Patient Review: Cosmetic Surgery for Men
A happy man who was miserable
I am a happy man, pleased to have the opportunity to share my story with you. I’m 26 years old, and ready to graduate from law school in California. I’ve got a terrific wife, close family and friends, and a fantastic life, but I was a difficult, self-conscious person until a few short years ago. Here’s what happened: By the time I graduated from college and got a job, I weighed in at 350 lbs and wasn’t happy with any part of my life, despite having the best girlfriend (now my wife) and many others who cared about me. I was drinking beer, eating junk, and inactive. It was a recipe for illness, depression, and fatigue. How did my overweight, sedentary condition affect others? I was ornery, angry, and obnoxious from feeling so negative about myself. The fact that friends and family stuck with me tells you what fine people I have in my life, even though I couldn’t fully appreciate them back then.
A health scare
During a routine physical exam, my family doctor expressed serious concern about my lifestyle habits. With a family history of diabetes and heart problems, the doctor made it clear that my habits would compromise my chances for a long, healthy life if something didn’t change. I’m not sure why, but something clicked that day and I went home to tell my girlfriend that I was going to start eating right and exercising to lose the weight. On the spot, she broke down and cried! She had been so worried about my health, but hadn’t said anything for fear of offending me. She told me she wanted me to live, and to have children with her in the future. That was the motivation I needed to begin. I’d do it for her, and for my family and friends.
I went from 350 to 225 pounds
The very next day, I went to the gym and grocery shopping for good food. I didn’t know a thing about it - what was healthy, whether a food was low fat or high sodium or high in calories. But I learned. I spent the next 4 years working out 6 days a week and eating a low fat, low sugar diet. I went from 350 to 225 lbs. in 1-1/2 years without pills: just good old-fashioned work, a good diet and a consistent exercise regimen. It was hard! Many days, I just wanted to eat what I wanted and not work out. But I kept going, and guess what?
Everything got better in my life: my relationships with my parents and friends; my energy and stamina; my appearance…and, of course, my health. At some point, people started asking me for advice about weight loss and diet! My mom took the challenge and lost 30 lbs. herself. It was pretty incredible.
Then I had another problem: sagging, hanging skin
But now I had another big problem. After losing so much weight, I was left with a lot of excess, hanging skin on my stomach and abdominal areas. I was at a good weight, but I looked pretty bad. I thought I’d just have to learn to live with it. When I discussed it with my regular doctor, he recommended abdominoplasty surgery to get rid of the excess skin. In September of 2007, Katie and I got engaged. [We married last July.] I remember telling a friend, “If I had the money, I’d get that surgery done before the wedding, so I wouldn’t feel self-conscious during my honeymoon with no shirt on.” I wanted to look good for Katie.
Great friends and a great family stepped in to help
Well, the friend I talked to, unbeknownst to me, started calling people from my past – friends from undergraduate school, people I hung out with, family members…and during my annual New Year’s Eve birthday party, they presented me with $2000.00 and a huge cardboard check. They knew how hard I’d worked to eat right and exercise, and they wanted to help support my dream of having the abdominoplasty! It was just unbelievable. They also put a scrapbook together: photos taken before, during, and after my weight loss. How can I explain how much that meant – still means – to me, and how supportive my friends were? They listened, they kept me motivated, and some of them even worked out with me at the gym. After the party, I knew the surgery could be a reality for me. I’d been saving money, but as a student I didn’t have much. Now my friends had given me a gift and I was ready to take out a loan when one evening my dad said, “The check [for the balance of the surgical costs] is in the mail. We want to support all the effort you’ve made.” It was just incredibly generous.