Hello Real Selfers!
You have helped me so very...
Hello Real Selfers!
You have helped me so very much that I wanted to share my experience and I have a lot to share. I hope it is not too much. I had my first cosmetic procedure in my 20's. Although I think the decision to have cosmetic surgery is personal and private, I am not ashamed of it. In fact, I am a fan... not obsessed, just a fan. In the past 40 years, I have had work done on my face and my body but time marches on and maybe 6 months ago, found this site and started considering an update. The thing I wanted most was a breast reduction. I have had three prior lifts but the surgeons didn't seem to be able to understand that I REALLY did want smaller boobs. Mine have always been between a D and F ( except when I had no fat and was exercising like a maniac in my 40's) and wanted to be a B or C. I have dents in my shoulders from lugging these boobs around. I also have constant shoulder pain. I also was thinking about liposuction of the upper and lower back because, despite working out at least 5 times weekly, the bra rolls and muffin top wouldn't budge. I also wanted a neck lift and maybe a lip lift... Of course, the list in endless but those were the main things. Due to various life circumstances, I was going to be between jobs for the month of December so decided to take the plunge.
I was initially considering a PS in Houston Texas who has a patented procedure for breast lifts and lip lifts. His reviews on RS were mixed and it seemed that many of his breast lift patients had revisions done, Despite this, I contacted his coordinator. The quote for breast lift was $13000, Lipo was $2000 per area ( $4000 if I only got two areas done) and lip lift was $3000 for a total of $20,000 not including lab work, transportation, hotels or meals. I was seriously considering it when I started reading reviews of Dr. Carmona. The photos were exactly what I was looking for! There was a woman who had a breast reduction and liposuction and the results were amazing. All of his reviews were 5 star. I went to his website and contacted his coordinator. She emailed me back and asked for pictures. I discussed what I wanted to do and she agreed that it could be done all at once. I sent her photos and she got back to me within an hour. There was a promotion and the cost was $8800!!! This was for a neck lift, breast reduction, lipo of 4 areas ( upper back, lower back, upper abdomen, and inner thighs). It also included the following:
all doctors fees for Dr. Carmona, anesthesiologist, nurses, instrumentalists and assistants.
rental fee for special equipment for the surgery
all preoperative and postoperative consultations
pick up from the airport
transfer to the doctor's office and to the hospital
postoperative medications (Antibiotics, Anesthetics, Pain Control)
fully bilingual patient concierge
Nurse visits to your hotel (after care)
This was pretty amazing! According to average figures on REAL SELF, these procedures would cost at least $21,000. And he is a very skilled, highly respected surgeon. I sent my deposit and got ready to go.
My very wonderful friend agreed to go with me to provide support and aftercare. My husband is wonderful but not a caregiver. Also, he had lived in Cancun for 5 years and was really freaked out about my being in a Mexican Hospital. At the time, I thought he was exaggerating but maybe he wasn't. More on that later. We got our plane tickets using miles. Many of Dr. Carmona's patients stay at the La Quinta Inn near his office in downtown Cancun. It is convenient and inexpensive. I decided that, as I was saving at least 10K, I could splurge and booked a room at the PRESIDENTE INTERCONTINENTAL with a view of the carribean. I mean, what a way to recover. I will write more about the actual surgery tomorrow. but will post some before and after pics tonight.
Getting to Mexico and surgery complete. Surgery day and Day 1 post op.
A couple of things not mentioned in my last post. When Dr. Carmona saw my photos HE suggested that a bichectomy would improve my neck lift results and he would be happy to do it FREE ( said no doctor in the USA ever). I was amazed. I also had read that there were few pain management options in Mexico so I had arranged to bring my own hydrocoone and ibuprofen as I was not comfortable taking Tramodol... Lots of reasons for this PM me if you are interested.
We arrived in Cancun on December 7. I had had my blood work done at home. Although I had asked for a list of things to bring, the only pre op suggestions I received were to bring anti bacterial soap and gauze pads... So I did. Danny picked us up at the airport ( after we negotiated the numerous people trying to sell us tours and hotels and rides..). Our first stop was the cardiologist. He was excellent. For $50, I walked out having the best cardiac exam of my life, with a written report and EKG. NO waiting at all. We had time to kill so we went for Mexican lunch and then to meet Dr. Carmona. I will discuss the visit in terms of pros and cons.
1. Very serious and knows his business.
2, Office is clean, attractive and well set up.
3. No waiting.
3. Detailed discussion of various procedures and marking of my body in a private room with a nurse.
4. I was asked some questions about my medical history.
5. Given a sheet of written instructions for the hospital and one in Spanish to give to the nurses.
1. I was not given adequate pre op instructions prior to coming to Mexico. At the pre-op visit, Dr. Carmona asked if I had taken any aspirin or vitamin D. I responded that I had and had not been asked to discontinue any medications. This lead to a really stressful discussion about whether or not he was comfortable doing the surgery and whether I could extend my trip another week ( answer was no) to have surgery done 3 days later. I was sent to a local lab for a bleeding time test , which was normal ( cost: $3.00...... Really! ) As the bleeding time was normal, we eventually decided that he would change the order of the surgery and leave the lipo for last in case of bleeding. WHEW! I was ok with that.
2. All of the paperwork including medical history was completed AFTER the visit. I have no idea whether or not any of this information was reviewed. It was not reviewed while I was there.
3. The list of items to bring to the hospital was woefully inadequate ( as was the hospital but more about that in a minute)
We completed the paperwork and went to our hotel. We upgraded to a club level room with a view of the Carribean sea, a balcony, and 2 free meals a day. It was well worth the extra. As things have turned out, We spent a good bit of time at the hotel and the beautiful surroundings and excellent service were very helpful.
