A Work in Progress: the usual flabby belly and saggy breasts rant - Dominican Republic, DO

My story starts the same way that most stories...

My story starts the same way that most stories here do: pregnancy, age, lifestyle, diet, you name.

But first, a little bit of my background. I am 35 years old, 5'2'' and currently weighing 143 pounds. I come from Western Southern Europe. Like most Mediterranean women, I used to have a nice curvy shape, although I was thin. I used to be proud of the way a look.

When I moved to the US, 6 years ago, I used to weigh 120 pounds. A year and a half later, I had my first baby and 2 years later, another one. That is when most of the dramatic changes in my body occurred. I gained a lot of weight during my first pregnancy. I never really lost it. When I got pregnant the 2 time, I weighed 135, which is already a lot for someone with a small frame like mine. By the end of that last pregnancy my weight increased to almost 180. When I 5 month pregnant, people used to ask me if I was on my last month or if I was expecting twins. Yes, I was that big and I got even bigger... It was a horrible time and my self esteem took a huge hit. Peoples comments and the looks they gave, didn't help either... Anyway, I had 2 wonderful healthy big babies, which I am very proud of! I love my boys more than anything.

Moving forward a little, I started looking and reading a lot of reviews, on this site, a couple of months ago. It has been a huge source of information! I want to have a mommy makeover consisting of a breast lift, with aureole reduction and maybe an augmentation (though it's not really on my top list), and a tummy tuck, with Dr. Goico. I must confess that, at first, I as very concerned about having surgery in the DR, due to some horror stories. What made me change my mind was Dr. FG talent, his "conservative" approach and the huge difference in price from the US and Europe. Yes, I have read about some horror stories that have happened in the DR, but Dr. FG has an impeccable track and does not trade safety for results. There are also horror stories from Dr.'s in the US or any other part of the world, for that matter. Also, his clinic seems to be top quality as you can attest from his site pictures and from other reviewers as well.

After an initial contact with Karel Zabala, I am waiting to hear from the Dr. himself. I am extremely anxious, I must say! I wonder what suggestions does he have and what kind of results can I expect realistically.

I will update as soon as I have more news. For now, I leave you with some photos of my current awful physical shape.

ps. - No ladies, you are not alone. In fact, there are many women like us. Don't loose your time commiserating like I did. That got me nowhere and made me feel even worse. If you can, do something about it.

Diet, the lesser of two evils.

Not really an update but a challenge to all of those that want to loose weight but can't do it without a buddy system of some sort, that keeps them in check and motivates them. I am planning on loosing 20 pounds by June. Admittedly, I am not a very disciplined person when it comes to dieting, but I am fully motivated to not being overweight anymore. I hate that more than diets...
If anyone wants to join me, that would be great! The more, the merrier.

Diet: day 1.

I have increased the consumption of vegetables and fruits. I have decreased the intake of carbs, which is my biggest source of calories. But, I cannot (nor should) stop eating carbs completely. I think my biggest issue though, is not carbs itself, butthe amount of sugar present in food, in general. For example, in the US, bread is sweeter than in Europe. Yogurts are too. That has a huge impact on the amount of food we end up consuming (and therefore spending more money) and in our health. Unfortunately, foods are engineered to make us eat more and buy more... Anyway, I don't advocate stopping eating all the things we like and substitute it with vegetables. Realistically, most of us will get tired of that type of diet pretty quick and give up. Moderation is the key.
Think about the end result, not all the steps you have to make till you get there.

Question.

Does anyone know if you lose weight till the surgery date, the cost of the surgery decreases? Since weight and size impact directly the cost of a surgery, the decrease of those factors, should decrease the initial surgery estimate. That would definitely be one more good incentive to losing weight :D I love a good bargain!

Wish Pictures

I like a natural look, not too dramatic nor too skinny. It's hard to believe there was a time my waist used to resemble these.. It doesn't hurt to dream, right!?

Current weight and status update

Today, I got on the scale and I am 142.8 pounds. My goal is 120 pounds. :) I think that is a good weight for me.
I know it's hard to believe, but there was a time a used to be a size 0. Honestly, I hated to be that thin, it was very hard to find clothes that fit me and men didn't used to pay me much attention. LOL Today, I am on the opposite end of the spectrum. How ironic.

