MM, Mom of 2, 26 Yrs, 5'4 159lbs - Miami, FL

After months of researching and talking with my...

After months of researching and talking with my husband, I'm having a mommy makeover early next year. I was hoping for this October but we need to save a bit more considering we're paying for this out of pocket. I searched and everything was out of our price range until I found Spectrum Aesthetics in Miami. Emily the coordinator actually called late one night after I sent photos the week prior. I was floored by the prices and thought it was way too good to be true. I've done so much research on them and all doctors are board certified. I follow them on Instagram and read reviews occasionally. The work is good! The staff isn't always professional but they are always busy and what matters is the surgeons. Emily has been good with me so far.

I'm getting a breast lift with implants and an extended tummy tuck. My plan is to leave my kids with my in laws while my husband and I fly to Miami. We'll meet the surgeon the day before surgery and stay in a hotel for two nights. We'll then drive to my moms house that is an hour and half away from Miami and then just drive back when it's time for my post op visit. (Easier said then done when you have drains in I'm sure).

My makeover is all I can think about and its 7 months away! Seems like a lifetime. I can't wait to be confident again and look forward to clothes shopping!

Before photos

Waiting to hear from coordinator

So I saw a surgeon here (in GA) Monday to just make sure the procedures I am getting done in Miami are what he would also do. Plus I have a benign lump in my armpit that will be lipo'd but if insurance will cover it here then it saves me some money for my Miami surgery. SO, their total was $14,000 for BL with implants, TT with lip, and lipo of auxiliary (armpits)! Crazy....compared to $8,300 at Spectrum. So I will be sticking with them but hoping insurance will cover removing my large lump in my left armpit. The surgeon did stress that he highly recommends silicone implants even though mine will be small and under muscle. He said there could be rippling on sides and underneath since they will go under the muscle. I emailed emily (My Spectrum coordinator) asking how much the price difference would be and basically touching base with her since I haven't heard much since giving my $300 deposit. I haven't heard back from her. It's been two days since I sent the email.

HSA card

Has anyone used their HSA card for any portion of your cosmetic surgery?? I've scanned the IRS forms about HSA CARDS and there are gray areas. You def can't use it for surgery itself but you can for blood work, surgical bras, meds. There is also info on using it for travel expenses if the traveling reason is solely for a medical reason. You can use it for plane tickets, lodging (up to $50 a night per Person, and even nursing assistant). I'm afraid of using it and getting penalized at the end of the year. It would help some though if I can pay for travel expenses with it.

More before photos

My surgery is booked!!! February 26th!

I just got off the phone with Emily and we booked for Friday, February 26th! My surgery will be with Dr. Ortega!

I've heard he can be a little short and quick to meet with you for only minutes but his works appears to be very good.

She said I'd have drains in for anywhere from 7-14 days. My husband and I plan to stay in a hotel for 2-3 days and then drive to my moms house an hour and half away. We'll drive back when we need to remove drains.

She said garments are included in the price but she emailed me a list of items I should stock up on. Emily answers all my questions! She can be blunt which seems almost rude, but she's just straight forward. My experience has been good so far. I'm so excited I have an exact date now.

Pre op instructions

My wish pics

I really hope to have a low enough scar from my tummy tuck and (mostly) symmetrical breasts and nipples! I am so worried that after having my armpits lipo'd and my breasts done that my arms will look bad (because they are flabby). I have been trying to work out but my arms aren't toning very easily! If I could afford it I would have my arms done too! HA!

Hotels?!

I am trying to find a hotel near Spectrum for February but they are so pricey for that month! The best western is over 200 a night! Any tips or suggestions?

Plane ticket bought!

I found an extremely cheap flight to Miami the day before my surgery at 7am! Bought it! Things are getting real! I hope everything goes smoothly now and no changes in dates otherwise I might be SOL! It's still about 6 months away but I know it'll fly by.

5 more months! Tracking weight loss

Tracking weight loss on here by posting occasional "before" photos. My goal is to try to lose as much weight as I can before surgery. I'm toning up but need to do more cardio.

Oct 2015-FOUR more months!

Pics to reflect back on after surgery!

