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Tummy Tuck: Picking A Surgeon

*  This is one in a series of posts about having a tummy tuck.  *

As most of you know, I was in a bad car accident and have gone through a lot of surgeries.

Deciding to go through an elective surgery was a very difficult decision after what I’ve gone through.

However, I also went into the process much more educated about doctors, surgery, recovery, etc. than a “normal” person.

That knowledge?

Well, it served me well.

I’ve had doctors screw-up on me … and I’ve gone through a lot I didn’t need to go through as a result.

There is absolutely no way I would consider going under the knife with a “good” plastic surgeon.

Nope, no way.

I wanted an excellent surgeon … or, no thanks, I’d skip the whole deal.

(Remember, plastic surgery is *elective* surgery.  You don’t *have to* have it, and you *can* save your money until you can afford to do it with the right doctor.)

That being said, I researched, and researched, and researched some more before picking my surgeon.

There was one name I’ve been hearing great things about for many years.

I wasn’t surprised when his name came up, time and time again, as I researched doctors.

But, I continued to do my research anyway.

(I was very surprised when I found out this very same doc was friends with Paul Newman, but their friendship was not a deciding factor for me.  It did, however, make me feel more confident about my decision to learn of their friendship.)

I looked at hundreds (thousands?) of before and after photos.

I read about complications.

I looked at post surgical scars.

I looked at rankings on yelp, google, real self, and every other website I could find.

I talked to doctors I know.

I talked to nurses I know.

(I know a lot of medical people and they were very helpful.)

In the end, it was a simple decision.

There’s no guarantee (ever!) of a good outcome, or a complication-free recovery.

You can, however, increase the odds substantially by picking the right surgeon.

You also need to think about those complications that-hopefully-won’t-occur,

And decide, ahead of time, if you’ve got the right doctor to handle them if something does go wrong.

(Trust me on this, after having multiple surgeries, I know things sometimes go wrong.)

I’d also like to point out it doesn’t matter how nice your surgeon is.

There are a lot of really nice, well-intentioned, average doctors in all specialties.

A tummy tuck is major surgery.

Do you want to potentially risk your life with someone who’s a really nice guy, but not an excellent surgeon?

A “good” surgeon will be a couple thousand dollars cheaper than an excellent doctor which makes it easy to convince yourself he’s the right one.

But …?

There’s a reason why the top surgeons *can* and *do* charge more.

I don’t begrudge them one penny of their income.

(After all, there’s *also* a reason why I’m an expensive photographer, isn’t there?)

If you can create demand by providing an excellent product or service – good for you.


Here’s something to think about …

The best surgeons?

They also have the best anesthesiologists.

That’s right, the person who is maintaining you in a near-death state during your surgery is super IMPORTANT.

Am I saying my doctor is the perfect doctor for you?

Yes, I am.  He’s awesome.  I’m proud of myself for picking him.

No, I’m not.

If you’re considering plastic surgery, you should do your own research and make your own decision.

I know, however, people will ask -

My surgeon for my tummy tuck was Dr. Sanjay Grover.

And yes, I highly recommend him.

And no, he’s not the cheapest doctor out there.

And, fair warning, he’s so good looking it almost hurts to look at him.

Get over it …

His real magic is in his skill.

My belly incision is (already at only one week post-op) a thing of beauty compared to the hundreds I’ve looked at online.

P.S.  To all the women traveling to third world countries to get “super cheap” plastic surgery?  You’re insane.  What in the world are you thinking?  The stories, and end results, are often horrific and scary.

Other Posts In This Series:

•  Tummy Tuck:  Making The Decision To Have Surgery

•  Tummy Tuck Plastic Surgery Consultation

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Tummy Tuck: Making The Decision To Have Surgery

*  This is one in a series of posts about having a tummy tuck.  *

Last Thursday, April 17th, I had a tummy tuck.

I’ve seriously debated blogging about my decision to have this done.


1)  I’m a very public person at this point in my life and a lot of people (potential clients) come to 24 because of my photography.

2)  There’s a troll in every crowd.  I’m not in the mood to hear it.  In fact, I can tell you right now if you’re going to be mean and spiteful in my comment section I will delete your comment and block your ass.

