I Would Do It All Again.

When my A1C (blood glucose) levels kept climbing and my doctor told me I needed to do something or I would have to go on insulin, that was a wake-up call. Diabetes runs in my family: both of my grandmothers and my brother had it. And I had already been taking a diabetes medication with weekly injections for over 2 years. I also had developed sleep apnea, acid reflux and fatty liver.

So, in 2017, at 287 pounds, I decided on gastric bypass surgery with Dr. Muhammad Jawad at the Orlando Health Physicians Bariatric and Laparoscopy Center. I knew going into it, even before the surgery, that after I lost the weight, my skin was not going to pop back, even with exercise and toning. I had begun looking into what kind of reconstructive and body contouring surgery was available. Then, about three months after surgery, I started to experience painful skin rashes, so I talked with Dr. Jawad about reconstructive surgery. He told me that once I got to a point where I leveled off and was maintaining the weight loss, their office could help in coordinating reconstructive surgery. When I got to that point, having lost ~125 pounds, they referred me to the Orlando Health Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery Institute and then to Dr. Omar Beidas.

Dr. Beidas had recently joined Orlando Health from an internationally recognized fellowship program where he had completed a fellowship in body contouring and life after weight loss. He is specially trained to work with bariatric patients following weight-loss surgery.

From the moment Dr. Beidas came into the room, I felt very comfortable with how he talked with me. He speaks the language of the weight-loss patient. I also was very impressed with how knowledgeable he was. He told me about his experience and credentials. That really put me at ease. During the pre-op process, he told me exactly what to expect, and what he could and could not do for me.

In early November 2018, I underwent a fleur-de-lis tummy tuck, which basically is a tummy tuck that removes excess skin from the abdomen in both a horizontal and vertical direction. The incision went horizontally from hip to hip and then vertically up to my sternum. I also was able to get a breast lift done at the same time.

It was a rather intense surgery, but I had to spend just one night in the hospital. The team at Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center provided me with outstanding and compassionate care and made sure that the pain level was tolerable. All in all, it was a really good experience.

I cannot say enough about Dr. Beidas’ skill and bedside manner. He is just fantastic. He also made sure to keep my husband and my mom informed throughout the whole process. In fact, when he went on vacation about two weeks after my surgery, he said, “I won’t have cell service all the time, but call me. Leave me a message and as soon as we get back to the hotel, I’ll call you back.” And he did.

After the surgery, it took a couple of weeks to get moving around because of the extensive nature of my surgery. Now I am very happy with my results. I went down an additional 7 pounds and two pant sizes just from the reconstructive surgery, and my weight is steady at 155 pounds. I feel so much better. I’m more self-confident, and I feel like I have even more energy than I had before. I think it’s just the way I look at myself. I feel like I can get out there and do anything … like, I went into a Victoria’s Secret store for the first time, and I was able to get on the Harry Potter ride at Universal. That was big!

When people I know who have had bariatric surgery ask me about my experience, I tell them: You need to see Dr. Beidas. He is fantastic. His staff is fantastic. Just the way he talks to you as a bariatric patient, he knows and he understands. I trust Dr. Beidas 100 percent, and I would do it all again.

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