Well after stalking this site for a few months and...
Well after stalking this site for a few months and devouring all the info and tips I decided it was time to start documenting my journey.
I guess I will start from the beginning. A few months ago, a friend of a friend went to the Dominican Republic to get a tummy tuck. She looked fabulous but I have to admit that I was one of "those people" and shook my head and called her crazy for going out of the country to have plastic surgery. Fast forward to August...I had a party and there were lots of pictures. I was so disgusted with what I saw! I had fat bulging from places where it shouldn't and I was flat in places that use to have bulge and projection...smh. So, l eventually got up the courage to take pictures of my naked body. I look at my body all the time but I don't think I ever really got a look of the back view. I almost cried. I think I had three drinks that night! Anyway, I made up my mind to do something about it. I started to workout and I changed my diet. I no longer eat meat and i juice daily. I did start to feel better but I wasn't seeing results when I looked in the mirror. I was on Facebook and I saw a picture of the girl who had the tummy tuck and I was like hmmm let me investigate this DR madness. Somehow, I found Realself.com. I have been glued to this site ever since. I have notes and screenshots, ect. This site has aided me in my decision to move forward and it has assisted me in choosing the best doctor for me.
I will post some pre-op photos when I get closer to my surgery date. For now, I will provide some wish pic. In my next post I will detail my steps in contacting and securing a date with Dr. Duran.
Contacting Dra. Duran
So after stalking this site I noticed a common sentiment...getting in touch with Dra. Duran would be nearly impossible. I know that I really wanted Duran to do my surgery but I also know myself. I knew that I would not chase someone to take my money. So, before I embarked on the journey of trying to contact her, I made sure to take every tip from all the bloggers who had been successful at receiving a response from Duran. Following are the tips that I learned here on RS:
1. I downloaded a translation app to enable me to send my email in Spanish. I used Email Translator but you can also use Google Translate.
2. I attached photos of myself and wish pics
3. I included all relevant information, I.e, weight, height, age, previous surgeries, child births, drinking and smoking habits, any health issues
4. I listed the procedures that I was interested in obtaining
5. I told her the areas I was interested in having lipo'd
6. The subject line specified that the email was a request for a quote.
7. I expressed all concerns and asked any questions that I had. But I was also mindful to keep the email straight to the point (remember you're not writing your girlfriend)
Contacting Dra. Duran prt 2
Most people have had luck sending the email early Sunday mornings. I sent my email on a Wednesday morning and to my surprise she responded 7 HOURS later with a quote and answers to my questions along with deposit and bank account information.
Now with that being said, I needed to contact Dra. Duran again and it took a week for her to respond. I guess that's not too bad given what I've been reading about her response time.
Btw, I emailed her at firstname.lastname@example.org. I had trouble doing the wire transfer and I sent her another emailed but she never responded. I also tried to contact her on Whatsapp with no luck. I eventually called her office. I called at 7 am eastern time. I woman who didn't speak English answer the phone. After 2 minutes of her trying to understand me and I her, I finally realized she was trying to tell me to call back in an hour to speak with the girl who understands English. On a side note, I'm ashamed of myself for not understanding the woman considering I had 9 years of Spanish classes!smh. Anyway, I called back and the woman still wasn't there. Long story short, I ended up calling 4 times when at 11am Elizabeth(Duran's English speaking assistant) answered the phone. She emailed me the correct account info while I was on the phone. I also asked if I could get on the schedule. She confirmed my quote and asked me what day I had in mind. I chose Dec 2nd but there weren't any spots available so,I ended up with Dec 3rd.
Fyi, I also received quotes from Yily, Almonte, Diaz and Baez as a backup and just for my personal information.
Hemo issues :(
Hemo level....not good :( I received the results of my hemo level today and I was floored when I found out it was only 9.7!! In fact, my red blood count overall was very low. So it turns out that I have an iron deficiency. I believe when I stopped eating meat I should have started taking vitamins. The good news is that I have a month to turn things around. The only problem is that I don't want to purchase my airline ticket before I know that my hemo is up to par. Now, I'm scouring RS to find the vitamin cocktails to increase my hemo. Please help!
