Smith's doctor says she's "doing great" after her first surgery
“Compared to last time, I feel more relaxed. I know what to expect, I feel better about it,” the 19-year-old from Portland, Tennessee, told PEOPLE right before she entered the six-hour surgery. “Before the last surgery, body-wise I felt like I was old granny, but now I m starting to look more like a teenager.”
Smith was surrounded by her family, including mother Kim, sisters Brittany and Kristen and brother Ryan, as well as her trainer-coach Kina.
Smith’s second surgery will be performed by Miami plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Salzhauer, who was so moved by Smith’s story that he offered to perform her surgeries for free.
Smith’s first surgery earlier this year saw the removal of 10 pounds of skin from her body; Sunday’s surgery will include more skin removal, from her back side and hips, and a Brazilian butt lift.
“Compared to last time, I was kind of nervous because I didn’t know what to expect, but I know the doctor and the staff now and I feel comfortable with them,” Smith says.
Salzhauer feels pretty good, too, telling PEOPLE: “I’m super happy with how everything is looking so far, and I can t wait to see the final result when we are done with all the surgeries and she goes on with her life and her beautiful body.”
In the days leading up to her second surgery, Smith and her family spent some time in Key West, where Smith says she finally conquered her fear of bridges … and even tried mahi-mahi for the first time.
“I saw my first lighthouse and I climbed under a danger sign. That’s something I would have never done before,” she says.
Smith is aware and takes very seriously the impact her journey has had on thousands of people (her Facebook account is maxed out on friend requests). And she knows the changes are more than skin deep.
“I actually had someone tell me recently that I helped them save their life,” Smith says. “She was contemplating suicide and when she had seen my post one day, she ended up not doing it, so I stay in contact with her now. We talk usually once a week.”
Smith won’t be undergoing surgeries forever, and she says she’s excited for what comes after.
“Year one was about losing all the weight, year two is the surgeries, year three will be defining and sculpting, and then year four I ll be showing it off.”
Kaitlyn Smith is sharing her story by blogging on PEOPLE.com. Come back every Monday for updates on her inspirational journey.
• Reporting by BECKY RANDEL