Choosing to have breast augmentation surgery was not a decision Lori Flowers made lightly. For years, she adopted an attitude she calls “boob schmoob.” Down playing the importance of breasts was Flower’s way of helping her best friend, Liz, during her 10-year battle with breast cancer, which ultimately took her life.
“She had a mastectomy and was waiting until she was cancer-free for five years before she had reconstruction surgery,” says Flowers. “She had a recurrence at year four, so she never got the chance.”
That partly explains why Flowers of High Point, NC, says she felt superficial for even considering plastic surgery. But after facing her own life challenges – divorce, single parenting – she realized it was time to do something just for her. “I had lost a lot of weight over five years,” says the 46-year-old mom of two. “I was young, healthy and ready to face the world, but some parts of me were not. This was my opportunity to celebrate my healthy body and I had to let go of the guilt.”
After hearing Flowers lament the signs of aging, a colleague recommended she contact Duke plastic surgeon Michael Zenn, MD. “Because a large part of his practice is breast reconstruction, I felt like there was some credibility there,” says Flowers. “I had worries beyond just: ‘does this seem vain?’, and he immediately calmed my anxieties.”
Flowers wasn’t seeking a total transformation – just a return to the body she knew before kids and life took its toll. “I had had some weight loss success, but I was never going to be a bikini model,” she says. “Dr. Zenn gave me very real expectations. He asked so many questions and wanted to know about me. I felt confident that he was going to put me back the way I was and not make me into something else.”
The procedure – breast implants and lift – took just a few hours and recovery time was minimal. “I had no pain and didn’t miss any work,” says Flowers. “I had to wear a sports bra for three months and there is some scarring, but there was minimal disruption in my life.”
Flowers credits her successful outcome to all-around great care. “The entire team wanted the best outcome for me,” she says. “I never felt superficial; I didn’t feel pressured at all … just well cared for.”
A year out from the procedure, Flowers says she has more confidence and is more comfortable taking on new fitness challenges. In fact, she recently biked 285 miles across five states in honor of her friend to raise money for cancer research. “This surgery was a good boost for me, literally and figuratively,” she says. “Now I feel like the outside matches the inside.”