I have decided to go ahead and book my flight. My hemo will be 12 or higher by my surgery date...I'm claiming it so it is so! ; ) I have developed a hemo boosting plan based on recommendations (thanks lo43) and research. I will up my green smoothies to 3x a day, drink a glass of beer root juice with carrot juice alternate with guava juice and pepper, use blood builder, take 500 mg of vitamin C 2x a day, take iron 65mg with 325 mg of ferrous sulfate 2x day, folic acid 5000 mcg 2x day, B12 2500 mcg 2x day, Geritol, liquid chlorophyll, and yellow dock root extract. I'm also increasing my dietary intake of iron rich foods. I ordered Floradix but I don't know if I will be able to fit it in...maybe I will stop the Geritol and start the Floradix. Thoughts??
Also, ladies it is very important to know your hemo level early in the process. That way, if there's a problem you have time to rectify it. My schedule is crazy and always changing so I didn't waste time making a doctor's appointment I went to www.personalabs.com. I paid $40 for the CBC test, went to a test site (Lab Corp) and received my results the next day.
And the countdown begins...
I'm exactly 1 month away from my transformation (jumping up and down and biting my nails at the same time!).
I'm trying to focus on being healthy, calming my nerves and preparing my home and family for my departure. I can't lie though, I'm anxious to see my end results. Unfortunately, there's no magical way to jump from A to Z so I just have to go through the process along with the pain and emotions to get the body I want.
Packing and unpacking...and packing again ; )
I thought I would show you guys the things I plan to take with me. I used several of the lists found here on RS. I only purchased the items that people said they used or they wish they had brought with them. I want to keep it as simple as possible.
I made to DR!!!! I had my pre-op tests, settled Into the recovery house and I packed my bag for the over night stay at CIPLA....I'm ready! There are several updates and changes that I made over the last few weeks, all of which I will detail later. I'm staying at Family Recovery House with my surgery buddy. We are the only two guests right now. So far the recovery house has exceeded my expectations but I will reserve a more detailed review for the conclusion of my trip. For now, I must say that I've been blessed to have a great surgery buddy who also speaks Spanish and a good recovery house that's not costing me a small fortune. Now, I hope and pray that my hemo is good. I had it checked on 11/22 and it was 12 which is pretty good considering it was 9.7 in October. I will provide all the updates and pics as soon as I am able. In the meantime, please keep my surgery buddy and I in your prayers.
3 Dec 2014
Day of treatment
I just received my results....13!!!! I can hardly belive it. I was 9.7 on 10/31 and now 13? I'm so stoked. I had been contemplating getting a BA for a couple of weeks so last night I said if my hemo was at least 12.7 I would do it. So guess what? Your girl is getting the works, TT, BBL, BA and of course lipo. Today is surgery day, please keep me in your prayers.
Before and after pics
3 Dec 2014
Day of treatment
As soon as I am able I will post before and after pics but first I have to learn to edit...there must be an app for it, right?
Family Recovery House aka Betty's Family Recovery House
Here are some pics of the recovery house. So far I've only stayed there one night. My surgery required a two night stay at CIPLA. the recovery house provided a private nurse for the two night CIPLA stay $50/night which is the standard fee and it is a requirement that you have someone stay with you while overnight at CIPLA. The entire staff at Family Recovery House makes you feel welcome. During my CIPLA stay they have visited me and while in surgery they came to my room at CIPLA to prepare it with my necessary items. They really go out of their way to make sure you don't feel alone.
I took advantage of a Dec special but I will update with their regular prices soon. I paid $60/night with one night free, four free massages, wifi, and three meals and a snack. The driver is $150 with round rip transportation to and from the airport and clinic plus additional sights. Private nurse to stay overnight at clinic $50/night (standard fee).
Food:excellent so far. Again, I will give more details after my stay but the presentation and quantity was impressive.
Private nurses: fabulous! I had two separate ones for my two night stay at CIPLA and they were both on point. Neither spoke English very well but with a translation app and their knowledge of caring for people who'se had this surgery, language wasn't a barrier at all.
Drivers: they both spoke English very well and they translated for me at CIPLA, made sure I was getting the things that I needed at the clinic and made sure I asked the right questions and received answers in a timely fashion. In a word they made sure my surgery buddy and I were safe. I was nervous traveling with so much money alone but they met me as soon as I came out of customs. They had a sign to identify themselves and immediately took my bags. They have a car and a van. Both are nice vehicles with air conditioning. Driving in DR is crazy!! Our drivers were very safe and made us feel comfortable.