Pics of full body and lumps in armpit

Getting Lipo in addition to TT AND BL/Aug. Lumps developed after breast feeding kids. They are benign.

I can't wait till my boobs don't dangle like earrings!

Gross!

Bought my first bikini in years

I went out on a limb and bought this bikini that was on VS clearance. Hoping it fits after surgery. Top is 36 DD and LG bottoms.

Anyone else in February?

I am having my surgery with Dr. O Feb 26th. Is anyone that day as well? I'm still up in the air about where I'm staying. My flights have been purchased though!

More wish photos

I really like the fullness and natural look of these

Goal body type-working hard!

I've been working out and eating 1200 calories a day...its been working great. Goal is to be as tiny as I can before my MM so Dr can take as much loose skin as possible.

More before photos- 10 pound weight loss.

I've lost 10 pounds according to the scale! 1200 calories and working out 4-5 times a week. Regardless, you can barely tell on my tummy. Skin is still so saggy. Maybe even worse that I've lost weight-but better for surgery.

Not sure where to stay! Surgery buddy?

My mom made reservations at a hotel months ago that totaled $1,100 for three nights! She wants to help care for me but has run into financial issues (my parents recently divorced). SO, I am kinda SOL as of now with a place to stay ONE MONTH before my SX. Everything is so pricey in the area, even Airbnb. Is anyone scheduled for Feb 26 also? Do you need a surgery buddy or maybe split hotel/recovery house? Any suggestions?

Hurt my back ????

So I hurt my back a week ago in the gym (and I have pre-existing back pain but doesn't stop me from doing anything)...until this last Friday. I've been running again and it's been irritated and in weight lifting, I really messed it up. I waited a week and finally told hubby to take me to ER last night. I can't get out of bed, off the toilet without help. Pain when I sneeze, cough, walk, sit, lay down...
The ER only did an X-ray and it was normal...did some steroid and pain injections and sent me home ???? I have to follow up with an orthopedic but I'm so scared this is going to affect my surgery. I need to get better ASAP! 30 days away! I can't not go through with it. The worst timing. I wanted to workout hardcore up until my surgery. Now I can't even stand without pain...and I have to REALLY watch my eating since I can't workout. Pray for me guys!!!

Positive note: here's my pics reflecting 9 pound loss this last month.

10 more to go...

My supplies so far...

Spanx and colorful bras from Zulily
Marina post op bra from Makemeheal.com
Iron from GNC
Tape, Superfood drink, Papaya enzyme, and Arnica all from Amazon

Liver and onions!

Prepping body for blood work this week... It's an oldie but goodie recipe w/ homemade mash.

Marinated in milk and garlic...
Sautéed in pan after onions and fresh garlic are cooked.

Labs and EKG this week

Got email for lab order today along with a phone call from Evelyn Sanchez (Spectrum Aesthetics). Because I have high blood pressure and am on medication for it I have to be medically cleared by my doctor and have an EKG done. Blood work will be tomorrow morning and doctor appointment later in the week. Wish me luck!

Now just waiting on lab results

Went this morning to have labs done. It was three tubes of blood and urinalysis. 24-48 hours to get results from Doctor they said.

I am overly prepared so here you go...

Many supplies were purchased on Amazon including supplies for my scar cream, otherwise it was Zulily or makemeheal.com

Things are real now...

Ok, now it seems real that this is happening this month! And it appears I can't stay off this site either...labs have been cleared! Just have to wait to get my EKG Friday to be 100% cleared.

EKG is clear!

My primary care doctor said my EKG looks good and I have medical clearance! I'm 100% good to go! Phew. Now I just have to wait to go to Miami...

Last year photo and some wish pics

This beach pic was summer 2014 and about 15 pounds ago...I hope to wear cuter bikinis that don't go above my jacked belly button after surgery...I tried to pick photos that are similar to my stomach.

Prices?

Ok ladies, after reading some of your posts on prices at Spectrum of like to see the differences before I cal and complain...

If you don't mind, can you tell me exactly what you're getting and for how much?

For example: I am having tummy tuck with lipo of flanks, and breast lift with saline implants. $7,500

And lipo of armpits: additional $800

Total: $8,300.00

THREE days till I arrive in Miami!

