Darlene's Total Body Makeover
On her 50th birthday, Darlene, who's a mother of 2, decided she wanted the second half of her life to be better than the first. She'd gained weight over the last few years as a result of various surgeries and an emotionally taxing divorce. At 5 feet tall and 234 pounds, she was overweight but fortunately had no other health problems. Still, she couldn't qualify for the life insurance policy she wanted which made her think twice about the lifestyle she was living.
Darlene decided to have gastric bypass surgery performed in January 2007 and it was without a doubt a life changing event. Following surgery she lost 12 pounds per month on average, and as she neared her target weight she began to search for the right practice for her plastic surgery near Seattle and help her complete her transformation: post weight loss body contouring (a body lift, breast lift, arm lift, and thigh lift) along with breast augmentation.
Doing the Research
In September 2007, Darlene began scouring the Internet for a plastic surgeon near Seattle who could perform post-bariatric contouring. She made a consultation appointment with one plastic surgeon who couldn't meet with her until December, but as Darlene admits, "I am not a patient person." Thinking that she didn't really want to wait that long, she returned to her search and discovered the Puget Sound Plastic Surgery Web site. She liked what she saw there and proceeded to schedule a consultation with Dr. Braden Stridde.
At the consultation, Darlene immediately felt comfortable with Dr. Stridde and his assistant Mary. She says, "Dr. Stridde never pushed anything on me. He let me tell him what I wanted and then he made suggestions." She appreciated his professional, comfortable plastic surgery facility near Seattle and was impressed with the on-site Surgery Center. In addition, their center was located across the street from the hospital giving her comfort in the knowledge that it was right next door in the rare event that any problems should arise. Darlene cancelled her appointment with the other doctor and scheduled her body lift surgery with Dr. Stridde for late October.
Lifting Her Lower Body
On the morning of her body lift procedure, Darlene's best friend accompanied her to the surgery center and stayed with her as she was prepped for surgery. The procedure took 8 hours to complete and went exactly as planned. Darlene was able to return home after she woke up, and her pain pump and prescription pain medications ensured that she stayed comfortable. She found the hanging drain tubes a bit annoying, but she learned to manage them, draining them every couple of hours. Her biggest problem during recovery? "I got stuck in my couch and couldn't get out," Darlene says with a laugh. "I was resting there and just didn't have the energy to kick the foot rest - I had to wait an hour until someone got home!"
Darlene was able to see her body lift results right away, which made her very happy. She says, "Before surgery I looked like I weighed 160 pounds because there was so much skin hanging there." Dr. Stridde removed 8 pounds of skin and tightened everything up. Darlene declares, "It's perfect."
Her Arm and Breast Lift
Darlene's next surgery was performed in February 2008. This surgery took 7 hours to complete, and because of her previous body lift experience, everything felt familiar. She says, "I knew the whole routine!" She remembers that after surgery it took awhile before she could lift her arms over her head (because the skin was pulled tightly), but she experienced less pain than she did with the body lift and she was able to walk around. While her breast lift caused her no pain, it decreased her breast volume from a D cup to an A cup, which made Darlene feel "like a little boy."
One Last Seattle Plastic Surgery Procedure
Darlene scheduled a breast augmentation along with her thigh lift in May 2008. She recalls, "Everyone kept telling me the breast augmentation surgery was going to hurt, but I had no pain at all...none...never." Once again, the drains were a bit cumbersome, with one placed in each thigh near the insides of her knees. Despite the awkwardness of the drains, she says, "I walked right away. There was enough pain medication that I could do anything."
For her breast augmentation, Darlene received 390 cc and 400 cc saline implants and is thrilled with the results. Her breasts dropped into place very quickly and she's back to her previous D cup. She credits Seattle plastic surgeon Dr. Stridde with the amazing results of her breast enlargement and says that by performing her breast lift prior to placing the implants, "he built the foundation first."
New Body, New Life
Today Darlene is thrilled with her new body. Initially she was concerned that her scars might be noticeable, but Dr. Stridde placed them strategically so that they hardly show. Darlene says, "I can wear a bikini now. I knew I was going to have the scars, but I would rather have the scars than the excess skin." She's gone from a size 3XL to a Small and she now weighs 109 pounds.
The reactions from friends and family remind her of how far she's come. "People tell me that they don't recognize me. I'm thinner now than when I was in high school." Not a shy person by nature, Darlene finds herself blushing when people stare and comment on how tiny she is. As she plans for a yearly trip to the Oregon Coast with old friends, Darlene reflects, "I am one of the success stories. To me it's worth every penny that I spent."