Tummy tuck: Wendy's story
I wish I’d had it done 25 years ago!
Wendy, Yale, north Wales
Wendy Williams’ friends would be surprised to find out she’s had a tummy tuck, as the petit, 62-year old is a size 10 and weighs just nine stone. They would be even more amazed to know the operation was something Wendy had been thinking about for 25 years.
“It wasn’t about removing fat,” explains the mum of four, “I’ve never really been fat, not even after I had the children. When I put on a couple of stone while working nights as a nurse, I lost it with Weight Watchers, but I’ve always had a sagging ‘apron’ on my tummy and no amount of exercising or dieting would ever get rid of it.”
Twenty-five years ago Wendy went to her GP to see if she could get the excess skin removed, but was told she didn’t qualify for treatment on the NHS as her muscles were normal and strong. “I was told to go back to my doctor, but in the end I decided against having anything done. I looked fine in clothes, my husband wasn’t bothered by it, and no-one else would see it as I always covered up.
“I just got on with life, but I’d hide my tummy all the time, even when getting changed in front of my husband.”
As the years went by and Wendy’s children left home, her thoughts returned to the possibility of having an abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck. As she approached 60, she decided to get something done.
“It just seemed like the best time,” she says, “It wasn’t about trying to please anyone else, it was just for me. My husband was happy with the way I was, and didn’t think the small risks of any surgery were worth taking. At the same time, he said he fully supported me if this was what I wanted to do.”
Wendy, who spends several months each year living in Spain, originally started looking at having the surgery in Madrid. But her husband encouraged her to have it in the UK, so she did some research online and looked around at different hospitals.
“I even spoke to my GP, but kept coming back to Spire Yale Hospital in Wrexham,” explains Wendy who decided to go along to a cosmetic surgery open evening that the hospital was running. There she met a past patient who’d had the same operation.
“Seeing her made up my mind once and for all. Her tummy and belly button looked so nice and the scar was good. She’d had the same surgeon I was thinking about seeing, and she highly recommended him and the hospital.”
Wendy made an appointment to see consultant plastic surgeon Mr Saad Fahmy and immediately liked him. “He was very quiet and didn’t make big promises, but I saw this as a good thing. I didn’t feel he was pushing me, but I just wanted to book it straight away.”
The procedure involved an overnight stay, and although she felt a little anxious beforehand, Wendy described the whole experience as excellent. “Having been a nurse myself, I probably noticed things that other people take for granted. The experienced nurses were very caring, very nice. And the same nurses were on the wards and at the clinics so I had continuity of care. They knew me.
“Everything went very well, but after the operation I was in pain for four or five days. It was reassuring to know I could just call the hospital if I needed to.
“I was thankful I hadn’t gone abroad. I’ve got a strong pain threshold, and nothing awful happened, but you just don’t realise how you’re going to feel after the anesthetic and surgery. It is a major op, and you need to have the care around you, close to home.”
Wendy was told not to lift anything for six weeks so couldn’t go swimming or do any gardening, but was back walking for several miles a day after just a couple of weeks. “I wore a spandex compression garment for six weeks too, rubbed bio oil on my scar and that was it. I had no problems at all.
“I’m so glad I finally had it done. I feel better in myself, and it’s nice to feel so good. The operation has made a big difference to how I feel. I’m 9 stone now, and my weight can just stabilise. Before I may have tried to lose weight to try and get a waist – even though no amount of dieting could reduce the ‘apron’ of skin.”
Being able to pick and choose the timings of everything means Wendy has been able to fit everything in between Christmas and her plans to go away with her husband to spend a few months in Spain. Mr Fahmy’s secretary made her final follow up appointment a week before their travel date.
“I’m looking forward to spending this summer in Spain, and it will be lovely to go swimming again. At my age I don’t think I’ll be wearing a bikini, but it’s nice to know I can if I want to!
“If anyone was thinking about getting a tummy tuck done, I’d say ‘do it’ - I wish I’d had it done 25 years ago! But I’d also say definitely go local. And I’d definitely recommend Spire.”
Read more information about abdominoplasty surgery, including the risks and any other considerations relevant to any decision to undergo surgery.