Friday, October 7, 2011

Pre-Op Appointment

So I went back to the plastic surgeon today, to finalize details for the surgery. After asking her a bunch of questions, I decided that I am going to go ahead with the lower body lift (rather than just the tummy tuck). There was good news and bad news--apparently my insurance is going to cover a panniculectomy only, which is removal of the abdominal skin. This does NOT include the tightening of the abdominal muscles or the replacement of the belly button (which, the surgeon told me, would mean my belly button would be down near my pubic area afterward!) 

So if I wanted her to do those things, it would not be covered by insurance--it would cost roughly $2,000 out of pocket to add that. Of course, I told her that the belly button replacement is a MUST, so adding that and the muscle repair wasn't even optional for me. We also talked about my hips and butt, and she said that if we did the lower body lift, the cost out of pocket would be $4,300. She showed me the results I can expect, and even though the hips and butt are a cosmetic procedure and not medical (like my abdomen), I decided that I really want to just do it all. I don't think I'll have a problem financing it--but I'll definitely need to consider getting a job next year to help pay for it. (This is when I wish I had a big enough blog to make money for blogging!)

Anyway, my mom went with me to the appointment this time, and asked a few questions too. She liked the surgeon and she thinks I made the right decision about the procedure. She kept saying, "You've EARNED this!"  And I guess that's true. But my body wouldn't look like this right now if I had taken care of it from the beginning.

All of the pre-op paperwork was filled out, and the doctor gave me prescriptions for antibiotics and pain meds to get filled before surgery. She gave me two bars of soap that she wants me to use--one the night before surgery, and one the morning of surgery.

And then, for the big surprise... She actually asked me if I would be willing to let a film crew record a video of the surgery itself. At first, I just laughed, like, "Um, NO". But she said my face would not be in it, and it's would be used for medical students. I decided to say yes. Because when I think about it, she is probably going to make damn sure to do her best job possible if she is being filmed. Also, I will know that everyone in the surgery room will be on their best behavior as well, and there will be less of a chance for something to go wrong ;) 

I asked why she chose ME to film, and the reason was because she said I have a "tiny little body under there" and that I'm going to have great results from this. Most of the weight loss patients she works on are post-bariatric surgery, and they are still overweight; they also don't do much exercise (particularly not strenuous exercise like running). My body is very fit underneath my saggy skin, so she knows I will have good results worth using in a video, apparently. The film crew is actually working on a series of videos of different procedures.

The doctor stressed how important it is for me to eat a lot of protein post-op. This is going to be very difficult for me, but I'm going to follow all instructions right to the tee to make sure I heal as fast as possible. Losing weight, I felt best on a lower-protein, higher-carb, higher-fat diet. I always feel kind of crappy when I eat a lot of protein or especially when I limit carbs. I think I'll get some non-dairy protein powders and I'll make shakes for breakfast and lunch, and then I'll try to have meat with dinner every day. She wants me to get upwards of 100 grams of protein per day, which is going to be challenging. And she wants me to start doing this soon.

My recovery is going to suck for about 10 days. I will not be able to sit up at all--I can only lie down on my side or stand (this is to avoid stretching the incision on my back). This means I won't be able to even go anywhere, because I'd have to sit in the car. I'm hoping that my friends will come visit me and keep me company! I was hoping to be able to blog often, but I don't know how I'll do that, unless I'm standing. Or maybe I'll do video blogs ;) 

So from now until the surgery, all I have to do is prepare for my recovery; get financing for the surgery; buy 2 compression garments; and fill my prescriptions. The doctor wants me to stay overnight in the hospital, so I will be having the surgery on a Monday instead of Friday the 11th, like I thought. Right now, it looks like November 14th--but they are waiting to get confirmation that the the team will be available overnight (or something like that). I'll let you know when the date is for-sure, but it looks like it'll be the 14th!

Some of you have asked me if I'm going to show pictures from before and after. I haven't decided yet. If you had asked me this before the weight loss, I would have said sure, of course I'd want to show it off! However, I get so many questions about excess skin that I have become extremely self-conscious of it; and the last thing I want to do is draw attention to it and feel like a freak show. I was thinking that maybe I'll make a private photo album for my "loyal" readers, people that I feel comfortable sharing the pics with.

I'm so excited to just do this already!!

38 comments:

  1. WOW! Very exciting. That is a perspective on the film crew that I don't know if I'd come up with on my own - but very good point! Best wishes.

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  2. Hey there Katie. I have been following/reading your blog here for a few weeks now. Sorry I have not said anything sooner! :) I heard about you over at Sparkpeople months ago!

    Just wanted to say I wish you the best and a safe and fast recovery! I'm sure you are excited and nervous! Take care :)
    ~L

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  3. So happy for you that you're getting the total tune up. You really have earned it so I'm glad you're doing it. If you really want to blog you could dictate them via phone or something and have someone type them in. I know we're all looking forward to hearing all about it and we'll miss you for 10 days :)

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  4. That's so exciting, congratulations! Even if you don't post pics for everyone, make sure you take them for yourself. I'm so happy for you : )

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  5. So exciting! I agree with hmpetras - at least take photos for yourself! Yay!

