Chelle lost a huge amount of weight but was left with about 7kgs of excess skin that she says had nowhere to go and was like an apron over her front. She had a lower body lift with Dr Mark Magnusson and is thrilled with her results. She looks absolutely amazing and she shares her before and after photos with us.
Trish: Hello podcasters. I’m here today with the lovely Chelle, and Chelle just recently … I stumbled across Chelle on, I think it was Instagram or Facebook. I can’t remember, and she was showing … actually probably in our group first, and anyway, she was showing off her before and after photos that she’s had a lower body lift with Dr Mark Magnusson at Toowoomba Plastic Surgery. And she was more than happy to share her story so I’m really excited to have a chat with her today. So welcome Chelle.
Chelle: Welcome Trish. How are you?
Trish: I’m really good thank you. Hey, as I said before, how good are you looking?
Chelle: I’m feeling fabulous.
Trish: So tell me first of all, how old are you Chelle, if you don’t mind my asking?
Chelle: 1966 finish, so 52.
Trish: Okay. Okay. Awesome. So you’re just a little bit younger than me, but we won’t tell anyone. So tell me about your journey. First of all, what happened? Why did you have to have surgery? What made you decide to have surgery and tell us a bit about your life? What led you to where you were at?
Chelle: About three years ago I got back with my first ever love, my 10 year old love, and we decided last year in July to lose the excess kilos. But it left me with about seven kgs of skin that had no where to go, so it was like an apron. So in July last year, I had a consultation with Mark just to see what I needed to do. I was still at my 89 kilo then, and by the time I got to, in surgery on the 10th of April this year, I was 75 kgs.
Trish: Wow. Wow. That’s amazing. So where did you start from?
Trish: No, no. Where did you start from originally? 89?
Chelle: Originally I was 102 kilos. That was in 2012, and then I’d lost a percentage of weight. Then last year it spurred on, and I lost about 15 kgs.
Trish: Fantastic, and how did you lose the weight, first of all?
Chelle: By following a dietician’s programme by just portion control, mainly, and just having protein in between meals and if I was hungry.
Trish: Well done you ’cause it’s not easy to lose weight. Having been a bariatric patient myself, even then it’s not easy to lose weight. So to have done it without anything like that, go you.
Chelle: And I do seven kgs a day for five days a week, and I swim.
Trish: What do you mean, seven kilometres?
Trish: Walking? Running?
Chelle: Walking and running.
Chelle: Come on. Come on. I got an interview. We do pack running on Saturdays. It’s the timed 5k pack run. I do it in 35 minutes. I finally broke my personal best this last Saturday that I achieved three weeks before my operation. Now I’m back to normal. So I’m, I only met it by a second. So I do 35:52 now, instead of 35:53.
Trish: So make me feel really bad now ’cause I so want to lose weight, but I just don’t know. I think it’s just all about focus, isn’t it? Once your mind is focused, you can just pretty much do anything?
Chelle: Yes. Yes.
Trish: I’m so unfocused at the moment, but that’s okay. That’s okay. I’m happy to share other people’s journeys.
Chelle: And do you know, I found with my weight loss, it’s not all about denying yourself stuff. It’s just having a small portion of it, and not every day. It’s just once a week you give yourself a treat and go, “I did that.”
Trish: Yep. That makes so much sense. So you’re not depriving yourself because if you’re … like I’m forever depriving myself so then I’m like, no I’m not gonna have anything. Then a bar of chocolate comes up, and I’m like, oh my god. I just eat the whole thing, you know? So it’s true. I think everything in moderation. Hey, have what you want, but just don’t go crazy.
Trish: So tell me, what surgery did you actually have?
Chelle: I had a lower body lift, a liposuction, and a Brazilian butt lift.
Trish: Did you have … So that was it?
Chelle: That was it.
Trish: That’s enough. So did you have it all done at once?
