Radiant Life Magazine V2, Issue 2
by Brian Hughes
Recently I received a call from an old college friend, “Doug.” In school Doug had been pretty athletic — playing baseball, running track, and generally staying very active. After graduation Doug became an IT specialist and web developer, and launched a successful IT consulting firm. He had a great career, a beautiful family and a happy marriage, but two decades behind a desk and the stresses of everyday life had kept him out of the gym, in a hurry, and a good 50 pounds heavier than he was in school. In 2006 Doug had a mild heart attack. Doctors warned that he had better take care of his body or he could be risking his life.
I’d heard that Doug turned his focus to getting healthy, and lost some weight, but I hadn’t seen him since the late 90’s when he was at his heaviest. I was surprised to get the call. Seems he’d seen my name in a copy of Radiant Life and sought me out. He wanted to talk about some “health issues” and wondered if we could meet for coffee to discuss them. Since his office was only an hour’s drive from mine, we decided to meet just before the Holidays.
After meeting and exchanging pleasantries, he looked a little uncomfortable and brought up the subject of the magazine. It became apparent to me that the “health issues” he spoke of on the phone were related to plastic surgery. I asked to record our conversation for a piece, and he agreed, so long as we kept things anonymous.
RLM: It’s been a long time, you look great!
DOUG: Thanks. I’ve been working really hard. It’s nice to hear.
RLM: So what started all of this? I heard you had a pretty serious scare.
DOUG: Yeah, well, I really wasn’t taking good care of myself. I was focused on work, the kids, making sure everyone else was happy and healthy. It just kinda got away from me. Then I started seeing myself in the mirror, and thinking, “who is this old fat guy?” I was angry with myself, and I carried a lot of guilt with the extra weight.
RLM: So when did you decide to do something about it?
DOUG: Well, I was working late one night, all alone, of course, and stressing out about deadlines and money and a million other things. I got up to go to the bathroom and I collapsed with shooting pain in my chest. I was able to call 911 from my cell. Otherwise, I don’t want to think about…
RLM: A heart attack.
Doug: Yeah, at 46. It was what they called a “mild” heart attack, but trust me, there was nothing mild about going through it. After that, I talked with my doctor and he put me on a strict diet and exercise plan. I was so scared of leaving my family all alone. I put everything I had into getting healthy again.
RLM: Well, looks like you’ve stuck with it.
DOUG: Yep, 3 years now, and it hardly even seems like work anymore. I’ve lost close to 60 pounds, my blood pressure is under control, cholesterol in check, I have more energy, it’s been great.
RLM: So the “health issues” you mentioned on the phone…
DOUG: Yeah umm… I know you work with a lot of plastic surgeons and aestheticians… I wanted to get your opinion on a couple of things.
RLM: Ok, shoot.
DOUG: Well, I’ve been checking into plastic surgery. I’ve gotten my health under control, and then some. But when I look in the mirror, I still see a lot of areas that could use a little help. Do a lot of guys do lipo and that kind of thing?
RLM: You might be surprised, but aesthetic procedures are more popular with men than you think. More than a million men had some sort of plastic surgery last year.
DOUG: Wow, really? That is surprising. Does that include liposuction?
RLM: Sure, it’s actually the third most popular after nose reshaping and eyelid lifts. It is definitely common. A lot of guys who have lost weight get lipo to eliminate stubborn pockets that just won’t go away no matter how fit they become.
DOUG: Like lovehandles and umm… well, I don’t know how else to say it… Man-boobs?
RLM: Exactly. There is actually a procedure called gynecomastia reduction, which is basically male breast reduction. Happens all the time.
DOUG: What does it involve?
RLM: Usually liposuction to remove the excess fat and maybe a nipple lift to reposition the nipples which may have fallen due to the excess weight and gravity. Sometimes men also opt for pectoral implants to make everything look balanced. Sometimes pectoral and abdominal liposuction techniques are called “etching,” because they help sculpt the outline of the chest and ab muscles as part of an overall contour procedure.
DOUG: That sounds like exactly what I want, but it is a little scary. Is it a new thing, like is it really risky?
RLM: There are risks, just like with any surgery — heart arrhythmia, blood clots, infection, reactions to anesthesia and other possible complications — but they’re rare. One very important way to reduce your risks are to make sure the plastic surgeon is board-certified and his or her reputation is solid in the type of work you want done. Also, disclose all medications, prescription and over the counter, plus any herbal supplements that you take. Answer all questions openly and honestly because even the smallest lifestyle characteristic could make a difference.
DOUG: See, this is why I called you. I knew you would give me a straight answer, with a straight face. I have a hard time talking about this stuff with anyone, even my wife.
RLM: I’m glad I can help, but you really ought to have this conversation with a plastic surgeon. Or several.
DOUG: I know what you mean. I’ve seen a few docs, and gotten some information. I guess I wanted an unbiased opinion. I’ve pretty much made up my mind. Now all I have to do is figure out how to pay for it!
RLM: (Chuckles) Yeah, no surgery is cheap, but I think you’ll be surprised. If you were talking about a facelift or a complete bodylift, those can get into the 5, 10 even $15,000 range. The procedure you’re interested will probably run more like 3-5 grand. It’s an investment though. We’re talking about getting the body you’ve always wanted. You’ve changed your lifestyle, gotten healthy, this is the last step, the last hurdle. This is the EASY part!
DOUG: I guess you’re right.
RLM: If I were you, I’d start by making an appointment with my regular physician, get checked out, make sure I’m healthy enough for this type of surgery. Your doc might even be able to refer you to a surgeon. Find a surgeon you’re comfortable with, someone who listens to your concerns and answers your questions. The only way to make an informed decision is to do your homework.
DOUG: I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your talking with me. I feel much more confident about doing this. Wait till the next time you see me, you won’t believe you’re looking at a 50-year old!
DOUG: You haven’t changed a bit.