Hola Ladies!!!! This review has been a long time...
Hola Ladies!!!! This review has been a long time coming. I have been on this site lurking for the past several years & attempted to take the plunge in 2015 but then I got pregnant! That turn of events put the plans on hold but not forgotten. Instead, I focused on continuing my research & strategizing on my plan for after the birth of my child. At my heaviest weight, I was 250lbs.
Today, I am 50lbs lighter & counting and taking it day by day to eat clean & exercise at least 4x a week. I'll be honest, some days are easier than others cause like many of you...I have one full time job, one part time job, two (7mons & 4yo) children & a husband who demands just as much attention as the children at times lol. Now, you may ask where I muster the energy? Simple answer...looking at my two children & wanting to be in their lives for as long as I can possibly be. That's what motivated me to loose the weight. I was on the verge of diabetes & not liking the way I looked. Although I knew the power that my body had in bringing life into this world I also realized that those pregnancies transformed my body to a new figure I wasn't comfortable in anymore. I made the decision to get a TT, BL w/augmentation & BBL...a complete mommy makeover! What made this decision even better was the fact that my husband supported me 100%.
After much research & a recent trip for an in person consultation with several surgeons. I decided to go with Dr. Luis Fernandez Goico. I STRONGLY suggest if given the opportunity, to go to Dominican Republic or any other location you're interested in & visit your desired surgeons in person. You can't fake chemistry in person. I took a weekend trip & it was worth every penny. It finalized my decision since I was divided by so many qualified surgeons out there. In the end, Dr. Goico's warm personality, professionalism, genuineness & transparency sealed the deal for me. It made me at ease knowing that he only performs two surgeries a day. He prides himself with giving individualized attention & knowing his patients by name before,during & after surgery. It also helped that his location was impeccably well maintained, clean & nicely decorated. His assistant, Karel, is actually the real boss lol. She portrays the same exact level of professionalism & competency as he does. FYI...he requires a BMI of 30 or below. Don't even consider him if you're over that. It may seem drastic but in actuality you get better results when you're closer to your ideal/desired weight. I wont be at my ideal weight prior to surgery but my target is to be at a weight that places me in the BMI range. I will upload before pics as I get closer to the surgery date. I have learned lots from other women on this site & from my own personal interactions that I've had with women who have had plastic surgery so my goal is to allow this blog to serve as an informative tool for others who may have questions along their journey. Please don't comment with any negativity...feel free to keep those comments to yourself. We can all use this venue to express ourselves as adults. Let the count down begin...Smooches!
Pre op readiness
As I mentioned, I've been interested in plastic surgery since 2012. However, I wanted to make sure I was done having children since I didn't see the point in going thru all those changes & then wind up blowing up again like a balloon. Glad I didn't cause 3 yrs later God had other plans for me & the fact that I was having unprotected sex. Those plans were exactly 3 months before I was scheduled to leave for my surgery with Goico in 2015. I promised myself that those plans would be put on hold but not forgotten. Fast forward to 2016 and now I would like to share some of my pre op readiness routines.
My physical exam in February had me at a 13.5 hemoglobin level but being greedy I would like to have a 14 or higher lol. I know its possible cause I have read some ladies making it to 15!
My supplement regimen consists of a multi vitamin, iron (300mg), vit C (1000mg), folic acid (400 mcg), bi weekly b12 shots & probiotics. I exercise 4/5 x a week & eat 5/6 small meals a day. I must admit that I've fallen off the wagon these past two months but after meeting him in person his energy has given me new life lol. Plus, I've come too far now to turn back & I threw away all my big clothes as a motivational tool (what the hell was I thinking lol).
