Author Topic: Surgery with Katarzyna Ostrowska Clark/Medi mel (severe!)  (Read 1376 times)

Offline PM2018

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Before I start, please accept my apologies for the lack of pictures.  Whilst I'm now virtually free of this god-awful issue, I'm still not comfortable uploading pictures of it.  If that changes, I'll update this thread.
I'm 34 and suffered from gyno since puberty.  During the later years at School and following an injury, I started to pile on the weight which only made the problem worse.  I'm a big guy... just under 20 stone at present.
For context, I should also add that I was in the "severe" category; and I mean severe!  A standard gyno op just wasn't going to cut it... instead requiring a chest lift and significant skin, fat & gland removal.
After months of research, I opted for --.  Other clinics either had surgeons which had been struck off (Adam at Noa for example), or appeared to have closed completely despite still replying to emails (Coramed).

Initial contact:
To kick the process off, I contacted -- via Jeremy (her husband) by dropping him an email.  Although I never got to speak to Jeremy himself, Alicja replied almost straight away.
My first email contained 5 pictures from various angles, demonstrating the severity of the problem and asking for her advice on how best to proceed.  Her response (in a matter of a few days) was very detailed; containing a very professional "welcome pack" style PDF.  It goes into considerable detail about the procedures, her professional background, how to visit Poland (from the UK in my case), where you can land, how you get from A-B and so on.  By comparison with the other clinics, they already appeared to be a much more professional outfit.
I opted to pay -- in full & advance, directly into their UK bank account (HSBC)... but you can pay a £450 deposit and the remaining balance on the day.
I opted to pay in full for various reasons.
1)  It's direct to a UK bank, no currency conversions etc.
2)  It's easier to track & trace should things go wrong.
3)  I didn't want to carry a debit card with thousands available, just in case.

I calculated the payment incorrectly, leaving me with a £10 balance to pay on arrival... so it's important to take at least 2 methods of payment with you.

I converted £100 to 430PLN at the local post office.  This turned out to be a mistake, as it's much cheaper to use your debit card in any local ATM in Poland and, in my experience at least, receive far more zloty for your money.
I purchased a 35x20x20cm bag from Amazon (£8) which is the absolute maximum size for carry-on luggage with RyanAir.  You can take this on free, but you're also able to store a larger bag in the hold free too.  Pack carefully however and the smaller bag is just enough.
I ended up taking a few changes of clothes, a toothbrush, toothpaste (in a clear bag for security purposes), my tablet & phone, an Anker 20Ah powerbank (this is acceptable with RyanAir) and a razor.

The journey:
Believe me when I tell you, I had this planned down to the smallest of details and it still fell apart through no fault of my own.  Leave early, very early... allow time for a plethora of screw-ups.
I caught a train from Lichfield to Nuneaton, only to arrive to a board stating the Nuneaton to Stansted train had been cancelled the day before!  No warning from TheTrainline and nothing shown in the app (more on this later!) either.  By pure luck, a Virgin fast train to London Euston arrived just 10 minutes later, allowing me to get to Euston, then Tottenham Hale, then Stansted.
The RyanAir flight was delayed too, but only by a matter of 15 minutes or so.  Having never flown before, nothing prepares you for the shove a Boeing 737-800 gives you when it takes off.  Keep this in mind, because whilst it doesn't hurt flying out, it hurts like hell on the way back!

On arrival at Szczecin (or Berlin, if you opt for it), you're greeted by Tomek.  Tomek is a local taxi driver and although he doesn't work directly for --, he's their first call when it comes to looking after new arrivals.
Tomek is an absolute diamond; really nice guy and worth every penny/zloty.  If you've never been to Poland before or you're at all concerned about visiting a new country alone, he's very good at putting your mind at rest and honestly... he makes the entire process easy.  You have to pay Tomek for several trips outside the return journey to/from the airport, but he's very reasonably priced.  I can't say exactly, but I'd hazard a guess I spent £60 in total on taxi fares.  When you consider the sheer distance you travel & the fact he waits during blood/ultrasound appointments, this is very cheap.
He speaks very good English, though not perfect.  Some conversations are a bit tricky, others are fine.

The Hotel:
I booked in at the Hotel Atrium, a short distance away from the clinic.  What a place!  I paid £100 for 2 nights including breakfast, but you'll likely want to make use of the restaurant there too.  The meals are pretty good value but don't expect any ol' rubbish.  If the chef isn't michelin-starred, he ought to be.
The rooms are huge, air-conditioned (4th floor only as far as I'm aware) with very comfortable beds.  After a few nights of sleeping on bricks, you'll be glad for this!
Again, most of the staff speak a little English (receptionist's all speak English very well) and look after you from the moment you arrive.

