A sane response to an insane rant

- article by Didi Carr Reuben

Before I get into this “JHEALER” person’s unfounded claims and nasty accusations designed to hurt Dr. Lev’s good name and formerly pristine reputation, let me begin this article by saying this. When you contact me to book a date for plastic surgery of any kind to be performed by our beloved and gifted Dr. Lev, I am going to assume that you have done at the very least SOME homework about the procedure/s you are wanting to have done. It just makes sense that you don’t book a major surgery (which is exactly what a face lift, or a breast lift, or a breast augmentation or a tummy tuck, etc. IS) without knowing what you’re getting into. It just doesn’t make sense. Any more than it would make sense to book a hysterectomy or a kidney transplant without learning about what it entails before you book the surgery.

Now. OF COURSE, before I book you for your surgery I make myself fully available to you to answer any questions you may have about your procedure. What I can’t answer myself, I find out from the good doc himself. Dr. Lev and I have weekly phone meetings and discuss everything on my list from bookings to questions and concerns or issues that patients may have after they return home, etc. etc. I get all the answers I need and then get back to the patients one by one. I do a lot of follow up work with the patients. We don’t just book patients and then do the surgery and then forget about them once their money is safely deposited into Dr. Lev’s bank account.

It is of the utmost importance that each patient fully understands, not only the details of their surgery but their options, if there are options that are available to them. In the end, if Dr. Lev feels you are a good candidate for the surgery you want, he will do your surgery as you request, or if he doesn’t feel you are a good candidate for the surgery you are requesting, he will refuse to do the surgery. But at the end of the day, once Dr. Lev says you are eligible for the surgery it is YOU WHO MAKES THE FINAL DECISION AS TO WHAT IS DONE ON SURGERY DAY.

Dr. Lev will see you and examine you at your consultation which normally takes place the day you arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica. That is usually for most patients, the day before the surgery. It’s a great time to have your consultation, even though many patients are uncomfortable with not meeting the doctor until mere hours prior to their surgery. But truth be told, it’s a good time to do the consultation so that the next day, your case is fresh in his mind and he is clear about what he wants to do when he sees you in the morning.

This routine has worked for Dr. Lev for 25 years. Every so often we have a patient who will actually make a trip down to Costa Rica just to meet Dr. Lev in advance because they are too uncomfortable waiting till the day before. Sometimes patients come a few days prior to surgery to meet with the doctor and then they do some touring around the country until surgery day.

These decisions about when to go down to meet with Dr. Lev is totally up to the patient. Every decision, once the doctor deems you a good candidate for a surgery, is up to the patient. So if a patient, for instance, wants to have a brow lift and Dr. Lev feels they are a good candidate for either the coronal brow lift or the Castañares brow lift (the “direct approach” brow lift) the decision becomes the patient’s as to which brow lift will be done.

If Dr. Lev determines after examining the patient at their consultation that she is NOT a good candidate for a coronal brow lift, but a better candidate for the direct approach brow lift, he quite simply will NOT do the coronal brow lift under any circumstances. The patient could beg him on bended knee to do the coronal brow lift on her, but if he feels she is not a good candidate for it he will prefer to send her away than do her surgery. That is how Dr. Lev works. That is how he has worked for 25 successful years as a plastic surgeon in Costa Rica. And that is the reputation that has bolstered his business since day ONE of his career.

When a patient makes that all important decision at her consultation and then later regrets that decision, it’s extremely unfortunate for doctor and patient because they are then forever unhappy with their results. And when a patient is unhappy with their results, that makes us just as unhappy because Dr. Lev prides himself on a very high percentage of happy patients. After all, happy patients are a doctor’s best advertisement. So happy patients are his one and only goal.

We have found that the happiest patients are the ones who came into this thing with REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. If you have unrealistic expectations you will undoubtedly be unhappy with your results. Later in this article I will give you a few examples of patients who came to me with unrealistic expectations. It may seem ridiculous to you and me, but to these patients, their expectations were very real. And I did my best to discourage them from having the surgery because I knew in advance and told them that there would be no way Dr. Lev could make Alfred E Newman look like Paul Newman (if you catch my drift)!

