“Even in high school, I don’t remember ever being like “I can wear that bikini!’’ Stephanie remembered. “I don’t remember being comfortable in my skin.” Those memories seemed vivid to Stephanie by the time she had given birth to her third daughter years later. She’d gained a lot of weight with pregnancy but worked hard with diet and exercise to lose that weight. The result was loose skin around her middle.
“I’m a diabetic,” she said. “I’m also short so I didn’t have a lot of room for the babies to go except out. ” For years, Stephanie wanted a tummy tuck and, finally, after three C-section deliveries, the opportunity arrived as she and her husband weren’t having more children.
“I was really overweight after my third daughter. So I lost a lot of weight with diet and exercise and eventually my husband and I were in a position financially where we could afford it,” she said.
So, Stephanie began looking for a plastic surgeon she could trust to perform the tummy tuck surgery she desired.
“I had a bad experience with a doctor in my hometown of Manhattan,” Stephanie said. “So I was searching for surgeons in other towns when I found Dr. Peterson. The reviews were good so I went for a consultation. ”
In visiting Dr. Peterson for a consultation, Stephanie found Dr. Peterson to be a great listener and a doctor who was very clear describing what was possible for her with a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty. Stephanie said, “Dr. Peterson asked me very directly what I wanted.”
They talked about the tummy tuck scar and her choices for the extent of the surgery. “Ultimately it came down to if I cared more about the scar or getting rid of my love handles,” Stephanie explained. “I wanted them gone so I told him to take out as much as he could and that the scar didn’t matter to me. ”
The surgery with Dr. Peterson went smoothly and Stephanie went home after a normal amount of time in the recovery area.
In describing her results, Stephanie said, “After seeing my reaction after surgery, my husband said he would have paid any amount of money make me feel that way!” After years of not feeling good about her body shape, Stephanie finally had a shape that made her happy and felt good.
“Those are tears of joy, aren’t they?” Stephanie’s husband asked. He was in tears too because he could see how happy she was.
“Seeing myself without Band-Aids for the first time was very, very, very emotional,” she explained. “I’ve always felt like I suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. It’s not always my body but just everything I do—I’m over critical. It was so weird to take those bandages off because I went from looking in the mirror and not liking what I see to oh my God, I’m not disgusted by what I see. I can finally look in the mirror and like what I see!”
“I can wear tighter shirts and I don’t have a muffin top! I’m comfortable, I’m confident and I don’t have to try on 20 different outfits before I leave the house!” Stephanie said. “It’s not like it used to be. I used to get bad anxiety. I would be uncomfortable and think people were looking at me and thinking I’m fat. This surgery has helped my body image a lot.”
And, Stephanie would recommend women consider cosmetic surgery if they think it can make them as happy as it made her. “I can’t believe the extent to which my life has changed because we were able to do this. It’s made our relationship better!”