!
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Nice job!!!! You cant even tell that ur wound opened.
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You look sooo awesome!! And my gawwd you are soooo funny!!
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I love you results you look fabulous, ,,I'm so happy i found your page I'm planning my sx with Dr. Cardenas for January, ,so excited ;)
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Girlie you look fab!
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You truly look great, i am considering Dr. cardenas as well for a BBL and seeing your results just motivates m more :)
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You look gorgeous!!
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Thank you!! ❤️
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Did you ever do your teeth?
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Hi Mary! I didn't. I'm scared! Stupid to be scared of having my teeth done down there but not being cut in half but for some reason, I am. I think I'll just end up forking over three times as much to stay here. Im so strange.
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Been checking out this dentist in cancun, German Arzate, DDS, supposed to be good, anyhow you look terrific, I just got back from TJ yesterday, I had butt implants....not sure yet as they are very round on top but my ass on the bottom was saggy and it still is, however I will give it tome to see if they drop, if not I will be calling on Cardenas to see if see can put fat into the lower area to round it out, did you by any chance see if she did any facial work? I would like fat transfer to face, thinking of going back in May , keep up the good work you look beautiful
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Great review!  You look amazing :)
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Thank you Jill!! ❤️
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Thanks for the great info on Dr Cardenas. I am considering going to her as I live in OC also. Depends on if I can get insurance to pay for some of my tummy tuck. Congrats on your surgery!
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I love her! I don't live that she's in Mexico, but it is what it is, right? Good luck and hugs your way!! ❤️
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Looking good!
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Ya I'm sure bilinis off the rack are for girls, not women! I will be treating myself to a fancy thing this year! You look great, kickboxing, who knew!?
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