I’m continuously being blown away by the journeys that some people go through when having their plastic surgery. It’s not always fun and games, and there’s so many situations where things get worse before they seem to get better. Today I had the pleasure of chatting to Steph who has lupus (an autoimmune disease) and the incredible journey she has been through. It makes us very aware of choosing our surgeons wisely. Steph’s surgeon Dr Marcus Pyragius went above and beyond through the whole experience – you’ll love this real story.
Trish Hammond: I’m here with Stephie today and Stephie has got a fantastic story. She, like a lot of us, so she’s been through to hell and back with her weight. Then she’s had plastic surgery after it, so we’re going to have a chat to Steph today. Get her to tell us a little bit about what she went through, and Steph’s surgery with Dr Marcus Pyragius in Adelaide. So I’m really excited that you’re here, so hey Steph.
Trish Hammond: Thank you so much for sharing tonight, it’s really, really good ’cause it’s really great to share what you’ve been through with people who are going on the same journey as you. So it’s always really helpful, so thanks so much for that.
Stephie: Oh no, it’s good, if it wasn’t for yourselves with the Facebook and your web page I wouldn’t have been anywhere, I wouldn’t have had no clue where to start.
Trish Hammond: Oh that’s so nice to hear, thanks Stephie, thank you. I really appreciate that. So Stephie tell us, now you’ve lost a massive amount of weight.
Trish Hammond: 50 kilos?
Stephie: Yeah, 50 kilos I’ve lost so far.
Trish Hammond: Right, and I’m in awe of you ’cause I like I know you had a lap band and got it removed and whatever, so it didn’t work, which is the same as me. But you’ve lost it all by yourself, so you’ve not had surgery to help you lose it or anything like that, you’ve just done it by ketogenic diet.
Stephie: Yes, yeah I had to. I was too scared to have my band reinflated and I wasn’t too sure on getting the sleeve, because my problem was I was able to drink my diet even when I had the band in. So I was addicted to sugar, so ketogenic really helps with that. It took me a little while to get around the whole fact of sugar and carbs and what not. The first Easter and the first Christmas really killed me but after I started losing the weight, and the first 11 or so kilos, it just fell off within the first two to three weeks. That was my momentum to keep myself going. I did a silly thing and I had a nice big bowl of lasagna and garlic bread, within about three days I was rotten and sick. Real glutenny sort of feeling, and the doctor turned around and said yeah, we’re not even going to bother with the testing because of your auto immune issues. Obviously gluten is also an enemy and if I steer clear of it I can keep my weight down. The moment I start on it my weight creeps up.
Trish Hammond: Yeah, well good on you. You’ve got an autoimmune problem?
Stephie: Yeah, I’ve got a couple of little things going on. My biggest one is Hashimoto, so that’s attacked the thyroid, we finally killed it, so we don’t know where we’re going from here with that. But I’m going to have my surgeries and get them out of the way and be on the go.
Stephie: Yes, yeah I did. Not that you can tell at the moment ’cause I’m so…
Trish Hammond: But you look great.
Stephie: I had seven to eight mills taken off of both sides of my eyelids, I had, I can never pronounce it, a myokymia I think it’s called where the eyelid nerve twitches constantly. I also had very droopy hooded eyes, which made me constantly look constantly tired and constantly grumpy. I have an awesome resty bitchy face at the best of times. It really did help, mind you at the moment I’m not sleeping too well, ’cause I just had my second lot of surgery. So I’m looking like a little bit dishevelled and a little bit beaten up.
Stephie: Yes, yeah. Doctor P let me go in because I recovered so well from the first lot of surgery and we did the arms. I don’t have a lot of time to have the down time, so because I healed so well and behaved myself the first time I was allowed to have my arm lift and my breast reduction at the same time. So yeah, I’m just getting over the bruising now, I’m starting to forget that I’ve got a lot of pain. The recovery has been pretty breezy really compared to the muscle repair.
Trish Hammond: Give us a look at your arm.
Stephie: Excuse my dodgy bedroom.
Trish Hammond: That’s alright, so you’re all bandaged up?
Stephie: Yeah, still all bandaged up, they told me not to have too much of a look at it and fiddle around. I’ve still got the tapes on. I’ve still got a few stitches that need to heal up. I’ve got a few, when they took the tapes off earlier today there was still a few spots that are still healing. So we put some pressure tapes on and we’ll see how we go next week. But I’m not on any pain relief at the moment, which is good.
