Ann's Journey - Part III

Centuries of poets, philosophers, spiritual leaders, artists and thinkers have proclaimed the power of the present. They warn of spending too much time anticipating the future, seeking prosperity in moments we can’t possibly predict, and of getting caught up in the past, searching for contentment in moments we can’t possibly relive. Who could we be if we stopped, and instead sought happiness right now?

Ann speaks passionately about her personal experience with this lesson. She chose to undergo a breast implant exchange and breast lift with Dr. Philbin after spending years feeling self-conscious about her breasts. He took her from “ginormous” 440cc implants that never felt like they fit her frame or her personality, to 355cc implants that she says finally make her feel “complete.”

For other patients considering plastic surgery, Ann has a simple message: “Why wait another day to do what makes you feel good?”

Slow Is Fast

Ann felt confident as her recovery began. She’d been through breast surgery once before, so she had an idea of what likely lay ahead in the coming weeks. She trusted her body to handle the discomfort and knew that her husband and daughter would be an attentive and loving support team.

“I felt super good,” she says. “Last time, I felt like I had to be taken care of because I was so doped up on meds. But this time, I got home and I didn’t even feel like I’d had surgery. It was business as usual.”

Ann was pleasantly surprised to find herself in less pain than she’d been in after her initial breast augmentation. 

“Dr. Philbin told me the recovery would be faster and there wouldn’t be as much pain with this procedure because I’d already had implants under the muscle, so everything was already stretched. It was easier than I expected. Nothing unbearable at all.”

Although she quickly started feeling better, Ann took a week off work to ensure she gave her body ample time to rest. Patients often find it difficult to take a break from their busy lives. It’s tempting to catch up on work or run errands, but this period of relaxation is one of the most critical parts of the surgical process. A gradual approach allows your body to tell you when it’s ready to return to normal.

Ann used a motto to remind herself of the importance of slowing down. “I went in with the mindset that ‘Fast is slow and slow is fast.’ I tried not to push myself. I knew if I went over my limit, it would just set me back. I learned that from my last surgery. I was far more cautious this time.”

Better, Lighter, Complete

Ann’s motto would come in handy more than once. Her first glimpse of her new breasts left her feeling shocked by what she saw.

“They were still swollen and bruised — black and blue and yellow and green. It looked really bad. I was like, ‘Oh my god, maybe this was more serious than I thought it was!’”

She reminded herself to be patient. Healing can’t be hurried. Trust the body to set its own pace. Slow is fast. A month and a half later, she saw her patience pay off during a trip to Cancun. 

“Dr. Philbin said not to buy any new bras or swimsuits yet because your body will change. I wore my old ones, but they fit so much better. My husband never commented about my old implants, but when we were on vacation, he was like, ‘These fit your body. These fit you. They’re perfect now.’”

He isn’t the only one noticing a difference. After telling Dr. Philbin that she dreamed of being able to go braless, Ann says she can now do exactly that.

“I’m able to go without a bra or wear a little bralette. Clothes fit different, too. Before, I was like, ‘Ugh, I look so big, so top-heavy, in this shirt.’ Now I don’t even think about it. I get ready and I don’t notice big boobs or little boobs — I don’t notice my boobs at all. I feel better and lighter.”

That sense of lightness isn’t just physical. Ann says she also feels lighter in spirit and is the most confident she’s been in years.

“It feels like a burden is gone. I don’t feel like that’s the main focus of my body anymore. I’m someone who likes to fly under the radar a little bit and I did not like the attention I got with those other things. They weren’t me. I feel like myself now. I feel complete.”

No Time Like the Present

The highs and lows of Ann’s journey have given her unique insight into the plastic surgery process. For others considering breast surgery, she emphasizes the importance of finding the right practice and the right care team. It’s not enough to have the qualifications and technical skill; the foundation for a rewarding experience also rests on compassion, integrity, humility, dedication, patience, attention to detail and empathy.

“Edina Plastic Surgery treats you like you’re important — almost like you’re their only patient,” Ann says. “They make you feel like you matter and they’ll do whatever they can in your best interest. I trusted Dr. Philbin 100 percent. From the receptionist to the finance lady to the nurses — they were all very kind. I never second-guessed what they were doing. I felt secure there.”

Ann also reminds prospective patients that it is critical to make sure your voice is heard in the planning stages. Do not be afraid to ask questions or raise concerns. Open communication about your goals, expectations and preferences is vital to a successful partnership between you and your surgeon.

“Ask a lot of questions and make sure you know what you’re getting. The good, the bad and the ugly — you have to know it all before you go in. I wish I would have been more specific the first time. I just said, ‘Make me look like a lady.’ The second time, I asked more questions and had a vivid picture in my mind of what I wanted the outcome to be.”

Ann borrows a famous catchphrase for her final piece of advice. After waiting decades to reach the happy ending of her own plastic surgery story, Ann urges others to go after what they want.

“People are so hesitant to have surgery. There’s always an excuse for why you shouldn’t or why you can’t. I just feel like, if you’re thinking about doing it, why wait another day to be happy? Why wait another day to feel good and feel like yourself? It makes a world of difference in so many areas of your life. Just do it.”

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