i never straightened my hair to that extent, just the usual blow drying back in the day which was bad enough.
i can give you suggestions -- first off, i'd take a photo or two of your hair now so you can compare and see progress as you go along.
i'd do deep conditioning treatments weekly, very important. and, if your hair texture is fine, i'd do protein treatments from time to time.
finding out your hair properties will help you select products that are most likely to work for your hair. you can send for a hair analysis through livecurlylivefree.com (on side menu click on hair analysis).

also, keep reading for more info. have you read 'the curly girl' book, by lorraine massey (2009 edition). that gives lots of basic info. plus, read all the threads on here in the 'newbie' forum.

good luck, your hair will only get better, just give it time. the haircut was the right start.
[FONT="Arial Narrow"]
3a, some 2c & 3b, medium texture, porosity normal, low elasticity
washing/cowashing, conditioning, protein tx: [I] curl junkie products
leave in:cj conditioners and treatments as leave in
styling: cj aloe fix gel, cj pattern pusha, cj honey butta leave in, cj cccc, cj ciab.
sealants - jane carter nourish & shine