Blood work/Ultrasound:
The following day after arrival, Tomek collects you and takes you initially for blood work, then later for an ultrasound.  These are carried out in different places, neither of which are --'s clinic.  Blood work is carried out at a local pharmacist, the ultrasound at the local hospital.  I ended up waiting well over an hour for just the ultrasound and yet both journeys cost £13!  I'd estimate a similar journey in the UK to be 10x that cost.

The Operation:
That afternoon, Tomek takes you to -- and after showering, shaving your chest and sitting like a berk in a gown for a while, you meet Dr Clark.
Your first thought is likely either "you're not in your 40s" or "where is Dr Clark!?".  Let me tell you, she looks early 30s, not late 40s. Stunning!  After a brief chat, Dr Clark draws over you and outlines the various ways she could perform the procedure.  In my case, I left the final decision down to her.
As I said during my initial email, I wasn't expecting perfection... just help.  It's important to go into this process with a realistic view of what you can expect, and Dr Clark explains this very well.  If you're expecting to return home exactly as you'd hoped, you're likely going to be disappointed.  This isn't a reflection on Dr Clark by any means; but your body takes a battering, especially when it's as severe as mine.  You're likely bruised, swollen and in significant pain when the plethora of pain killers wear off.
After a brief period, you're taken into the rear of -- where the theatre and beds are.  As you'd expect, it's spotlessly clean and clinical-looking.
After the general & local anaesthetic take effect, you're out.  It's very odd, simply because you have no concept of time passing.  When you wake, it's done.  Don't expect to be able to look at the results yet, you're too heavily strapped up.

Next Day:
After a shocking night's "sleep" and various injections throughout the night, Dr Clark arrives to change your dressings.  Only now will you have the opportunity to look at the result.
I was lucky in so much as there was no bruising whatsoever, but considerable swelling.  Even so, I cannot put into words how amazing the result is!  Dr Clark had been described as a perfectionist by another member here and I can well understand why.  It's incredible, though not quite perfect.
At present, 8 days after surgery, it's certainly not flat and there's a slight difference in size between the two.  If it shrinks back (which it almost certainly will over the coming months), great.  If not, it's an incentive to hit the gym and lose any remaining fat.  Such was the extent of my problem, I had two noticeable "pockets" of fat under each arm which obstructed putting my arms by my side.  Whilst smaller, they're still there... but it's fat, not glandular tissue... so a good few months at the gym should improve things.
If I were to rate the experience thus far, I'd say a solid 8 out of 10 but please keep in mind, I say that just 1 week after surgery.  It's far too early to be judging the end result yet; and I'm already over the moon.

Next Few Days:
Very much a lather, rinse, repeat exercise really.  Tomek takes you back to the clinic, Dr Clark replaces all the dressings.  All standard stuff really.

Discharge Day:
After once again replacing the dressings, Dr Clark sends you on your way with a list of items you need from the pharmacist, along with a discharge letter outlining exactly what to do next.
Read it.  When you're done, read it again.  I cannot stress the importance of following her advice.  Wear the vests, take the pain killers (and you'll want to!) and massage the area exactly as she recommends.
In my case, she recommended massaging the entire area 5-7 days later.  This is agony, pure agony.  I could already feel a band of very dense scar tissue beneath the skin, to the point where I emailed Dr Clark to ask her advice.  My advice... don't waste your time massaging it by hand.  Instead, buy one of these...

In a matter of 15/20 minutes, the scar tissue had gone from a worryingly dense, abnormal-feeling band to virtually non-existent.  You can literally feel the tissue breaking up; something which cannot be said for doing it by hand.  It takes C batteries, so make sure you have a pack ready & waiting... it eats 'em.  The difference really is night & day.
Also, grab yourself some "HydroFilm" from Amazon.  This is the dressing Dr Clark uses to ensure the entire area remains sterile and allows you to shower just as you would normally.  Don't waste your money on "C-View" from Boots, it's rubbish and 3 times the price!

When all is said & done, this has been a life-changing process and I only wish I'd gone through it sooner.  Dr Clark is a class-act; an immensely talented surgeon and in the absence of pictures, you'll just have to trust me; if she can rid me of gyno, I'm absolutely sure you're in safe hands.

Thank you Medi mel!


Offline Checkmate

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Hi PM glad all went well for you good luck with healing. I'm looking to go with Dr Clark just worried regarding the chances of having indented nipple with full gland removal, can you shed any light on this? Many thanks in advance 

Offline Paa_Paw

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Because of its length and the details contained, this looks more like an advertising brochure than an account by a patient.  So I am locking to topic and no one will be able to comment and keep it active. 
Grandpa Dan


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