At 14 years of age I experienced a physical trauma following an accident that resulted in breakthrough surgery at the time (my fingers were sown intro my stomach). Yes, my fingers were caught in a plastic heat sealer when I tried to help a fellow worker at my place of employment. The surgery itself went well, but after 4 months I developed gangrene, that required amputation of my Right 3, 4 and 5th finger and a skin graft. This left my stomach badly scarred.
Fast forward 8 years, I fell pregnant with my first child, with three others soon to follow. As most mums could attest, pregnancy itself left my stomach badly stretched. This stretching was complicated by the prior surgery, leaving my body disfigured. Although I wanted this looked at for some time after my fourth child, I was unable to as I felt quietly embarrassed to talk about the trauma and show my stomach.
After discussing this with some peers – my nursing peers spoke highly of what they heard about Dr Goh (Dr Raymond Goh, Valley Plastic Surgery) and said I should speak to him as they felt he was emotionally responsive, displayed an elite professionalism and was ‘really good’ at what he did.
This lead me to start the journey with my eldest daughter as a support. My daughter had multiple peers who had engaged in breast enhancements, so we had 4 prior consultations prior to meeting Dr Goh. On meeting Dr Goh, as you can see, there was no going back and I couldn’t imagine allowing anyone else to operate on my body.
I had a breast augmentation and abdominoplasty. I was slightly nervous, but not in an overwhelming way- as Dr Goh had stepped me through what to expect. The staff were welcoming and took time to answer questions.
Prior to the surgery Dr Goh again consulted with what my expectations were, his excitement at what he could achieve and checking in on my psychological and emotional wellbeing and confirming my decision to proceed. Dr Goh re-in forced the power of positivity in recovery and achieving my own physical and psychological recovery.
Dr Goh was again at my bedside after recovery on the night of surgery (about 10pm) to check in on how I felt.
Looking back at my journey the only thing I would have done differently is that I would have done this sooner and not felt guilty for wanting to do it in the first place. There is some stigma in society about plastic surgery and who seeks this out. It was a therapeutic, empowering and liberating experience.
I did a lot of homework prior to proceeding with the procedure. I had my initial consult in 2016, where Dr Goh suggested I go and do some more research and then return in 6-12 months, as I was still hesitant and had some issues around feeling guilty etc, if I wanted to proceed.
Dr Goh then had a subsequent consult in 2017 – he was completely thorough in his psycho-social and medical assessment of this procedure. Dr Goh took me step by step around what to expect, as well as gently clarifying any unrealistic information and expectations. I admit Dr Goh’s process, procedure and his professionalism completely changed my view and value around plastic surgery.
With my recovery, I wore compression garments and special bra for about 8 weeks (after my second follow up consult with Dr Goh). I did have drains initially after the surgery, but did not have excessive loss and these were both removed within 72 hours after surgery.
The first 10 days were a physical and mental struggle, as I had to allow my body to relax and recover, whilst being slightly mobile was hard as a working mother of 4 children. As my children are all 17 years and up, they were able to manage well despite my inability to meet their needs.
I love my body now – I’m impressed by what Dr Goh achieved for me and with me, and am proud of where I am now.
My husband and 4 daughters were advocates of me ‘doing what I feel I needed to’. In that there was no ‘push’ or expectation to undergo surgery to attain some false sense of self, but was really about me making the right decisions for me, with the support of this process from my family.
My self- esteem, confidence and happiness has grown exponentially. I have not allowed my husband or children to see my stomach and I personally have not been able to look in the mirror without being so saddened by the memory of my trauma. I now feel like my body is again my own and no longer hijacked by trauma.
To find out more about Dr Raymond Goh you can visit his website. To read more patient stories on this surgeon click here.