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People with a positive outlook say to seek out life’s silver linings. Now nearing the final chapters of her journey, Judy sees more than silver. She sees the red of her tomato plants, the green leaves of her trees and the rainbow assortment of flowers in the garden she will soon return to. 

Against the odds, the nerves severed during her spinal surgery are regenerating, and she is regaining use of her abdominal muscles. Time and a physical therapy program are now all that stand between Judy and the active life she loved before the car accident.


A year ago, the progress Judy has made might have been unimaginable. She is free of the crippling pain that left her hobbling to the mailbox and clutching her abdomen in anguish with every sneeze. Slowly but surely, she is rebuilding strength in her midsection, looking forward to the day she can resume yoga classes and take control of her garden back from her grandchildren.

“Today, I feel amazing,” Judy says. “I have more energy. I walk around and inspect [the garden], so when the grandchildren come next time, I know the areas they need to hit. I miss getting out there. I’m contemplating deadheading some roses soon.”

Though she was initially hesitant about the aesthetic aspects of plastic surgery, Judy is pleasantly surprised by the difference she has noticed — not only in how she looks, but also in how she feels.

“I feel a whole lot better about myself,” she says. “I am just amazed when I look at my flat abdomen. There is no bulge anymore — none! I can wear clothes I couldn’t wear before. Even though I wasn’t in it for the aesthetic part, that turned out to be a huge plus for me.”

Judy is making the most of this new lease on life. After her final post-op appointment, she and her husband stopped in Austin to go shopping for a new swimsuit. Pre-surgery, like so many women, Judy dreaded the chore of trying on swimwear. This time, something was different.

“My husband found the first swimsuit. I couldn’t believe it looked so good on me,” Judy recalls. “Then I found another one and I couldn’t choose, so I took both. We’re going on a trip to Florida and we’re staying on the beach, so I’ll get to wear my swimsuits soon!”


Before a car wreck and complications from spinal surgery brought Judy to Dr. Sharma, she had never considered plastic surgery. The popular perception of plastic surgery as a luxury for image-obsessed celebrities and affluent Bravo housewives had no appeal, and she felt hesitant about the idea of undergoing a procedure purely for cosmetic reasons. She now sees a different side of plastic surgery.

“It’s totally changed my feelings,” she says. “Plastic surgeons know so much about how things work in your muscles and your nerves and everything.” 

Aesthetics are just one aspect of this multifaceted specialty. Plastic surgery exists at the intersection of art and science, offering an incredible amount of diversity in procedures and patients, and often leading the way at the cutting edge of medical innovation. 

In addition to opening her eyes to the full scope of plastic surgery, Judy’s experience also opened her mind to the positive impact it can have on patients’ lives.

“Had I known what I know now — how much better I feel and look — even if I hadn’t had the wreck and been forced to go through this procedure, I might have considered doing it for cosmetic purposes because it’s made such a difference,” she says. “I feel like a new person in every area.”

When asked what she’d tell others who may find themselves in her shoes or share her former skepticism about plastic surgery, Judy says: “I’d tell them my story and try to educate them. And I would advise them to go see Dr. Sharma!”

“I would recommend him in a heartbeat to any of my family and friends,” she continues. “Throughout the whole process, he treated me like family. I’m so grateful that he understood what I was going through and was so compassionate about it. He has the best bedside manner of any doctor that I’ve ever been to in my life. He truly was in it to help me overcome this.”


Judy’s silver linings come not just in different colors, but also in different forms. Despite its many challenges, she looks back on her journey with gratitude for the new perspectives and unexpected gifts it delivered.

“When I walked out of the emergency room after the wreck, our whole Sunday school group was there,” she recalls. “The waiting room was full of people, all cheering and clapping. I couldn’t believe it. It was unreal that I had so many people there for me.”

The strength of their community remained evident long after leaving the hospital. Neighbors helped Judy and her husband care for their dogs and run errands. Members of their church and small group Bible study paid visits with food. A flood of texts and phone calls kept their spirits high.

“We have a really good support system. I couldn’t have made it without everyone being there for me,” Judy says, reserving special praise for the man by her side every step of the way. “My husband has been the greatest throughout all of this. I can’t tell you how much he has helped me this whole year. He has been so patient and understanding.”

With her final surgery now six months behind her, Judy is focused on the future. 

“What Dr. Sharma did for me was huge; it changed my quality of life and also gave me hope that things would continue to get better for me,” she says. “It has been a long, crazy year. I’m ready to move on and finally realize how blessed I really am. I’m so appreciative of Dr. Sharma and his amazing staff. They all played a part in this happy ending.”

Contact us to learn more!

If you’re interested in learning more about abdominoplasties or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sharma at Plastic Surgery Austin, please give us a call at 512-838-3658 today!


Contact our office to schedule a private consultation with Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Sanjay K. Sharma, M.D., F.A.C.S.