Dilemma: Hotel vs RH

Since my husband is going with me and, I have even convinced him to have a little work done too, I don't know if we should stay in a hotel or a recovery house. Any suggestions and/or experiences are welcome :) Thank you in advance!

Waiting is the hardest part...

I still have not received my quote from Dr. FG. I know he is a busy guy and replies as fast as he can, but I am still looking forward (and anxious) for his reply. Plus, being the control freak that I am, I want to start planning everything in advance, make certain adjustments and having a general knowledge about what to expect.
I kind feel like a teenager again, but without a love interest. I guess I am feeling younger already, without even having had any surgery :)
Regarding my diet... urgh! I have been dragging my feet. Sometimes, I am very disciplined, most of the times, I am not. That has had a somewhat big impact on my mood.
On the bright side, my husband took me sightseeing, this weekend. There is something about the mountains, valleys and nature in general that gives me a tremendous peaceful feeling. Maybe it's because it reminds me of home.

Weight update

I am 142.8 pounds... Not much of a difference, but I WILL get there :D

Patience is a virtue...

... that, unfortunately, I don't have.
I still have not heard anything back and I am getting in a funky mood. I am just not feeling very motivated right now.
Anyway, my weight was 142.1 pounds, this morning. I have been cheating here and there, hence the slow start in losing all this flab.

Disappointed.

I have been waiting almost 2 weeks for an answer. As far as I can gather from reading other recent reviewers, their waiting time was about a week. I guess I must be an exception... I emailed the secretary again, a couple of days ago, asking when should I expect a reply from Dr. Goico. No answer, so far. As a potential prospective costumer, I can't help but feel disappointed and wary. Maybe this is not the best option for myself and my husband. :(

Weight update

Down to 141.5 pounds.

Just an idea...

I think the administrative services should include a footnote saying that it usually takes the Dr. a certain X amount of days/weeks to answer. However, during certain times, due to an increase of demand, it could take up to Y weeks/days. I think that would give the potential customers/patients some peace of mind that they have not been forgotten or overlooked.

Dr. Fernandez Goico replied! I feel like a little child in a toy store :D

I was extremely happy and impressed with Dr. Fernandez! His reply was very well thought and he explained his ideas perfectly. This is further proof that I have found the perfect Dr.
This is reply:

Thanks for contacting us.

First of all, let me apologize for the delayed answer. I seriously do my best to answer as much emails as I can, but as you'll read below, I take my time to really observe and see every detail in the photos, so I can make this evaluation as objective as possible. Truth is that, between emails, surgeries, seeing patients, and just having a little time to simply live, this is as fast as I can reply (we get about 50+ per day). Many patients complain about it, but if I can't reply the way I want to and say everything I believe that needs to be said, I prefer not answering at all.

I will proceed to do your evaluation and then your husband's, area by area so it is as understandable as possible:

- Breasts: when it comes to your breasts, you are a very good candidate for a breast lift. The question here would be: with or without implants, as the results are very different on both surgeries. They both enhance the breasts, but one will give you a very natural look (without implants) and depends solely on your breast tissue, so depending on how it behaves, that will determine the consistency and firmness of your breasts. With an implant (you have the con of a foreign body), but I control the outcome much more because the implants will not change, and the firmness and upper pole fullness will stay. Don't misunderstand me when I say firmness or upper pole fullness, they would still be a very natural outcome, so don't think I am talking about fake looking breasts). What I normally do with my patients is that I ask for a sort of awkward task: search for nude breasts on the web and send me photos of the ones you consider ideal. The point is not to try and imitate them, but to understand what format and volume you like, this way I make sure we're on the same page.

- Abdomen: Now, you clearly have a very good indication for a tummy tuck (and I think we'd both agree is the area that needs work the most), and your case is very good for this surgery, because you have a severe skin excess and moderate fat accumulation. There is some evident muscle separation seen in your abdominal region. The tummy tuck not only eliminates fat and skin, but it defines the waist line more, giving the patient a curvier body because of the "corset" effect created by the abdominal rectus muscle. Another good point on your favor is the fact that you have enough skin to have a very low positioned scar, meaning, this surgery should allow you to use a very low bikini bottom or panties if you feel like it. Regarding your stretch marks, most would go out, but only below the level of the belly button.