*  In other words, I’ve been gutted like a fish, and I’m in no mood to up with assholes. *

3)  I’m the Queen of making fun of The OC Barbies.  (They should totally get together and form a rock band – wouldn’t that be the greatest band name?  The idea amuses me to no end.  I can visualize the drummer!)

But ….

I decided I would blog about my experience.


I began 24 to write about my life, long before the world embraced me as a photographer.

This blog is a personal space, and it becomes meaningless to maintain it if I can’t write about what’s really going on in my life.

(There are plenty of unbloggable subjects in my life, but plastic surgery is not one of them in my opinion.)

So, let’s get started …. because there’s a lot to tell you.

I already wrote a post about going for a tummy tuck consultation.

In recent years, a lot of women (especially in Orange County) have Mommy Makeovers after they’re done having babies.

Mommy Makeovers involve tummy tucks, boob jobs, and liposuction.

When I was having my babies, Mommy Makeovers were not a “thing.”

Tummy tucks (alone) were not a common surgery like they are now.

There were some deciding factors for me in regard to having this surgery -

1)  The fact the doctor had to lift up (!!) the extra, loose, skin on my belly to examine me.  It doesn’t get much grosser than that.  Three pregnancies, one with polyhydramnios, made the loose, stretched-out, skin a fact of my life.

2)  The doctor could put TWO HANDS between my separated stomach muscles.  (This condition is called diastasis recti.)  And no, no amount of exercise will correct it.  If you think it will, you need to educate yourself.  The separation of my muscles was significant.  For those of you who have never had a baby, or possibly only had one or two babies without, or with minimal, diastasis recti — congratulations.  You won the jackpot.)

3)  I’m (ahem) getting a little older.  I’ve been working out hard.  I want to be active for decades to come.  My body is responding to my workouts, except for my core.  Having the surgery to repair the muscles means I’ll be able to build a strong core … hopefully, preventing a host of other issues as I age.  (Like back problems, etc.)

I did NOT decide to have a tummy tuck for a lot of the “normal” reasons.

1)  I didn’t choose to have a tummy tuck to look younger.

2)  I didn’t choose to have a tummy tuck to look better for a significant other.

3)  I didn’t choose to have a tummy tuck to look thinner and/or lose weight.  (BTW, tummy tucks are NOT weight loss surgery … having “extra” skin removed usually involves a weight loss of 2-4 pounds.  Short term, most women gain 8-10 pounds as swelling post surgery lasts for MONTHS.)

For me, it really was all about feeling better about myself – feeling good in my own, still-flawed, body,


Wanting to strengthen my body in ways I haven’t been able to with a huge gap between my stomach muscles.

Once I decided I wanted to move forward and get this taken care of,

I needed to find a time in my schedule where I could take some time off work.

There’s never a good time, is there?

Scheduling my surgery around a holiday seemed to be the best bet,

And that is how I found myself being wheeled into an operating room on the Thursday prior to Easter.

P.S.  To all the women on plastic surgery websites who feel they “need” a tummy tuck because they “have to” wear bikinis … I think you’re ridiculous.

P.P.S.  Regarding the woman on a plastic surgery website who complained her “tummy was not flat” after she gained six pounds post tummy tuck ….  She blamed it on her surgeon, who blamed it on her weight gain.  In the end, she decided to have liposuction on her stomach instead of going on a diet.  I am appalled at the lack of intelligence …..

P.P.P.S.  See?  I’m just as snarky and judgmental as ever.

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Summer On The Brain

It feels like summer here.

Of course, weather-wise it has felt like summer here for months.

But …?

Something’s changed.

I *FEEL* like summer.

Maybe it’s because Mocha chased after her first snake of the summer yesterday?

Or maybe it’s because,

Yesterday afternoon, I sat out on my patio wearing a wife beater and a pair of men’s boxers -

While I read In Style magazine.

Don’t laugh – it’s true!

I’m a strong candidate for worst dressed person of the year, but I LOVE reading In Style.

(It’s just one of the many things about me that makes no sense whatsoever.)

I don’t plan on buying any summer clothes and/or accessories this year.

It seems like I end up in my Rainbows, tank tops, and yoga pants pretty much all the time, regardless.

(I save the boxers for when I’m home alone.)

How about you?

Will you be updating your summer wardrobe?

My youngest will be home for this summer in less than three weeks.

It’s crazy how fast time is passing by.

