Full Tummy Tuck & Breast Lift in Costa Rica

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My surgery was January 26th. Still a little...

My surgery was January 26th. Still a little swollen but I am SOOOO happy I did it. I am the biggest pain coward in the world. I don't like pain and I don't like physical discomfort. I still feel faint and hysterical when I have to get a shot for heaven's sake.

I am a 37 year old mother of three. All my children were breast fed and my youngest was breast fed till she was a little over three. I am 5'4" and I had always been between 108 and 112 lbs until last year. I quit smoking, I turned 36, and I did a one week juice fast and then attempted a second (failed) water fast that lasted no more than two or three days. Somehow because of one or maybe all three of those changes, my weight started to climb. I was now hovering between 125 and 128 lbs.

The extra weight wasn't such a bad thing as I've always thought curvy girls were much more sexy and I had been boy-thin all my life. The problem was the weight was mostly gained in my stomach while the rest of my body only had very moderate gain. I know looks don't matter and I couldn't ever imagine judging someone else based on looks but I was starting to get REALLY depressed with how my stomach looked. All my clothes were quickly becoming too small and it was a nightmare trying to find something that would hide the belly I had developed. I had gotten really good at carrying things with me to put in front of my stomach to hide it. If I didn't have shopping bags I would just walk with my purse in front of my stomach. It got to the point where I hated leaving the house and wouldn't do it unless absolutely necessary.

I believe in doing whatever it is that makes you happy. It's a short life after all and you're supposed to be enjoying it but I had a bit of guilt over the decision. I am NOT rich and I kept feeling like I had no right to take such a large amount of money and spend it on myself. Especially when there are so many things it could be spent on to benefit the entire family like a new couch or something. What I realized is because I was feeling so very unhappy and so very depressed and not wanting to leave the house I was not capable of giving my four year old (two older daughters grown and gone) my all and my best. As the primary care-giver, it's my responsibility to do whatever it takes to make sure I am whole and complete and capable of giving my very best because my baby deserves no less than the best I have to give.

My surgery was performed by THE BEST surgeon in Costa Rica and a wonderful and patient anesthesiologist. I did a lot of research and a lot of shopping around because I LOVE bargains. My PS was not the least expensive but unlike the others, I could not find even one unhappy person. Everyone loves him (if you meet him you'll see why) and his work is beyond reproach. That man is an artist!

This is my one and only body and more importantly it's my life that I am choosing to put at risk so this was not the time for bargain hunting. Most people choose to go to a the main hospital here but I chose {edited - provider information is shown above the review for registered users}.

Check-in was easy and breezy and the staff was amazing (especially Paola). You would think a big hospital would be better than a clinic but I was truly impressed with the care I received. Every time I woke up during my overnight stay there was a nurse with a friendly face sitting there with me. I wasn't a bed number but a person.

I had a catheter during surgery which of course had to be removed so I could check-out and of course I freak at any perceived threat of pain. I didn't know how exactly the catheter was attached but I knew it couldn't be good because our urethral opening is very small and that tube looked very big. So the nurse is telling me to take a deep breath, which I do, but with that breath I start begging and pleading and swearing I will be happy to just wear the dang thing for the rest of my life and I won't complain if she would just leave it and on and on and on until I would be out of breath and she would ask again for me to take a deep breath and slowly let it out. After two or three times of this and not a single crack in her sweet disposition she distracts me by showing me something in her left hand and gently removed the catheter with her right hand. You know what? There was nothing in that left hand. I was duped.

After leaving the clinic I went home where one of my older daughters would be there to help me with the little one and the house work. I didn't have a pain pump and I didn't have any pain. I stopped taking the pain pills after the first night because I vomited (THAT WAS PAINFUL!) but after I stopped taking the pills I realized I didn't need them so I stopped. There was pain if I coughed, sneezed, or laughed but other than that, nothing.

They say to move around as soon as you are able but I was exhausted and only moved when I had to that first week. My PS had me go on iron pills and I perked right up. I forgot that I was a little anemic during pregnancies. It probably would have helped if I had started taking iron before surgery. Check with your PS if you have weak blood.

As for pros & cons, it was just about all pro. I had the best surgeon and his work was impeccable. My care was fantastic in the clinic and at home with my wonderful daughter who took the time for me. I feel like a thoroughbred ready to break out of the gate and dash head on into life again. My confidence is way up and I'm trying on all my old clothes and it almost feels like they are new again. I can't believe how good clothes look on me now. Even growing up very skinny, I never had a waist and I never had a flat stomach. My mid-section has never been this curvy and defined. OH, and my breasts! I didn't get implants but I LOVE THEM. My areola is smaller and they are just so perky again! My belly button is just what I asked for (it was important to me). My scar is nice and low but comes up just enough on the sides that I can wear a high cut swimsuit or even a bikini (that'll be a first in my life) and low enough that I could wear low cut jeans.

As for cons, the drains kinda sucked even though I was afraid to have them removed. Sadly, another panicked and desperate plea to just leave them there forever ensued. Thank goodness my PS won that debate because I felt SOOOOO much better after they were removed and it didn't even hurt. I did have ghost drains for a few days. When I went to stand up or move I would reach for the drains but they were not there. Another thing is I developed a hemorrhoid because of the same pressure that was swelling my vulva and thighs. It never occurred to me that this could happen and it is even more uncomfortable than usual considering your body is already going through so much to heal so take whatever precautions necessary to avoid it and prepare by having treatments on hand in case you can't avoid it. Baby powder worked wonders for me. I used the cornstarch baby powder not talc because I read some time ago that women should never use talc in their underwear nor should it be used in the diapers of baby girls.

I wore jeans to the clinic because they have always been my baggy jeans. Bad idea. Wear sweats! There may be swelling and your movements will be VERY limited after surgery. The girls at the clinic pulled my jeans out of my overnight bag to help me get dressed and they just looked at me with a gentle smile while sympathetically shaking their heads to say, "Nope -- not happenin". They were kind about it but I still felt ridiculous that it didn't occur to me to bring sweats even after the doctor suggested it. They sent me home in a pair of green scrubs pants.

In Costa Rica you are more likely to find showers in a home than baths so the shower spaces are usually fairly good sized. Because I didn't have someone to help me with showering I placed one of those cheap plastic outdoor chairs in the shower and I could clip my drains to it and just sit and shower without worrying about getting dizzy or slipping. Next to getting the drains removed, taking a shower made me feel like a million bucks.

I am a little shy and I didn't really want to add pictures but when I was researching and trying to make up my mind about having a TT this website was invaluable and all the posts are appreciated but the ones that helped me the most before and after my surgery were the ones with pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words and I really want to thank all the posters before me who may not know how much I relied on your sharing even if I didn't take the time to comment on each and every one. THANK YOU!

Photo Update

Costa Rica Plastic Surgeon

My doctor and Vera (his secretary) speak English (he has many international clients) which was important to me considering my Spanish is still so very poor. Dr. Lev is the plastic surgeon's surgeon and unlike many surgeons you are not likely to find any complaints. He is the best at what he does. Michelangelo in scrubs if you will.

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