- Body: Liposuction could greatly improve your body silhouette by eliminating the unwanted fat from unwanted areas. In your case, the areas that mostly call my attention are abdomen, back (upper and lower) and flanks (love handles). The main point with lipo in your case would be to make your torso look longer, which makes your overall body frame look more elegant. You're one of those cases that could greatly benefit from an important liposuction, so you have to make sure your blood levels are high (specially your hemo). If you have anemia, you cannot (and should not) have this surgery, as you may put your life at risk. Also, only by doing Liposuction in the lower back and flanks, the transition from lower back to your butt is accentuated or pronounced, creating a visual effect as if your butt has been lifted and defined.

Regarding your husband:

- Abdomen: I am very transparent, and I say things very direct so please don't take this the wrong way, I am just doing this in your husband's best interest. He is not a good candidate for a tummy tuck (you'll find plenty of surgeons that will say he is, but trust me he is not), and I will show you how you can prove this: touch his abdominal area and you'll see is much harder than yours. This is because, most of his abdominal projection is due to visceral fat (which is the fat around the inner organs and intestines) and not parietal fat (which is the one between the skin and the abdominal muscle, like yours and it is treated with plastic surgery). A good point on his behalf is that, visceral fat is burned much easily than parietal fat, only by having a better lifestyle (eating healthier, avoiding or reducing alcohol intake, exercising, etc). He can have liposuction the the very little abdominal parietal fat that he has and for the love handles and back. That fat is hard to get rid of and liposuction treats that very well. Also, his under chin fat can be treated with liposuction. Bottom line: he can have liposuction for the mentioned areas, but a tummy tuck is not indicated, which means that even with liposuction his abdomen will not be flat, and it's very important that he understands that.

Karel, my assistant will send you your quotes (usually less than 24 hours) for you:

1) Breast Lift (with implants) + Tummy Tuck + General Liposuction
2) Breast Lift (without implants) + Tummy Tuck + General Liposuction

and for your husband:

- Body Liposuction (including under chin)

Take good care of yourself,

---
Dr. Luis A. Fernandez Goico

Does anyone know a good orthodontist in the DR?

Over the years I have developed an overbite... My lower teeth used to be straight, but throughout the years they have become crooked. This never bothered me much, but now it is starting to deform my face. I need to correct this before it gets worse.

You only live once, so might as well live well ;)

I decided to follow Charysma's advice to "dream big". :oD Thank you for that!
I will be getting: Breast lift with implants + Abdominoplasty with muscle reinforcement + Liposuction of abdomen, flanks and upper and lower back.
Initially, I had only thought about doing a lipo of the flanks, BL and TT. I was not very sure about the augmentation.
I am happy gal today!

Feeling a little bit like a jerk :S

I am feeling a little guilty for having complained about the waiting time. 2 weeks was not that much of a big deal. I'd much rather have someone that takes his time to do things right, than one that rushes through and does a bad job. I think my reaction was due to a Dr. in Miami having refused me as a patient because of my family history of anesthesia issues. I have never had any, per se. Today, I am glad that that Dr. refused me as a patient because I found someone much better! But, my point is, no one likes rejection (or the thought of it) no matter what.

Surgery Buddy needed.

In the last week I had my first major setback. My in law had a stroke and is not fit to take care of 2 children under 4. So, my husband and I decided he will stay with our kids. I am bummed. :(
Now I am looking for a surgery buddy that is SURE that she/he wants to have surgery with Dr. FG. That way we can both take advantage of the 15% off.

It's NOT fun to stay at the YMCA...

Yesterday, I decided to go back to gym again. I only did half an hour of exercises, till I decided to stop. This is a far cry from last summer, when I was staying there an average of 1 hour a half, 4-5 times a week. I was looking a lot better then too :o( Anyway, the reason I gave up was because I lost a lot of resistance, in a short period.
I need to stop feeding these pathetic negative feelings and start to "fake it, till I become it".

