28/f/trauma Surviver in Need of the Last Pieces of a New Life After the Madness. La Mesa, CA

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My Journey to Plastics with Dr. Pousti While my...

My Journey to Plastics with Dr. Pousti While my story isn't unique, it isn't something ubiquitous, though the circumstances are unfortunately common in our world. I was a child that grew up in an abusive home. I had a single family home with too many children than could be afforded. I was a child of an immigrant. I ended up in the foster care. I have been diagnosed and clinically treated for several eating disorders, mental/emotional disorders, and this continued on into my young adult life. Because of my child hood trauma I did experience body dysmorphia and suffered with anorexia nervosa and was on the extreme end of the scale for body weight, in that I was severely underweight. As a very young adult I survived a very common physical trauma that left me tormented with a pregnancy and undiagnosed illnesses associated with my circumstances that ultimately led to a sudden and extreme weight gain of 185lbs, throwing me on the opposite end of the spectrum I experienced as a child. My two extreme weights were at a low of 93lbs, and a high of 285, with a height of barely 5’4’’. Because of these two extremes, I never experienced any sort of physical or mental normality when it came to body type or comfortability. Because of my inability to shed the weight after my experience, I could never quite recover or move on, and most simplistically I learned to suppress my emotions and put on a fake smile to prevent discomfort from those around me. I was able to semi function as a growing adult, throwing myself deeply in an educational system, exploring many facets of higher education and paths of knowledge. I paired off in a traditional partnership with someone quite unexpected to fit with me, and yet it was the most absolutely perfect match. I found a person that didn't care about the physical shell I was trapped in, other than it bothered him that I was suffering on a level I could never be completely honest about, until it affected our viability for procreating. In our failed attempts to create a child, I resorted to finally addressing the physical and emotional elephant that took up every room in our lives. It was the major consensus that if I resolved my weight issues, I could potentially be fertile and successful in our journey to parenthood. I explored my options and met the best bariatric surgeon and decided on a RNY Gastric Bypass. My surgeon of choice was adamant in extensive nutritional and lifestyle education before allowing surgery, as well as proof that his patients could viably adopt and continue such changes. In my proof, I lost nearly 70lbs before surgery and actually had to convince my surgeon to continue with the operation. Because of my undiagnosed history of weight gain, directly linked to pregnancy, we all felt like it would actually be beneficial for me to proceed, in preventative measures were I to become fertile and experience the same symptoms as before. I also had a lifelong history of debilitating intestinal disorders that were commonly treated with this bypass. There were too many benefits to lose this opportunity I had chosen and worked toward. I had the procedure in October of 2013. I became pregnant about 3 months post op, which is extremely unsafe, and I do not condone or suggest this for anyone. That time of my life was such a blur, and I somehow thought I was much farther post op, which can happen with the weight loss results I had achieved in such a short amount of time. I was well over 100lbs of weight lost, and this steadily continued as my pregnancy progressed. By the time I delivered, via scheduled c-section at 39 weeks, November 2014, I was -19lbs pre pregnancy weight and had given birth to a very healthy 7lb13oz baby boy. While breast feeding I maintained a loss of 130/135lb weight and my discomfort grew. I didn't have any more weight loss but the excess abdominal skin kept accumulating and tore, rashed, caused chronic pain. In April of 2015 I suddenly fell so ill that no fluids or food could be kept down and I was frequently vomiting. It took over 6 neglectful doctors, and facilities, to turn me away before an emergency surgery displayed the source of my distress: a very large and severe internal hernia. Apparently this is a side effect after RNY most commonly in women, who become pregnant. A side effect my husband and I do not ever remember being educated on. This is also something that can happen frequently for the rest of my life. It happened 2 more times in less than 6 months, and I lost my gall bladder. The most unfortunate circumstances surrounding the internal hernia are that they are sudden, and there is no way to prevent them. I was notified that because of my extreme weight loss, I had absolutely no fat to support my intestines like more normal anatomy laden humans, nor did I have the abdominal support because of pregnancies and their natural effects on the abdominal wall, and the most back up support, the spine, was experiencing degenerative disc disease as well as arthritis. I had everything going against me. My current Bariatric surgeon suggested that I was more than ready for plastics and it was potentially relevant to all of my ailments. The obvious and painful extra skin in my abdomen would be removed, but an extended abdominoplasty would entail reconstruction of my abdominal walls which could possible be my best chance at support and internal hernia prevention. The extra weight from the excess skin alone would also alleviate my back problems once removed. This was scary information for me, but I pushed myself to start the research.

2 months post op as of June 27 2016

Significant healing and a better view of results. Still dealing with occasional swelling and pain associated with increased physical activity after such a large procedure. Everything seems to be going well and each day I see myself I'm getting more comfortable with the changes. Bought my first shorts and was happily surprised to find my new size, with minor swelling, is a US 3. It was never about the number, but the number validates the journey I have been on!