Trish Hammond: Wow, two weeks post op that’s amazing. So tell me how did you decide … What made you decide. Or first of all how did you start your journey with looking for a plastic surgeon to do what you wanted to have done?
Stephie: I think I was in a chat room in Adelaide, just a general chat room and one of the girls was talking about, oh I’m on plastic surgery hub, because we were talking about breast reductions and implants and what not. One of the girls was saying how, I don’t even remember where it started, I thought, oh well I’ll go and have a look. ‘Cause I’d always thought it was something that was out of, like never achievable. When I first looked at it, when I first started losing the weight with the lapband, I thought it was all cosmetic. I didn’t understand it all, I had no one to guide me back 10 years ago when I was even looking at all of this. Back in 2011, it was all, I didn’t know where to start. But these girls put me onto yourselves, which started my journey and I asked about surgeons in Adelaide and there was a whole lot of girls that had, had a lot of the surgery with a few surgeons. But they all recommended Doctor Pyragius, so I had a look at his work and I was watching them healing.
I was watching like all the healing with the girls and their journeys, and I booked in to see him. The moment I walked into their office you just feel at home, like Vicky’s down to earth. She’s just like you and me, no questions too silly, I’ve asked some really strange questions and fired off emails at three o’clock in the morning. Like what happens with this? She answers everything, she finds out for you, so before I’d even met him, Marcus, myself, Vicky had already sold him on the telephone. I asked her, I said face to face, would you put yourself on the table and get work done? She said, yeah she’d trust him. His staff can say that, there’s no hesitation in her voice. It’s not just Marcus, it’s his girls he’s got with him. Maggie his nurse, she’s down to earth as well, very, very open. They’re all very caring so just, and when you step into Marcus’s office he’s very calm, cool, collected, very modest. You don’t feel, you just feel at ease as soon as you walk in there.
Stephie: oh did you?
Trish Hammond: Yeah, I did, just to meet them and I totally relate to what you’re saying. I can totally feel the vibe, it’s definitely an Adelaide vibe, they make you feel at home, make you feel comfortable. So alright, that’s awesome. So tell me with your first batch of procedures, like of course a lot of people want to get them all done at once but you decided to get your tummy tuck and you had muscle repair. You had your bleph done at the same time, wasn’t it? So how long were you in for? Can you tell us a little bit about the experience?
Stephie: I ended up being in, I went in on the Thursday afternoon and I was, oh gosh I came out on the Saturday. I was sick for 24 hours solid, the anaesthetic and the pain relief didn’t agree with me too well. So I did a lot of vomiting for the first 24 hours, no one else’s fault, my body just didn’t appreciate it. So that put me behind otherwise I would have been home within two days, I would have been home on the Friday afternoon. I went home with a couple of drains in, which I think I had the drains a little bit longer because of the vomiting. I caused a little bit more pain on the muscle repair. But once I got home after the trip home, I live in Roseworthy, so the trip was a little deadly. We’ve got a lot of bumpy roads and what not so I had a bit of pain relief to get home, but that was my end Endon that I took. After that I had a couple of, I think I took six Panadeine Forte and a couple of Panadol and that was it for the rest of my recovery.
He stitches very, very tight, I didn’t realise and didn’t know how much of the muscle repair, how bad it was until I woke up. I had this absolute hard washboard stomach, it was just like wow, like I never expected to wake up and look so brilliant from day one. He’s really good.
Trish Hammond: How’s your recovery been from that first batch of surgery, ’cause we’ll just talk about that at the moment. ‘Cause you had your bleph done then as well didn’t you? So you woke up with a couple of black eyes.
Stephie: Yeah, I woke up more than a couple of black eyes. There was bruising from underneath my eyebrow all the way down, and it just fell into my cheeks. We had a running joke at the shopping centres where we would have a little bit of a, we would be talking and we’d be throwing back comments. My partner would say to me, oh shut up or I’ll give you two more black eyes. People would just look at us like, what, and they just sort of look away. But we were shopping in a couple of areas, in a couple of shopping centres that we probably should have blended in anyways. But that’s beside the point, yeah the recovery with your eyes you don’t really notice it. It’s a little bit irritating, you can feel a little scratch every now and then. It feels a little swollen, like you’ve got a bit of hay fever, or a bit of grit in your eye. But as the stitches start healing you can just feel them catching in that little corner bit. Other than that once they come out within two weeks the scar was amazing.