The house: AMAZING!! The house is huge. The pictures that are on their website really don't do it justice. It's very spacious. It's very CLEAN. I'm very particular about where I stay when I'm on vacation but this was a unique situation, I needed a place where I could have privacy and the sanitary conditions had to be above and beyond. They definitely exceeded my standards. The rooms have air conditioners and fans, tvs with cable, and they are very spacious. Again, the presentation was what you'd find on a cruise. Now, a lot of times you'd have fancy presentation and then service is womp womp. Not so here. I will provide a final review after leaving but this is my initial review. Enjoy the pics. Hey how do you edit pics to take out identifying information?? I want to upload my before and afters. Let me know.
Pictures-- CABRAL BARBIE!!!
I few weeks ago I changed from Duran to Cabral. I had some issues with contacting Duran and I felt that the after care would be the same. I didn't post my decision to change because I didn't want to go into surgery with all the negativity. I had to do what was right for me. He answered all my questions even the difficult ones about his past. He loves what he does and he takes the time to spend with you answering all your questions. I never felt rushed and I always felt like we were on the same page. He visited me several times while in recovery. He was just awsome...and my results are already phenomenal!
So I haven't had any luck with editing so I'm just going to post some photos.
I wanted to wait until I was home and settled before giving my final review and details of my experience in the Dominican Republic.
Initially, I had planned to have surgey with Dra. Duran but a couple of weeks prior to my surgery date, I had a lot of questions and some reservations as to whether Dra. Duran was a good fit for me. I tried to reach Dra. Duran on several occasions to ask some last minute questions but I wasn't able to contact her. I started to think about after care and the possibility of complications and the inability to reach her. I felt like she already had my deposit, my travel itinerary and my surgery date was confirmed so at the very least she could take time to answer surgery related questions. Anyway, I started to feel uneasy and not sure that she was the right surgeon for me. I love her work but I just wasn't willing to chase her down post-op if I had questions or God forbid surgery related complications.
I was already familiar with Dr. Cabral, his work and his dubious past. There was no question in my mind that his work was consistently fabulous and always on point. I always dismissed the idea of going to him because of the stories of deaths, burns ect. I thought long and hard about it before I seriously considered having him do my surgery. I then sent him an email with my pics and details and to my Surprise he responded within hours. He made recommendations based on my pics and health history and provided quotes for the same. I immediately felt a sense of relief. I was very honest with him about my reservations. I told him that I was already scheduled with another doctor but I was having second thoughts and wanted to have a consultation with him. He understood and had no problem adding me to his schedule. I talked to him and his assistant Maria on several occasions prior to my arrival and there was never an issue with getting through or getting answers.
When I arrived at CIPLA, the day prior to my scheduled surgery date, my plan was to meet with Dr. Cabral then meet with Dra. Duran. I got into the elevator to go to the 5th floor the elevator stopped on the 3rd floor and in walks Dr Cabral with his lunch. I introduced myself to him and he gave me a big hug and said, "hi honey! How are you? How was your flight?" We arrived at the 5th floor and entered the reception area of his office. I checked in with Maria, his assistant and in minutes I was told to go into the doctor's office. I went into his office armed with a copy of the quotes, all emails and of course wish pictures. I told him what my problem areas were and he asked my to disrobe so he could take a look. He then told me what he recommended and what result he thought could be accomplished. I had already done tons of research and I knew I didn't want a Breast lift and I knew I didn't need a ton of fat transferred to my butt for a bbl either. He touched on those points before I even mentioned them. I never showed him my wish pictures because he made me feel like we were on the same page. He immediately understood what I wanted to accomplish with surgery. We then sat down and had a talk about post-op care and treatment. I then asked him about the reports of deaths, burns and legal issues that are circulating about him. It was a very candid conversation and it alleviated all my fear and doubt. I had found my surgeon. I never went to see Dra. Duran.
Cabral and CIPLA review
As stated earlier, I made the decision to go to Cabral a few weeks before arriving in the Dominican Republic. I arrived 12/2 and met with Cabral. We discussed the procedures, my health and his past. I felt completely comfortable with him. He knows how a woman's body should look and you can tell that he loves his job. He spoke with confidence and excitement about what he could do to make my body hot. He was confident yet not arrogant...there is a big difference. I did, however, have to get use to my physician calling me honey and mami but I think that's just a cultural thing and it was never disrespectful or condescending. As much as he loves to sculpt a beautiful body he as just as much concerned about health and safety. Initially, I wanted to get inner thigh lipo in addition to the other procedures that I had but Cabral said absolutely not. My blood type is rare and although my hemo was 13 he didn't want to take a chance of me needing a transfusion. It wasn't a big deal for me but it was a quick reminder that he's not just trying to make a quick buck. He put my health first and I appreciate him taking control of the situation the way he did.
