29 Yrs Old, Wanting Lipo for Excess Midsection Fat - Miami, FL

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BackStory: I have always had stubborn belly fat....

I have always had stubborn belly fat. Even when I was 18 and slim, I had a round belly and excess back fat. At 20 yrs old, I had a miscarriage at about 23 weeks. Over the next 7 years, put on 50 lbs but lost about 30 lbs in less than a year, 2013-2014! While I was finally feeling good about my actual weight, I was really discouraged by all the back fat I still had and small belly fat. So from 2014 until now, I've gradually put back on the 30 lbs I lost :-(
2016: Turning 30 is really huge for me! At my heaviest weight of 204 lbs (and only 5'2.5") I decided to do something for myself and get the body I've always wanted with the help of lipo. Started doing research on Boston surgeons and while I found good ones, the responses were discouraging. One doctor said that I was good candidate but he would have to do my lipo in 2 parts totaling around $15K. Another doctor said, my weight was far too high and to check back once I'd lost weight; he wouldn't even quote me or anything. After spending $100 on each consult, I was really discouraged.
May 2017: A friend was graduating in Miami so I decided to spend some extra time there and have a few consultations. Life was so hectic that I didn't have time to research before I left.. crazy I know! My first stop in Miami was to do my nails and the manicurist had a fabulous figure. Even though it seemed too bold, I asked if she knew of any plastic surgeon. She highly recommended Dr. Fisher! I was so excited to have seen his work in person and then see great reviews online. Unfortunately I couldn't get a consultation while I was there, but Margaret at Jolie has been in contact with me. She quoted me $4,300 for everything I wanted and I was so excited. Unfortunately, Dr. Fisher needs me at a BMI of 31 and mine is 36. Losing 25 is not impossible, but I was really hoping to do my surgery before my 30th on July 6th.
While I was in Miami, I met with Dr. Chang who recommended SmartLipo. I thought it was gimmicky like Laser Lipo or CoolSculpting. But after some research, it seems like a legit option. And it was priced at only $3,200!
I feel like traditional lipo with Dr. Fisher would yield the best results. However, I know it isn't healthy to lose more than 5-10lbs in 30 days and that's my time frame. I'm set on having the work done around July 6th, so I can be recovered enough for a vacation in mid-August.

Deciding on a Surgeon & Recovery House

While Smart Lipo with Dr Chang is still an option, I am leaning more towards traditional lipo. Because I've seen Dr. Fisher's work in person and also lots of great reviews, he is my first choice. But with around 30 days to have the procedure, I am worried he is already booked and the coordinator isn't telling me. I've been exploring other options and Dr Valls seemed like a great alternative.

Wish Pics

Making my downpayment to secure a surgery date on Thursday.
Decided to have a few wish pics to show my surgeon and see if they are realistic.

Ultimate Body Goals

Truthfully, I just want a normal curvy body. I decided against a BBL because I am satisfied with my average hips and little booty :-) My breasts are already a DD, so all I want to to slim and contour my midsection. Her body is ultimate goals!

Surgery confirmed, Price not..

Excited to say that I made a deposit and scheduled my surgery for my 30th birthday, July 6th with Dr. Valls!

I switched from Dr Fisher to Dr Valls because his max BMI was higher and his price was lower while still seeing good reviews. Unfortunately I received conflicting information on the BMI and my invoice does not reflect the sale price I was quoted. Other reviewers have said the ladies at Jolie are kind and helpful until they get your payment, but I'm really hoping that's not the case. Waiting on those important updates to put my mind a little at ease.
Also feeling discouraged because the AirBnB [I'd stayed at in May and planned to stay at after I left the recovery house] is booked. I've seen other nice ones in Coral Gables and Coconut Grove, but I knew that one was perfect and so affordable. Hoping that I get another gem because I am picky and know that being comfortable is important while I'm recovering solo.
With it being just 28 days away, I am getting super nervous and feeling really really unprepared.

Can't wait to have this body..