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  6. You have definitely earned this! You are an inspiration & I read your blog every day so i don't lose my motivation! Way to go...and as others have said, at least document your surgery journey in pics for yourself. :-)

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  7. I actually had the camera out the other day to take a picture of my stomach because I'm using a "skin firming" cream and I want to see if there will in fact be any results, (just to help with some of the stretch marks), but the batteries were dead. You should definitely take before, during and after pictures. I guess your surgeon can give you a good idea of when the swelling will be completely gone. I just saw a blog (I think it was "Roni's weigh") and she posted pictures, drains and all, right from the beginning all the way to two years out.

    Don't be afraid to show your belly. If any of us have lost a considerable amount of weight we have loose skin as well. The other night I was laying in bed, watching Biggest Loser with my husband, and I exposed my stomach to look at it and the stretch marks... The first thing I said, through the tears, was "I did this to myself." I know what you're feeling.

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  8. Why you should have asked to be paid for her video.....or did you and she said no? ;-) Anyway, I think they should give you some thing or saying yes to the video.

    Oh...I feel for you with the recovery but, in the "long run" it will be oh so worth it.

    ;-)

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  9. Hey..I just noticed I comment a lot...(cuz I made the side roll) ...so just wanted to throw another comment in there...ha!

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  10. You could always just post the "after" and not the before. But definitely take photos for your own sake. I have found you quickly forget "how bad" it was before - although you have many photos to remind yourself with and I didn't really.

    Whether you post photos or not, I am so EXCITED for you. If I was rich I would give you the $4000 myself!

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  11. PS...

    Can't you get a discount for being filmed??? :)

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  12. So excited that you decided to do the total body. My friend did it about 7 years ago, and it changed her life! Recovery was rough the first 2 weeks, and I think she didn't listen as well as you plan to. She had 4 kids to take care of, so it was very difficult for her to do nothing for 10 days! I will be praying for you for a speedy recovery. Hoping you will still somehow be able to blog. Maybe you can train Jerry how to do it and you can dictate and he can type it for us?! ;) We'll miss you!

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  13. Exciting news & a big congrats to you! You're apprehension is understandable, but you will be in good hands. And it was very good thinking on your part about agreeing with the filming to help keep everyone accountable since all will be recorded! A little extra peace-of-mind insurance doesn't hurt. : )

    No one should feel bad for what one may have done to their body to be in the situation that they are in today, especially after all the hard work and dedication it took to lose the weight and change your original situation. Fortunately, you were able to take control and change your life. That is a tremendous feat and something to be so proud of!!! You are who you are today because of your hard work. Thankfully, medical technology has advanced and is able to offer such successful procedures. I'm all for tummy tucks or whatever one wants to do to improve their lives. And if it's on a credit card or other financing, it will be so worth it. One of my close friends had a tummy tuck and she loves her results, and she looks great. You look great now, but afterwards you will look simply "mahvelous"!

    I know that you have read this many times, but it's something that can't be overdone, you are a wonderful inspiration! And I, as well as so many other readers, thank you so much for sharing your life with us, and we are so happy for you!

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  14. I am really glad you chose to go the lower body lift, I was afraid you might regret not doing it.

    I also think that the price is very reasonable for a full lower body lift!

    Have you looked at some isolated whey protein? That is the protein powder I love because it isn't chalky, it has almost no flavor and mixes in without noticing into yogurt or a bit in coffee, etc.

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  15. I wish you the best of luck! Thank you for being an inspiration everyday!

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  16. Congrats!! This is so exciting!

    I didn't know you were running BHBH Sunday - that's so exciting! We should meet up :)

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  17. Katie, I am so excited and thrilled for you. That must have made you feel great to hear the dr. say you are a TINY person under the excess skin. That was good thinking to let her film it, like you say, she will do her best since it's being shown to med students! I know your results are going to be great and you are so young, you have many years to enjoy your great new body.
    I understand how you feel both good and guilty about it all, since you have "earned it" as your mom said, and yet if you had taken care of your body from the start, you wouldn't need the surgery. But you're taking care of it now, so you do deserve it!
    Can't wait to hear how it all goes, even if it's not until weeks afterwards since you will be incapacitated for quite a while. Good luck!

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  18. Had to add, my word verification this time was intight! Seems appropriate for a blog about a tummy tuck!

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  19. Hi, I am new to your blog, but I find myself coming here everyday to see your progress. You are such an inspiration and have actually motivated me to do something about my own weight. Anyway, you mentioned making money for blogging and it reminded of this:

    http://www.allthingsthrifty.com/search/label
    /Blogging%20Tips

    I read it the other day and I had to share. Hopefully it can help and good luck!

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  20. I'm so excited for you! I'm sure it will suck for you to do nothing for a while but I'm glad you're going to follow the doctors orders! I will miss reading your blog everyday but I'm sure the first one you write when you're starting to feel a little better will be amazing! Have a good weekend!