When this woman (my relative through marriage whom I’ve still never met in person) hiding behind the pseudonym of “JHEALER” on the REALSELF.COM website came to me to help her plan her facelift with Dr. Lev I was happy to help her, although when I found out we were related through marriage, I was a bit uncomfortable, (especially since she begged me to keep this from her family,) but ignored that feeling and continued to work with her to plan her surgery. Want some good advice? NEVER ignore your gut feeling about anything in this world. I learned that lesson with this thing, if nothing else.

By the way, just as a side note, I want to say that I deplore these websites that allow people to make up a fake name and then go to town on discrediting someone for who knows what reason. Maybe they are a competitor who wants to wreck another person’s business. How cool that they can do it anonymously. Right? How do we know who these anonymous people are anyway? Did you ever think of that? I think that if a person is going to go onto a public forum that reaches the four corners of the earth, they should own up to who they are and not hide behind a false name sniping damaging barbs at innocent people who for the most part cannot even defend themselves.

Once those hideous words are out there, that’s it. You can’t reel them back in. In Judaism, purposely trying to ruin a person’s good name is called “lashon hara”. It’s considered a huge sin, almost as bad as murder itself because you are “murdering” someone’s good name. I think it shouldn’t be allowed anywhere on the internet. If you have something to say that is negative about a business or a person, have the balls to own up to it! (sorry, that’s my Bronx coming out!) State your name. Be a “man” or a “woman” about it. Not a word sniper hiding behind a fake identity. To me that shows incredible weakness and cowardliness. Even terrorists identify themselves (albeit after the fact when they are actually taking credit for their heinous and unspeakable acts against innocent human beings).

This “JHEALER” person is what I call an “internet sniper”. It just happens that I know who she is. But I’ve read plenty of reviews in my life and I can see that people are using fake names to lob hideous accusations and racist and hateful words like a scud missle onto other anonymous people. What is this world coming to? It scares me, to tell you the truth. Where are we going with this? The internet is a great place and equally as dangerous and damaging to our society but that’s a whole different article which I may or may not write one day.

But I’m here to defend an amazingly gifted surgeon’s good name here in this article and so I must not digress.

As all our patients who work with me know, I’m more than just a coordinator. I am a personal cheerleader, support person, buddy, schmoozer, guide, advisor, counselor and I will give as much of my personal time to a patient as they need in order to feel secure in their decision to travel to Costa Rica for major surgery.

People usually come to me because they either have a friend or relative who had surgery done by Dr. Lev, or they read all the great reviews on the internet about Dr. Alejandro Lev, plastic surgeon extraordinaire. You might see words like this used to describe Dr. Lev. “Gifted Surgeon”. “The surgeon’s surgeon”. “An artist with a scalpel”, “A doctor of great integrity”. And on and on just like that, with raves about not only Dr. Lev’s talent as a plastic surgeon, but his sweet and kind and generous manner with each patient he sees.

Plastic surgeons, or surgeons in general have the reputation of having terrible bedside manner. They are very “matter of fact” and short with patients. They’re much happier dealing with people who are under the general anesthesia, not asking a million questions and taking up a lot of their precious time in their consultations. I’ve had my own personal experiences with surgeons over the years and have heard nightmare stories from other people about their experiences as well. Leaving a surgeon’s office feeling downright stupid for asking questions that to me are important about things I just don’t quite understand.

But Dr. Lev is different. He is personable, friendly, greets you with a hug, treats you like he would treat a relative or a friend and answers every single one of your questions happily. As many times as you ask them with the same amount of patience the third time he answers the same question as the first time. He and I both welcome your questions. We encourage them. We want you to be as well informed as possible before you enter into this huge thing called MAJOR SURGERY.

Take away the fact that you are CHOOSING to have this surgery done, you need to remember at all times that you are still having MAJOR SURGERY done under a general anesthesia. There is no getting around it. You will be staying overnight in the hospital or clinic. You will be catheterized. You wil be intubated for the surgery. You will be hooked up to an IV for 24 hours. You will be under the watchful eye of an RN while you’re in the hospital or clinic. This is not a walk in the park. You will need a full six months to get through the healing process (sometimes longer).

