Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cosmetic Surgery--My Story*

*Titled thusly so as to show up in search engines--yep, just me, doing my usual public service!

In reflecting on my cosmetic surgery experience, some of what I’m thinking is actually too personal to share. (I know! Shocking, huh? THIS from the girl that even confessed to wearing two left shoes on a blind date!) With that in mind, I offer the following...

One of the reasons I kept delaying the inevitable was that I dreaded putting my life on hold for what seemed like a huge chunk of time. Guess what? Life doesn’t stop just because you’re tied to your home recovering from surgery. At least for me, it didn’t. Crap, I had more visitors in one week than I’d had in the past five years. Talk about a non-stop party! It got to the point where I needed a vacation to recover from my recovery.

But oh, how I enjoyed it! Friends and family flocking to see me...entertaining chez work or personal responsibilities of any kind...all I can say is, truly, one of the happiest periods of my life. (And after calling in sick only once in 25+ years, let's just say this “hanging out at home” was a unique experience—one I could get easily get used to.)

So, yeah. Life went on. And as a bonus, that huge chunk of time turned out to be...well, not so long after all. Hell, I went out to dinner (in public!) a week to the day after my surgery, and I only missed seven full days of work. A mere SPECK in the scheme of things...especially when you consider the months and years I’ll get to enjoy this new face. All in all, an extremely good deal in terms of the return on (time) invested. (Okay, and probably the money invested, too.)

Speaking of the financials, I can’t stress ENOUGH my feelings on the subject. If you’ve stumbled across my blog via Google cuz you’re trolling for cosmetic surgery stories, here’s your reward in the way of some free advice:

1. Don't pay for the zip code. I'm sure there are qualified surgeons in Beverly Hills; I'm equally sure there are lousy ones. In either case, the bottom line on your 90210 tab is gonna include a helluva lot of overhead.

2. I don't care how fancy the doctor is or how many of Hef's playmates he's done boobs for, what is his vision for you? (One doc I consulted was about as enthusiastic as a DMV clerk.)

3. Don't fall for false charm. Hate to say it, but the world of cosmetic surgery is full of good looking guys with great bedside manners. Make sure your pick has the skills to match.

4. Check out the surgeon's staff. Are they happy campers? If so, it's likely because they respect the man for whom they work.

5. It should go without saying, but I'll mention it anyway: survey the surgeon's previous work, either by looking at before and after photos on his website, or speaking to former patients. Use your gut to evaluate.

6. By the same token, measure personal recommendations against your good judgment, because we all have an inborn tendency to tout our own doctors--it's a way to validate our choice, not to mention our result. (In this respect, it's like choosing a hairdresser; ask a friend to recommend a stylist and she'll gush ad nasuseum about her own--and why you simply CANNOT even THINK about trying anyone but HERS--and yet, how often do we do precisely that and promptly move on to another one?

7. During the consultation, does he promise to make you look like Brooke Shields's younger sister? Run for the hills. (Realism happens to be a personal preference; your mileage may vary.)

8. Find the balance between experience and youth. What I'm saying here is that there are surgeons with longstanding reputations who...well, let's be honest...are doing the same old thing they've been doing for ages and, sadly, their patients reflect it. So sure, you want someone with a ton of procedures under his belt, but not if they add up to an assembly line mentality with Studebaker-era (or worse, Edsel) techniques.

9. And speaking of automobile analogies, let's add this one: Beware the surgeon who, in effect, "totals" you on the estimate. Ask yourself if you truly need the laundry list of procedures he's recommending. Trust me. You can always go back for more.

Hark! Still awake? I left the most important for last:

10. Just a theory, but I'm thinking a GOOD cosmetic surgeon possesses superior technical skills, whereas a GREAT cosmetic surgeon possesses, in addition, ARTISTIC VISION. (And, to tell you the truth, maybe I have those reversed.) At any rate, don't make the mistake of believing ALL surgeons possess both because, in my opinion...the simultaneous combo of left and right brain attributes is a rare occurrence.

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So there you have it. My collected wisdom on the subject. In case you missed the link in earlier posts, my surgeon is Dr. Michael Schwartz and he's located in Westlake Village, California. Click here to visit his website.

And if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me either by leaving a comment, or via the email address in my profile section.

Up tomorrow (or when I get to it): More photographs!


Terry Bayer said...

Indeed, both technical skill and artistic vision are important things a plastic surgeon needs. At the same time, you must keep your expectations realistic. Understand your body in order to get an idea of how the procedure would affect you.

Carolin Rieffenberger said...

Everyone's a work of art. That's why a surgeon needs to have those artsy eyes to be able to make people look even more elegant. Those are good points there, Randy.

Shavonda Duarte said...

Artistic vision and technical skills are both an important tool for a successful operation. The surgeon would be the sculptor and he's creating a masterpiece from you. So an eye for detail and a good set of techniques would really help out in this process.