I've also found useful reading bella_barbie's ebook "Plastica". It reiterated many things that I already knew but provided excellent points to consider & checklists as reminders. RealSelf has also been an asset in my journey as I have found my surgery buddy & friend "Itsfinally Metime ". I've gotten great advice from girls like @Mila111, @Valley2hills, @Charysma & so many others. I tell you that I've kept a scrap book of information & will probably consider even opening up my own surgery consulting firm. We'll see about that but Lord knows I have the information, educational degree, experience & motivation to do it. Seriously though, my surgery buddy's support has been instrumental in this process. We speak frequently, finally got to meet each other's families two weeks ago (we live states apart) & will be flying out together as well. I know we will eventually get tired of one another but I told her to be nice to me since she's gonna need me when we arrive to DR lol (She's having surgery 1st. & will need that late night help & pain reliever lol). We've motivated each other...I had her keep a big empty box in her house. Told her to label it with whatever she wants (wish pics, words, sayings...) then slowly start putting things you'll need for your journey in it. Let it serve as your visual motivation when things don't seem to be working your way or you're feeling down. She told me its loaded to capacity & we still have two months to go!!! Hey, its serving its purpose lol. I consider her a friend not just a surgery buddy. Especially after we shared naked pics of each other...of course for plastic surgery purposes only LOL! This process will be what you make of it. The better prepared you are, the better the results & the faster the healing (ask Valley2hills). Anyways, the children are calling....till tomorrow, Smooches!
Many of you may ask, "Why go abroad for plastic surgery"? Simple answer, why not?! Seriously though, there are a variety of reasons. I can only speak for me but after much research, I chose to go abroad based on the surgeon's experience, patient reviews, post op results & financial flexibility. Plus what better way to spend recovery than at some tropical island. However, I definitely was impressed by the work of several surgeons in state. My top choices were Dr. Miami (waiting list till end of 2017/early2018), Dr Sejal Patel, Dr Hughes & Dr Delvecchio (reasonable costs). If I happened to hit the Mega or Powerball, I would definitely go with the 1st two surgeons but wishful thinking will only get you so far. I even considered Columbian surgeons like Dr Henao & Dr Alder. I have seen their work & was really impressed. Each & every surgeon had their specialty (bbl, breast work, minimal incisions). If only I could've built my perfect surgeon!
Now back to reality...I had to realistically figure out what my pockets could handle. As I continued my research, I learned that there were just as many qualified surgeons outside the US as there were here. Of course, we all have that friend/co worker or just nosy ass person who will bombard you with horror stories about someone's surgery that has gone bad but the truth is that all & any surgery carries risks that you have to be aware of. Its also important to note that the life you're living now (yeah, maybe that blunt may not be the best decision right now) can affect your surgery as well. Did you know that smoking, even second hand smoke can contribute to a post surgery infection?! Aint that crazy!!! So not only is surgery risky but so are some of the choices you make prior to your big day! Food for thought ladies...till next time, smooches!
Knowledge is power!
There's so much information out there about plastic surgery that it can be overwhelming. Its hard to decipher fact from fiction when you're a newbie. That's why the information we get from surgery veterans is so important. You get the good, bad & the ugly. Like many of you, I've spent many sleepless nights reading posts on this site. Its like an obsession when you're prepping for this journey. However, I've gotten to the point that I take key points from different blogs & then formulate my own strategy on how I'm gonna deal with this process. But like the saying goes, "Don't try to re-invent the wheel". If someone says a boppy pillow is a necessity then believe a boppy pillow is a necessity! Plus its cheaper than spending $100 on a bbl chair when you can spend $20 & get the same results. You may not know how to use the boppy pillow but its necessary lol.
I've also found seminars to be useful as well. I attended a post op care seminar at Rejuve Face & Body Spa in Washington Heights, NY. The owner, Mary, shows a genuine care & concern in her clients. The event focused on the importance of post op care, stories were shared & contacts exchanged. The food & ambience was good too. I will definitely be going there when I return from DR. Try finding a similar venue in your city & schedule your post op treatments BEFORE you leave for surgery. This way it will make you accountable for follow up care since you've already made the appts & paid your money. Your body is your investment. Search on Instagram/facebook/RS for recommendations from other surgery vets. Let their bodies be living advertisements for you on what you should be doing or not doing lol. Remember sharing is caring...smooches!
On my grind...again!
I'm disappointed that I've waited this long to get back into the mix of things but I'm 66 days away & have no one to blame but myself. I would give the same excuses that so many of us have heard...work, family, money, time but the reality is I got complacent & lazy. I was eating well & following a steady exercise routine. I lost 30 lbs & was definitely feeling the return of my sexy self. I took an overly extended break thinking I could go back whenever I felt like it only to now have gained 15lbs. That was on top of the extra I need to lose to reach my 30% BMI goal. So this morning I woke up & said hell no! I've come too far. I got my fat ass up on my elliptical & prepped my meal for the day. It wasn't easy as I walked down every damn fast food place on my way to work but I just kept saying to myself..."when you want something bad enough, never let anyone or anything get in your way". I'm sure ppl thought I was crazy since I was talking to myself. I had to hear me saying it. Now let's see how I manage to healthfully lose 30 lbs in 2 months...smooches!