I make sure every single patient who contacts me knows this. I do NOT sugar coat one thing about this. I answer every question honestly and make sure every patient fully understands that they will need to give themselves time to recover in Costa Rica before they go home…for at least 12 days to three weeks post op depending on the procedure they have. Then the healing process will continue after they get home, for six months.

I can’t tell you how many times I get emails from patients who contact me after they get home and tell me some version of the following. “I don’t know what you were talking about. I didn’t feel pain at all!! Just a lot of discomfort in those first few days before I got the head bandage off. But other than that it was so much better than you described!!!!”

I’d rather hear that kind of report than, “OMIGOD, it was waaaay worse than you led me to think!! It was horrible. If I had known what it was going to be like before I went….I never would have gone!!!” I NEVER ever hear those words from any patient….ever. I make sure of it.

Needless to say, I was shocked to the core when a patient of ours emailed me that someone she had recommended to Dr. Lev for her face lift had seen a horrible review about “Dr. Alejandro Lev” on the REALSELF.COM website. The anonymous person entitled their post in large letters like this. “DISFIGURED BY BROW LIFT…NEGATIVE REVIEW OF DR. ALEJANDRO LEV”.

I instantly went there, registered to that site so I could gain access into the site. Frankly, I never go to these “review” websites because I don’t have the time with my work for Dr. Lev and also because until now, Dr. Lev has never received a bad review or a bad word spoken about him anywhere, at least to my knowledge. All I know is when I receive emails from prospective patients they’re always telling me things like, “I’ve been researching plastic surgeons in Costa Rica for a while now and Dr. Lev is the only one who has nothing negative written about him anywhere on the internet. Plus, I’ve seen the before and after photos on his website and I love the results because everyone looks like themselves, even after just two weeks. He’s the doctor for me!!”

People, like this patient who told me about this review she learned about from her friend, posted by “JHEALER” which she found on the REALSELF.COM website, are pretty aware of what’s going on out there in cyberspace and usually have their fingers on the pulse of these public forums . I had a feeling that if ever there was a bad word “spoken” about Dr. Lev, I would no doubt hear about it at some point.

Before I get back to talking about this “JHEALER” woman, let me go back to what I was saying earlier about unrealistic expectations. I promised you a few examples. And it’s important for me to talk about this, given JHEALER’s claims against Dr. Lev. This is a woman who had unrealistic expectations and after all the weeks of our back and forth conversations, I never knew what her expectations were. Had I known, I never would have booked her for her surgery to begin with. Or at the very least, I would have been able to explain to her that what she wanted was impossible to achieve by even a magician.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find out about JHEALER’s unrealistic expectations until AFTER the fact! That was unfortunate for her and in turn for Dr. Lev because this woman has created a nightmare for Dr. Lev and for me and has shaken people’s confidence in a great and beloved doctor, which breaks my heart.

Ok, back to my few examples of people who came to me with unrealistic expectations.

About three or four years ago I had a patient who contacted me and told me the following. “I want Dr. Lev to do a face lift including face, neck, eyelids and brow lift. I need to tell you up front (thank heavens she told me this UP FRONT,) that I wear my hair pulled tightly off my face in a bun. I’ve been wearing my hair like that seven days a week, 365 days a year for the last 40 years.”

I explained that after a facelift there are scars left around the ears where Dr. Lev made the incisions. And depending on whether or not you have a brow lift, whether the more traditional coronal brow lift or the direct approach brow lift (Castañares method,) you will have scarring from incisions made either directly through the eyebrows or across the crown of the head.

Now. It’s true that Dr. Lev is famous among his patients and colleagues in Costa Rica for his particularly beautiful stitching and if a person heals normally, their scarring will fade nicely over time. And in the case of a coronal brow lift, after a year or so the hair grows back in around the incisions and the scarring becomes virtually invisible (just don’t shave your head, whatever you do!!!!).

But it was totally and completely UNREALISTIC for her to even imagine for a minute that she would be able to wear her hair pulled tightly off of her face into a tight bun after her face lift, unless of course it would be ok for her face lift scars to be visible.

She told me it was definitely NOT okay at all for the scars to be, even a little bit visible.