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Four Unrelated OC Photos

Today, I’m sharing four random Orange County photos.

They mean nothing, but taken together -

They might give you a feel for this place I call home.

Cars and vans of all sizes wear surfboards here ….

Surfer Van © SHaggerty 2014-1

Yes, even “mini-Coopers” carry surfboards.

Here’s a recent look at one of the beaches within the Laguna Beach city limits:

Couple On Beach© SHaggerty 2014 W-1

A lot of visitors don’t realize Laguna is actually made up of a LOT of different beaches.

Hummingbirds live here year round.

For some reason “my” hummingbirds love my crepe myrtle tree best.

Hummingbirds Tree © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

They hang out in the tree …. sometimes there will be ten or more perched on the tree branches.

Did I mention yet, my arm is more of a mess than usual?

Yep, it is.

I’m not sure what I did to it, but it’s angry.

In fact, I think it somehow popped itself out of the socket.

I’m pretty sure that means I’ll be making the drive to see Paul Newman sometime very soon.

The Toll Road © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

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Blah, Blah, Blah

It seems like everyone I know is off on a spring break adventure.

(Either this week, this upcoming weekend, or next week.)

I’m jealous of all you Coachella people!

I think, as a result, I might take a couple days off too.

It *feels* like no one is even out there reading, anyway.

Of course, I’ll probably change my mind and be back with a post tomorrow.

But …?

If I’m not here, no worries.

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Shooting in San Francisco

I realize I haven’t said much about my visit to San Francisco a few weeks back.

It’s been a crazy few weeks …

One night in San Francisco, followed by Napa, followed by Texas.

I haven’t written about my Bay Area visit because I’ve barely even glanced at my photos from that visit.

How can I write a post without photos?

And what did I really do with only one night to visit?

First of all, I intentionally didn’t let many people know I would be up north.

Of course, I would have loved to see a lot of my friends.

(I think I have more friends in SF than I do in The OC.)

I knew, however, I only had a few hours to socialize.

My hotel was only a block or two from my friend, Thomas’s, office.

We always have a lot of fun together so we hit the city with our cameras.

Thomas took me on a tour of *tall* buildings.

(We, ahem, weren’t necessarily supposed to be on the top floors of some of those buildings.)

I have a small collection of photos of Thomas.

His photography astounds me.

I enjoy capturing glimpses of him creating his art.

It’s also a lot of fun to look back at our various shooting adventures.

I’ll share more of my city photos with you as I have time to go through them.

They weren’t all taken from up high, but a lot of them were.

It’s hard to resist the San Francisco skyline.

(There is *no* skyline in Orange County, so it’s a treat when I visit a city.)

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

We took a break for dinner, and a drink, and then did more shooting.

One of our friends saw an Instagram photo we put up and sent me a text.

She was only a block away from where we were.

We connected with her at the end of the evening for a visit too.

The next morning I was on my way to Napa.

Of course, I want to go back to the Bay Area soon …

Hopefully, for a longer visit next time.

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Moonrise Of The Blood Moon

Did you see the blood moon last night?

I never tire of the moonrises over “my” mountain.

I can see the moon rise from my kitchen and family room windows.

But, I went out on the patio to take this photo.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

I’m a beach-rat through and through, but the mountains call to my soul in a special way.

There really is something almost mystical about them.

I’m truly grateful I live in a place where I can enjoy both the mountains and the beach.

(And the deserts too, actually.)

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The Weekend

I had such a nice, relaxing, weekend.

Saturday night I got together with some friends I hadn’t seen for awhile.

We had dinner at Sol Cocina in Newport Beach.

There’s something special about being near the water, being with old friends, and enjoying a lot of  margaritas  laughter.

By the way, I really enjoyed the restaurant and I do recommend it for those of you who live in, or near, Orange County.

I spent Sunday at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad.

It had been two years since my last visit.

There’s something very intoxicating about being surrounded by FIFTY ACRES of blooming flowers.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

It’s both peaceful and invigorating at the same time.

There’s really no way a camera can capture the true feeling of fifty acres of flowers.

I tried to capture just a small slice of the beauty.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

I’m sure I’ll be posting flower shots (here and/or there) for ages ….

I had a hard time controlling my Urge To Click.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

It definitely is spring here.