So many to choose from!
I mentioned before that I had the opportunity to do in-person consults after my online quote with the Drs I was interested in but I forgot to mention that I also visited the recovery house that I will be staying at while in DR. After reviewing many pics & options, I decided to go with Arelis Urena Recovery House. I initially had booked a reservation at Harmony Deluxe Recovery House but after reading many negative reviews, my surgery buddy & I decided not to go there. Since we were early in the process, the owner had agreed to refund the deposit. Its been more than 6 months & I have yet to see that money come thru so I might as well write it out as a $100 usc loss. Obviously, she needs it more than we do lol. Anyways, after meeting Arelis, I am definitely happy with our decision. She also gave us a discount since we agreed to share a room. I found Arelis to have a wonderful personable attitude & a nurturing feel to her (like a second mom) Just what we need while we're laying up feeling vulnerable & looking a mess. She supplies the majority of the medical necessities which eliminates the need to check in my luggage at the airport. The rooms were spacious & the home immaculate. I have never read any negative reviews & in fact loved the pics/reviews posted by many RS bloggers of her hospitality, rooms & great food. Yes, she is pricier than the average but I'm looking for quality not quantity in the package. Those first couple of days are crucial in the recovery process & i aint taking no chances lol. Remember ladies, choose wisely! Ask many questions including the refund policy.
BTW, i also met the owner of Serenity Recovery House but i didnt get a chance to visit her location. She was very knowledgeable & is new to the scene. I can't vouch for the care provided at her recovery house but look her up in instagram/facebook. I'll post pics during my stay at Arelis Urena Recovery House...smooches!
& yet so far lol! It's been a while since I last posted but I've been working hard on getting pre op ready. I've lost 60lbs since January & wouldn't mind losing another 10lbs. Surgeons recommend that you be at least within 20lbs of your ideal weight since you will lose weight after surgery.
My hemo is currently 12.6. My prior levels were 13.5 so I went down a point. My friends say it's probably the strict diet & exercise I've been on. Not to mention the lack of sleep from working several doubles during the week. Hopefully, I can raise it above 13 in the next 11 days I have left cause I really would like to do my TT, BBL & BL w / augmentation all at once. If not, I've come to terms with only doing TT & BBL. I can always do my BL w / augmentation in the US. I've added blood builders 3x a day to supplement my liquid iron. Let's pray that that will do the trick. I want to post pre op pics before my surgery but I'm waiting for the day of so I can get a better idea of my body pre op. I'm posting the weight guidelines that Dr. Miami lists on his site. It's a good reference to refer back to when setting your pre op weight goals. FYI, it's a great idea to have a back up surgeon as an option in case things don't go as planned for whatever reason...hey, u never know & it's better to b over prepared than under prepared. Smooches!
As I'm sitting here getting my hair braided for the trip, I figured it would be the perfect time to catch up with posting. I've gotten alot of questions about my weight loss. More specifically, "what did you do?" My response is...change of food habits & exercise. But more importantly, consistency & discipline. I'll be lying if I didn't admit that I've fallen off several times & then felt guilty that I ate the entire pint of Häagen-Dazs in one sitting. I mean really people! Who can have just one scoop, obviously not me! But honestly, you can't do that all the time cause in reality you're only cheating yourself. Thats what i tell myself as i unglue the side of my face & tongue from the window by the cuchifrito "fried food" place, lmao!