Trish: Wow. I’m just like, ugh. That’s just freaks me out. So tell me about your experience. So you went, first of all, I know you said you went to have your consult, and then did you tell Dr. Magnusson what you wanted? Did you know what you wanted before you went in there?
Chelle: I knew I wanted to have a tummy tuck. Then he suggested well let’s have a lower body lift so we can put everything back in place, and the liposuction will put the fat from that into your butt ’cause my butt had sagged and everything from all the weight loss. So he balanced me back out. So he’s made my body the right shape again.
Trish: Yep. Yep, and how did you find, first of all, how did you find him?
Chelle: I just … I knew of him of in Toowoomba, but I just did a bit of research. And he’s a very qualified person, and he’s had very good testimonials and that. So that’s where I went, and it was close to home, like four hours instead of six hours to Sydney or whatever.
Trish: That’s a bonus isn’t it? Well I’m looking at your before and afters now, and you see before and afters all the time, but what blew me away about yours, and I know you’re not gonna mind if we share them after because we’ve spoken about that, is that you had … ’cause I’ve had a tummy tuck, and you’ve got that apron that kind of just hangs down. But your apron hangs down past the tops of your thighs. Like it would hang about three or four inches past the tops of your thighs?
Trish: And just to see that, like I can’t stop looking at it. It’s just blows me away. It’s just a phenomenal job. I don’t know.
Chelle: Look at it this way, I hadn’t seen the nether regions for about 20 years.
Trish: Well, yeah. I can see that. Yeah. That’s amazing. So tell me about your experience. You went there, you had your consult, you wanted a tummy tuck and he said, “Okay, well why don’t we just do a complete lower body lift, put you into proportion.” What else did you have? So you had the breast lift?
Chelle: No. No, didn’t do anything to my boobs.
Trish: Okay, they just look … So you had liposuction. Where was your lipo?
Chelle: The lipo was on the same day as everything else. So it was-
Trish: What about the back?
Chelle: The back and around the front he did near my belly button, top of my ribcage. So he really moved everything, proportioned everything again.
Trish: It’s funny ’cause I’m looking at your legs here, I’m looking at the sidewards shot here, and obviously the butt lift, or fat transfer to the butt, whatever the … It’s always got a different name, but basically he’s obviously given you a bit of fat in your butt. It’s funny because your legs were quite thin, whereas now they fit in with the rest of your body, but they’re not smaller.
Chelle: No, they’re not smaller.
Trish: No. No, it’s like it’s a real … It’s true contouring, isn’t it?
Chelle: Yes, he does really, really, really well at the contouring part of it. I don’t know how they really do it because it’s scary.
Trish: I know. Well, I’ve seen lots of, like I said, lots of before and afters, but when it’s such a great result with so much of that skin here … ’cause it looks like that skin is actually not just skin. It looks like it’s quite full.
Trish: So no, great job. Great job. So tell me-
Chelle: Oh, we also did a … he actually … the separation in my stomach, the what’s it, rectus abdominis … Yeah, he sewed that back together. That was something I forgot to tell you.
Trish: The muscle repair.
Trish: Yep. That’s awesome. So tell me, tell us a little bit about your experience. So when he suggested that, did you book in there and then?
Chelle: I booked in on February the 2nd, I think, this year.
Trish: Yeah. Did you book it after the consultation? You were like oh my god yes, that’s what I want to do, just book it straight away, or did you go away and think about it?
Chelle: No. I went away and thought about it. I lost the weight so I could … That was the thing.
Trish: Oh, that’s right.
Chelle: That spurred me on. So I went on the 17th of July last year, and I lost the weight. And I got to February, and we had our second consult. I said, “Yep, book us in for the 10th of April.” And that’s where we went at.
Trish: Fantastic. So tell us about your actual experience. So you went in on the day of surgery, nervous as anything, I guess, or you weren’t nervous?
Chelle: I was pretty relaxed actually, and he was running late.
Trish: Oh, that’s pretty normal for a plastic surgeon. I think a lot of them might be running late.
