I thought long and hard about having this operation – I sought advice and was referred to Mike Riley at BMI’s Paddocks hospital in Princes Risborough near my home. I met with him and he was great – really jelled with him from the off. Only one slight problem – I’d lost so much weight that the degree of complication with my operation made him recommend another doctor – I was both impressed and disappointed by this as we’d hit it off so well.
He recommended Mark Soldin – so off I went again – another town, another hospital, another doctor
Surgeons have a reputation – they can be aloof and distant – and to an extent this was my first impression of Mark. He’s a serious man, he didn’t smile much that day, but what he did do was leave me in no doubt that he knew what he was talking about. He explained in great detail what options were open to me, what the effects could be and what the concerns were. He didn’t try to sell it to me, in fact quite the opposite. I’m like a bull at a gate you see and once I’ve made my mind up, I want it now. He was not to be pressured. He saw something in me that day and asked that I had some routine blood tests done and return with the results. He was right to be concerned, my Haemoglobin was half what it should be – basically I had no iron. He was adamant – he would not operate, it would be unsafe. I undertook a long course of iron infusions and went back waving my results when they had just crept over his required limit. Still the answer was ‘no’ – he wanted the level higher – to make sure I was in the best physical shape to undertake the operation. When I saw him again in March, we tried to plan for an August operation – but diaries didn’t quite work, there would only be 7 days after my proposed operation before he went on holiday and he wouldn’t leave me that quickly after surgery – ‘we’re travelling this road together’ he said – so another date had to be found
Now I have to say that this is not the level of care I had experienced with other doctors – he didn’t want to take my money and run, he wanted it to be right – and this is where I began to realise the depth and care of the man. It took over 18 months to get me in the right shape and at each consultation we revisited the procedure and its effects. The more I took this seriously, the more he responded and every now and again I even got a glimpse of a lovely smile
So, on 30th April 2017 I went in to the Coombe Wing at Kingston Hospital and got marked up and ready for surgery. At this point I have to mention that the treatment from every member of staff there was exemplary – the nurses, doctors, anaesthetist and most especially the ladies that brought me endless drinks and food
The operation went well - a little longer than expected at 3.5 hours, but he was pleased – and so was I, but that might have been the drugs. My legs were swollen and the scars looked vicious – he had undertaken liposuction and done a full circumferential thigh lift. I was cut from below the knee right into the groin. I stayed in for 2 nights. Mark came to see me after the operation and the next day and even discharge day which was a Saturday – unexpected but very much appreciated. We went over my instructions for the care of my wounds and what to look out for. I could call at any time if I was concerned. I went home tired, but pain free with my Tramadol and Paracetamol in hand just in case. I’m a wuss you see, the biggest thing I had been worried about was the pain – but for whatever reason, I was lucky. Neatly tucked into my compression leggings I forgot about the pills after the 3rd day at home. I saw Mark 2 weeks later so that he could see how I was healing and I got the thumbs up – my scars were already settling down – probably helped by Mark’s technique of glue-ing me back together rather than stitching – a technique that is paying dividends now. I saw him again 3 weeks later and his smile grew bigger – must be great to see such immediate results from your handiwork. Only 7 weeks after surgery my scars are already wafer thin and reducing by the day. Most of the swelling had gone within the first month and the results continue to improve every week
When you’ve been really fat, you know what it’s like to have thighs that constantly rub together and chaff. They get sore all the time as well as looking horrible. Once the weight was gone, my knees still rubbed together and the lose skin flapped as I walked – I hated it. Now, my legs don’t rub and my knees don’t touch, it’s a revelation. I’ve bought my first pair of shorts since I was at school and I’m thrilled
But most of all I’m grateful – I found the right man for the job and he didn’t disappoint. When you go to see a doctor you expect good care, but you don’t always get it. You expect technical expertise, but that’s not guaranteed either. You hope for compassion and understanding – these can be rare commodities in a surgeon – but I hit the bulls eye because I got all of this. The more I understood the severity of what I was undertaking, the more he responded. My results are nothing short of spectacular and the man responsible is Mark Soldin. If you want the best surgeon in his field, look no further