Shannon's Tummy Tuck
Her rewarding career as an Operating Room Nurse interrupted, Shannon had to stop working soon after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). The steroids she was prescribed to control her disease caused her weight to increase dramatically. "I stopped counting when I reached 205 pounds," she recalls. After years of suffering with excess weight, things changed when Shannon's regular doctor moved out of the area. "My new doctor took me off the steroids and I lost a lot of weight. I got down to 145 pounds." By adding in regular exercise, Shannon lost even more weight and got down to around 138 pounds.
Hard Work Isn't Enough
"Although I felt a lot better, I had a lot of loose skin and hanging fat around my middle," she says. "It was a constant reminder of when I was heavier. My clothes didn't fit right. I was self conscious because I wasn't happy with how I looked."
As a devoted mom, helping her kids pay for college was a higher priority for Shannon than herself. "My husband finally pointed out the fact that I never do anything for myself. For a long time I kept trying to convince myself that if I worked harder, I could get rid of the excess skin and fat on my own. But as a nurse, I knew that I wasn't being realistic," Shannon recalls. Her skin had stretched to the point where it lost its elasticity and could not tighten up on its own.
"When my kids were out of college, I began to think more seriously about having a tummy tuck," continues Shannon. As a driver for a national package delivery company, Shannon's husband regularly made stops at doctors' offices and hospitals. He began collecting the names of plastic surgeons that the staff members recommended for tummy tucks in the Glens Falls area. Dr. Juan Garcia was among the recommendations.
A board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Garcia serves patients from Saratoga Springs, Albany and Schenectady. Liposuction around the waist along with a complete tummy tuck was his recommended solution. Shannon agreed that plastic surgery could give her the improvements she was hoping for. "I was convinced that that this was something I needed to do for myself," she recalls. "So, I arranged financing and scheduled the procedure."
Not a Typical Patient
Looking back, Shannon was happy with how easy things went for her. "My surgery went really well," she recalls. "I had no complications, but was kept in the hospital overnight just to be sure." Though she was given a pain pump to keep her comfortable, Shannon had a negative reaction to the medication and discontinued its use. "I went home with a binder around my mid section that was wrapped below my breasts down to my hips. It kept the swelling from stretching my skin back out."
Shannon thinks that she must have a high tolerance for pain. "After my surgery, I really didn't feel too bad. I didn't take pain medicine. I was up and about within a day or two, which I heard is not typical," she says. "The hardest part was that I was restricted from kickboxing classes for 8 weeks. So, I just stopped by and visited with my friends. They were all so impressed with how great I looked."
To Shannon, there is no question that the tradeoffs were worthwhile. "Although I have one long scar that goes from hip to hip, it's easily covered with underwear," she shares. "I don't have all of that extra skin to tuck in or cover up anymore. Now I feel so much better about myself and I'm so much happier. I feel like I have my life back."