The day of surgery I had to get clearance from the pulmonologist because I have asthma. He did two breathing tests and I also had a chest x-Ray. I had an asthma treatment before surgery and every four hours after surgery. I was Cabral's only surgery that morning so before I went to the pulmonologist he told me it didn't matter how long my visit took he would wait for me.
I have to mention Cabral's office and staff. His office is spacious and indicative of a ps office that you would see in the states. It's very modern and sexy. I visited Yily and Duran's office while waiting for other residents of the recovery house and their offices are no comparison to Cabral. Their offices are VERY small with minimal seating. They both had the feel of a meat market. With that being said, I did get to see some of Yily's post-op patients and their results were on point.
Cabral's staff was fantastic. Everyone was friendly and knowledgable. I went to four follow-up visits but I could have went everyday if I wanted. My legs and feet swelled at 5dpo so I called to ask the nurse what if anything I should do to rectify the situation. They explained that it was normal but to hold the phone because the doctor speaks to everyone who has issues or questions. When I spoke to Dr. Cabral he reiterated that the swelling was normal and he to,d me some things to do to help getting the swelling to go down.
The bottom line is that Cabral loves his work. He cares about his patients and he is very skilled. His staff is top notch and very organized. I was very pleased with my choice of ps.
My care at CIPLA was very good. Cabral's TT patients stay at CIPLA for two night. The two night stay is included in the surgery cost. I had a private nurse both nights but I still found the nurses at CIPLA to be very responsive to my care and well being. Dr. Cabral visited me each day of my stay at CIPLA. He check my charts and inquired about me pain and comfort. Another doctor also checked on me daily to assess my status and pain management. Before checking out of CIPLA a women came to ask my opinion of the nurses and the facility. Again, my experience at CIPLA was good and the nurses were very responsive to my needs.
I had a TT with muscle repair, lipo to my back, flanks, and hips, and a bbl. As far as the bbl is concerned it was more of a lift and reshaping. I had fat added to the bottom of my butt cheeks. Not a significant amount of fat was transferred because my butt was already pretty big it just needed a little bit of work. My main concern was my stomach.
My surgery was approximately 4 1/2 hours long (I think). I was given the blue pill prior to surgery but I was still alert when I was wheeled into the operating room. The operating room was puke green but it was clean. The equipment was dated but it serves it's purpose. When I was being wheeled into the room, Dr. Cabral and others were scrubbing up getting ready for surgery. The anesthesiologist rubbed my face and told me to relax he would take good care of me. Dr. Cabral reassured me that everything would be fine and I would be pleased with my results. The last thing I remember is asking the anesthiologist why I was still awake.
I did wake up during the muscle repair. I didn't feel pain but I did feel the tugging of the muscle as Dr. Cabral was stitching it together. I said something and Cabral peeked his head over the barrier and asked if I could feel pain. I told him no and the anesthiologist told me he was going to increase the medicine so that I wouldn't feel anything at all. From that point I was in and out but I couldn't feel a thing. Dr. Cabral told me everything looked great and he was just about finished. I told them my mouth was really dry and a nurse swab the inside of my mouth with a "sponge" soaked in water. The anesthiologist continued to swab my mouth and he kept rubbing my cheek asking if I felt comfortable. Before I left the operating room I was totally out of it. When I woke up I was in my recovery room. I didn't feel any pain just a little bit of discomfort. I didn't have a faja on but I did have on a post op bra. I wasn't put into my faja until 2dpo.
I did get really sick the first night due to the anestetia. The pain meds that they give you really suck. I brought Percecets with me but I didn't use them while at CIPLA because I was receiving meds via my iv and I feared a bad reaction. My nurse gave me something to get the anestesia out of my system, I don't know what it was and I didn't care as long as it worked. I began to vomit and that's not a pleasant experience after the muscle repair BUT I felt so much better afterwards. I was able to get some sleep and try to relax. I was surprised at the lack of pain. I was really expecting and prepared to be in excruciating pain for the first few days. I didn't take the Percocets I just took Acetomenophen with a sleep aid for the discomfort throughout the first two weeks of my recovery. Everyone is different and everyone's pain threshold is different so to be on the safe side I would recommend bringing your own pain meds and also a stool softener.
I'm adding a couple of pics from 13dpo. I did get a faja burn on my stomach but it's clearing up nicely. My hips and my abdomen are swollen in the picture but overall I'm very pleased with my results.