Stumbled on this pic while browsing through my gallery. Didn't realize how much size I'd put on in just 10 months :-/ Really looking forward to having this body without having to suck in. Because I am sure I was holding my breath for this pic :-) LOL

15 lbs to lose :-(

Been all over the place these last couple of weeks. Now my surgery is just over 2 wks away and I have to lose 15 lbs! I'm going to do better with my eating and awful snacking habits, plus I am going to do a colonic the Saturday before my surgery. But any tips would be greatly appreciated!

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!

Today was such an emotional roller coaster. Long story short, I missed my early morning flight and had to take the next one; thank God there was no issue/charge and my suitcase even arrived in time! Most importantly, I gained 3 lbs on the 4th of July alone so I was 10 lbs from my target BMI. When I finally got to Jolie, I was so nervous that Dr Valls would not do my surgery. After having my before pics taken, a coordinator [not mine] took me in for a weight and height. When she saw my weight, she immediately called Cindy, my coordinator, and she said it would be OK! THANK YOU LORD! However, I am still a little concerned because Dr Valls had already left for the day so I am not sure if he actually approved it or if Cindy gave the OK. I was also pretty bothered that Dr Valls left already so I could not meet him and discuss my goals. I filled out tons of paperwork signing my life away then spent $300 on my faja, lipo foams, ab board, massage and drug test.
Right now I am sitting comfortably at Dolls Recovery House with two awesome roommates. While I wasn't expecting to have two roommates, they are both really great.. all the girls in the house are! I will be sure to do a separate review on the RH.
It's officially my 30th birthday and surgery day! Praying for good health, good results and being happy with it all :-)

Dolls Recovery Getaway Miami

Recovering from lipo in Miami [far from home in Boston] would not have been possible without a recovery home or constant care. I am so glad I chose Dolls! This review will be long and detailed. Keep in mind this is solely based my personal experience at DRGM.
The House
Located on the corner of a nice residential street. The house itself is lovely and well kept. There are 5 rooms and it seems that at their busiest, they can accommodate more than 12 dolls. Everything is white: linen, floors, everything. It is easy to see when things are not clean and things were always kept clean. There are 3 full baths so I never had to wait to use one.
I got a great rate of $135/night not including a small nightly tax. While I had an AirBnB for about $60/night [including taxes & fees], I would have had to come out of my pocket every day for the things Dolls provided. These add up quickly: transportation, food, supplies, care. I ended up cancelling my AirBnB and extending my stay at Dolls!
Merilene, the owner, and Jabarr do the transportation. In situations when they were unavailable, they called Ubers/Lyfts. The Uber/Lyft situations were infrequent but I did not mind, because it meant no waiting. With that said, yes, I had to wait for them a few times. In the grand scheme of things, it really was not a big deal at all! They are both very sweet and know how important it is to take things slow and avoid potholes. The cars are also very nice and clean: an Infiniti SUV and a large sedan [cannot remember the make].
I am somewhat of a picky eater, especially when I am trying to be more health conscious. My biggest issue was that a lot of the food was salty. I do not cook with salt, strictly fresh seasonings and a dash of something like Adobo, so I notice immediately when food is salty. However, other dolls did complain about the about of salt as well. Another issue was the amount of rice, crackers, sugary drinks and carbs overall that we were given. Lastly, everyone talks about how important pineapple is in recovery; oddly enough, it was only a snack once in the week I stayed. Diet is very important post-op! No-one wants to flush their results down the drain because of a poor diet. Bottom line: meals were on time and there was always a piece of fruit to snack on. It was very nice to have someone cook for me ensuring that I had three meals per day.
They provided all the necessities: towels/wash cloths, Dial anti-bacterial soap, Hibiclens, gauze and alcohol wipes amongst other things. They also had Arnica tea, pills and gel for sale.
It was so important to have 24/7 care. I came home from surgery around 11pm and am 100% I would not have survived without Marlene. God bless her kindness and patience! There was always one staff member on duty and occasionally another woman who cleans/cooks primarily. Unfortunately, there were a couple times when that was not enough because multiple dolls had surgery at the same time. Little things go unattended because the primary focus is care. So, while it is super important that a doll is getting fed post-op, it means another is going without her garment for hours because the laundry was not done. Bottom line: it is a hard job for one person but the staff show how much they love their jobs and keeping us well!

