It’s 2016 – wake up and smell the plastic surgery.

Surprised the scent is so strong in T&T? Slap yourself straight – you can freaking see Venezuela from here- a country that once had insurance to cover part costs of certain  plastic surgery. Almost 1/4 million plastic surgeries were done in Venezuela in 2013. Now that things are a little less than stellar economically there, these docs looking for work too you know…

No longer as taboo as it once was, you can find patients recovering from nips and tucks at many a private hospital in T&T (St. Clair Medical for example) or even patient care facilities like Good-health less than a stone’s throw from the national stadium.

It should not be surprising that mom’s here are turning to knives and laser’s to get “tight and right” again. MAC cosmetics, Puma, McDonalds and King KFC all found their way into our culture, so why not the acceptance of plastic surgery since we accept plastic food.

But I digress.

You see, I learned this tidbit about a growing undercurrent in our society at when I shared a post about the myth of the post baby snap back. A birdie wrote me to let me know that for less than $3,000 US I could “skip the gym”. I choked back my laugh and listened. What you’re about to read is a distillation of what I heard, some of what I researched and info from conversations I have had with women who have done procedures but sure as hell ain’t going public about it. Guess it is still a bit taboo. So no, this post is not about XXX or YYY because I’m not telling and no, you can’t figure it out from anything I’m typing below. #chilax

Also I feel the need for a disclaimer: Please note that anyone considering plastic surgery cannot just research online. You. Can. Die. Anyone ever seen botched? #sigh

Now on to our stories.

A Lil Trip to Vene

“My body was ravaged after having my children,” one mom told me. Three kids, one in her early twenties and two close to 40 left her with the dreaded Diastasis recti and skin that just “hung down” from the belly. She had given up on exercising beyond running. She was tired. So was her husband, he left her – to run after younger chicks with “perfect tummies”.

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Venezuela – Land of the Nip Tuck

Over the weeks and months of cleaning up from poop, pee and heartache, she made time to go to the hairdresser and noticed how amazing her hairdresser looked. She complimented her stylist and the response was life changing. “You can look like this too,” the hairstylist said. “$2800US and a little trip to Vene and you ready for de road again.”

 

After an introductory phone call and a new number saved on her phone, that mom left the salon with a plan for part of her divorce settlement. The only plan she said, in 6 years that did not involve her kids. Over the next few weeks, she found someone to care for her children while she ‘had to travel to care for a sick friend’.

She wasn’t lying, her mind and body were sick she said. She used the word sick. Think about that.

Within 72 hours of arriving in Caracas, she left her belongings at a modern family apartment in a “quite and seemingly normal part of caracas’, met the woman and family who would take care of her during recovery, handed over her $2800US, met the doctor and had surgery.

I could not breathe when she told me that. I had all the same questions you do now reading this. But:

  • The hospital (yes a real hospital) was clean and fairly modern
  • There were nurses and everyone spoke English to her
  • She had spoken to previous patients of the doctor before surgery
  • She was scared. She was already there. No turning back.

She woke up in discomfort, was wrapped in tight bandages around her lifted boobs and hopefully flatter stomach, given a faja and at some point that day, was taken back to the apartment where she was cared for.

Fodors clearly needs to write a new 72 hours in Caracas.

Over the next 5 days, she had follow up appointments, was given sponge baths by these relative strangers, watched TV (mainly Spanish but yes a few episode of Modern Family) and eventually drains removed from boobies, larger bandages replaced by small ones and less drugs. Drugs labelled in English names but with Spanish descriptions but “kept her pain free” when administered by the lovely family that cared for her.

She is my new Braveheart.

She traveled home after 10 days total in Venezuela. She never felt unsafe. On the plane and the first few weeks at home she was stiff and enjoyed her first shower 16 days post op. SIXTEEN. The faja was worn religiously and now, about 6 months post off, she looks like a perfectly fit mom – with perky boobs. She smiled and told me she’s dating. My eyebrows must have stayed up for too long.

“You’d do it too if your body and heart were broken.”

A Local Something

A husband, two kids, traffic and a baby pooch – going strong four years after baby. This was this mom’s life. Upper management at a respected global company with a strategic brain to match, no one would have guessed that this mom had any confidence issues. Maybe she just didn’t like playing mas. Maybe bikinis weren’t her thing anymore.

Maybe she was saving for her surgery.

