March 1, 2009
After losing almost 200 pounds I began the search for a plastic surgeon to remove the excess skin from basically every part of my body with the exception of the face and neck. I first had a consult with an extremely well known plastic surgeon from Brazil. The consult lasted about ten minutes and was very rushed to say the least. The reviews on this surgeon were mixed - some good and some not so good. Before leaving the consult, I was given a quote for basically a total body lift in the amount of $25,000. By the time I factored in the cost of flying, hotel for six weeks, and other required costs, like a charge per day to have someone available to tranport me to the doctor or shopping whether I needed them or not, the cost savings of leaving the USA were minimal. I then decided to continue researching plastic surgeons in the US.
I had read the book about the total body lift by Dr. Dennis Hurwitz of Pittsburgh, PA and really liked his philosopy of plastic surgery for people who had lost a great deal of weight, either through weight loss surgery or through diet and exercise. I emailed his office and received an immediate response. I was impressed with the reviews I had read from people who had utilized Dr. Hurwitz and his associate, Dr. Siamak Agha. Since I knew that Brazil was not an option for me because the little bit of cost savings was not worth the risk to leave the country, I decided to drive to Pittsburgh from Tennessee for a consult with Dr. Agha. To be truthful, money is an issue for most of us and I hoped that Dr. Agha's fees would be less than Dr. Hurwitz who was the "inventor" of the Total Body Lift. Meeting Dr. Agha was an awesome experience. I immediately felt comfortable with him because he was so funny and laughed with me at my "corny" jokes about my shyness in posing nude and the hanging skin on this 52 year old body. In fact, I almost wore a hat and sunglasses just to feel more secure - what a security blanket!
Dr. Agha is a very compassionate person who really cares about his patients. His artistic abilities in body contouring are second to none and believe me, I burned the Internet up for months every night doing research on doctors and procedures all across the country before going to Pittsburgh. There was an immediate connection and I knew that Dr. Agha was meant to be my surgeon. That was in early September and I had my surgery on October 14, 2008. Basically, I had a total body lift with the exception of a Breast Lift. Dr. Agha also did a Brachioplasty on my arms and repaired an incisional hernia. Surgery lasted longer than expected but the results were fantastic. I ended up spending 5 days in the hospital due to blood loss or dilution issues which I guess is pretty normal considering the large amount of surgery that I had at that time.
Dr. Agha recommends that all of his patients drink PROCARE and all I can say is that stuff works miracles. It's not the best tasting stuff in the world but it is manageable. I mixed mine with Chocolate Muscle Milk and 2% white milk. I really believe that my healing progressed much quicker because of the Procare. I only had one minor wound separation at the top of the thigh and one seroma which did not develop until 6 weeks post surgery.
Let me emphasize that Dr. Agha is an extremely artistic and talented surgeon who sees the body in 3-D. Needless to say, I am thrilled with the results and am thankful everyday for finding Dr. Agha in my search for a plastic surgeon. He is so caring and compassionate I have to tell everyone that when I saw my arms, stomach, and thighs for the first time in his office after surgery that we were both in tears. Dr. Agha has given me the gift of self-confidence in not only my physical appearaance but in my personal and professional life as well. Some of my staff members have commented to me that when I returned to work after surgery that I came back as a different person. They are not only amazed at the confidence level but in the freedom that I exhibit in bodily movements of moving my arms, walking, running, or strutting around like I own the world. According to them, I used to hold my arms close to my body even though they were always covered with sleeves and now I am swinging and moving them about like a teenager. Also, my sons who are in their early twenties keep saying things like "my mom is not supposed to look hot like this," or "men had better not even whistle at you or we will beat them up." They are so funny. One son even caught me looking in every available mirror while shopping and we both laughed like little kids with excitement for the new me. (I still can't believe it's me in the mirror)
Professionally, I now have the confidence to talk to anyone from mayors,to congressmen, to President Obama, or to just other ordinary people like me. In fact, I want to eventually testify in Washington about obesity related issues and the lack of insurance coverage to assist people with losing weight and plastic surgery costs to recontour the body and remove excess skin. I hope I haven't rambled too much - but just know that Dr. Agha is a gifted surgeon who will give you fantastic results and a new lease on life. I am hoping to travel to California from Tennessee in mid summer to complete my plastic surgery journey with the breast lift and calf reduction and lift. Words can never express my appreciation to Dr. Agha for changing my life and for being a talented, personable, compassionate surgeon who always puts his patients first. He is second to none in the plastic surgery field....