"Your body language shapes who you are"

ps. - Every time I am feeling crappy, I watch this: http://go.ted.com/CZNS
It's one of the most viewed videos on TedTalks. It is a bit long, about 20 minutes long, but so worth it. Don't let yourself get in a state of deep sadness and overwhelming regarding losing weight, or anything else in life. "Take the bull by the horns."

Still looking for a Surgery buddy, preferably for September or October.

Looking for someone who wants to have surgery in September or October with Dr. FG, so we can get 15% off of our procedures.

Help!

Have any of you lost a substantial amount of weight, before surgery? If so, why?
What are the best 2 stage fajas you suggest? How many inches of your waist did you lose, during the first week after the surgery? I am trying to figure out which brand and what size I should be looking for.
How long did you have the drains in? After the drains were out, did you have any issues that required a nurse or any other medical assistance? How quick was the recovery, after the drains were out?
How effective are the lymphatic massages? How many would you recommend?
What kind of supplements do you suggest?
Lastly, were you able to have any kind of leisure activities after the surgery? Beach, anyone? I miss going to the beach sooooo much. I haven't gone in 5 years cause I felt like a beached whale, but that is about to change.
Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you advance for your time and replies.

Breasts

This is my desired shape. If mine looked similar to any of these, I'd be extremely happy :D

Plastic Surgery: the new "addiction"

Sometimes, I catch myself looking at procedures that I had never thought about before. I think "it sure would be nice if I could fix this and that, and maybe take from here and put there". After all, who does not want to "perfect" themselves!? But there is a certain underlying perversion in this idea, since it is not uncommon to find people that, in their quest to attain perfection, they become to exact opposite of what they envisioned. I like to think that I would be capable of self control, but I often find myself asking: "when is enough, enough?"

PS. - Reviewers should be able to edit their posts. Especially when they post the "raw version" of it, by mistake.

Dreaming big!

Not too thin, not too big. Just perfect!

A word of caution.

To all patients that are considering having plastic surgery with unlicensed Dr., please remember that a good result is not going to do anything for you if you are dead, or crippled. There is also an increased risk of being disfigured. In short, this is like playing Russian roulette and you are the willing player.
Nothing is more important than you safety and health! Many of you have families and children that need you.
Please, pay attention to the track record of your doctor, make sure he/she has not had patients die on them during and after surgery. If that was the case, don't be afraid to ask why and what were the circumstances that lead to such events. Make sure that the doctor that you have chosen is, in fact, the one that is going to do your surgery. There has been several cases of people that have woken up in the middle of their surgeries and saw someone else was doing their procedure. Which takes me to my next point, people waking up in the middle of a medical procedure and experiencing excruciating pain. It is not normal in away for this to happen and, unfortunately, some reviewers went through this traumatic experience. It seems to be a recurring theme with some doctors. A good doctor always makes sure he uses an anesthesiologist who does not put the patient in danger of becoming conscious during surgery.
Some of the clinics where these procedures take place are very outdated, and also have a high rate of infections, due to poor hygiene practices and lack of qualified medical staff.
Lastly, choose your RH wisely. Make sure that you are going to be well taken care of and your medical needs are not overlooked.
Please, be safe and choose wisely.

My food addiction.

I have been struggling with weight issues, in the last few years. When I was a teenager and throughout my 20's, I remember thinking I would never would be overweight and even if that was to happen, I'd starve myself... Guess what!? I was wrong and my plan sucked really bad. I don't know if was ingenuity, or ignorance, or arrogance, or all of the above, but the fact is I was caught me off guard and unprepared both mentally and physically. My mental image of my body, is not the same that is reflected on the mirror, but unlike my brain, the mirror does not lie to me. What I see reflected in the mirror depresses me greatly and ironically, also causes me to eat because food also "comforts" me.
We are not built to starve, in fact, it's the exact opposite. Unfortunately, our bodies and brains have not catched up with this new era of plenty, where food is readily everywhere and is, usually, very affordable. Unfortunately, the quality is often questionable, the foods are engineered to make us overeat and are usually filled with additives that are not exactly known to be healthy. Temptation is in every corner, strip mall, road, city and even rural America. It's an unfair battle, not much different from, for example, cigarette addiction. Many of these fast food chains use a lot a strategic marketing that targets certain segments of the population, like tobacco companies did.
Obesity is killing us, not by the dozen, or thousands, but by the millions. It is also costing us, directly and indirectly, many billions a year, in treatment (never a cure...), medicines, surgeries, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other issues related to being overweight or obese, insurance premiums, etc.
I know that some of you are going to ask or say : "what about free will?", "You can always say no", "No one is forcing you to eat it". And they are right to some extent, but how much of a choice is it, if there are not many affordable healthy options out there?