I told her quite simply she would need to make a choice. The face lift or the hairdo. Unless of course she could find a plastic surgeon who can perform a face lift without making incisions that leave scars. Perhaps they’re out there, but Dr. Lev is not one of them.

She didn’t go forward with Dr. Lev. I later learned she never had a face lift at all and went to her grave with her hair tightly pulled off her face into a bun!

I can’t tell you how many people send us photos of them selves when they were thirty and forty years younger and say, “I want Dr. Lev to make me look like this!”

Hello? Do you THINK you might have UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS? Perhaps???

Not long ago I was sent a photo of the daughter of a patient and the patient’s note accompanying the photo said, “I want Dr. Lev to make me look like my 35 year old daughter”.

And finally (and this one’s a corker) about five or so years ago I received an email from someone who attached a photo of Angelina Jolie (she did NOT attach a photo of herself, by the way!) and said, “I want Dr. Lev to make me look like this”.

Need I say more about unrealistic expectations? You may notice a page on this website with that title, UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. I really need prospective patients to look at that page. And as absurd as that page is, these occasional emails I receive from prospective patients are equally as absurd in my humble opinion.

After 16 years of working for Dr. Lev, and after 25 years as a plastic surgeon who has earned for himself a totally PRISTINE reputation among his patients in Costa Rica and around the world as well as among his colleagues in Costa Rica and the internet… it finally happened! This woman hiding behind the fake name “JHEALER”, who is a woman I spent untold hours of my life with, emailing back and forth with, guiding, answering questions and supporting her all the way throughout her journey with us, is now, after having her face lift done by Dr. Lev who gave her back ten to fifteen years in a natural and beautiful result that any plastic surgeon would be proud of, is making outrageous, unfounded claims against him on the REALSELF.com website.

JHEALER’s claims against Dr. Alejandro Lev are so outrageous and so slanderous that I had no choice but to take on each of her accusations and intentionally damaging comments one by one. That is what I’m doing here. That is the main reason for this article. To defend Dr. Lev’s good name and reputation while at the same time hoping to teach potential patients the importance of doing your homework and knowing what you want and more over, what you DON’T want BEFORE you go down to Costa Rica and have your surgery done.

I first tried to take on JHEALER’s unfounded claims right there on the REALSELF.com website, but they basically shut me down when I brought into question the validity of JHEALER’s accusations that made Dr. Lev appear to be unprofessional as well as downright unethical. She was claiming with a big bold heading to her posts that she was “Disfigured by Brow Lift….Negative Review of Dr. Alejandro Lev”.

When I tried to discredit her unfounded claims in my response to her defaming posts, the website shut me down and took my posts off. They told me I had violated their website rules by “attacking” JHEALER. Other patients of Dr. Lev’s who learned of JHEALER’s posts came to the REALSELF.com website also to defend Dr. Lev and most of them got shut down as well for the same reason they shut me down. Realself.com also removed their posts. So in essence they were preventing people to come to Dr. Lev’s defense by arguing JHEALER’s claims.

I do want to say that I am not in any way discounting the fact that “JHEALER” is unhappy with her results and has been “traumatized” by the experience. But I do want to say that she did mention that in fact, and I know you’re going to find this hard to believe, she was actually HAPPY with her face lift results. She was ONLY unhappy with how much her hairline was raised after the brow lift part of her surgery. And to this day she blames the doctor for her hairline being raised. He told her in her consultation about her other options that would lift her eyebrows and not raise her hairline at all. And after hearing and seeing examples of the options she chose to go with the coronal brow lift (Dr. Lev felt she was a “borderline” case for a coronal brow lift as long as she was on board with having her hairline raised a centimeter, more or less.) She wasn’t thrilled with the idea of having her hairline raised at all, but chose the coronal lift anyway because she would not even consider the other options which would not have raised her hairline at all.

This story just goes from bad to worse!

Apparently she told other members of my family that it was not her intention to ruin Dr. Lev’s reputation, but she was just trying to share her own personal experience and warn people that they should be careful about choosing a coronal brow lift, etc.

