March 30, 2017
It is hard for me to find enough words to express my deep gratitude to all your team.
First, to you Mrs. Didi Carr Reuben. Who guide me from the very bedinning in my path to myself. Without you, dear Didi my journey wouldn't even start. Thank you.
Second, to Doctor Lev, the best "Doctor of Doctors". Whose qualification, unique individual approach, soft intelligent manners, patence (!!), and obvious desire to do his best for YOU, make his job absolutely remarkable and unspeakable great. Deep respect.
Third, to Prisma Dental. All if them. And particularly, to Dra Caroline Nunes. Excellent job, manners, qualification. Full service includes "everything for patent" - time, transportation, cooling environment, and perfect coffee as you desire :)).
Reasonable prices. No one time I saw anything but strickly professional wish to do only it is best for YOU. Not for money. Never.
Forth, Casa Mercedes. Nice homey place to stay and recover after surgery. Ms. Mercy and her family is welcome you to her house, and help you very much to became accustomed to all places you need to discover.
So much more to tell you, dear Didi. But afraid it would be a book with title "My Costa Rica" :)).
Sincerely, Tatyana S
January 3, 2017
I recently returned from Costa Rica, where I had a facelift by Dr. Alejandro Lev. I can not say enough positive things about Dr. Lev, his anesthesiologist Dr. Greenwood, his office assistant Vera, his contact Didi, and all the good folks who took care of me during surgery and in the hours I spent in the clinic post-surgery. But that is not why I write this review. Instead, I write to enthusiastically recommend my recovery place, Casa Mercedes, which Mercedes Castro (Mercy) owns and operates in her home just a few blocks from Dr. Lev's office. From the time the three of us weary fellow travelers arrived - two for surgery, one our companion - we were welcomed as family by Mercy, her family, our driver, her staff, and her assorted friends. By the time we left two weeks later, we indeed felt like family. Our rooms were comfortable and clean, with daily housekeeping provided. Each of three rooms has a private bathroom with a shower. Delicious and nutritious meals, exquisitely prepared with fresh local ingredients, were presented to us outside in warm weather or inside in cold. The coffee! The fruit! The fresh-made juices! The plantains! The Costa Rican cuisine! During the days, we surgical patients would lounge in our rooms or outside in the private courtyard under the palms and flowering ginger, reading, napping, playing games or just resting. For the energetic, there are nearby parks, stores, and other interesting places to explore, all in a very safe neighborhood. At dinner, if they could, Mercy and others would join us around the table for conversation, music, song and good times. After dinner we often watched movies in Mercy's cozy living room. I cannot recommend more highly that people planning surgery in Costa Rica, especially with Dr. Lev, consider recovering in Casa Mercedes. And note this: her prices do, in fact, cover all room, board, laundry, housekeeping, transportation to and from the airport, transportation to and from medical appointments (unless you choose to walk!), wifi and international phone access. There are no hidden costs, no surprises!
December 12, 2016
My friend and I decided to go to Costa Rica for facelifts with Dr. Lev. Our decision to recover at the home of Mercedes Castro was absolutely perfect. She and her housekeeper, Maria, took excellent care of us! We spent most of our waking hours on Mercedes’ covered back patio. It was very pleasant and quiet, perfect setting for healing. She served very delicious meals three times a day, and we always ate on the patio. Mercedes went out of her way to make sure we were comfortable and even drove us to our Dr. Appointments. We were told to pack light for our 11 day stay, so we did, and our clothes were laundered, not to mention, clean sheets, towels, etc. My friend and I had separate rooms with hospital beds and a TV. From the time we arrived, until the day we left, Mercedes treated us like family, especially on Sunday when we were treated to a barbecue dinner!
September 17, 2016
Well you were so right that this would be a life changing experience. Never would I have dreamed that I would lose ten years in two weeks. But it actually happened and in the most pleasant way that the mind could conceive of.
First of all Costa Rica is not the third world country that my mind imagined it to be. The medical care there was state of the art. And dr. Lev was the most warm, compassionate, real gentleman that i didn't think was left in this world. Especially in the medical community. He is an artist.
I am so happy with my results that i want to burst. Even though I was the "poster child" for plastic surgery, i was so impressed at the way he handled Bonnie's problem.
Plus I made four life long friends in Bonnie, Charlene, Goldie and Deborah. What wonderful women!
And my teeth came out great thanks to Telma and Joseph, whose expertise and hospitality go unrivaled. Randall their driver took us to Sarchi to see the woodworking capital and the rainforest where we saw the falls and the butterfly farm. I guess I'll just have to start running my own trips down to C.R. since everyone who has seen me wants to go to Dr. Lev.
