“Cosmetic surgery is never easy, but sometimes it’s really hard. After a few thousand breast augmentations or upper lid blepharoplasties, you kind of “get the hang of it.”
Results are usually excellent and when things go wrong, it’s usually a tweak here or there and everything is back on course. But it’s still surgery on a human being and even though the cuts are on the tissue, the surgery goes deep to the soul.
When the soul “heals funny,” well, all bets are off – even if the skin has healed beautifully.
I met Kathy a few years ago. She was in her late fifties and had had more facial cosmetic surgery than anyone I’d ever seen. Her chart was a foot tall. Despite all of these facial surgeries, some of which had not gone perfectly, she was soft and kind and radiated a sweetness that grabbed me. The surgeries that she had had left their scars, but her soul hadn’t really been touched, for better or for worse.
We met a couple of times, as it took me a while to figure out how to approach her face. I had to take into account not only her concerns and desires, but the previous surgeries and what damage they had done. There are no books or papers that would tell me what to do for Kathy – this was all instinct and experience.
I remember the night before her surgery lying in bed, thinking about her case the next day. To be honest, I was a little scared – what if my plan didn’t work? Would I hurt this sweet lady?
As it turns out, the surgery went really well. We’ve touched-up a few things here and there, but the improvement in her face is significant and visible to anyone that knows her. What isn’t visible, even to me however, is the healing that happened on the inside.” Here’s her story:
My journey with Plastic Surgery began many years ago. I am 61 now, but as a young teen I never felt pretty. My features didn’t reflect the way I felt on the inside. I tried to change my face by losing weight. That resulted in a life of anorexia and bulimia. At 72 lbs. and 5’6”, I was gravely thin. It only complicated matters. My “already wide face” became wider with swollen glands from bulimia. Now I had even more problems…the addiction, out-of-control eating disorder and a face that was wide at the jaw/narrow at the forehead and a crooked nose that just didn’t reflect the image I had for myself.
I was hospitalized with the eating disorder and that saved my life, but I left at only 9 lbs. heavier – at 81 lbs. I was still very much bulimic. I knew that without help with my face, I’d never be able to overcome the bulimia. It had become an escape for me. I so wanted a different life…free from bulimia and free from worrying about my appearance. Although it sounds shallow, it truly kept me from participating in so many things life has to offer.
My belief in God would not let me just accept that way of life. I began that journey in my late 20’s with cosmetic surgery. After a very long list of surgeries with several doctors, there was a definite improvement, but there were set-backs as well. Through it all, I kept believing it was the right path for me. My early surgeries were at a University Hospital, but I came to a point where I felt that I needed someone who did only cosmetic surgeries. It was another search to find the right practice… I found that at Austin-Weston.
On January 28th, 2014, was my last day of my battle with Bulimia. That was the day of my surgery at Austin-Weston. During the prior year, I had attended several of their free seminars they offer. I chose a surgeon that I felt best reflected my needs. I never thought that this would be the end of my eating disorder; just another step in what I felt was the right direction for me. The day after the surgery, I looked into the mirror and felt scared…did I make the right decision? With facial surgery, it can be scary; after all, Dr. Sigal had worked on a lot of areas. But that day, my faith in God… that faith if you trust God, He will see you through… so I chose not to escape with Bulimia when I couldn’t control things. One day led to another and 6 months went by… no Bulimia and my face just kept improving. Over the course of the following two years, I have returned to Dr. Sigal for exceptional follow-up visits. Together we have continued to make progress to reach my goals. Dr. Sigal is a very talented surgeon and his commitment to his patients is honestly the best I have ever experinced in my 40 years of surgeries!
Austin-Weston is an exceptional practice and the staff are so friendly they feel like friends now. If you are looking for a cosmetic surgeon, go to the seminars and see for yourself what they have to offer. No matter which surgeon you choose, I know you will be in excellent hands.
Bulimia has never returned after January 28th, 2014 – not even once. I am following the path I have always felt was right for me. Dr. Sigal encouraged me to “pay it forward,” and that is what I’m hoping to do. I am currently training in a program called “Celebrate Recovery.” I am excited about my life. I feel the key to success is to know yourself, follow what you believe in, and most importantly invite God into your plans.