I find this curious since the first thing you see when you find her posts on Realself.com and also on Google is the big, fat heading, “DISFIGURED BY BROW LIFT…NEGATIVE REVIEW OF DR. LEV”. To me those words are defaming, insulting and designed to discredit a well respected surgeon who until now has had an immaculate reputation. It doesn’t really sound like someone trying to help other people to avoid this horrible experience. She intentionally uses inflammatory words that were unnecessary to make the point she alleges wanting to make, which was to warn future patients of coronal brow lifts to be careful when making the decision.

In fact, JHEALER, shortly after she returned home from Costa Rica began making veiled and not-so-veiled threats to desecrate Dr.Lev’s pristine reputation if he didn’t pay her $25,000. Mind you, Dr. Lev’s fee for a full face lift including face, neck, eyelids and brow lift is $5500. “JHEALER” was demanding that pay her for her face lift, the clinic, her three week stay at the recovery retreat, her airfare to Costa Rica, the cost of a hair transplant (that she had against Dr. Lev’s recommendations, three months after her face lift) and an extra $5000 for “pain and suffering”.

When “JHEALER” soon realized that you can’t sue surgeons in Costa Rica like you can in the US, she implied in a certified letter to me that , in essence, if Dr. Lev didn’t pay her $25,000 she would go to work on ruining his pristine reputation on the internet.

Dr. Lev was beside himself. He asked me if I thought he should pay her. After all I live in the US and I’m more familiar with these things than he is. They don’t have malpractice anything in Costa Rica. They handle complaints and law suits against doctors differently there. I would say they deal with complaints against doctors in a much more civilized manner than we do here in the US. That’s why Dr. Lev can do as good a face lift as any doctor in Beverly Hills (or better) and charge $5000 for it as opposed to $50,000. He doesn’t have to pass the enormous and outrageous costs of malpractice insurance on to his patients.

I asked him if he felt he did anything wrong with “JHEALER” that lead her to this outrageous and hysterical, not to mention vengeful and hateful behavior. He told me that his biggest mistake with “JHEALER” was taking her on as a patient in the first place. I felt the same way. I only continued to work with her because of our family connection, albeit distant. I’ve been working for Dr. Alejandro Lev for 16 years to date and have never had a patient as nasty and offensive as this one and wouldn’t you know she would be related to me??!!

There were many red flags raised during our emailing back and forth, but stupidly I ignored them. I did try to discourage her from having the surgery early on in our correspondence when she told me she felt embarrassed about doing this because she had always thought she would grow old gracefully. I saw she was uncomfortable with the whole thing. But then again I hear this from patients a lot and of course most patients are nervous about doing this, especially in a foreign country. So I soldiered on with her.

As embarrassed and nervous as she was about doing this she was also quite determined to do it and insisted she wanted Dr. Lev to do the surgery. She sounded like she had done her homework beforehand, too, but I found out after the fact, that she really didn’t know what she wanted done at all going into this. I found out after the fact that (hold on to your seats) she didn’t even really want her eyelids done at all if you can believe that! Had she known what she wanted and DIDN’T want beforehand I could have guided her to a better situation. I would have convinced her to only have the lower face and neck done, leaving out the eyelids altogether and then of course there would be no need to have the brows lifted. And none of us would be in this mess.

But in all our correspondence and at her consultation with Dr. Lev she insisted she wanted her eyelids done (so she thought) and that’s why she had to have the brows lifted. That is the ONLY reason why she needed to raise her brows. Because as Dr. Lev pointed out to her, her eyebrows were set too low on her face to make upper eyelid surgery worthwhile.

With regard to her demanding that Dr. Lev pay her $25,000, Dr. Lev actually asked me if he should pay her the money. I told him that you NEVER pay off an extortionist! And for heaven’s sake, he did absolutely nothing wrong. “JHEALER “chose to include the coronal brow lift out of the three options Dr. Lev gave her. I keep repeating myself here, but I’m doing so because it’s really important to understand that ultimately the patient is the boss with regard to what happens on surgery day. The doctor can make suggestions up the yingyang, but if his suggestions make the patient uncomfortable, even a tiny bit, the patient needs to tell the doctor some version of “no thanks, doc, I’ think I’ll take a pass on that one”!

