Recap: In Feb. 2014 I had a posterior body lift along with a medial thigh lift and some lipo. ( I'd had a TT, BL and BA in '10). When I awoke in recovery the pain became excruciating. I was parched and begged for water and pain meds, both of which were ignored for long stretches of time. Although I'd prepaid for a private suite, I was in a curtained off area (along with several others) for 8 hrs after I'd been ready to leave recovery. At that point, the nurses claimed my surgeon didn't leave orders for pain meds! Whether it was simply more incompetency on the part of the hospital, or my surgeon truly didn't think to leave orders is beyond me. It took hours, but I finally had pain relief. When the morphine would hit I would fall into a blessed sleep. When it wore off I would wake up crying in pain. It was, by far, the worst hospital experience I'd ever had.
The following day I began the recovery process in our temporary home. I cried for four solid days every waking moment (my poor husband!). By day four I begged Revis to figure out how to better manage the pain and he did. I stayed in Ft. Lauderdale four weeks, three of which were mandated by the surgeon. My incredible husband took care of me nonstop for three of those weeks. Two days after he left, my sweet CookieCakes showed up and stayed the remaining time with me. Admittedly, that last week was party week. We stayed up all night a couple times talking like school girls and spent long days at the beach together. It turned into a truly magical time.....
...Except I noticed some laxity returning by about 3 weeks. I'd also been dealing with pretty nasty groin incision infection and also I hated the way my surgeon had stitched me up. The incisions were great, but I looked like I'd been sewn together by a five year old. At my first follow up appt. I pointed out the two fat pockets on my mid inner thighs that we'd specifically addressed prior and had been assured would be taken care of. He sort of poo-polo'd my concern and said to wait as I was swollen. I knew even then it would only look worse once the swelling dissipated. Soon I became depressed. I knew part of it was simply something to expect with these types of surgery. Also, and not to minimize the post massive weight loss woman's issues, but I feel the extensive scarring left from these procedures may be an easier pill to swallow when you begin with a body that borders "almost unrecognizable" (as one post massive weight loss woman described herself) than a woman who is dealing with sagging skin, a dimpling butt and thighs and in desperate need of some contouring. For the former, sometimes any scar may be a happy trade off to yards of hanging skin and fat. The point is, I had given it a lot of thought and was willing to accept the amount of scarring involved as a trade off to having a body I could put into a sundress, or a pair of this shorts, and even a bathing suit.
My surgeon claimed he did an auto aug procedure, yet my ass was as flat as ever. My legs and torso weren't contoured as hoped, I still had a flat square butt, and the scarring was ugly. I had a hole on one hip from one of the six drains he used that took six months to heal, finally closing after I found some "magic" cream online. I was depressed, unhappy with the results and felt like a pre body lift patient who somehow had all the scars already. And guilt.... Lots of guilt. When all was said and done between the surgery, the airfare, the car rental and the place we rented for a month, I'd cost my dear hubby 22K. And very poor results. So lots of guilt.
I knew I didn't want to just accept all this. I'd begun saving for a facelift as soon as we'd paid for my body lift surgery, but I realized I'd be miserable if I just accepted these poor results and explored my options. I rejected the idea of having my original surgeon do the revision. My thought was if he did such a poor job the first time around and was paid for it, why would I expect better results if he wasn't going to be compensated the second time? He also told me my butt would become even more flat if he did a revision. He said he'd waive his fee, but between the hospital costs, anesthesia, airfare, car rental, and a place to stay for three weeks...that "free REVISion" would cost upwards of $8,000, possibly $9,000. Not to mention I no longer trusted him. To be honest, I no longer trusted myself or my own judgement, either. I'd invested a great deal of time and effort researching surgeons, poring over galleries, researching various methods of performing body lifts. I had dozens of questions over that time period and my surgeon quickly answered each and every email. In retrospect I did have some reservations about him. I questioned why his gallery seemed to be slightly out of focus. I'd read his website thoroughly and was quite shocked when, only by accident, I found he wasn't performing the surgery as laid out in his website. And honestly, his extensive gallery on extremely large breast implants set off some bells. I spoke with a prior patient of his that is now a motivational speaker. She tried to give me a heads up and had some interesting stories I somehow managed to ignore. By that time I'd paid my deposit, paid for our rental for a month and paid for our plane tickets. So I ignored those feelings. If anyone reads this that is contemplating a body lift procedure, I implore you to look elsewhere for a surgeon.
That confidence in him and in my own ability to make well-informed choices had been shattered with the shoddy results I ended up with. I questioned everything I thought now....if I could be THAT wrong about my surgeon - who I'd researched and formed a relationship with - a sort of partnership- then what else was I wrong about? I've always felt I am an intuitive person, that I am a good judge of character and feel I am smart enough to find out answers and therefore be able to make an educated decision. All came into question. I asked myself over and over- how on earth will I know I've made the right choice THIS time around?
My husband, God love him, knew how unhappy I was and told me to find someone, that we'd figure out how to pay for it. But again, the GUILT! And then the fear, What if I choose another surgeon who turns out to be just mediocre? Granted, he has somehow figured out how to stuff a 2,000 cc implant into a 110 lb woman, but as far as a body lift surgeon? Mediocre is being generous.
