I’ve hit the JACK­POT!

Chat - - True-life -

It would have taken a decade to save up for the op

There it lay. Fold af­ter fold of saggy skin.

Now de­flated, my apron of fat looked big­ger, worse. More like a cur­tain. But un­able to eat, I couldn’t just fall back on my old cop­ing mech­a­nisms.

Soon, I started to get sores be­tween the folds and had to use talc to stop them rub­bing.

When­ever I went to the toi­let, I was forced to hold my saggy skin like a dress.

Even that didn’t stop the folds from be­com­ing trapped be­tween the bowl and toi­let seat.

When I fi­nally con­fided in a friend about my belly, she had a sug­ges­tion.

‘What about a tummy tuck?’ she of­fered gently. ‘If only,’ I mused. I didn’t have the thou­sands in the bank needed for that.

Then in Oc­to­ber 2017, while I was scrolling on In­sta­gram, I spot­ted a com­pe­ti­tion. The prize?

A tummy tuck!

All I had to do was share their post.

With noth­ing to lose, I clicked Share.

But when I hadn’t heard back by Christ­mas, I gave up hope.

Only then, in Jan­uary this year, my phone beeped with a

new e-mail…

Con­grat­u­la­tions! You’re the win­ner!

it said.

What?!

Then it dawned on me...

Im­me­di­ately, I called Mario.

‘Babe, I won it!’ I screamed. ‘I’ve won a tummy tuck!’

‘Are you sure?’ he screeched. I called the clinic, who con­firmed I was the win­ner. Shak­ing, I felt like I’d hit the jack­pot. Sud­denly, the fu­ture looked so bright, it was daz­zling. Be­fore, it would have taken a decade to save the money for plas­tic surgery. But now my life would be changed overnight. Soon, I had a call with my sur­geon, Dr Ortega, who ex­plained the pro­ce­dure. Un­der gen­eral anaes­thetic, he’d cut away all 12½lb of my saggy skin, leav­ing me with a lovely, flat tummy. ‘You’ll look in­cred­i­ble,’ he promised. The day be­fore the op, I tucked my saggy folds into my knick­ers for the last time and thought,

Good rid­dance!

Then, on 8 May this year, I kissed my kids good­bye and set off for the hos­pi­tal with Mum.

Although I felt ner­vous as they wheeled me into the op­er­at­ing room, I knew the next time I woke up, I’d be a changed woman.

But post-op, my scars were more painful than I’d an­tic­i­pated.

It took three days be­fore I could prop­erly re­move my gown and see how I looked.

Then... Stand­ing in front of the mir­ror, my body had been trans­formed.

Gone was the apron. In its place a smooth, healthy­look­ing belly. I could see my feet – and then some! – for the first time in decades. I was so happy. But even bet­ter was to come. As I walked through the front door of our home, here in Toronto, Canada, my kids came bar­relling to­wards me.

‘Mummy, I can fit my arms all the way around you!’ laughed Ser­gio, 7, and happy tears sprung to my eyes.

Pulling on a slinky, new red num­ber for date night, Mario hugged me tightly.

‘You look amaz­ing,’ he said. And I felt it.

Now, I wear the cutest size-8 dress, and ev­ery­thing un­der­neath is just as pretty.

I do yoga up to five times a week to keep my­self in shape. And I never touch pizza, choco­late or crisps.

Win­ning a tummy tuck has made me a hap­pier mother and a bet­ter wife. A body is for life. I’m so lucky I had a sec­ond chance at get­ting the one I wanted.

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