Unfortunately, there are many women in bad marriages and relationships who put their own health and happiness second to everyone else’s and fall into a pit of self-despair and loathing. It takes courage to pull yourself out of such a deep hole and even more courage to tell others about your hardships and journey. Sheryl is one of these brave women and we are in awe of her and her ability to give such insight into her road to happiness, including losing a huge amount of weight and her subsequent abdominoplasty procedures. We heard about Sheryl through one of the amazing surgeons at Cosmetic Surgery for Women in Melbourne, Dr Craig Rubinstein from Hawthorn.
Sheryl begins by telling us what it was like in her old body and her old life. “I was trapped in fat. I was in toxic marriage of 13 years where 7 of those years were full of betrayal, mistrust, deceit and utter annihilation for me as a woman. I would walk down the street and I would physically say to myself under my breath the word “inferior”. I felt totally inferior to every woman on the planet, with exception to the aged grandmothers that would pass by. Ironically, due to this betrayal and mistrust it finally led me, for the first time in my life, to put myself first in a desperate attempt to possibly save my marriage.”
The first step is so often the hardest. However, Sheryl was at a point where she was ready to give anything a go. “I started on a diet shake program with walking that gave me marginal results. However, I then hurt my Achilles from walking so much. I tried taking huge amounts of painkillers to numb the pain but the pain was still too great and in the end I could no longer walk. As soon as I ceased walking my weight gain was rapid – even though I was still on the diet shakes.”
It ended up being Sheryl’s friend who told Sheryl about a new weight loss program. Due to her Achilles heel injury and rapid weight gain, Sheryl started the program and detoxed for three weeks. “I had constant head spins, headaches, and vomiting on three occasions. I stuck with it though thinking ‘Wow! What had been in those diet shakes that I had taken for the last 12 months and just how bad had my health become?” However, to Sheryl’s utter amazement and disbelief she lost just over 80 kilos. She went from 143kg to 63kg and reached her goal weight in June 2013.
“I truly never thought that such weight loss was possible. The structure and nutritional support through this program renewed my health one hundred fold. I continue to take the high quality nutritional support from the program today and I am ever so grateful for this.”
It was also at this time Sheryl realised that her marriage was not salvageable. “It took all the courage and bravery I knew to take this step in leaving. I knew by leaving my marriage, I would lose the support of my family and my whole world. I didn’t realise that my family would turn on me to the degree they have. But, I was not prepared to live a lie a day longer. I was now a single mother of two young special needs boys and I had the battle of life in front me alone. I would rather be authentic and honest with myself, no matter what the cost.”
So, now that Sheryl had lost all this weight and made the bold decision to leave her marriage, what happened then? “I never gave thought to be the amount of excess skin I would have from losing 80 kilos. There was no shortage of skin; I had it in abundance. I went to see my GP who recommended surgery as my option. I was told that surgery with a general surgeon would be fully covered and paid for by Medicare; going to a plastic surgeon would be costly – as I was undergoing a very ugly court marriage break up, my only option was a general surgeon.
“In July 2013 I had a tummy tuck done with the general surgeon through my local hospital. My recovery was quite exhaustive. I had a catheter and drainage tubes and boy do I remember the pain of the nurses removing the drainage tubes. It took about 3-4 weeks before I began to feel a bit more normal again. I had a physiotherapist visit me in the hospital who gave me helpful hints on exercise and how to best support my recovery. However, about three months after surgery, I was definitely not happy. I still had this jelly belly and I felt uncomfortable and incomplete.
“I went back to my doctor who referred me to Dr Craig Rubinstein. I travelled to Melbourne and had a consultation. I immediately liked the fact that Dr Craig was grounded and realistic in his explanation of what my expectations should be. I clearly remember walking away from the consult wanting the surgery, but I did not have the money. My court battle was still not over and I knew that I would have to wait.
“I started doing 400 sit ups every day and I established my own floor routine from what the physiotherapist had recommended. I was completely committed to this routine every day. If it meant that I would have to get up at 3am in the morning to achieve it, that is just what I did. I built upon my exercise skill base by googling and asking people questions. I never had the money for the gym. I started a walking routine too. I clocked the distance in the car and knew how many laps would equal how many kilometres.
“For two and a half years, I did 400 sit-ups and my floor routine every day, and I would also walk when my boys were either in school or in brief childcare. Being a single mother, running a business, and having no family support, it was crucial that I managed my time well.
“I continued to consult with Dr Craig over the next two years. I had people telling me that Thailand was cheap, so I did research the options there and thought “NO WAY!” Why? Why would I go to a foreign country? Use doctors I’ve never seen? In facilities I have never seen? For me, that spelt madness.
“I wanted to be whole as a mother and a woman on every level, so I engaged the support and counselling services of professionals to help me through the battles I faced – my marriage ending and trying my best to support my darling little boys, and myself, on an emotional, physical, and mental level for all our wellbeing.
“It was mid December in 2015 that Dr Craig Rubinstein performed an abdominoplasty on me. I came out of recovery around 2pm and I was on my feet by 5:30pm using my bowels on the toilet. My recovery this time around was exceptional and in no way could compare to my previous experience.
“I was pretty keen to get back on my nutritionals which I had ceased a week prior to surgery. I commenced my nutritionals the day after surgery. I transferred from Melbourne back to my local country hospital the day after surgery – I finished my recovery in my local hospital. I was only in hospital for six days. I checked out of my local hospital on day 6 and my partner drove me to Melbourne straight to Dr Craig’s rooms later that day who was very pleased with my recovery.
“I did experience basic infections which do happen after having major surgery. There is no doubt in my mind that the high quality nutritional support that I have given my body have catapulted my recovery. I was back to walking 5km after eight weeks, 10km after 9 weeks, and 15km after 10 weeks. Truly amazing!! What is even more amazing is the outcome!! I never thought that this result was achievable at age 44. Seriously, it has been nothing short of mind blowing!! They say a picture says a thousand words…yep!”
“I’m a reflective person in life and looking back, I’m so grateful for the preparatory work I did both with my nutritionals, healthy eating, and exercise. These have now formed a daily regime for my partner, my boys, and me.
“My recommendation is that you prepare your body for surgery. By preparing I am suggesting mentally, in having the right thinking; physically, in keeping your body fit; and emotionally, in keeping oneself stable. The only thing I wish I knew prior to both surgeries is knowing what is truly achievable with general surgeon versus a high quality plastic surgeon.
“The way I feel now post surgery with Dr Craig is… WOW!! I have a newfound feeling of completion, confidence, and being WHOLE. My friends are dumb founded at the result. I have never been happier, ever! I now live every day with a whole approach to a happy and healthy life.
“In fact, I now go one step further, I am now personally coaching and mentoring other people with their weight loss and in having discussions around what they want to achieve in their outcomes. This has not only changed my life, but the lives of everyone around me and everyone one I come into contact with. I now want to help other people achieve their dreams and I am experiencing a new found happiness in seeing them succeed.”
We agree with Sheryl… her photos do speak for themselves, and we absolutely love her story that we have no doubt will inspire others.
If you would like more information on Dr Craig Rubinstein or any of the other awesome doctors at the Cosmetic Surgery for Women in Berwick and Hawthorn visit their website, or phone them directly on (03) 8849 1400 to arrange a consult.
Sheryl has also offered for anyone going through a similar experience to email her for support or even just to chat on firstname.lastname@example.org