During the many weeks we corresponded back and forth, despite my asking her to send me photos, she never did so I never knew her brows were set too low on her face and our conversations were only about having her lower face, neck and eyelids done. That’s it. A brow lift was never even mentioned once in all our email exchanges.

In one of her posts on realself.com she is claiming that Dr. Lev told her her hairline would not be raised at all and then in another post she says he told her it would be raised “no mucho”. She contradicts herself several times from one post to another. She does a pretty good job discrediting herself, actually.

She claims that she agreed to have the coronal brow lift because Dr. Lev told her her hairline would only raise up “no mucho”. Dr. Lev uses the following phrase with every single patient considering a coronal brow lift. “Your hairline will raise about a centimeter more or less.” Those are the words he uses. Not “no mucho”. And even if he DID say “no mucho” that is very different than telling her her hairline would not be raised at all. And one person’s “no mucho” could be another person’s “mucho”, right? Dr. Lev thinks that a centimeter more or less on a borderline case is okay. That’s his opinion. He is entitled to his opinion and if she had disagreed with his opinion, she should have not agreed to go forward with the coronal brow lift.

“JHEALER” is claiming he raised her hairline by almost one inch. He says he removed what he always removes. “a centimeter more or less”. Look. Plastic surgery is not an exact science. You can’t tell someone the precise and exact amount a hairline will be raised with a coronal brow lift. But one thing for sure is, he never ever raised a hairline more than ½”. Most of the time it’s less. But never more. That’s why he tells people “a centimeter more or less”. Because it’s NOT an exact science. That’s why the words “a centimeter more or less” are always used when informing a patient about how much their hairline will raise with a coronal brow lift. “more or less”. Not an exact science.

With a Castañares brow lift, (a/k/a the Direct Approach” brow lift) the hairline is not raised AT ALL. That was the option he wanted JHEALER to choose, but she just wouldn’t go for it.

She is claiming that he never should have “offered” her the coronal option. But because IN HIS OPINION she was a “borderline” case he did give her the coronal option. She had to decide which was more important to her. Keeping her hairline the way it was and have the direct approach brow lift, or keep her hairline the way it was by not doing the eyelids or brow lift at all and just sticking with the lower face and neck lift, period.

But SHE CHOSE to do the coronal brow lift because clearly it was more important to her to have her upper eyelids done (so she thought) than worry about her hairline being raised a little. And with the “Direct Approach” brow lift which Dr. Lev felt she was a better candidate for, the incision is made directly in the eyebrows and there is a little bit of the incision that extends onto the face from the end of the brow. She wouldn’t even consider that option even though Dr. Lev is known for his beautiful and fine stitching and that little bit of incision that extends from the end of the brow would fade nicely over time. And whatever faded scarring that would remain could easily be covered with a good concealer.

What is outrageous is that on the realself.com website she refuses to post her before and after photos of her total face lift done by Dr. Lev. She only posts photos of her hair transplantation surgery done by another surgeon trying to pass it off as Dr. Lev’s surgery! And in those photos it looks like Dr. Lev raised her hairline by a ton. But when she went to the other surgeon for a hair transplantation surgery, she had him lower her original hairline by at least an inch. But she makes it appear like Dr. Lev removed almost two inches of hairline! She is not being truthful. She is doing her level best to destroy Dr. Lev’s reputation, pure and simple. What she is doing is cruel, nasty and disgusting in my opinion. In my “armchair therapist” opinion, I would say she’s angry as hell at HERSELF for making all the decisions she made that led her to results she was unhappy with. She was unhappy with her results because she had….UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS.

In addition to unrealistic expectations, she didn’t do her homework prior to going to a foreign country to have major surgery. She made a snap decision about something as important as a coronal brow lift. Dr. Lev gave her that option because in HIS OPINION she was, as I have said a few times before, a “borderline” case. She says her US hair transplant doctor told her he NEVER would have “offered” her that option.

Seriously? She’s playing THAT card?

