Not the worst Monday morning I have ever had but I can certainly tell you waking up for a consultation to see if I am a candidate for a Panniculectomy/Abdominoplasty was certainly up there on moments I could have lived without.
Normally I am not really too self conscious about my body these days. I have no problem getting in and out of my armor in front of whomever is around. However, with that being said, standing in a room in front of not one, not even two…but THREE complete strangers and being completely naked was indeed not fun. Now, for the record, all 3 of those folks (2 men, 1 woman) were all doctors and probably had no interest other than medical necessity to see this 49 year old woman’s naked body. But for the past 72 hours I have been dreading that moment. When they took my blood pressure and it was 148/95 that definitely told me that I was much more stressed than I had really admitted to myself. That is much higher than I am normally…ever!
I have been torn between being ‘body positive’ about myself and worried about what the doctors might have to say about my body. In the end, I sat in a very large chair, one I probably would have been thankful to have at my original body weight, and waited to meet the judges aka doctors.
Prior to this appointment, I had no other real interaction with plastic surgeons other than those involved with my initial gastric bypass and them discussing future options once I lost my weight. Things were drastically different 9 years later.
First and foremost, we have to see if my insurance will cover the Panniculectomy. We already know that they will NOT cover a Abdominoplasty and I can live with that. If they will cover the panniculus removal, I will move forward and will see if I will need other surgeries down the road. This is the bare minimum that will get done once approved. Depending on what happens when the surgeon gets inside, will be up to him, but he is limited to certain things within the confines of coverage. With a panniculectomy my down time of NO exercise whatsoever will be 2-3 weeks. After that I should have no restrictions, other than any unforeseen complications.
My maximum time of recovery may be as long as 6 weeks, depending on how the surgery goes. Typically its not that long unless there’s something inside that they need to deal with that they don’t know about. So all in all, my recovery time is much less than originally described to me. But its also a much less invasive surgery than what I was described too. Originally I was told I would need a full body lift and that would require a much more in depth recovery time. I don’t need that.
There is some worry as to how the rest of my tummy, above the incision line, will look if they only do a pannus removal. They will not go in and remove any excess fat storage from below my breastbone to my belly button, so I may end up with something that looks like a muffin top with the way my body is right at this moment.
I do not think that would be too much of an issue moving forward and if it does bother me more than I think it will, there is always liposuction that can be done down the road. My main concern is my pannus aka the ‘pontoons’. I need them removed. Plain and simple.
I was lucky enough to have Greg with me all morning and he has been a rock for me. When I forgot to mention certain things to the doctors, he stepped in and gave them more info than I could have remembered on my own. He kept me calm and seemed surprisingly appreciative of his nude wife in front of complete strangers. That made me feel awesome.
He knew I was worried and he took it in stride. He never fully gets all the ins and outs of my chaotic brain but he definitely gets it more than most. He was just there, supporting me and loving me the whole time. Even when I was nervously playing with all the breast implants and talking wildly about which ones would feel better when he would hold them lol. He probably would have drawn the line at me juggling them, but then I am a horrible juggler…and would be an even worse jubbly juggler I am sure 🙂
In the end, its a waiting game and I am sure my blood pressure isn’t going to go down anytime soon until I know whether or not my particular insurance policy will cover it. I was very surprised at the cut and dry of it all though. There won’t be any submitting photos or proving past medical problems. If my insurance covers the panniculectomy that is what I will have. If the answer comes back No, then we figure out what it would take to pay for a abdominoplasty ourselves and start from there.
Either way, today wasn’t as bad as I had thought, but it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped. I did have to get naked infront of strangers, but I wasn’t subjected to every single flaw of my body being pointed out. I guess that’s what an ex is for lol. So all in all it wasn’t horrible.
Do I still feel conflicted about being happy with one’s body and wanting to make improvements when possible? Yes. Absolutely. But Greg’s words to me on the drive home keep ringing true. He just kept telling me to do what makes ME happy. That’s all he cares about, is that I am happy. It doesn’t matter what my body looks like, he loves me. And he is what matters most to me in this world.
I do want to remove the excess skin & weight that I don’t need. I do want to look better, and be that girl I see under the weight. In truth, I want it all. But if absolutely NOTHING changed about my body, I would be happy. I would still be married to the most amazing person on the planet. I would still wake up every morning and smile at the person in the mirror. I would still have lovers who cared about me for who I am, not what my body looks like.
But yea, I want to remove what still remains of all the hard work and pain my body has gone through. There is nothing more nature can do. My body has bounced back as much as it can. I gave it 9.5 years and have worked my ass off the last 3 to push myself as far as I can. Its time to see what else can be done.
The paper work is being submitted and all I have to do is wait. Its just another step in this whole adventure that is my life. There will be good and there will be bad with both options, but taking this step was the hardest part…
Let the Fates be kind…