We helped brave Heidi to secure an exclusive deal for sharing her story about her Czech Republic cosmetic surgery disaster and the cowboy surgeon who butchered her bottom.
Standing in front of the mirror, I looked at my slim, toned tum and smiled. But when I turned around and caught site of my saggy, wrinkled staring back at me, I was horrified.
Even though I tried to hide my sadness, my bum was making my life a living nightmare. Growing up, I was never a small girl. I used to weigh 16 stone and wear a size 22 in clothes. And after countless failed diets, I opted to have a gastric band fitted to help me shed the pounds. The band cost me £8,000 but luckily I could afford it as my house had recently sold.
I travelled to Princess Grace Hospital, London, to get the surgery in December 2008, and I was thrilled with the results. With three years, I managed to shed seven stone, and I can now slip into a tiny size 10 and my confidence has come roaring back. But it’s come at a real price – as my tummy went flat, so did my bum
After I lost all my weight, I had a really saggy tum. I managed to save up once more for a £2,000 tummy tuck to finally banish my excess skin. The prices abroad were so much cheaper than the UK, so I opted to fly to Prague to have my tummy tuck in 2009. At first I was a bit dubious, but I was thrilled with the tuck, and the aftercare was to a really high standard.
But there was just one thing stopping me from accomplishing the perfect body – my hideous old ladies bum. It was flat, lifeless, shapeless, wrinkly and so unattractive. My son was the only person in the entire world that I would allow to see it.
I didn’t have a man in my life, but if I did, there would no chance of him seeing it. I was mortified. “I can’t believe you’re even researching this Heidi,” my best friend, Lauren, 33, said.
“Have you not heard the horror stories of botched surgery abroad?” I looked down at my cup of coffee and knew what she was saying was right – but I had to do something about my saggy bottom. I couldn’t live with it any more.
I continued to search for clinics on my laptop, ignoring her advice. Just then, I received the best news I could have hoped for. “The same clinic in Prague that did my tummy said they’ll give me my dream bum for just £2, 000,” I said, excitedly. Lauren gave a small tut. She knew me too well, and there was nothing she could say or do to make me change my mind.
I booked my flights, my hotel and packed my by bags ready for the operation in three weeks. In December 2013, I jetted off to Prague once again, for my bum lift, tuck, plump, and tighten – and I was so excited. “Passport, check; travel documents, check; health insurance, check; and comfy trousers for the way home, check,” I said to myself smiling.
After dropping Albie off at my ex-partner’s house for the week, I gave him a kiss goodbye and off I went. “Bye, mummy,” Albie said, waving good bye. I blew him a kiss and I left for Prague. My flight was only an hour and a half and I went alone so nobody had to wait around for me.
I arrived a day before to settle into the hotel and the next day it was show time. I had my hospital bag with me, along with all my documents; I was really nervous, but also so excited. As I walked into the reception area everything felt right, it was clean, shiny and smelled fresh, just like last time. I knew I would be in good hands.
“Heidi, can you come through please?” The surgeon said to me. He seemed really nice and exceptionally professional and his English was okay. “Am I not having the same lady as last time?” I asked. “I assumed she’ll be doing my surgery again, as I was her client last time.”
He gave me a smile and shook his head and told me not to worry. He took me into a small room and marked on my bum with a pen where he’d be making the incisions. He drew two large diagonal marks across each bum cheek.
I thought this was strange, as I assumed he’d cut across the bum cheeks horizontally. But he was the professional at the end of the day, so I let him carry on. “I can’t wait to finally have some junk in my trunk,” I slurred as they put me under. And the last thing I heard before blacking out was the giggles of the surgeons.
After the six hour operation I woke up dazed. My bottom was extremely painful and I was groggy, I could hardly speak. I was taken to recovery for a day to let the drugs wear off, and 24-hours later I was finally able to remove the bandages to reveal my dream bottom. After the nurse helped me stand for the first time in over two days, I limped to the loo to unravel the bandages on my own.
My nerves were out of control and I couldn’t wait to see my new shapely, plump derriere. As I slowly pulled away the bandages to look into the two-way mirror to see my new rump, I gasped. I thought maybe the drugs hadn’t worn off yet, I heard screams and then realised they were my own. I had two huge scars across each cheek and my bum didn’t look any different. It was still flat, with huge scares all over it. “It looks like a shark has taken a chunk from my bum,” I screamed, with tears streaming down my face as I opened the cubical door.
The nurse’s face told me everything I needed to know. I had been butchered. I was in excruciating pain and I could feel my tail bone rubbing against my skin. After complaining to the clinic, they said they couldn’t help and wouldn’t accept responsibility for the botched surgery. I spent three horrendous nights in hospital and another four recovering in the hotel room before flying home to Essex.
Getting on the plane alone was the worst experience of my life. When I finally arrived back in the UK my friends and family were horrified when I showed them my botched bum, but my problems were far from over. I was in constant pain. The surgeon had taken out so much fat that my coccyx were exposed and rubbing against my skin. It was blistering and I was at a high risk of infection.
I couldn’t sit properly. I had to perch on one buttock cheek at a time with my leg underneath, and it hurt to even walk around and sit in the bath. My quality of life was close to zero. After nearly two-years of suffering the effects of my botched surgery and trying to find the right person to talk to I was still in the dark. I contacted the British embassy, solicitors in the UK, and solicitors in Prague.
I even tried writing letter to the governments of Czech Republic and the UK, but there was no one to turn too, and no one was getting back to me to help. I even went back to Prague four months later to meet with the head surgeon who operated on my tummy. She told me there was absolutely nothing she could do. She basically said sorry and sent me on my way. I had no option left but to go on the TV series Botched Bodies on Channel 4.
In a two-hour operation last year, a UK surgeon based in London used equipment to suck fat from my knees, thighs and hips and injected it back into my buttocks. He lifted my bum cheeks and erased my old shark-bite scars. It gave my bottom a fuller shape with more buttock definition. Almost as soon as I had recovered I felt I had control over my life again.
I was thrilled that the surgeon could fix my botched bottom and I couldn’t wait to show it off in a tight-fitting dress. I finally had all the right lumps in all the right places. But I want to warn people to think very carefully about having surgery abroad. Investigate the clinic, the surgeon and the legal system in that country to find out what courses of action are open to you if something goes wrong.
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