Trish: ‘Cause you never know how long the person before you is gonna be. You just gotta do what they need, and if you might think it’s half an hour and it takes an hour and a half, two hours.
Chelle: My surgery was five hours.
Trish: Oh, wow. Yep.
Chelle: So I was under anaesthesia for five hours. So the operation went well. I came out really well out of anaesthetic, went back to the room. I think I was on a fair amount of pain killers, but I was up probably having something to eat by say seven o’clock that night. My operation was 10 in the morning. I had time to come out of … I think I had something to eat, and then 12 hours later, I was up and walking around. Not straight up and down, but sort of crouched over, but I was up with the physios help and everything.
The pain … They really manage the pain really well. I had four drains in. I think by say Wednesday, my operation was on Tuesday, by Wednesday afternoon I was able to walk down the hallway and come back. So you just managed everything pretty well that way. Not to say that there wasn’t a lot of pain, and I didn’t manage my pain properly. But there was pain. When you have that sort of operation, they put you in a compression garment. So you’ve gotta get used to having constant pressure on your body. It was really manageable, but I’ve got a high pain threshold anyway.
Trish: Yep. So tell me, how long were you … When you woke up from your surgery, ’cause five hours is a long time, I know it sounds like you were eating four hours after that, but how did you feel? Do you remember anything from then, or did you just think oh my god, what have I done? Did you have any of that sort of feeling?
Chelle: I had no regrets at all.
Trish: Wow. Wow.
Chelle: Because I knew what I was in for. I’ve had two CS, and I sort of thought, I got through them okay.
Trish: So your expectations weren’t … You’d been informed as to what was going to be going on, how you’re gonna be feeling so you weren’t surprised at the way you were feeling? And you know what, it sounds like as well that you obviously, with a really healthy diet that you’d lost weight, so you obviously your body was probably at it’s optimum nutrition level as well. So you’re doing yourself a favour with regards to that as well.
Chelle: Yes. Exactly, and I was well rested. It’s just about doing the right things for your body, fueling it right and making sure you’re at best possible place before you go in to have this sort of operation.
Trish: So tell me, how long were you in hospital for?
Chelle: I was admitted on Tuesday in the morning at 8:30, and I came out at 1 pm on the Friday.
Trish: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. So three nights.
Trish: Wow. Was that enough for you? You were comfortable going home at that time?
Chelle: Yes. I didn’t actually drive the four hours back to Moree then, but I stayed at a friend’s place until the Tuesday so I could get … Oh, I had two drains out before I left hospital, and on the Tuesday, I had the other two. Ruth took them out at the surgery, and Tuesday afternoon, I went home.
Trish: So basically, it was a week from the time you went in to the time that you actually got back home because you came out after three nights. Then you stayed at a friend’s place. So it took a week to get your tubes out is what I’m trying to say. Is that right?
Chelle: Yeah, 10 days.
Trish: Okay. 10 days to get your tubes out.
Chelle: Wait, what is it? Tuesday. No. They were put in on Tuesday, and they come out on Tuesday. Seven days.
Trish: Yeah, that’s seven days.
Chelle: Seven days. Yeah.
Trish: Oh, fantastic. Tell us a little bit from there on in. Did you have to be careful? How long did you wear your compressions for?
Chelle: Six weeks. Six weeks compressions. I wasn’t allowed to drive for three weeks. What else? I’ll tell you one thing, the best thing Ruth has organised with the plastic surgery is to have a physiotherapist because you lose lack of … You lose your muscle reflexes for your muscles like pelvic floor and all that sort of stuff. So I recommend that people go and see a physiotherapist beforehand and afterwards.
Trish: Oh, before as well.
Trish: Okay. How long did you see a physio before for?
Chelle: Just two … I think the day before the operation, I went for the operation, and they give you a set of exercises to start for beforehand and a set of exercises that you follow for the next 12 months.