Boobs by Cabral
I keep forgetting to add boobie updates. They are healing well. One has dropped more than the other but that's very common.
What I spent
Round trip from Philadelphia $565
Family recovery house 9 nights @$60/ night with 1 night free $480
Private nurse @50/day for 2 days $100
Faja and bra $150
Pre-op testing $185
Breathing exam $100 (only needed if you have a breathing condition such as asthma or if you smoke)
Meds approx $200 (I only spent $50 because I brought most of my meds with me
I'm uploading the pre surgery instructions with addition costs listed and the post-surgery medication list.
Everything that I took with me I used with the exception of a few items, mostly clothes. I found a lot of my supplies at the Dollar Store.
60-70 Pads -I used a generic brand of incontinence pads from Walmart.
Sterile gauze (Dollar Store)
Paper tape (Dollar Store)
Alcohol (Dollar Store)
Adult disposable wash cloths
Antibacterial soap (Dollar Store)
Hibiclens or generic antiseptic skin cleanser
Thermometer (Dollar Store)
Anti-embolism socks (eBay)
Travel sized mouth wash
Wispies to brush your teeth (if you get a TT you won't feel like standing at the sink to brush
Sarna lotion (your skin will get dry and itchy under the faja)
Generic Benedryl (Dollar Store)
Tylenol PM or
Generic pain med with sleep aid (Dollar Store)
Throat lozenges and cough drops (Dollar Store)
Extension cord (Dollar Store)
Charging cables for your phone, computer, ect
Download Tango on your phone or computer to video chat with friends and family
Bromolain tablets for bruising (Amazon)
Generic Stool softener (VERY IMPORTANT)
Generic Acid reduced (Imortant)
8-10 White tank tops or "wife beaters"
Hand sanitizer (Dollar Store)
8-10 Ensure drinks
2-3 roomy Maxi dresses
1 jogging suit or comfy outfit to fly home in
Comfy sandals with adjustable foot straps because ur feet may swell.
2 pairs fuzzy socks
Pain meds- I brought Percocet with me but I used
I brought Percocet with me but I used the generic pain meds with sleep aid starting 3dpo
Get a low maintenance hairdo
10-15 Chuxs or puppy pads
Download a translation app
Brink a copy of all corrospondences and quotes
Personal hygiene products
PACK LIGHT...THIS IS NOT A VACATION!
5 week post-op pics
I thought I would change it up a bit and put some dang clothes on! These pics were taken 35dpo with no faja or other under garments...just the dress.
9 weeks p.o. pics!
Here are some pics. Again, I'm a little swollen and I have lipo foam around my stomach.
So, earlier this week I started waist training. My waist is now a 27.5 (because a lot of the swelling went down) but I want to get to 25". I bought two waist trainers, a Salome and an Ann Cherry. The Ann Cheery waist trainer is too big so I have to send it back. The Salome has just the right amount of compression but I can tell I will need a smaller size soon. The Salome has one level of hooks and a zipper. The Ann Cherry has three levels of hooks. Even with the size issue, I think I prefer the Ann Cherry more.
11 weeks post op back pics
15 Feb 2015
2 months post
Today is the first time I really examined the difference in my back. I had very aggressive lipo to my back so I still feel the stiffness and a little bit of discomfort in that area.
5 weeks p.o. vs 11 weeks p.o.
15 Feb 2015
2 months post
Same dress six weeks apart.
1 year anniversary!!!
It's been an interesting year. I healed really well and I get A LOT of attention from both males and females. Some people are really nice and compliment my body but others get a little out of hand. It doesn't matter if I'm with my love or with my daughter, people will still feel the need to moan and grunt and be disrespectful. That was an unintended consequence of this surgery but other than that and the HATE from some so-called friends I am really enjoying my body.
I still LOVE my body but I am planning round 2. I want to get my arms and chin lipoed and I want a little bit more lipo on my back. I also want rhinoplasty and buccal fat removal.
My pre-op measurements I believe were 36B, 34-35, 46. My measurements are now 34DDD (bust), 27-28 (waist), 45 (hips). I stopped waist training when the weather got hot but I plan to resume soon. When I was waist training I was able to get my waist down to 26. My goal is 25.
The only thing I would do differently is I would have gotten my arm and chin lipo with my original surgery. I have a naturally fat face and I'm developing a double chin...none of that matches my body. My arms a slightly bigger than I'd like them to be so I figured since I'm going for round 2 why not get them done too.
I am attaching pics and a vid. The vid was shot 2 weeks ago and the pics are from Halloween.