The best part about staying at DGRM was the group of dolls! Recovering in Miami by myself could have been soo much harder, but having other girls there experiencing similar issues was vital to my survival. We were there to check on each other, remind/encourage each other to walk and drink lots of water. I appreciated all the advice and tips I got each day. Thank God for the all Dolls and may he continue to bless them through their recoveries!

Comparison Pics

At 11 days post-op, I can finally see a glimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel. I am still really uncomfortable: little things like laughing, bending over, lotioning my feet, sitting for long periods (aka more than 30 mins) etc are either impossible, painful or super uncomfortable. However, I know my body is recovering from a major procedure.
When I can really sit and process my thoughts, I will write a detailed review on the day of my surgery, the days after surgery while still in Miami and then how I am recovering. For now, here are some comparison pics. While I am nowhere close to the body I want and paid for, I know I have come a LONNNG way!

XOXO Dolls

Surgery Day

My surgery was scheduled for 11am and my roomie was scheduled for noon. We were dropped off at Jolie around 1030am and after checking in at the front desk, we were told to have seat in the back waiting room. There were already lots of other patients there, but I understood that there are multiple doctors so I wasn’t too concerned. When we were almost 15 mins from Jolie, I realized that I’d forgotten my faja. It would’ve taken too much time to go back, so I purchased another while I waited. After maybe 45-90 mins later, we were getting frustrated and asked one of the assistants what was going on as both of our appointment times had passed and no-one so much as checked on us in the freezing cold waiting room. She seemed surprised and asked did we do our drugs tests.. ummmmm, NO, no-one even checked on us! She gave us our drugs tests and literally as I came out holding my specimen, another assistant came to give me my drug test. So disorganized! I grew more and more antsy, nervous, anxious and frustrated as the hours went by. The last time I ate and had even a sip of water as requested, was over 12 hours prior!
I was called back around 4pm: 5 hours after my scheduled surgery time! As soon as she called my name, I hugged my roomie and went to the pre-op area. Btw.. as I mentioned in my RH review: thank God for my roomie and all the other dolls! I would have been more of a nervous wreck without her there! So yes, back to the pre-op area. Dr. Valls’s assistant was so sweet. Her English was not all together there, but she was kind and friendly. She gave me a hospital bag, compression socks, bonnet, footies and paper gown, asked me to fully undress and put all my belongings in the bag. She came back, took my weight and more pictures. I was down to 190lbs, which was good. I do not recall her taking my blood pressure or any other vitals. She said she would be right back with the doctor and gave me a soft blanket.. thank God because that room was even colder than the waiting area. About 15 minutes later, Dr Valls finally arrived. He greeted me with a big smile and Happy Birthday! That immediately calmed me down :-) We got right to business. He looked at my chart and quietly spoke to his assistant in Spanish. My Spanish is barely decent, so I could not catch all that he was saying and asked questions each time he said something to her. He said my EKG was just a little off, but nothing to be concerned about and that, of course, my weight was higher than he’d prefer. He reinforced how important a proper diet and exercise would be after surgery. When he got to the end, he wrote “BBL” on a paper and I said, Oh no Doctor, just lipo for me. He said, “No BBL” and again I said no. We went back and forth a few times jokingly. Thankfully I am not shy about my body, because BOOM, time to be naked. I told him that my back fat and rolls were my biggest concern. I was a bit disappointed when he said he wasn’t entirely sure he could get rid of all the fat and smoothen out my sides. He did say that my belly would not be a problem. I reiterated that my rolls were my biggest concern. I’d lost weight in the past and while my belly went down, the rolls appeared more prominent. He said that may just be part of my shape which I’d heard before :-( He asked again, with a smile, if I was sure I didn’t want a BBL. No thanks Doc! He marked me up and said that surgery would be in about 30 minutes. That was around 4pm and a little after 5pm, his assistant was walking me to the operating room.