It’s only in certain light now that you can even see it. That’s when I pull my eyelid down, you couldn’t, I tried to show a friend ’cause she’s got pretty good eyesight, she couldn’t see a thing. So that’s only just gone six months with that, and there’s the finest of lines in my crease, so I’m very happy.
Trish Hammond: That’s great. So then you decided to … How long after your first lot of surgery did you have your second lot of surgery, ’cause I know that you’ve now had an arm lift and a breast reduction. So how long between your first and second surgeries?
Stephie: Worked out to about five and a half months. I’ve just gone six months, yeah about almost six months yeah.
Trish Hammond: Okay.
Stephie: I was going to go in earlier, it’s just timing sort of sucked a little bit. But he doesn’t like to go in any earlier than every three to six months. He likes to make sure that your bodies healed, which I agree with. It was great to be able to sit myself up, and do it pretty easily. Because I used to use my arms to get in and out of bed, now I use my abs.
Trish Hammond: Core, yes, you do it the right way didn’t you?
Stephie: He likes to do the tummy first because, I don’t know why, I’m sure the other girls would tell you the same thing. He always works with the tummy and works out from there. I am very, very happy. We’ve got a little bit of a, I’ve just lost the word. We’ve got a little bit that we’ve got to repair that my body, it’s my own body, where my skin is a little bit stretched in one part of my line, just below my belly button. So we’re just going to stretch that out a little bit when I go in and have my thighs done. But that’s not done yet. But that’s not his work, that was just the way my tummy is.
Trish Hammond: It’s good to note to help people to realise that it’s not always going to be 100%, just the one thing that you have done. Sometimes you might have to go back and have little tweak here or a tweak there. Before you saw Doctor Pyragius did you know that about the after care, like did you know that if there was a problem it would be fixed? Did he let you know?
Stephie: Yeah, I did ask. But I also felt that he’d already said that we’d always, no problems too big or too small for him. He’s so meticulous with his work and everyone I’ve spoken to has said if he’s not happy with a suture line he’ll pull it all apart and he’ll start again. So I knew that I was going to wake up and wake up with the neatest little line, probably the first neatest little line on my body ever. I’d never had any fear whatsoever with how it’d turn out and I knew that he would, if something didn’t turn out like this little bit that needs to be fixed, that he would make sure that it was all fixed up and wouldn’t leave me with it. It doesn’t even bother me, ’cause I know it will be fixed. It’s not even his problem, so I’m very happy with that.
Trish Hammond: No, that’s great and like how long down the track will he fix that for you?
Stephie: We were going to do it with my thighs, which we were going to do this time around but we needed to add in more liposuction because my saddlebags aren’t being very nice. So my Super didn’t come in, in time, so we decided to utilise the surgery time and do my arms and breasts first, otherwise I would have it done now. He was happy to do it straight away.
Trish Hammond: So you’ve had a full body reconstruction really?
Stephie: Well not yet.
Trish Hammond: Or you’re on the way.
Stephie: On the way.
Trish Hammond: Yeah.
Speaker 3: Are you filming?
Stephie: Yes I am, off you go. You can tell me your story after. I’m on a podcast, off you go.
Trish Hammond: I love it, love it. Well that’s awesome, well we’re pretty much near the end now anyway. Really, really appreciate your time and if you could give someone a take away, whether they’re thinking of going with surgery, or they’re on this journey. Is there something that you either wish you’d known then that you know now? Or if there’s something that you want to say to someone as a little piece of advice so they can take away? What would it actually be?
Stephie: It would be to trust in your gut, make sure that you do a lot of research. If you definitely can get to Adelaide, definitely have a consult with Doctor Pyragius and his girls. Because I don’t think that you’d find a nicer trio than this lot, that actually do stand by their work and are very proud with what they would like to put out to the world. Yeah and just ask questions, just keep asking and asking, and asking till you’re satisfied not anybody else.
Trish Hammond: Yup, no, that’s awesome. Thank you so much Stephie. Ladies and gentlemen if you’re out there, you’ve got to make sure you stay safe. You want to be in the hands of a plastic and reconstructive surgeon when you’re having this sort of work done, without a doubt. So thank you so much Stephie, I really appreciate your time.
Stephie: Thank you.
Trish Hammond: Thanks a lot.
Stephie: Good luck with everything. Thank you.
Trish Hammond: Thanks a lot bye.