The last but not least thing i have to say is a thank you to you from the bottom of my heart. First for being such a beautiful example, second for giving me the faith to go, and third for being the very special human being that you are.
I love you Didi and hope to see you soon when we introduce our progeny to each other in May.
Your ten years younger buddy from PA
July 22, 2016
Barry met me with flowers and a camera!
He was very considerate and sweet. (thanks for his prep-sheet for Diane's reentry!)
He has been really supportive talking me through my insecurities about being seen by patients and how I might seem to others. I've been going out and gaining confidence. He does keep talking about the improvement in my chin (it's ok for him to stop that now... lol)
I wore a teeny t-shirt (racer back) yesterday - and did so proudly. (no big shirt over me to hid the humongous boobies!!!) Friends don't seem to think that my face looks weird - but then they haven't stared at me in the mirror for 50 years. Each day the swelling gets less and less and new places are beginning to wake up.
I really do see myself in there and again each time, I am looking more like myself - just YOUNGER!
Jeana says that Kenny is thinking that she looks terrific - and her patients are noticing as well! (by the way, I shared my letter re: Ron with her). RE: Ron: I was going to send a copy of that letter on to him (Ron) - but I decided that it would just mess up things for any people in the future (including friends of mine that might choose to come down...)
I'll be in touch...
May 2, 2016
Our flight home yesterday was perfect....just sat back, relaxed, read, and enjoyed the sunshine as I slept nearly the entire trip down.
I had several hours on the flight and since I've returned to reflect on how the experience of the past two weeks has truly changed my life.....and of course, I owe that all to you, my dear friend. I certainly was anticipating this adventure with much excitement......and perhaps with some anxiety as well; however, never could I have fully imagined how completely life-changing it would be for me.
The surgery not withstanding......everything was awesome. It's been a long time since I've taken quality time like that for myself....time to focus on my own needs and time to rest, absorb the sunshine, listen to the birds sing, the dogs bark, be soothed by soft music in my ears (when I could finally hear again), and just generally "take in" my surroundings in such a meaningful way.
Never in my life did I ever anticipate having such a complete and meaningful adventure. I knew we'd have "fun" with the girls....knew we'd laugh a lot and enjoy one another's company, but the overall experience went way beyond that for me. It was an emotional as well as physical transformation, and I think they both were as significant.
I realized that I needed that time of healing to do more than just recuperate from surgery. That time was intended to be an opportunity for me to let go of everything for a time and appreciate the beauty and the spirit of my new environment. Didi....I owe all of that to you. I never had any reservations about having the surgery. Your comforting words, lists of "must haves", constant support and availability had me completely at ease....and I trusted Dr. Lev from the moment you first described him to me.
I'm deeply grateful that the surgery itself went so well, but I'm equally grateful for the integral part you played in making that happen. While I continue to have memory lapses thanks to the wonderful DORMICUM, I have had flashes of things as the days have gone on. I remember the ice chips you placed in my mouth, the ice packs on my eyes, and the sound of your voice by my side. To say that was a great comfort to me would be an understatement.
Knowing that I was halfway across the world having surgery with such complete confidence and security is still mind-boggling to me, but that calmness I had was due to you. How do I ever just say "thank you" for being so incredible, Didi?
As I said on Shabbat, those who know me know that I'm rarely at a loss for words most of the time, but the impact of this experience with you has left me speechless. I know that a mere "thank you" seems grossly inadequate; however, I find that I haven't a vocabulary large enough to describe what my heart feels. I have such love and devotion to you....as a friend and as a woman who feels deeply passionate, dedicated and committed to enabling others to have this experience with peace and tranquility. You have provided all of that.....not to mention your extraordinary sense of humor and wit....your whole package just makes "sweet music" and it was a comfort to us all.
Alejandro is a unique human being....filled with empathy, sensitivity, warmth, and incredible talent. I have such respect for him as a doctor and equal admiration for his nurturing personality. I was delighted that Paul had several opportunities to spend time with him as well.....he watched all the various stages of stitch removals and was completely amazed at the whole process. Personally, I could never even fathom why anyone would consider having plastic surgery here, but I think one has to experience something like this to have the full impact of the process. I have tried to explain what happened to a few friends today and I realized that it loses so very much in translation. You just have to participate in this experience to really get it.