I’m sure I don’t have to get into the sour grapes that runs wild in the US among plastic surgeons who are losing a lot of business to foreign plastic surgeons. They will look for any opportunity to bash a Costa Rican doctor’s work. DUH! No one knows what that doctor would have “offered” to JHEALER. You can speculate all you want, but you will never really know, will you? Will JHEALER?

Almost everyone who has responded to JHEALER on the realself.com website has asked her to please post her before and after photos of her FACE LIFT by Dr. Lev. They want to see if she actually looks as disfigured as she claims. And of course she won’t post her face lift pictures. Why? Because she had a great result overall. Dr. Lev worked the same magic on her that he has been working on patients for 25 years. He didn’t just decide that with JHEALER he would slack off and do a lousy job. He considers every single patient a blank, new canvas and he is the artist. He doesn’t go to work when he’s ill. He doesn’t do anything to put any patient at unnecessary risk. He wasn’t having a bad day that day when he did JHEALER’s surgery. She got a fantastic result! Natural and youthful. Period.

Of COURSE I would never post someone’s personal photos anywhere, anytime. But in one of my posts in response to her harangue against Dr. Lev I mentioned that I happened to have her lovely before and after photos right there on my desk and if she would like, I could easily post them so that everyone who was asking to see them, could. Of course she went ballistic warning me that it was against the law to post photos of her without her permission.

Now, I’m not discounting the fact that JHEALER is disappointed with her surgery. She says she is traumatized. Ok. I’m sorry she is traumatized. But whether or not she is traumatized doesn’t excuse what she has done to a great and beloved doctor’s formerly pristine reputation. Especially since there are absolutely positively NO PHOTOS OF THIS JHEALER WOMAN THAT ARE DISFIGURED. NOT A ONE! NOT EVEN CLOSE.

The people who were chatting with her on realself.com definitely “got the picture” when she wouldn’t post her face lift photos. That was my goal. To discredit her claims or at the very least shed doubt on them one by one. When I did that in my posts JHEALER wrote to the powers that be of the realself.com website saying she felt bullied by me and other patients of Dr. Lev’s. I personally posted under my name, not under a fake name, by the way.

Of course JHEALER is upset and disappointed and all the things that people feel after making bad decisions. I’m sorry for the way she is feeling. But I am upset that she is following through on her threat to ruin Dr. Lev’s beautiful reputation. That is just plain nasty and vengeful. The doctor didn’t pay her off and so she is going to town defaming this extraordinary doctor?

Defaming a man who is a gifted surgeon who is loving and nurturing of his patients, who’s never had a bad word spoken of him anywhere until now, is just, well, a sin. It’s murdering someone’s reputation. That is a terrible thing to do to someone. JHEALER never ONCE takes a tiny bit of responsibility for making the decision to have the coronal brow lift. She just blames the doctor. Over and over and over.

Of course the piece de resistance after all was said and done was that JHEALER tells me that she was HORRIFIED with what the doctor did to her EYELIDS!!!!! What did she find horrifying? Ready for this?


When I received that email from her I was dumbfounded. Speechless. Sick to my stomach. When I gained my ability to function again, I emailed her and calmly asked her to explain what she means by this. It was a first for me. I never heard anything like that before. After all, upper eyelid surgery is ALL ABOUT removing the excess skin!

She told me the following. “In the magazines like Cosmo, all the young models have full upper eyelids that are youthful and beautiful and Dr. Lev took away all the excess skin and now you can see my upper eyelids fully and completely which is NOT what I wanted AT ALL!!!!

After knocking back a shot of Patron, I went back to my computer to email her again.

I mentioned to her that had she told me she really didn’t want her eyelids done in the first place, the whole brow lift thing would have not even been a tiny little thought in anyone’s head. That all I would have booked her for would have been a lower face lift and neck. Period. She told me that what he SHOULD have done was to inject filler or fat grafts into her upper lids to “fill them up again” rather than removing the excess skin.

That was the last email I received from “JHEALER” because after that I blocked her from my email address.

People, please! Do your research. Do your homework. Understand about the surgeries you ask for before you ask for them and before you even contact me. Then even after you contact me, ask me a million questions. I will answer them all happily. I promise. That is my best advice to you. And please remember, if you look like Eleanor Roosevelt, you will never ever look like Halle Berry, no matter how great your plastic surgeon is or where he practices!!!!!!