Sooooo, after trying many different diet plans my entire life, I decided to do the Shred program by Dr Ian Smith. I had met him years ago in person. He was very handsome, personable & knowledgeable. He also spoke with this passion about wanting to prevent obesity from taking over our communities. I already had his 6 week shred program book in my library. I just never used it. It was surreal to actually meet the author in person. I mustve sounded like such a groupie when i stepped up to him about his book lol. However, he was very humble & answered all my questions. Let me tell you that I have enough diet book plans to set up my own library! It was different this time. I decided I was gonna commit...not for me but for my kids. I had too many health risks. The surgery was also gonna serve as a reward to me. It's been a goal for the past several years to reward myself for all the hard work ive done,physically & emotionally. I'm not one to promote any body's business but I can be transparent & direct if you really want an honest opinion. If you cant handle the truth, then don't ask me. The reality is the shred program works. It's a lifelong change in learning portion control & teaching you about nutrition. Just remember that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink! You decide how bad you want it...smooches
Pre op & all things Dominican Republic
Due to the nature of events, I will be backtracking. I don't know how ladies garner the strength to write reviews while heavily sedated & in pain lol! I was personally too distracted by the numbness on my ass to even think about writing an update.
Anyways, I will begin the journey by letting you know that my flight to the Dominican Republic went smoothly. After my tearful farewells to my family, I met up with my surgery buddy at the airport. We had an uneventful flight to DR...thank goodness! We were giddy with excitement of our upcoming transformation & it eventually led to our feelings of exhaustion once we were on board stuffing our faces with Jet Blue blue chips. I napped while my surgery buddy chatted it up with her neighbor.
We moved along the arrival process quickly since we had pre purchased a tourism card online for $10. I would definitely recommend doing the same. It avoids the long lines & waiting periods. Arelis' daughter, Hilka met us with a welcoming sign & whisked us away to the recovery home. The drive to the home from the airport was relatively close but DR traffic is ridiculous. You must have a kamikazee license to get around! It definitely is not for the faint hearted. Nevertheless, we got there in one piece & the owner, Arelis, greeted us at the door like her long lost children. She showered us with plenty of hugs & kisses. We were starving so we immediately dropped our bags & ate a welcoming well deserved delicious meal. I had already visited the home on a prior trip to meet the owner & the home was exactly as I had left it.
Our pre op lab work was already scheduled & done while at the home so we didn't even have to leave. Although, i wouldve preferred having my blood work done the next day, my surgery buddy was having her surgery the next day. My surgery wasnt scheduled till two days later. I wanted to buy as much time as i could for my hemo to be solid. I left NY with my hemo at 12.6 & my intention was to have a MMO.
Once unpacked, we realized that if you're staying with Arelis you don't have to bring anything. She supplies the majority of items. However, I do recommend you bring your own painkillers & sleep aid medication. I'll explain why later. Leaving NY, I left weighing 188lbs with a 32 bmi. I am bigger than most patients seen here on RS for Dr Goico. He tends to favor a slimmer form. However, I was impressed with his credentials, personable attitude & realistic approach. He was willing to tailor to my needs based on my body type. I was not looking for a cookie cutter look. Plastimedic was clean, well staffed & modern. Here are my before pics...
Surgery & more
Unfortunately, I was not able to get my MMO. My hemo was a 12.8 & i was given a choice between the BL with augmentation or TT...I chose TT since that was my biggest issue. My weight loss created more flaccid skin in the stomach area & it was my biggest eyesore. I figured I could always do my breasts at a later time. Dr. Goico agreed to do TT, BBL & lipo. I wasn't as disappointed as I thought I would be since I really appreciated siding on the cautious side. I wanted to be able to wake up from surgery! The plan was set & to make a long story short cause everyone knows about the effects of the blue pill...I woke up hours later extremely satisfied that finally after many years of carrying around a fupa, I was now able to see my vagina! He told me that when having a TT, lipo & BBL he would not be able to do lipo on the stomach area due to the potential of low blood supply/blood loss. As a result it will not be as flat but diet & exercise would help in the future unless I decide to lipo it at a later time. I'll give it six months before I decide.
Back at the recovery house, Arelis & her staff made sure every need was taken care of. Every meal was delicious! Believe me, you will not go hungry...ever! We ate more than we've eaten in months. Three meals & three snacks on a daily basis. Bed linens were changed every other day & the home was maintained spotless. Ive heard horror stories of cockroaches found in ladies' beds. We had no issues with hot/cold water or functioning toilets. Since you cant shower, the peribottle becomes your best friend. Arelis was very helpful during those times & was quick to lend a hand for our daily sponge baths.