I can't believe it's just days away! I've wanted nice boobs my entire life! Okay, well since they popped up around the age of 12. Huge and droopy ever since they came in.

Anyhow, some of my plans have changed a bit on where I am staying. I want to cut my trip a few days short and go home but I have no idea when the drains are going to come out. It's so hard to plan around that. Can I go home with them in? Who do I have remove them?

Flight is at 6:15 am tomorrow!

I'll be flying out super early!

Talked to Emily tonight- I asked her if it's at all possible to estimate my surgery time. She said the schedule hasn't been made for Friday surgeries yet. Also, I asked about drains coming home with me. No biggie, as long as someone will remove them here.

I'm so so excited and very nervous as well. I think it's mostly because I'm doing this alone and without my hubby by my side but I'm staying positive!

I'll give another update after I meet Dr. ORTEGA tomorrow!

Scheduled for 10 am tomorrow morning...

Well, I am scheduled for 10. I came to Spectrum today right after flying into Miami. I paid my balance and they gave me my prescriptions. I was under the assumption I was meeting with Dr. Ortega today to discuss the surgery but they informed me I would meet with him tomorrow before surgery. They assured me I would have plenty of time to talk to him. I was told I was scheduled for 4:30 pm and was quite disappointed because it's about a 5 hour process but then got a call later telling me I had been moved to 10. Just trying to stay calm now-can't believe the time is finally here!!! Wish me luck!

SO MUCH pain

Omg. I thought I was pretty prepared for the pain. No...it's horrible, awful, excruciating. Prep yourself for the worst pain ever.

I woke up shaking so bad from anesthesia that they had to give me something. The shaking was making my pain worse. My breasts hurt so much worse than my tummy tuck. My tummy muscles just feel sore and the drains burn but my breasts are a diff story. The horizontal incison under breasts hurt badly as do my armpit area.

BUT Dr. Ortega is amazing.
I loved him. I felt so good talking with him. I was so calm and in good spirits all the way to the OR. I talked to God on the table and said to myself that he's here with me.
I'm still in good spirits but in a lot of pain!!! I'm praying tomorrow it's better.

Day 2

Still having pain but much better than yesterday. I'm taking all my meds plus iron, vitamin C, pineapple & papaya enzymes, and arnica tabs.

My chest is so tight and abs hurt. Drain sites burn slightly. I'm draining about 25-40 CCs. The 40 CCs was on left side earlier. The most it's been.

My feet are a bit swollen and my butt hurts from laying inclined. I got up on my own today once from edge of couch and walked around house.

Hoping day 3 is even better!

First time seeing them...

I was so scared to see my breasts tonight to wash around them. I'm very worried about having "dog ears". My cousin told me not to worry and they will drop to fill out the indents.

Pain is doing better little by little. I see Dr. Ortega Monday.

Before and after pics

Saw them for first time last night. Can't wait till Monday to see my new tummy at docs.

Still in pain

My back is killing me and my stomach is bubbling. I'm so swollen. Pain isn't any better.

Bandages and gauze and NO poop!

Hey ladies, I am 4 day PO and wondering if you changed your bandages on your own. I want to keep everything clean and apply Neosporin but I am unsure if I can. They put new yellow gauze on my nipples yesterday and today there is a little ooze under it. I cleaned around the drain sites and put neosporin around the tubes.

On the other hand, my stomach is so swollen and bloated. I haven't pooped in 5 days! I have taken Dulcolax every day and taken Miralax two times today! Nothing! I am dying to poop!

Anyway, the pain is much better today. I am sore everywhere on tummy, especially the lipo areas. The drain sites are tender and burn sometimes. My left breast feels great and has even dropped a tiny bit. The right breast is super high still and very painful.

Finally pooped but feeling blue

Day 5 PO and I finally pooped at 5am followed by diarrhea for hours. My stomach has been sick all day and haven't ate up until now (chicken soup). I took my second shower PO earlier and it was rough. I felt hot/cold flashes and feeling like vomiting. I dry heaved above the toilet and that killed my ab muscles. So much pain!