Didi Carr Reuben About The Author I'm Didi Carr Reuben and I work as a U.S. Patient Coordinator for Dr. Lev, a Brazilian trained plastic surgeon in Costa Rica. My job is to coordinate patients who come to us from anywhere outside of Costa Rica. Dr. Lev and I set aside clusters of dates in each month of the year solely for individuals who reside outside of Costa Rica who are seeking plastic surgery


  1. MG says:

    I LUV how candidly your messages come across. I’m in the middle of doing research for a face/neck and eyelid surgery.
    Thanks for being short, clear, and precise with information about the surgeries and how Dr. Lev operates on a professional level.


  2. Laura says:

    Dr Lev is one of my due diligence options, and he is high on my list. I’ve been following his post-op cases, and so far I’m impressed. I have very high ideals, but I also know my face isn’t my 39 y o one. I met a lady w/ a Dr Lev face and neck lift, etc,…and she looked fantastic. Dr Lev is an artist.

  3. Maureen says:

    Thanks, Didi! Knowing both sides of this story (which I did read on Real Self website), has been enlightening.
    I also noted how Jhealer posted no photos of herself, and found that somewhat suspicious on her part.
    I’d love to meet you, Bronx Girl!
    Aloha from Hawaii!

  4. Laura Payan says:

    Didi, I am dumbfounded, pass the Patron! I have had 3 surgeries by Dr. Levi and he is the love of my life and hoping on seeing him again. My prrsonal feeling is her whole purpose was blackmail and when she didn’t succeed her agenda changed to ruining his excellent reputation. No one could be that stupid. Show me the pictures, SHOW ME THE PICTURES. Just like you i am a Bronx girl. It will be a sad day when he retires. Friend of RR.

  5. lisa page says:

    I would like to make contact with Dr. Lev

  6. Irene says:

    Thank you for your in depth post. I would like to consult with you about a consult! JHEALER review sounds fishy and not credible. Totally over the top. Good for you not allowing extortion.

  7. Sydney Rose says:

    I read this response with heavy heart and sadness understanding how one vengeful and spiteful person can hurt and destroy one’s reputation and good intentions. I’m not a patient of Dr. Lev but I plan to be when the time comes. I have shared your site and his information with many friends now. I already decided this is where I’m going for certain procedures. I was at a party recently when a friend who’s much much older than me looks absolutely youthful and fantastic. She’s honest so she told me about her full facelift she did with Dr. Lev. She tried to show me the scar (or remnants of it) but I couldn’t even see it. That’s how well it was done and how well it healed. She looked most natural, so youthful and so perfect at her age! She showed me pictures of some of her girlfriends who had facelift, eyelids, and other procedures done and I was astounded, shocked at how amazing his work is!! They all look so perfect. You can’t even tell they had work done. No scarring after time or minimal scarring that’s healing from a recent surgery well concealed. The final work product is so natural and just a work of a skillful surgeon. I have few procedures I want to get done, one at a time, but I know Dr. Lev will be my surgeon of choice because his work shows he’s not only very skilled but you and Dr Lev care about your patients!

  8. Julia Coonan says:

    Hi Didi
    I’m not surprised at all – its the way the world is going – get the work done and then try to either not pay or get your money back. Its a world of litigation and I’m glad that people have the option of going to Costa Rica and having surgery at a reasonable price whichde all the lititation insurance. I’ve looked at all the before and after pictures and I really impressed – I would like Dr. Lev to do my facelift! I need to make an appointment! Thank you for sharing your feelings.

  9. Rebecca says:

    we need to be appreciative of an amazing doctor who cares tremendously . That is worth so much I really can appreciate being real and pay attention to the precious gifts it take time and patients so I feel I would be interested too. I have started some emails but I like this doctor

  10. Joanna ryan says:

    I had surgery with Dr lev in 2015 on the 18th July I’m from Wales in the U.K. Didi guided me through the process and was available every step of the way . I had a full face lift ,eyebrow lift and upper and lower eyelid lift . The results were amazing so natural I still looked like myself but much better I can’t recommend Dr lev enough .

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