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!!