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Good Health Medical Centre Trinidad 

Doing surgery in Vene or the DR (see below)  would not only mean risking exposing yourself to un-insurable skulduggery, but also leaving job, husband and kids to fend for themselves. Not options. So, after years of research ( I said this one had a brain), she met the (THE) Dr. Blackburn.

Offices listed as Fitt Street Port of Spain, the goodly and locally famous (among the right circles) Dr. Blackburn has been doing plastic surgery in T&T on and off for over a decade. Though known for his breast enhancement work (women tend to like to boast about boobies – what can I say), the surgeon is apparently great for tummy tucks and corrective issues. Like fixing the baby pooch. That’s why this mom shared that she forked over about $6K USD to have her diastatis recti repaired and self confidence back at “100”. She was one of 6 surgeries the doctor had scheduled that month.

Six at $6,000US each? I knew I needed to like biology more in school. #toolate

Recovery at Good Health in Woodbrook for one night. Back home to lift nothing on sick leave for two weeks. Swelling was present but pain less than a c section. (I know C sections must really suck). Back at work to lift nothing for another four. Most clothes were fitting ‘nice nice’ with no discomfort after 6 weeks.

Someone else I know chose to do her post baby body repairs locally with Dr. B and yes, almost a month post the knife, she’s seeing signs of improvement but still lots of swelling. I’m confident I’ll see her in a short top by Carnival next year.

Possibly about local plastic surgery we all need to think like this post from Steupz.blogspot.com ‘Plastic surgery is just another branch of medicine, we need to stop being taboo about. If you had cancer, wouldn’t you have it “cut out and not feel guilty?” So why feel bad about getting rid of ugly fat and stretched skin?”

Take dat and cool it….

Dr. Elias Barrios is apparently another local option. See a review from realself.com with pictures here. 

Dr. Roopnarine Lalla in Trinidad is another option. He’s called for better facilities for reconstructive surgeries in T&T. 

A Google search found me Dr. Schelich’s website for plastic surgery in Trinidad but no contact info. He’s married to a native of San Juan the site says. I can only imagine this is the husband and wife team a few message boards mention…

A DR Deal

It is no secret that the Dominican Republic is home to some of the most attractive people on the planet. They have it naturally like we do in T&T, but they do more enhancing there also. Did not know this? Did you really think your friend had a boys “golf trip” in the DR? Think again. SMH.

Women are flocking there for plastic surgery though. Real Self has a crap load of reviews for doctors from the DR that do nips, tucks, sucks and stuffs of boobs, hips, bums and yes, calves too yes. #ilearneveryday

Another mom, 8 years post baby, chose to head to the DR to go under the knife. Usual story – friend of a friend did it, had an awesome experience etc. After getting local prices for just a tummy tuck for $50,000TT, she chose instead to have breasts reduced, hips added and tummy tucked for $8,000US – including her aftercare. “They try to kill ya with price in Trinidad”.

After her body vacation in the DR, the mom I spoke about…yeah she almost died.

She would not say where she found the info on the DR. But a search online shows many a company offering services. In fact, to my horror on a message board, I found this post:

Our company in Trinidad, Health Administration Services arranges and facilitates all kinds of medical procedures in Venezuela, Colombia etc. We have an office in Venezuela and will coordinate all of your requirements with the most experienced and world renowned plastic surgeons. Check us at hasltd@flowtrinidad.com

Check that. A flow address for plastic surgery hook ups in Vene, Colombia “etc”. #wereach

Clean facilities, polite, caring staff and meds that worked to keep pain down were all good, but even as this mom recovered alone, she could tell something was off. Post operative visits were done and the doc indicated her small infection would pass soon. She was cleared to return home.

After a week abroad, it was clear that all was not well post surgery. On her flight back to Trinidad, she had the flight attendants call for an ambulance for when she landed. Sepsis, drains and bruising continued for two months post op.

Still gorgeous and now more curvy, she smiles in public and continues on her healthy days to get compliments on how great she looks. In private she’s found numerous cases online of botched surgeries by this DR. Doctor. She cannot sue. She’ll have to do a skin graft for part of her body where the surgeon literally botched the surgery.

So before you take any steal of a deal, or take advice from friends of friends, do your own research. Plastic surgery is an option for those in search of a life before baby body, but it is no joke. Be careful.

I’m going to take in some belly laughs with small man.