I saw my incisions and they look so gross and my breasts look square. I know the implants are high but it's discouraging when you're feeling so low.

I'm just still so tight and swollen and have lots of back pain. I'm feeling blue, I honestly want to have a good cry but that hurts my ab muscles too so not even an option. I'm feeling like if I had the chance to do it over, id never go through with this. Please someone give me a pep talk and tell me it'll be worth it.

2nd shower and swelling

I swear when this swelling goes down I'll be extremely happy. I feel pregnant. Can't wait for the implants to fill in too.

1 week post op

Saw Dr. Ortega today for my second PO visit. He said everything looks good even with my concern about redness on my left breast. I've decided to gauze and tape them up until Tuesday Mar 8. He will take my drains out then considering what I'm draining now is good. I'll then have my 4th PO visit the day I fly out. He said he'd like to check me again after having the drains out in case I have a Seroma.

He also took off the bandage on my belly button. Came out cute! Loving it. Can't wait for the swelling to go down. As far as breasts, they still look scary to me. I am just aiming for no infections and the implants to drop.

11 days PO

Saw Dr. Ortega again today for another follow up. My drains came out-really wierd feeling by the way. It felt like a snake going through the front of my tummy. It did not hurt just felt strange.

I do have an opening in my incision on left breast. He said to keep it clean and just use gauze. No tape. One more follow up with Ortega Thursday to check for Seroma's and then I get to go home and see my kids!

I'm feeling great. I've only been taking Motrin for pain for quite a few days now and still on antibiotics. Dr. Ortega said he might make me stay on antibiotics longer because of the opening on breast. There's no infection, just fluid draining but he doesn't want to take a chance.

Him and his PA are beyond fantastic.

Before and after pics

I'm feeling down

So I can't do anything myself and I have an open incision. I just want to cry. I can't hold my kids, can't reach for things, can't even shower. I've been sponge bathing. I just want this incision to close and not get infected (unless it already is). I don't want deformed breasts or a huge scar.

I'm just doing what Dr. Ortega said and putting bacitracin and gauze over it and praying it closes.

Update

3 wks PO now. My incision is not closing and just following dr Ortegas advice. I'm still very swollen and my left side appears to be pudgier than the left. I'm hoping no dog ears. My right implant hasn't dropped much while my left one has.

Incision wound and tummy swelling

It's 3 1/2 weeks PO. I'm trying to patient with this wound and I'm concerned about my upper tummy swelling. It's tender in that area.

One more post today

Okay, now I'm freaking out inside. I emailed photos to Emily at spectrum. She said the bulge is "mostly swelling". What's that even mean?!

I really feel like something is wrong such as muscle repair failure. I look at everyone's photos and they have great results by 4 weeks. I look like a square. This big bulge is so depressing.

Emily also said that I shouldn't be wearing anything tight on midsection. What?!! Dr. Ortega said to make sure I wear my faja's. That's important after a TT.

Between my open wound and now this....I'm ready to just cry. I have two small boys. I don't have time or money for repairs. We spent what we saved for this...

If it was swelling wouldn't it be all over my stomach and not just in one spot?!

These puppies have a long way to go...

They've dropped some but wow do they need to drop so much more. They look so weird and awkward...like two sets of boobs. Yuck. I'm hoping that I'll just be patient and it will happen over the next several months.

3 months PO

I actually have to get a revision of my breasts...my right implant isn't in the pocket and moves freely. I already saw a surgeon here and Dr. Ortega is willing to do my revision also.

My revision and flight are booked for August

I have to have a breast revision August 30. My right implant never dropped and is very hard. My left breast will also be revised to match the right. Overall the office at spectrum is treating me well and Ortega approved my revision meaning I have to just pay $1500 for anesthesia, etc. Hoping everything turns out almost perfect this time around. I'm 3 months post op.

8 weeks PO breast revision with Dr. Ortega again

MUCH better. Still not exactly how I would want them (because I'm a perfectionist) but my capsular contracture is fixed (as far as I know-right still feels harder and rounder than left). And my stomach still looks great. I'm even starting to get some abs!
Dr. Mel Ortega or Dr. Ghurani

Dr. Ortega

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