After suffering from an extreme case of bells palsy in 2007, I was left with the right side of my face droopy, my eye and eybrow was left with no muscle tone at all. My eye was almost closed and watered all the time, and my mouth was left sagging, on one side, causing me to dribble when I ate or drank anything. After receiving treatment in Australia from neurologists and loads of other specialists, which included Botox injections and months of being on steroids and morphine because of the pain and weeks in and out of hospital, I became housebound and very very depressed and started to seek advice from Plastic Surgeons here in Australia. Desperate to be restored to my old self, the only options I was told was to have a face lift and the cost would be anywhere from $15,000 to a whopping $25,000 with no guarantees.
Knowing how bad I was feeling, my husband noticed an article in the Sunday newspaper that advertised Plastic Surgery in Thailand with a saving of up to 70%.
I did some research on the internet and found some scarey stories and some great stories, some stories of how dirty the hospitals were and how they didn’t sterilize their needles etc, then other stories saying what a high standard the care was so I was very dubious, and not knowing much about Thailand at all, I thought about it for some days before phoning the number on the ad. That phone call literally changed my life.
I discovered that 3 doctors from one of Thailands top hospitals were visiting Australia and giving free consultations, and answering questions. I went along to the meeting unsure of what I was going to find, and met three of the most compassionate, caring, warm and friendly thai gentlemen. They spoke good English, showed me a dvd of the hospital, the facilities and also what to expect as a tourist visiting Thailand.
I had a long consultation with one of the surgeons, and was so impressed by how caring he was, he explained what could be done to rectify my problem, he explained what he didn’t think could be rectified, he did sketches of exactly how the surgery would be performed, explained in great detail the aftercare required and told me the cost, which was far far less than anything I had been quoted by surgeons here. He also explained that the hospital limo would pick me up from the airport on arrival, take me to my resort, and all my transfers to and from the hospital were included. After the surgeon gave me his email address and phone number and told me to contact him at anytime if I had any questions I would like to ask.
I left that meeting with a feeling of great hope and happiness that I had found the right doctor, someone that listened to me and understood my needs.
I went home and after discussing it with my husband, he could see the change in my mood, I booked the flight for two weeks time. Finally I was going to get my old face back, I couldn’t wait.
Two weeks later I boarded my flight for Thailand, I had to make the journey on my own, because we have three young children and it was term time. I was scared to death, not because of the surgery, but because I was travelling alone to a strange country. After about a 9 hour flight, I arrived into a bustling, noisy airport, finally got through customs and there right in front of me was a board saying Mrs. Fraser, wow what a relief, I was taken to a waiting limo, and whisked away into the hustle and bustle of Thailand, motorbikes everywhere, sometime 3 or 4 people on a motorbike, people on motorbikes with babies, people on motorbikes with chickens, people on motorbikes with umbrellas up, shielding them from the sun.
I fell in love with Thailand there and then, the people are so lovely, so peaceful and kind, the culture is so different from anything that I had ever experienced before.
Arriving at my resort overlooking the most stunning beach, my driver carried my bags to my room and advised me that he would be picking me up later in the day for my consult with the doctor. After a short nap and some lovely thai food at one of the many beachside cafes, my driver picked me up and drove me to the hospital where I was greeted by the most beautiful and immaculately dressed nurses. Within minutes I was reaquainted with the lovely thai gentlemen that I had met in Australia. My surgery was scheduled for 10am the next morning, my driver would pick me up the next morning at 8am, and I could expect to stay one or two nights at the hospital.
After returning to my hotel, totally shattered from my exciting journey, I slept like a baby until the next morning. Sure as his word, my driver was there 8am on the dot. I was admitted to hospital and taken to my room which was actually nicer than my resort room and that was pretty fantastic. I had a window overlooking the city, a balcony, plasma tv, ensuite, telephone, internet, beautiful welcome basket and all the luxuries of home and I was waited on hand and foot by a stream of beautiful nurses.
I was taken down to the theatre, everywhere was spotless, i would honestly say it was more hygenic than some hospitals I had been to in Australia. The nursing staff were amazing. When I awoke I was in my room, with the doctor and two nurses, caring for my every need. That evening I chose my meal from a menu that could beat any restaurant, then I slept on and off between nurses coming in and out throughout the night doing their obs.
I stayed for two nights, because I was travelling on my own, then I was taken back to my resort, with my medications and creams, I spent the next 10 days between the beach, the markets and the beautiful restaurants. Everyday somebody from the hospital checked up on me and asked if I needed anything. On my last day, my driver picked me up at 8am and took me back for the last time to see the doctor for my stitches out. After being given the all clear, and finally seeing the new or old me back again, I was taken back to my hotel for a few hours,rest and packing.
Quite sad that my adventure had come to an end, I had fallen in love with Thailand and it’s beautiful people, someday I would come back with my family and share in the wonders of Thailand.
I have written an e book that explains where the best surgeons and best hospitals are, what to look out for, where to stay and what to do….and also how to get a free holiday with your surgery.