I absolutely adored every moment spent with Ron. I found him to be an extraordinary man....one also filled with compassion, warmth and humor. His cooking was fantastic and I relished every meal. He was creative in his meal planning and certainly prepared foods that were healing, nourishing, and could fit into our mouths!! That was a feat unto itself. It takes a unique kind of person to be in a service business like his.....and a recovery environment is unique unto itself. When you're dealing with many personalities, people at different stages of healing and pain tolerance, etc. it can become difficult at best. I felt Ron handled everyone so respectfully and with such dignity, and I shall forever be grateful to him for that.
I suggested several times during my stay that he come and do one of his seminars in L.A. We would be delighted to host a meeting at our house and would do whatever we could to offer our support and encouragement. It would be a small way to reciprocate for the incredible care and attention Ron took with all of us....for sure.
So my friend.....I hope that you are "coming down" a bit from your whirlwind tour and will know that your sharing this secret of CR with me was the greatest gift in the world. I thank you for everything, Didi, and know that I will cherish the memories of this wonderful adventure forever and will look forward to returning to that beautiful country.....much sooner than later. Paul was overwhelmed with the whole experience as well, and shares my sentiment about returning very soon.
I hope that Steve's journey was a good one and that you two can now begin to anticipate your wonderful cruise together and can make up for the time you were apart. We missed having your husband with us, but I guess that's the price you pay for being a big "marcher"....I know that he'll look forward to the quality time he'll spend in January.
I will speak to you soon. I'm just catching up around here this week and I'm delighted that I gave myself an extra week off as I'm not ready to return to work yet....I feel terrific, but I want more reflective time to capture and relive this experience. I brought in about 8 rolls of film today and I'm having extras made along with the "You've Got Pictures" so be looking for your email to be overflowing soon.
My heartfelt gratitude, appreciation, and much love, Didi....
Mach 7, 2016
Dear Perspective Surgery Mates:
Here it is a little more than three weeks since I had my face lift and eyes done by wonderful Dr. Lev in Costa Rica. I am back in Houston, Texas. Otherwise, I would be at the party and greet you in person. What do I look like, you may ask? Well, my face is a little swollen around the periphery and I have a slight black and blue mark under my right eye which is fading fast. In all, I look pretty much like myself before surgery but all neat with no sags under the chin and eyes. And how do I feel about my experience? I feel very happy that I had the opportunity to go to Costa Rica to have this surgery.
Didi was so wonderfully supportive and accurate in her description of the process I would be experiencing. She was there for me in so many ways, including being in my room when I woke from the surgery and staying with me until the sweet, gentle private duty nurse arrived for the night. I felt very relaxed because I knew what to expect and saw others going through the same experience.
Dr. Lev and Dr. Greenwood, the anesthesiologist, were so warm and most important, so competent. They added tremendously to my feeling relaxed and secure which has got to be an essential ingredient of the healing process. Dr. Lev came to see us at Villa Plentitud every day that I was there and each time, he was reassuring, helpful and unfailingly kind.
Being at Villa Plentitud for two weeks was another important part of the healing process. Ron, the owner, is a good cook and a nice man. The Villa is comfortable and very clean. Costa Rican weather was sunny and warm most of the time when I was there so we were able to do some sightseeing in San Jose and surroundings. I was comfortable and well cared for there.
So what else can I say. I am glad that I had the surgery and would go back to Dr. Lev in a flash for who knows what.
March 9, 2016
I got home Thursday night and yesterday I spent trying to get organized so I could get back into the world.
I just want you to know what a awesome experience the trip to Costa Rica was. It was much more that just getting a face lift. It was also a spiritual experience for me and a time to really nurture myself. I think the only day I was miserable was the day we were all miserable because it rained all day and we were stir crazy. Other than that I wouldn't have changed a thing. Dr. Lev is wonderful and I was sad to say good bye to everyone. I made a good friend in Maria and her presence contributed immensely to my peace and comfort.
Thank you so much for your contribution. It was everything you said and more. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
We will be going out of town on the week of Thanksgiving and we won't be home until December 2 so I will miss the meeting you are having on December 1.
Take care and once again thank you.
It's so rare to meet people like Jose & Telma. They made me feel like they have been my life-long friends even though I have known them for less than a week!
I have to confess that my original goal in seeking a dentist in Costa Rica was simply to save money, but after experiencing the meticulous and artistic approach that Jose & Telma take in their work, they are truly in a class all by themselves compared with dentists I have known. I realize I am blessed in finding them.
I can't tell you how much your emails meant in persuading me to go ahead with my trip to see them. I don't know that I would have proceeded had it not been for your enthusiastic assessment.
All I can say is that I am so happy with the work they did, and for their friendship, and for yours too!
Please give Jose & Telma my warm regards when you see them, and you have a wonderful Holiday Didi!