Trish: Oh, that’s great. So they must have a physio who knows all about the lower body lift surgery and can actually give you a full … ‘Cause I mean you want to go to someone who knows about that kind of surgery, wouldn’t you?
Chelle: Yes. She works hand-in-hand with them, Ruth at Toowoomba Plastic Surgery.
Chelle: And people don’t realise that you lose control of your muscles because it is that type of thing. Your rectus abdominis is what your core is made … needs for your core muscles in your body, and if you don’t have core muscles, you don’t have muscle tone or anything like that because you can’t … How do I explain it? You can’t retain it again if you don’t do these exercises.
Trish: Yep. Okay. So it kind of gets you-
Chelle: Back in contour, like your body shape and that back and everything ’cause you’re getting your muscles to work again.
Trish: Yeah. So let’s go on to after you got home, what did you do? ‘Cause you obviously can’t do … Life doesn’t go back to normal, obviously. How long … How were you when you got back home?
Chelle: I was okay, I suppose. Then I started taking, at four weeks, I think I took off the stripping that they put on you on the scar line, and I fainted. I’ve never fainted in my life, but I fainted.
Trish: Oh wow. Wow. Was that when you were at home?
Chelle: Yeah, when I was at home. Luckily my husband was with me.
Trish: Totally, ’cause you probably should have someone with you after this kind of surgery for how long? Do you know?
Chelle: A week or so.
Trish: Well you left after a week so maybe something longer than a week.
Chelle: Two weeks. Yeah. 10 days afterward. Yeah, he was-
Trish: So what were you doing when you fainted?
Chelle: I was just about ready to get in the shower. I took that stripping off ’cause Ruth had told me to take the stripping off when I got home, and I was just about to get in the shower. And I fainted. Lucky he was there to catch me.
Trish: Wow. Did he actually catch you before you hit the ground?
Trish: Oh wow. That was so lucky ’cause I have actually heard a couple of stories where people have actually fainted and fallen wrong and ripped something apart or … You know what I mean? ‘Cause I know. I know. It can happen, hey.
Chelle: It can happen. So have people around you.
Trish: Yeah. Yeah. Do you know what it was that made you faint?
Chelle: Just taking the stripping off, I think.
Trish: Oh, yeah. Right.
Chelle: I’ve never done that before. I’m pretty good at things like that.
Trish: You know, I’ve never fainted either. I think I’d be pretty frightened too. Alright, so that was … How long did it take you to stand up straight?
Chelle: Oh, probably by the end of two weeks, 14 days.
Trish: Okay. Okay. Yep. Yep, that’s probably about average I think.
Chelle: Yep. That’s about average.
Trish: Yep. Yep. Alright. So what happened after that? How did you spend your days? I’m wondering how you would lie down because you’ve got a circumferential cut from all the way around.
Chelle: And I had a Brazilian butt lift too, so you couldn’t lie on your back.
Trish: Oh, yes. Yep.
Chelle: So Mark designed this, you go to… and they give you this rubber. Then you’ve got to cut out a frame for your butt to go into for sitting in chairs. Then when you were sleeping, I got a body pillow, the ones that they use in pregnancy, and I put that between my legs. But I also made a nest of pillows to lie in so I could lie on my side and not lie on my butt.
Chelle: So it was quite a setup to go to sleep, but it must have worked successfully.
Trish: That’d be worth a photo if you haven’t taken one.
Chelle: It’s quite funny actually.
Trish: Well that’s funny because until someone’s gone through experience … Everyone goes through their own experience, and then you hear this from this person, this from that person, and everyone has something different that works for them. So when you put them all together, you can actually come up with a really good checklist that might work for some people, and some things may not work for others, but it gives you some sort of advice as to how to deal with things.
Chelle: It was like I made a little V nest because I had to lie on my side ’cause I had that Brazilian butt lift, and you couldn’t lie on your back. It was just like … Then I’d have to rotate myself during the night so I didn’t get pain, and we had to actually get a memory foam pillow for the bed because the bed was just too hard under my hips. I’ve actually got no fat on my hips anymore.