A RealSelf friend in my area went to a surgeon in Tijuana and seemed happy with her results. She asked me if I wanted to accompany her on her 6 week follow up and have a consultation. Admittedly, I liked the guy. But there was that little voice inside, a distant alarm I knew I should to listen to. But I also felt boxed in. We could afford the surgery if done there, but I really hated the idea of having surgery in Mexico (I lived in Acapulco for a year and a half previously, so it's not all biased) He didn't have much of a photo gallery and a couple things seemed a little "off". I'd taken a packet of papers detailing different types of auto augmentations which he read with interest and asked if he could take photocopies. This also alarmed me - these are basic augmentation procedures. I'd think he'd have been very familiar with them. He said he did his "differently", his own procedure. I sent a few emails, one of which was answered. I'd had a list of several questions I wanted answers to, but that one seemed to be overlooked. We secured the funds for the surgery, but I put off sending my deposit and booking a surgical date. He'd given me a quote and I wanted confirmation of a few things. I wanted to clarify he'd be doing some contouring...lipo. We'd discussed the indented areas on my outer butt area and talked about my saddlebags. When he finally responded to that email he informed me I "wasn't a candidate" for lipo! His reason? I'm over 50. Omg. That's ridiculous. He said there would be no contouring, the surgery wouldn't affect the muffin top area, no fat transfer and apparently from his email, no auto augmentation of my butt (?). Basically it appeared he would be doing was a scar revision with potentially some skin tightening.
Although my friend was generally happy with the outcome of her surgery with Gutierrez, she didn't like the placement of the front portion of her body lift incision. It sort of goes up in an inverted "v" shape below her belly button. She was also disappointed that once she was there for her surgery, he told her he couldn't do the very much needed long thigh lift on her. His reason? She had too many veins and it would be dangerous to do. I've heard from reputable surgeons this, too, is nonsense. That most morbidly obese people form lots of extra veins in the legs and that vein stripping is often part and parcel to this procedure on formerly obese patients. It makes sense- all that extra skin and fat had to have a blood supply. These things gave me great pause, but again, I felt this surgery done by Gutierrez might be my only opportunity.
In the meantime, my dear CookieCakes had just had her second stage surgery with Dr. Peter Fisher in San Antonio, TX. She was doing extremely well soon after surgery and asked if she could just talk to him about me, show him my pics. I thanked her but actually pleaded with her not to. I knew she meant well, I knew she was doing it out of love for me, but I explained it to her like this - please don't bother, I KNOW I'd want him to do my surgery. That's not the point. The point is I can't afford him and hearing that he could possibly fix this mess, but it being out of reach, it would just hurt all that much more. She said she understood, but was sad because she only wanted the best for me. (I already knew that about her) And she was over-the-top pleased and excited about all he'd done for her. Check out onedimsim's blog and you'll understand why!
A couple days later she called me. I love hearing happiness in her voice and she was just about bubbling over. Said she'd just had her follow up appointment and she was healing really well. Both doctor and patient were thrilled with the outcome of this second stage surgery. I was thrilled for her! She's come SO far and has put in all the work and found a great surgeon able to tackle her specific problems. And we'd become such close friends over the months that I am absolutely and truly happy for her. Finally she could contain herself no longer and burst out- aren't you going to ask why I'm so happy?! I said I know why. She'd just had a great follow up and I knew she was overwhelmed with the success of her surgeries. They'd exceeded every expectation. She said no....I talked to Dr. Fisher about you (and I'm about to beat her down thru the phone) and he feels he can help you. And it's not as much as you feared and besides, we can work it out. I'm sending you a ticket to come see me in San Antonio this week and I'll set up a consult for you!
Omg! I was thrilled! I'd get to see my CookieCakes and have a consult with her magician. I mean her surgeon. I didn't want to get my hopes up TOO high about him being able to fix this, but there was a weird ray of hope I hadn't felt when I believed I was going out of the country for this. Even if her surgeon underestimated the damage, even if the fees were out of reach, I was still thrilled to hang out with my girl again! If I turned out to be disappointed with the consult, it'd be worth it just to be able to spend time together again. And I couldn't be mad at My Cookie because she acted out of love - even if she'd totally disregarded my "wishes"!
I will be making a new review of my very successful revision with Dr. Peter Fisher soon. In short - he is an AMAZING surgeon who goes far above and beyond! I am so happy with the results this gifted surgeon has managed to give me. This man somehow fashioned a bit of a butt for me, sculpted my legs and torso, given me a waist, tightened a lot of the sagging skin and made all my scars already look so much better. I will be forever in his debt. I cannot accurately describe what he has "given" me. My surgery was in mid Sept. and I can't believe what a difference there is! If anyone at all is reading this and not made a decision as far as WHO will do this surgery, you really owe it to yourself to contact Dr. Fisher. He is highly approachable, very dedicated to both his patients and his art (it really is an art form and he is extraordinarily gifted) and well worth traveling to San Antonio. These are highly specialized surgeries that really should only be performed by surgeons with a particular skill set. The thigh lift possibly even more so. PLEASE go to a reputable surgeon with a great deal of ongoing experience performing these surgeries. Even more so if you are a post massive weight loss patient. They have different issues that many others seeking body and thigh lift procedures. Dr. Fisher is the BEST!!!