Where there's a will...
I first met Sarah in the spring of 2005. Sarah’s story is not that unusual. She was 62 years old and, like many of us, the years had ticked by all too fast. A career in local body politics had been shelved when her children arrived and the next 25 years were devoted to family matters. At one time she had been proud of her appearance, enjoying the social life her job had to offer, but somehow time for herself has waned and her weight had steadily increased. Eventually, the last of her children left home and a chance meeting with an old friend raised the possibility of returning to the workforce. Of course she would leap at the opportunity – she didn’t feel any older than 25 and was sure she had plenty of enthusiasm to offer a new job. However, she knew that on the outside she wasn’t the girl she used to be. This is where Sarah’s story differs from the norm.
Sarah came to see me to try and regain some of what she had lost. We discussed what could be achieved surgically. A raft of possibilities existed including tummy tuck, facelift, liposuction etc but it was clear that what she really needed to do first was lose some weight. We estimated that she was about 15kg above her ideal weight. Our first meeting ended on this advice.
To my surprise Sarah returned a year later. She had taken on what we had discussed, changed her lifestyle, changed her diet, began to exercise again and had lost weight.
She hadn’t quite managed the 15kg but a little over 10kg had been shed. She said she felt much better, she had more energy, had stopped needing medication for high blood pressure and her borderline diabetes was gone. Now she wanted to complete her makeover. A much-loved ball-gown from some years ago was produced. “I would really love to fit this once again”.
We decided on a plan. This summer it would be tummy tuck followed by a facelift and eyelid surgery. Next year would be an arm and breast lift.
So far the plan is working out well. She says that the old Sarah is emerging again. The improvement in her self confidence and happiness is remarkable. I have a feeling I won’t see her much more. She is back in the workforce and busy with her new life. I suspect there may not be time for stage two.
Sarah is not alone in her desires to regain her old self. In fact most of our patients have similar feelings. For some it is a dislike of what nature provided, for others it is a dislike of what the years have taken away. Many can be helped by plastic surgery. For some, like Sarah, it is a partnership of lifestyle change and surgery. For most, surgery alone is suitable. What is common to all is that they make the step to do something about it. Many have thought about it for years but have found the idea of a consultation too daunting.
When they finally take the step they realise it wasn’t as hard as they thought and they leave with a smile on their face.
So the message is clear. You are never too young or old to change. What you need is the will to do something about it. Whether it is a change of lifestyle or surgery, you won’t regret it.
At the New Zealand Institute of Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery we want you to feel comfortable about your choices. A consultation is the first step towards change and does not commit you to a decision. As a first step, our nurses have a wealth of knowledge and are available for informal consultations in person or by phone.
Written by Glenn Bartlett FRACS.
For a consultation phone 09 529 5783.