Almost 4 months post op

Occasional swelling and fluid occurs but is well controlled with compression garments. When no swelling is present my stomach is incredibly flat. My scars are almost hidden by normal panty lines but I'm sure with my fair skin they will fade well. Some of my feeling has return but not much. I will note that from past cesarean I had never had much feeling, so there's more feeling than I used to have. My belly button is awesome! Almost all my scars from past repeat abdominal laparoscopic operations were cut away in the extra skin removal. My abdominal wall is naturally working out with every motion I do and I am starting to feel so much stronger.

A bit past 4 months post op

Everything is going as well as expected. Still have occasional minor swelling and fluid from another procedure but I'm feeling a million times better!
When there is no swelling I'm so thin I look scooped out and like I'm sucking in because my ribs stick out so much.
My scar line is a bit annoying at times when I wear revealing clothing, but it's honestly not a big deal! My skin is very pale so my scars are quite noticeable, but they are starting to fade some.
I'm pretty pleased with my results so far!
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

The first top result when you search for plastics in the San Diego area is Dr. Pousti. He has amazing result photos, 100% positive reviews, and I wanted him. Unfortunately, we are an enlisted military family and heavily rely on our health insurance so I went with the referral that my insurance approved through the Scripps community. The surgeon I was assigned to, only had 3 photos and they didn't look that great, but they didn't look awful. I felt like I would rather not look amazing than have the extra skin to begin with. I had to wait over 3 months for my appointment and it was awful in every way possible. The surgeon wasn't confident, he pretty much stated he did not want me as a patient because of my history of sensitivities and complications. He was not positive about my outcome and unwilling to give me a practical plan of action. His staff was hard to communicate with and the second they took my deposit money my surgery date disappeared and his surgical coordinator was NEVER available to call me back or answer the phone to begin with and started leaving me very snippy and rude emails. I had no confidence in this procedure and greatly questioned if I was even ready for this phase. Something in my gut kept leading me back to Dr. Pousti. I eventually just called them and asked if someone would have the time and knowledge to listen to my short story of my recent surgeon experience and answer my questions regarding this process. I spoke to several staff members, all extremely kind and patient with me. They suggested I email Dr. Pousti directly and assured me that my experience was not normal. After Dr. Pousti read my email, he called me immediately to introduce himself and moved his schedule around to see me that week even though he was booked up for about a month! I was overwhelmed, yet excited, and unable to mentally prepare for the treatment I was about to receive after the precedent set by the previous surgeon I had seen. Meeting the staff ladies in person set me up for a glorious come back to my hopes and dreams for my potential outcome if I were to proceed with Dr. Pousti. They were genuinely friendly and caring and so was Dr. Pousti. Honestly, I can’t even articulate the reality of their greatness and do them any sort of justice for all they have done for me, emotionally, educationally, and physically. Dr. Pousti was extremely positive and confident in my potential outcome and provided me a lot of education about my possible treatment plans, as well as access to past and present patients undergoing similar procedures as I was contemplating. I have never experienced this with another physician or medical team. This may be one of the biggest influences on my decision to proceed, but the catalyst was actually the manor in which Dr. Pousti treated me in regards to my decline in health before my original surgery date. He was so concerned about my health, he and his staff advocated for me, and with me, to get the care I needed to start me on a safe path for a viable and successfully safe procedure with him. His genuine care for my life was paramount in his practices and I know anyone would be hard pressed to find that anywhere else, regardless of the care you are seeking. Another important thing to know about Dr. Pousti is that his second greatest concern in his practice is the resources and education that each patient receives. Plastic surgery, or any surgery for that matter, is not a magic wand. Plastic surgery feels like it has a mist of fantasy surrounding the perimeters and reality associated with the human body and mind. I think because of the way Plastics are portrayed by hollywood and the media, people have this expectation that plastic surgery can and will fix any problem you may perceive you have. Dr. Pousti is a gifted surgeon but he is human, and it seemed to me, that it was very important to him, that every patient understand as much as possible the entire scope of the plastics journey they may embark. He greatly cares what I wanted as a patient, but he also needed me to understand that it is always possible to not achieve what I hope, and in that same regard, I was given a broad range of what possibilities could happen, and dependent on my goals and my priorities, he would be able to utilize his knowledge, skill, and talents to best accommodate me and my hopes. I happen to be a person who prides myself on reality, and I tend to have lower expectations so that people have the chance to meet them, and more often exceed them. This man has greatly surpassed my expectations and not only did his best work on me, he may have done the best work he has on anyone so far. That is the love, and passion, and happiness I saw in his eyes when he opened up my bandages to check me on my first post op visit with him. I really cant express how much I appreciate this doctor. I cant imagine how my life would be if I never met him, or embarked on the journey that I desperately needed for a much better quality of life. I highly recommend Dr. Pousti and his staff to anyone who is logical, and realistic, and genuinely open to the truth and great skill required to achieve your realistic body goals and necessities. It can be frustrating to hear things you aren't ready to hear, or don't want to, but this man will be honest with you and do his best, and his best is THE BEST. I would not be having another few procedures with him if I did not feel this way. Worth every penny and then some.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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