Sugery day: Danny picked us up at 8:30 and drove me to the hospital. My friend and I had decided that she was not needed at the hospital but would be on call to send information to loved ones at home. The name of the hospital was Medical Hospital. It was small and surrounded by buildings with bars on the windows. The parking lot was unpaved. Waiting room was small and crowded. My instincts were to run but I had come all this way.... I had elected to stay in this place overnight post op. I had assumed that I would be at the Ameri-Med hospital but I had not asked. I thought I had elected to spend the night with a private nurse but that was not to be the case. I have discussed my hospital experience with Dr. Carmona in detail and have made suggestions for changes. He told me at the post op visit that he used this hospital because the surgical facilities were excellent, particularly the lights. He also told me that most patients did not spend the night. Had I known all of this, I would have made different choices but, live and learn. Suffice it to say that my post op experience at the hospital was frightening and disturbing.
I awoke after surgery in a room. The call bell for the nurse ( no private nurse) did not work. The one nurse on duty spoke NO English and no one thought to give me instructions for calling a nurse. I had a reaction to either the anesthesia or the Suboxone that they used for pain management and got no sleep. Mattress was hard. Pillow was harder. So I was awake all night in pain, immobilized with an IV and a catheter with no way to call for help. I ended up yelling until someone came in. My IV had infiltrated and needed to be changed. I was the one who noticed this . No vital signs were collected at all. No one looked at my wounds or dressings at all AND, to top it off, in the morning, the day nurse ( by then I had woken up enough to set up the translation app on my ipad) tried to install a hep lock in my IV. It was clotted so she dropped it on the bed ( unsterile bed) and cleaned the inside of the IV with a tissue ( an unsterile tissue). I don't think this would have freaked me out as much if I were not a Nurse myself but I am and I was terrified. I got in touch with my friend and asked her to call Danny and Dr. Carmona. I told them what had happened but it was still afternoon before I got out of there. NEVER AGAIN.
Once I was dropped off that the hotel, things started looking up.. That was the first time I got to see the results.....They were wonderful. More about that in my next post.
I am home resting in bed. Today is 7 Post op... I will review what has occurred since my last post. I spent days 2-6 at the Intercontinental hotel. The first night I was very uncomfortable and took a 5 mg hydrocodone tab which helped a lot. After that, my pain has been totally managed by taking OTC tylenol and 800 mg Ibuprofen tablets. By day 3, I felt more awake and like myself. I mostly rested and went downstairs at the hotel for meals. I contacted Danny who told me that I could pretty much do as much walking as I was comfortable doing so on days 4 and 5, we went out shopping for a few hours. Dr. Carmona came to the hotel on day 4 ( Friday) with his supplies. We had the option of traveling downtown to his office but it was wonderful to have a house call. He brought his bright headlamp and thoroughly examined all of the surgery sites. He removed sutures from the lipo holes and my chin. The sutures around the ears are to be removed on day 10 at home. He explained that there were many many stitches inside each breast ( 200 at least) and that it would take appx 4 months before I could do any exercises involving the upper body. He said that for the first month, it was important to increase calories. This is difficult for me because I am very swollen and wearing a faja but I am doing my best. I also find that food outside the USA tastes strange to me. Now that I am home, I am eating up a storm. Still very swollen ( see pics). Bruising is slowly fading. Last night I was able to sleep on my side. NOTE: the long lateral scars under the breasts are there because Dr. Carmmona said that there was a lot of excess skin that had to be removed. He said that he removed 1100cc from each breast and from each underarm area. Hopefully this will result in no more blobs of fat front and no bra rolls in the back!... I will keep you posted. I have read that liposuction results can take up to 6 months to resolve. I will try to update periodically. So far, aside from the hospital issues, I am very pleased with the results. Breasts are the breasts of my dreams ( although I would prefer less colorful ones), neck looks like it will be a big improvement. Lipo needs more time to settle.
I am still here healing.... YAY!!
I am so glad that I took a month off from work. Surgery was on December 8. Today is the 21st. ( happy solstice). I am very happy with the results so far. I am still very swollen and somewhat bruised. I am a bit sore but the pain management is down to 1-2 ibuprofen or 2 tylenol daily. I am out driving and visiting with friends. Sleeping well. Still wearing the faja all the time. I am to do that for a month and then wear it part time for another month. I was told to eat a LOT for the first month but I am so swollen that it is difficult to do that. Also, to be honest, since I am not doing much activity or ANY exercise, I am afraid to weight gain. I went to see Sisters the other day ( I thought it was going to be awful 30 minutes in and then it got really funny) and ate popcorn. I am still paying with swelling.
I have heard nothing at all from Dr. Carmona or his coordinator. I am somewhat surprised but, as I don't need them, it is not really an issue. I will continue to post as I recover and wish you all well!
Heading back to work tomorrow
So I am almost 4 weeks post op. I am still swollen and still tired. Scars are healing. I am not sure what is swelling and what is fat as I have been instructed to eat a lot of calories and, it being the holidays, that was not difficult. I have also had a month off between jobs and have been spending a lot of time in bed and minimal time walking.
No follow up at all initiated by Dr. Carmona's office but emails I send are answered promptly. I return to work tomorrow... Still wearing the faja all the time... Excited to go to nights only starting Friday. I am wearing the faja tighter so the swelling might not be as bad as I think. Neck looks wonderful. Breasts are all I ever wanted. I hope that they stay as perky as they are....
Photos didn't upload
Here are photos from January 2. Surgery was done December 8.
Almost two months.... Time flies...
Almost two months. No pain at all. I am not taking any pain medication. I am healing well. Wearing the faja at night and a soft bra in the daytime. I am only walking for exercise right now and will email for month three instructions soon. Very happy with the results !!!