The waiting areas and pre-op rooms at Jolie are very nice and modern. Clean, sleek furniture, artwork, flat screens, etc. However, walking to the operating room was like we were going in a different building. It wasn’t dirty, but it didn’t look new or super clean.. just kinda old and janky. We walked pass three other operating rooms and all the doors were open; maybe that’s policy. The assistant stopped me before each door to close them and then open them back once I walked by. Weird, but again, maybe policy. My room was the last in that hall, but I asked to use the restroom first. The restroom back there was nothing like the ones in the waiting area. Again, not particularly gross just not super clean and not new or modern at all. I used it and went to my operating room. The anesthesiologist was waiting for me and we chatted while he set things up. Handsome guy! Within a couple minutes he was ready and so was I! The table is set up like a “T” so both my arms were already outstretched. He went for my left although I told him I preferred the right. Whatevs, it was showtime! He said I would feel a cold sensation and weird taste in my mouth and I did. Then just like that, I was out. During surgery, I never woke up or dreamt. Then, it was over. I woke up shaking violently! Not trembling or shivering like I read, shaking violently. It wasn’t so much that I felt cold because there was a warm/heated blanket over me. I just could not stop shaking! Worse yet, I woke up on my stomach and thought they gave me the BBL. In hindsight, I was coming down for the anesthesia and freaking out. But at the time, my fears seemed real and it was like no-one in the OR seemed to care. I get that it was late, but that was not my fault. When I started really freaking out and crying, someone came over and rubbed my shoulder a little, telling me that I was alright. I must have gone in and out of consciousness a few times, because what seemed to be all of sudden, someone was telling me it was time to go and I had to get up. She was nice about it, but also very firm. When I tried to get up, the pain hit me like a truck at 100 mph. I remember telling her that I couldn’t do it and to please just let me sleep. Next thing I remember, I’m in a wheelchair outside in the darkness in front of Merilene from the recovery house. Now she was telling me to get up so I could get into the truck and again, I said I couldn’t. The pain was at an all-time high and I clearly remember the woman from Jolie being super impatient like she had to get back inside so Merilene had to basically put me into her truck. The ride home was awful. I felt every crack in the road even though I’m sure Merilene was driving super slow. Getting from the car to the house was a blur as was the entire night. The pain was unreal and I had no appetite but I had to eat something to take my pain meds. Okay, let’s talk about pain meds. Jolie does not give you or your ride your scripts in advance. Here I am getting out of surgery late in the evening/night and Merilene had to go back out to fill my scripts. If your insurance is particular about where you fill your scripts, good luck! Luckily, I had left over Vicodin from my wisdom tooth extraction a few weeks ago. I was able to hold down some crackers and water or Gatorade so I could take them. Using the bathroom [to pee] was not a problem, but of course getting up was a huge problem. Thank God for my urinal because sitting down was not happening. The aide on duty that night was so kind and patient. God bless her! She came and told me when it was time to get up and walk, but Lord knows my body did not feel able. The only time I got up for the whole night was the one time to pee. Apparently, that was a really bad thing, but I did not care because all I wanted to do was sleep and I actually slept well.
Okay, that was long, but that was all about surgery day :-)
Dr Arnaldo Valls

Dr. Valls is super sweet, but he has overextended himself and needs to cut back on the amount patients he sees daily. I did not see him at my pre-op appointment, spoke with him for less than 10 minutes before surgery and despite numerous tear filled requests, I finally saw him 6 days post op although I had been asking since 12 hours after surgery! Also, waiting 6+ hours from my scheduled surgery time was absolutely ridiculous!! There are probably some patients who are not as "needy," but for those that are, he needs more room in his schedule to accommodate. I am still waiting on a call back or even emailed response! For someone like myself who has worked closely with physicians and separately in customer service, I find that totally unacceptable! By the way, if I included his staff in his rating, he would easily lose a star or two. At only 11 days post-op, I will not review my body/results.. yet.

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