RALEIGH, N.C. — It is a new beginning for a Raleigh woman who spent four months and thousands of dollars on an effort to turn her life around.
Four months ago, Cheryl Hardy embarked on a journey she hoped would change her life. After 10 years of emotional recovery after her husband's suicide, it was time to renew her physical appearance.
"I have 30 more years left, maybe 20, but at least I'll feel better and hopefully look better," she said.
It began with liposuction, a facelift and browlift. The seven-hour procedure left Hardy swollen and bruised. Weeks later, she got porcelain veneers. Her smile is now straighter, broader and whiter.
Hardy then went to a spa for skin treatments and permanent eye makeup. She also underwent Lasik eye surgery.
"I'm just looking forward to not dealing with glasses," Hardy said.
Two weeks after the procedure, Hardy's vision is 20/20. She also put the finishing touches on her look -- complete with a new hairstyle, color and highlights. Hardy tried on outfits for everyday and special occasions.
"I need color. I just have a lot of black in my wardrobe. I've been wearing too much black," she said.
Four months later, a special occasion -- a party in her honor -- was held, where Hayes made a dramatic entrance. Doctors, who did the work, and friends, who helped her through the process, gathered to see the finished product. Afterward, she felt like she had stepped back in time.
"This is the way I used to look 10 to 15 years ago," Hardy said.
Hardy said her physical appearance is not the only thing that has changed about her. She said she has more confidence, gets more attention, and hasn't felt this good since before her husband died.
"The grief is over. Every bit of it is finished. I'm done," she said.
Hayes said she is ready to focus on relationships, her career, and the rest of her life. Hardy admits her makeover did not come cheap. The total cost of everything she had done cost more than $35,000. She said every penny was worth it and she would do it all again.