After shedding 100 pounds, a County Cavan woman came to the U.S. in 2008 and again this year to undergo surgeries that would enhance her appearance and give her the body she once dreamed about.
Linda Duff, 39, spent the best part of her 35th year dieting. Duff, who weighed 300 pounds when she turned 35, made the decision to lose the weight because her quality of life was not what it should be for a woman of her age.
Duff spent the next year pounding the pavement of her hometown in Bailieborough, County Cavan and staying away from carbohydrates.
“I was so overweight that I could barely walk,” Duff told IrishCentral’s sister publication the Irish Voice from Ireland this week.
Although delighted with the amount of weight she lost (100 pounds), Duff was disgusted with the excess skin that remained on her body, in particular around her stomach area.
Duff, who has four sisters and two brothers living in New York, heard about a woman who underwent a tummy tuck in White Plains, New York.
“My sister emailed me pictures of this woman after she had the surgery and I just couldn’t believe it. She looked great,” said Duff.
“I was that impressed with what I saw that I wanted to find out if I could get it done,” she added.
After discussing it with her husband, Patrick, Duff booked a flight to New York and a consultation with the same plastic surgeon used by the woman in the email.
Albeit slightly nervous, Duff met with Dr. Daniel Brauman, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, in February 2008.
Duff was planning to meet with the doctor and then return to Ireland to think through her decision. However, after meeting with Brauman and his staff, Duff asked them there and then if she could have the operation during her stay, and they obliged.
“I asked Dr. Brauman could I have the surgery straight away. I felt so at ease and knew this was what I wanted, so I decided why wait any longer,” she said.
A few days later, Duff went under the knife at Brauman’s clinic in White Plains to get rid of the extra 20 pounds she was carrying around her tummy. Duff, who lived in New York for five years in the late 1990s, was delighted with the results of the surgery.
“I just couldn’t believe it. I now have a slim tummy, a six pack,” laughs Duff proudly.
“The surgery completely changed the shape of my body. It’s just fantastic. I couldn’t believe the results. Even after just one week I could really see how my body had changed. I was thrilled.”
Duff, who runs a pub in Bailieborough with her husband, spent five weeks in total in New York last spring. Although she was released the day of the surgery she spent an additional two weeks recovering in her sister’s home in New York.
“Between the consultation and the surgery and recovery time I was in New York for five weeks in total,” said Duff.
The Cavan woman was excited to go back to Ireland and flaunt her new body.
“I was so much more confident when I arrived home with my new look. I had a completely different body,” she said.
Duff was welcomed home with open arms and several compliments by her husband and family.
“The reactions were unbelievable, people couldn’t believe the difference the surgery made. Some people didn’t even believe I was the same person,” she said.
As the time went on, Duff thought more about getting the other areas of her body worked on. She made another appointment with Brauman for this past February.
This time, Duff underwent surgery on her inner thighs, her arms, buttocks and lower back.
“This was a pretty big operation. I was under the knife for about five and a half hours while the doctor worked on everything at the same time,” explained Duff.
“Again, the results were unreal. Even more dramatic than the first time. I couldn’t believe it.”
Duff admits when Brauman told her he was going to give her a bum lift she was slightly apprehensive.
“I didn’t want to have a J Lo bum,” she laughs. “But it turned out fabulous, just perfect.”
This time, Duff only spent three weeks in New York. Her recovery time was much shorter.
“Would you believe two days after the surgery I was out shoveling snow with my nephew in New York,” she laughs.
Duff, who would not reveal the cost of the operations, said she would recommend the surgeries to people who have lost a lot of weight but can’t shed the excess skin.
“I would totally recommend it. You put all that work in to lose the weight and the plastic surgery will get rid of the excess skin that you can’t get rid of yourself,” she said.
Although aware of the horror stories associated with plastic surgery and in full knowledge of the Irish woman, Kay Creegan, from County Limerick who traveled to the U.S. in 2004 to have a face-lift and subsequently died as a result of complications associated with the procedure, Duff said she was totally confident and comfortable with her decision.
“My only worry was the recovery time, and that wasn’t an issue at all. I was ready to come back to work after a week the first time and quicker even the second,” she said.
Duff said her experience has been nothing but positive.
“Dr. Brauman and his staff are excellent. They don’t just take your money and run. They keep in touch with me all the time. The personal touch is important. We are not just clients to them, we are friends and that is lovely,” she says.
Duff, who has no regrets, jokes that she might get a chin tuck for her 40th birthday.
“Well maybe I will wait until I’m about 50,” she laughs.
Duff, who claims she is a different woman since she had the surgeries, is now training for her kick boxing belts. She is toned, healthy and looks gorgeous.
“I can fit into clothes and wear clothes I never thought in my life I would look good in, and I do look good in them,” said Duff, who now weighs 172 pounds.
“Getting this done was the best decision I ever made. It has changed my life and I thank Dr. Brauman for that,” she said.
To the naysayers, who “couldn’t understand why I was going to America and getting this done” Duff said they are just jealous that she is doing something good for herself.
“People said to me you are mad. They called me Miss Botox and everything but I turn a blind eye. I don’t give them a second thought because I think I look good and I’m happy with me and the way I look now,” added Duff proudly.