Trish: Yeah, that’d be hard to live with. Not. So alright, how long do you reckon it took you … Did you work? Did you have to go back to work?
Chelle: Yeah, I was back at work on the third week, 21 days.
Trish: Okay. Oh gee, that’s amazing.
Chelle: But I had really great support from my regional manager in that. So all I had to do was serve customers, and I had a seat there with a cushion on. And I had those pincher things that you get at Bunnings, like the Oates pinchers things to pick up things off the floor if I had to pick up things off the floor.
Trish: Okay. Yep. Yep.
Chelle: ‘Cause I’m a manager in a retail dress shop.
Trish: Yep. Yep. Oh, that’s good. So you got a lot of support from work which was really helpful, and that’s probably why you could go back at three weeks ’cause that’s phenomenal, really. Three weeks is amazing.
Chelle: Yes. It is.
Trish: How long do you reckon before you got back to fully normal? ‘Cause obviously you had to have your compression garments on for how long?
Chelle: Six weeks. So life’s back to normal, pretty much, now. I can do anything. So probably at the 12 week mark I was pretty normal again.
Chelle: ‘Cause it’s about 16, 18 weeks now.
Trish: Yep. Yep. So that’s yeah, four to five months. Is it like, actually let me ask you this question ’cause I remember when I had my first tummy tuck. I felt for ages like as if a part of me was missing. It almost felt like I couldn’t believe that my hand would get so close to my belly and my belly wasn’t there. Do you have any of that feeling?
Chelle: Yes. Yes, I have that.
Trish: So can you explain that? Explain that because it’s been so long for me now that I don’t really remember, but I remember so vividly that there was that feeling. Can you give us that emotion?
Chelle: It’s like it feels weird that I can actually wear clothes that make my stomach look, well it is flat now. It’s just a weird, weird feeling and because I’ve had a LBL, where the scar line is, if I ate too much or anything like that, it gives you a gentle reminder not to eat too much. Like the pressure’s there on the scar line. You just, there’s all these little reminders that, oh, there’s no stomach there anymore.
Trish: Yep. Yep. It sounds like you must have … You’re a different person. You really are, I mean, physically. How’s it made you mentally?
Chelle: It’s made me a lot more confident. Way more confident.
Trish: Right. In what way? When you say more confident, like in what you wear? Meeting people?
Chelle: Yes. Meeting people and I actually, I’m encouraging more people. People kept walking up to me and saying, “You look so amazing.” And then I turn around and say, “You can do this too, if you go and see the right people. Go and see a dietician. Go and have a consultation with a plastic surgeon.” I had all these people ask me, “Who did you go to? You look amazing.” So I’d say, “This is the steps I took before I went.” Yeah.
Trish: It’s so good when you can help someone else, isn’t it? It’s kind of like, it just makes it all the more sweeter.
Chelle: Yes, it does.
Trish: Well, I totally get it. I totally get it. Well, I gotta say, thank you so much Chelle, for your chat tonight. I quite often look at your photo. Don’t ask my why. You know, ’cause sometimes you’re just flipping through, and I think, oh, just some pictures are just exceptional. No doubt about it that yours is one of those. I’ve just absolutely loved looking at your pictures. It was an absolute joy, and thank you so much again for having that chat with me as well.
Chelle: You’re quite welcome. Anytime Trish.
Trish: Awesome. Awesome. Alright, well thank you for that. I really appreciate it, and listeners if you’re out there and you are thinking of having a tummy tuck or you need a plastic surgery procedure and you want to go to someone who does an exceptional job, exceptional service, and to look after you, you can’t go past Dr. Mark Magnusson, who is actually in Toowoomba and also on the Gold Coast. You can google him, or you can drop him an email to ask that info at plasticsurgeryhelp.com.au. We will give you his info. So thanks a lot again, Chelle.
Chelle: Thank you.
Trish: No worries. Bye.