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  21. I am super excited for you, it's just awesome! Your Mum is right, you have definitely earned it :)

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  22. This is so interesting to me. I just know you will have great results with your surgery. I hope your recovery and everything goes well. I wonder myself If I will have too much excess skin. I only have 30 pounds to go before I'm in a healthy weight range and I have already lost 70. Already I can see a good amount of extra skin on my stomach and arms. I wish my belly button would look like a circle and not a frowny face.

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  23. I would love to see before and afters. I have read your blog forever and I am really excited for you!! I am hoping to get the same procedure some day.

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  24. This is awesome! Congrats :) You really do deserve this. I'm terrified about how much leftover skin I'm going to have as I keep losing. I can only imagine how uncomfortable it is. So I'm very happy that you are able to take care of it. Don't beat yourself up about what you did to your body in the past, because well...it's in the past! Be proud that you were able to get our of that phase in your life!

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  25. omg it would be sooo cool if you get to have a copy of the video!! lol. and yay for getting the full procedure. I hope it turns out just like you want it. I would be very interested in seeing what your body looks like right now and I dont think you should be embarrassed about it! I feel funny saying that though because i have tons of loose skin from going from 284 lbs down to 179 lbs so far. lol. But even still I think I would want to post before and after pictures of something like that just because people are curious by nature and i think it would be helpful to others to see what all it consists of going through and doing, etc. Maybe that's just me though.

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  26. I just noticed KJ has only got me up by one, so I had to throw in another comment, too! lol.

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  27. Good luck! That lower body lift actually scares me to death, lol. :D But I guess it's good that it'll be on camera!

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  28. I am so excited for you Katie!!!!! You are going to look amazing after the surgery!!!! It sounds like your Dr. will take extra special care of you, yay!!!!
    I didn't think that I could comment on your blog on my phone, but I am glad that I figured it out!!!! Good luck on your race tomorrow? Are you having pasta fir dinner tonight?!?!?:-)

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  29. Congratulations! And I think you made a good choice about the film crew and I agree with your reasoning there.

    I think we are all interested in seeing before and after because we are so scared ourselves. And we are still on the fence. I will be following these posts religiously because this is something I am seriously considering when I get to my goal weight, but I dont know what to expect and it IS so scary. I still don't know if it is worth it for me.

    I will be cheerleading you all the way! You are so brave!

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  30. How do you feel about your husband seeing you in recovery?

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  31. I'm SO excited for you and this surgery!! I know you DEF Deserve it!! And I'm glad you went with the full lower body lift!! Also CONGRATS on them choosing you to film - that is very cool!! Do they let you watch the video afterwards?? I'd be interested to watch if it were me!! I do hope you decided to show before/after pics - even to just some of us ;) Because You know we would never judge you! We are just so happy and proud of you for coming so far!! :)

    Either way I wish you ALL the best in your surgery and can't wait to hear all about it!! :)

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  32. P.S. I took pictures of my "jowls of a dog" as Kate Gosselin would say. I'll show you mine if you show me yours! LOL!

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  33. I can't believe that insurance won't pay to have your belly button moved back into position for crying out loud! YIKES. That seems crazy. Good for you on doing the whole thing. You really HAVE earned it! Any chance the film company could pay for part of your procedure? I mean, somebody is going to possibly be making money off these videos - I especially think this as they are looking for someone who will have really great results. If they just wanted to show the surgery, they could have used anyone to show med students a procedure. If they want someone who is gonna look gooood (you!) I'll bet it's because this video could be used as a marketing tool. Just a thought. I could be wrong. Anyway, I think you should ask! The worst they can say is "no". So happy for you!

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  34. My computer is finally letting me post comments! Yay! I'm so stinkin excited for you! I can't wait to see how you feel physically and mentally after you are all healed up. I completely understand about your feelings on the whole before and after pics thing. Even though I've lost 60 lbs I'm still way in the before catagory so I was thinking, "heck ya, I'll show people my before and after pics" but you kinda gave me a new perspective on it. Some people have no filter from their brain to their mouth (or typing fingers). I have vitilio pretty bad and I have total stangers come up to me and ask me what happened or was I burned in a fire, etc. I'm like WTF??? It makes me want to ask them random, rude questions like why their breath stinks or why they bought the ugly shirt they are wearing but pretty soon I got tired of all the questions and startedc making stuff up, like yeah I was burned saving a kitten from a chemical fire or something. It can get fun. Anyway, I went way off track there...my point is F them, show who you want and don't feel pressured to do anything in that regard that you don't want to. : )

    -Jen (jennygump21)

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  35. *Vitiligo* oops

    -jen

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  36. Wow, so much to catch up on with reading your blog. That's a tremendous step you are taking. I wish you all the best and I am sure you are going to be amazed by the body they discover beneath the skin. :)

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  37. I'm so excited for you. I wish you the best for your recovery. I'll be looking forward to any updates you can post!

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  38. I'm so excited for you (and a little nervous too)! I admire you so much and I'm so grateful for you sharing all of this. I'm determined that in a year or two, that I will be where you are now! Maybe I should start setting aside some money each month now to pay for this or something like it in the future.

    Have you ever thought about making t-shirts for your blog and selling those or just putting up a paypal type donation button (or whatever it's called). Even if you don't get enough to pay for everything, maybe it could help a little!

    Wishing you all the best.

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)