Howevet, pain management requires medication from home. Although Arelis had a pill for every ailment, I found the most important pills to bring from home were stool softeners, pain & sleep meds. I barely slept the weeks following surgery. It was a struggle but I was glad I didn't have the complete MMO. We weren't in excruciating pain but more of a constant discomfort. I had also purchased supplements from make me heal to help with the bruising & speed up the recovery. We were actually bruise free after a week! I can't say how grateful I am to Arelis & her staff for the care that they provided. It was like being with family & worth every penny. Ladies, you get what you pay for. Don't short change your recovery process by selling yourself short & going to a "cheaper" recovery home. It will only cost you more in the end. I also want to express my heartfelt gratitude in sharing this journey with my surgery buddy or rather my friend. Not only do we know every crevice of each other's bodies (whether we wanted to or not lol) but the encouragement, support, laughs, frustrations & tears made this journey unforgettable. Love you sis!
OK, enough of the mushy stuff! In my next post I will discuss one of the most vital parts of recovery...the massage!!! Here's my post op pics...
Surgery is done you're attached to these drains & miserable...now what!? Now is when the fun part starts...the massage. Dr Goico requires you to purchase at least two from his in service masseuse, Edwina. He says you're like clay that needs to be molded in order to achieve the results you want. I purchased 10 post op massages. I read of the importance of the massages & since I was only gonna be in DR for 2 weeks I wanted to be on point. I had also been in contact with a masseuse that I planned on trying out while in the country as a supplement to the massages I had already pre purchased. I figured the more the better.
I had my 1st massage with Edwina two days after surgery. My body was heavily bruised & tender. She changed my gauze & rubbed me with some baby oil. Then she used a very hot instrument to send ultrasonic waves to my targeted areas. The session consisted of 45 mins. I wasnt impressed. The remaining nine sessions were identical but you can add Edwina's constant checking of her cell phone during the session or her long breaks to chit chat with staff while you wait on her (pre massage & while naked on the table waiting on her). Dont get me wrong, I found her to be a lovely person but she was unprofessional & everyday I wanted my money back. My surgery buddy convinced me to grin & bear it cause of the daily gauze changes & opportunity to meet with Dr Goico if any questions/concerns arose during the process. These sessions were more torturous for me cause after experiencing a massage from Federica, i learned what a real lymphatic drainage massage entailed. I found Federica on instagram thru various user recommendations. Her ig user name is @fedewebster55. She was a Godsend! Ladies, the amount of fluid you drain will determine how long you keep those drains in & your inflammation/swelling. Federica sucked us dry! Yes, she was so good that my surgery buddy hired her as well. Everytime Federica came to the recovery house she left my body feeling more relaxed & you could visibly see the amount of fluid drained that same day & the next. When we would return to the clinic Edwina would comment on how well we were healing & draining not realizing that Federica was actually doing all the work. She probably thought she was doing something.
Moral of the story is...while in DR contact Federica if you want a professional, caring & funny masseuse. She has an obsession with syringes lol! Shes always trying to convince you to let her drain a spot with her syringe. She's well priced & will go to your recovery house. We tipped her for her services as well. She deserves it! You will love her & her beautiful accent????
As with any surgery there are risks. Unfortunately, two days after my surgery I experienced a high fever. I also had areas of redness, hot, tender & painful to the touch on both my hips. After reading similar symptoms on RS, I was concerned it was fat necrosis. I contacted Dr. Goico immediately & he dismissed that it was fat necrosis. He suspected that it was an infection & figured that with the antibiotics I was already on that it would clear on its own. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. I continued to experience fevers on & off & the areas on my hips didn't get any better. After a week, I was referred to an infection specialist. The specialist confirmed that it was an infection that I had acquired & placed me on a stronger antibiotic several times a day. I feel I should say that I don't believe that I got the infection thru any lack of care at Plastimedic pre or post surgery. The specialist said that it was quite common to get staphylococcus from any blister formed 6 months prior to surgery. However, I can't recall having any blisters prior to surgery. Nonetheless, I returned home with antibiotics & since then the infection has cleared. I asked Dr Goico if this will have any effect on the results to my fat transfer on my hip area & he said no but only time will tell. Just remember to alert your Dr of any concerns that may arise. Don't be scared to speak up...it's your body!