“I am very grateful to Dr. Andrews and his incredible staff for my tummy tuck and lipo surgery! They helped me remove a part of me that caused severe emotional, mental, and physical anguish. Their staff took amazing care of me and went above and beyond when my body needed more time to heal. I truly feel like family!”
– Cassie P.
Cassie is a 37-year-old wife and mother of three living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She enjoys spending time with her husband, teenage stepdaughter and son, 5-year-old daughter and their two dogs. She does project management for an aerospace engineering company and is highly involved with her church as a Sunday school teacher and youth group leader. Cassie loves planning, organizing and, more recently, interior design and home projects like refinishing furniture.
Cassie struggled with her weight for most of her life. While she wasn’t significantly overweight, she didn’t fit the “skinny girl” profile and what society said was thin. Her size caused her to battle with self-esteem issues for years.
“Even as an adolescent, I never felt happy with my body size. I never met the standards for being ‘thin,’ which ultimately caused self-hatred to become a huge demon of mine.”
When Cassie was pregnant with her son, she carried him low on her short torso, which dramatically stretched out her lower abdomen. After her emergency C-section to deliver him, her skin never returned to normal. She was left with what she called her “hang” — loose skin that hung down from her lower belly.
For years after having her first child, strangers would look at her stomach and ask Cassie when her baby was due. Some of these people were ignorant of the bodily changes pregnancy can cause, but some were downright rude. Repeatedly having to tell these people she wasn’t pregnant further brought down Cassie’s already low self-esteem and brought her to tears on many occasions.
One incident in particular will be forever etched into Cassie’s memory. On a busy Saturday at David’s Bridal where Cassie worked as a consultant, she was helping the sisters of the groom choose their bridesmaid dresses. These girls had an offensive air of superiority in their tone from the start, and as Cassie was asking for their dress sizes, one of them asked, “When are you due?” Cassie, wanting to make sure she heard her correctly, said, “Excuse me?” to which the girl coarsely repeated herself, emphasizing and pausing after each word, “When. Are. You. Due?” When Cassie replied that she wasn’t pregnant, the girl looked her up and down and responded snarkily, “Oh, that’s embarrassing.”
That was one of the first times Cassie remembers being completely devastated by a stranger judging her appearance. She burst into tears once she got home and was inconsolable despite her husband’s best efforts. Incidents like these continued to push Cassie into a depression, and she didn’t feel strong enough to deal with the continued judgment from others and, worst of all, herself.
Cassie hated seeing herself in photos, so she avoided the camera whenever someone took a picture. She would take photos of her children, but she was never in them, especially if they were at the pool. Cassie worried that she would regret not documenting those experiences with her kids and being absent from the photos they would look back on, but she still couldn’t bring herself to be in the pictures.
Cassie tried various clothing styles to cover her belly and improve her confidence, but nothing worked. Her abdomen always seemed to get in the way of her clothing, and it was very noticeable in certain styles she wanted to wear.
“I really love the style of a tucked-in shirt, but I could never wear my tops like that because it would emphasize my stomach. I felt like I couldn’t express myself with my clothing style and, instead, wore long shirts that gave me no shape.”
Cassie’s excess abdominal skin not only affected her emotionally but was also physically agonizing. The loose skin would rub against her clothing and cause irritation, and the “hang” folding over on itself would cause painful sores to develop.
This was frustrating, especially since Cassie and her husband are avid hikers with the goal of hiking as many trails at as many national parks as they can. Even going on casual walks with her family would lead to irritation in the area. Cassie was also carrying excess weight in the form of this loose skin and some stubborn fat deposits, which caused her to feel more fatigued on hikes and walks and during other types of exercise.
Despite exercising, eating healthy and losing weight, nothing Cassie did would improve her belly skin. Even after losing 30 pounds and being in great shape, her “hang” of excess skin always remained. She felt helpless in her struggle to eliminate her lower belly pooch that caused her so much distress.
As an avid watcher of television shows about plastic surgery, Cassie knew about tummy tuck surgery and saw the fantastic results it could provide. She had been thinking it could help her for a long time and always saw herself getting the procedure at some point.
Although her friends and family always told her she looked fine and didn’t need plastic surgery, Cassie felt it was the one thing that could finally allow her to have the body and confidence she had wanted for so long. Those who told her plastic surgery wouldn’t solve her problems or allow her to develop self-love had never experienced her issues and didn’t understand the depth of her struggles. Cassie only felt the depression from being unable to look and feel how she wanted, and deep down, she knew she deserved better. She knew she needed to listen to herself and what was best for her personally, not what others thought she did or didn’t need.
Cassie had talked with her husband for years about having a tummy tuck, and he knew how much she wanted it and always supported her. But Cassie knew that getting pregnant after a tummy tuck surgery would likely reverse the results, so they decided to have another baby first. After having their beautiful daughter, Cassie took the time to let her body recover, but she was left with an even more noticeable belly “hang.”
Five years after having her daughter, Cassie was still dealing with the same issues with her “hang.” She felt judgment from others and wasn’t happy with herself. Her belly would get in the way when she would try on clothes and would prevent her from wearing the styles she wanted, and it still caused painful sores and irritation when she was active.
Cassie prayed about whether she should get tummy tuck surgery, something she had now wanted for over 10 years. Her children were no longer babies, and Cassie and her husband were in a good place financially to move forward with the surgery of her dreams. They finally decided it was time to pull the trigger on making Cassie’s tummy tuck dreams a reality.