Weight update

141.6 pounds.

Happy International Women's Day!

Weight update.

140.2 pounds.

I have been a bad, bad girl...

My weight has ballooned to 148.6 pounds, in the last few weeks. Physically, I am healthy but, I have feeling down in other areas... I suffer from rosacea and seborrhaic dermatitis. Sometimes, my facial skin flares up so much, I just don't have the courage or desire to leave the house. As a result, I tend to over eat because eating comforts me. I am aware this is an unhealthy habit and I am fully committed to breaking it, even though it's so freaking hard.
I can't stop thinking about how did I get so bad? Why did I stopped caring? What happened? When did this start? If you can relate to this and have asked yourself the same questions, you probably know why...
Better days will come. Till then I need to fight back this funk. Urghh!
I have started going to a psychologist and I am getting to the root of my problem. I need help figuring out this one and there is nothing wrong with that.

What the cuss is going on!?

My weight has gone down, from 148 to 144 pounds. Don't get me wrong, I am happy it's decreasing, but 4 pounds, in less than a week, sounds excessive.

Hemo.

There is an issue many reviewers often encounter: low hemoglobin. As you all may know, having low hemo can affect greatly the recovery time and, in extreme cases, endanger one's life. Women also seem to be more susceptible to anemia, than men. Unless, you have a condition that prevents your body from absorbing iron through either supplements or food, it is fairly easy to have high hemo. There are also a few things that can influence the hemo values, like the female menstrual period, stress and some types of medicines.

I am not a very health conscious person regarding what I eat. However I do prefer to buy organic produce because it is proven to have a higher content of vitamins and other essential nutrients than GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). I eat a lot of fruit and meat. I still indulge on some cookies here and there, and I LOVE carbs very much, too much really. I rotate the types of fruits and produce I buy weekly, so I don't get bored and tired with them. I find that works the best, for me. Since I am also an "emotional eater" I have stopped buying comfort food altogether. I still have some treats, but I don't have them at home readily available.

Anyway, my "trick" to have a good hemo is: consume, at least, 2 servings per day of dark leafy greens like collard greens, spinach, spring mix, kale, etc. I usually have them either on salads, soups and/or juice/smoothies. I eat about 40 g of nuts a day, usually walnuts, because they are my fave :) I also have red meat about 2 days a week, since it is an excellent source of iron.

Another important aspect of increasing your hemo levels, if you are not able to do so solely by diet, is through supplements. Unfortunately, not all supplements are made alike. Research and scientific studies have shown that the body absorbs ferrous iron better than ferric iron. So, when you buy your supplements, make sure you are taking ferrous iron. It is also recommended that you should take your iron supplement with orange juice to maximize the absorption of iron. I usually just eat one before taking the supplement.

Pet peeve.

Am I the only one who is annoyed by reviews that have no photos? What is the purpose of publishing them if we cannot see the results? If you are that happy/unhappy about your results that you feel you have to post a review, why not spend the extra minutes uploading a couple of photos?
If a review does not have the photos of, at least, the results I dismiss them as being fake. That goes both for the positive and negatives reviews.

There's no diet like a "good" heartbreak: 140.3 pounds.

My appetite has plummeted lately. I saw that my ex bf has moved on and looks happy with this UGLY woman... I wasted almost 8 years of my life with that man. To make matters worse, then I looked at the mirror and I though "What have I done to myself?!" First, I cried, now I am just angry... The silver lining of it all is that I am losing weight and getting very close to having a normal weight again.
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon

Dr. FG is extremely knowledgeable and professional. His initial diagnosis was thorough and explained in a way patients with no medical training or education can understand very easily. His English is also flawless, which is a major plus for all international patients. I am very pleased to have him as my Dr., since I believe he will give me the results I am looking for while keeping me safe.

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