Confession time. I had plastic surgery in Colombia
I have to admit I don’t put a lot of thought or consideration into any of my life decisions. My impulsive nature means I often find myself in less than ideal circumstances of my own creating. This particular situation was a hospital bed in a foreign, non-English speaking country with a number of catheters hanging out of my arm whilst watching my heart rate remain persistently high as I waited for the surgeon to enter. During this time I had three thoughts darting through my mind. The first being ‘Chloe what on earth brought you to this point?’ the second being ‘please don’t let me wake up mid surgery’ and finally ‘I am never ever doing this again’. This final thought played through my mind for the duration of the 50 minute surgery because, oh did I forget to mention… I was conscious through the whole procedure.
Before I get into my surgery-from-hell tale I feel it is best to start from the start. Why on earth was I lying on the hospital bed of my own making in the first place?
Some 5 years ago I had truly believed I had met the man of my dreams. I remember sitting across from him at lunch feeling a sense of relief at the ease the conversation had, the way it flowed and intertwined between tales of life and love and banter. However this particular man had a way of complimenting you with an insult. So instead of being insulted, you would hear the compliment part and would be left scratching your head as to why it felt so bad. This particular compliment/insult was about how I had appeared to have lost weight (nice enough) and that he could tell this by how I had less chins. Yes. He referred to my having less chins. He then continued to joke about how I have such a large double chin that it was like that of a turkey gobble and it must slap me in the face when I run. At the time I laughed it off because I was too shocked really to do anything else but at that exact moment I became self-conscious about this part of my face I had never ever considered as being flawed. The truth was, I did have a large fat deposit in my neck area relative to my body weight I had just never noticed it before. Much too focused on other body parts I wasn’t happy with I hadn’t paid much attention to my chin. But from that moment I saw my chin every time I looked in a mirror, saw a photograph of myself or worse still when I was on television. I then looked around my relatives and saw the chin in them, but the much older and drooped version and felt an overwhelming sense of disgust. The chin had to go (and so too did said man!).
Fast forward half a decade and I found myself once again travelling the world. This time to Colombia, a country well known for its cosmetic surgery scene. Prior to my arrival I had never considered surgery of this kind in a foreign country so I thought it couldn’t hurt to enquire. That first consultation in which you discuss the ins and outs and price very quickly became a date setting consultation. Within the space of 20 minutes I had gone from just enquiring about surgery to having it booked for the very next morning. It’s the curse of the impulsive at heart I tell you!
The next 24 hours were a blur. I was fasted, bloods were tested, payment was made and within 15 hours since the original appointment I found myself laid out in a surgical theatre ready to have liposuction of the neck. My heart rate was high as too was my blood pressure. I tried my very best to watch the heart rate monitor and slow down my breathing to see if I could control it. But to no avail it continued to race for the 40 minutes I laid being prepped and waited. Now if surgery gone wrong details make you skirmish then now is the time to stop reading…
Coming from a health background, I am pretty up-to-date with medications and medical procedures. I knew exactly what I was being sedated with and the effect it should have and felt somewhat comfortable in the knowledge that I would just fall asleep if all went correctly and wake up a little woozy. That I can handle. Instead as the midazolam was injected into me I immediately felt concern as to why I was still awake. My body was unable to move and heavily sedated however my mind was active as I watched the surgeon administer two huge local anesthetic injections into my neck. I started to cry and plead with the nurses and surgeon to please put me to sleep in my drowsy English that meant not a whole lot to my Spanish speaking nurses. The surgeon telling me something along the lines of “I’ve given you maximum dose and it’s not safe for any more” as he thrusted the catheter into my neck and thrashed it to break up and remove the fat cells. I would like to tell you that it got better, but it didn’t. I was conscious for every last thrashing and felt the entire surgery whilst crying and begging him to please stop in my sedated state. Midazolam is supposed to to my knowledge inhibit your memory so you do not remember any surgical procedure should you become conscious however I remember every last second of my surgery from starting thrash to finish. My worst surgical fear had come true.
Depending on your views of plastic surgery, you might at this point me making some sort of a judgement of me. Maybe that I am vain or superficial? Or maybe just that I am plain stupid? I thought long and hard before posting this for those very reasons. I know the stigma that is attached to women who have plastic surgery but yet it is surprisingly common. We just don’t often talk about. So instead of hiding the fact away like it is a dirty dark secret, I am sharing it. Because for those who have had cosmetic surgery you will know it actually has very little to do with the outward appearance. It creates a different inward appearance. It helps you to feel more comfortable and satisfied with your own appearance. To be able to look at yourself in the mirror or in a photo and feel genuinely satisfied with what you see. We all have them, those little flaws that we feel self-conscious about or maybe they are not little to you, maybe they are in fact huge and overbearing and prevent you from accurately obtaining an overall picture of yourself because all you see is the flaw. We change our appearance all the time. We change our hair, our clothes, we lose or gain weight, have our teeth straightened or whitened … we have control over a certain number of aspects related to our appearance. But what if it is a nose or ears or the changes that say pregnancy or an accident leave with your body? What then? Are we committed to a life of trying to learn to accept something that is not pleasing to our eye? Why is enhancing those features considered vain or superficial?
The truth is, it is not. In same way we all have freedom to express ourselves in any way that we wish we all have the freedom to change any part of ourselves that doesn’t serve us. Be it a physical feature or an emotional one. If you find yourself judging anyone who has the courage to make a change ask yourself why that is? Is it possible you envy that person’s ability to take control of their happiness and change themselves in the way they view is for the better? I am not saying that everyone who has minor disapproval with a few of their features needs to go under the knife or that it is necessary that anyone else chooses to do so. I believe that you have total control over how you view yourself both inside and out and that if you feel that taking a surgical option will help improve your overall sense of self – then you should absolutely do so without the fear of judgement by others.
Do I regret my surgery from hell? Nope. Not one bit! However I have now found peace within myself and my appearance and do not feel the need to ever enhance anything again!