I first saw my Plastic Surgeon in November last year (2011) ,and, prior to going, I had done all the obligatory preparation that the modern woman does; primarily I Googled the heck out of the topic. 😉
But seriously apart from the google self research, I got a referral from my lap band surgeon, spoke to my GP and gotten another referral for the plastic surgeon, and begun to meet with a psychologist to talk about the changes ahead.
During all my research there did not seem to be a lot to find about people’s personal journey’s with this type of surgery. There was a lot of info from American sources, mainly plastic surgeons who were explaining their services and methods of surgery. Overall I did not find much of this information to be either relevant or helpful.
What I did find helpful was a list of questions to ask your plastic surgeon about their qualifications, the procedures you are considering, what they would suggest, recovery etc. I went to the Plastic surgeon with the idea of what occurs in America as being the norm. This would be what most of us have seen on USA TV shows; where people who were once morbidly obese and after losing their weight, have multiple procedures at once – including a belt lipectomy (tummy tuck all the way around the middle), arm lift, thigh lift and breast lift.
So I spoke to my Surgeon (lets call him House) who has consulting rooms at a very reputable Private Hospital in Malvern. On our first meeting he listened to my story of weight loss, running and wanting to deal with the skin that was holding me back both physically and emotionally. He listened well, answered all my questions on my list and explained what he thought would be the best plan forward for my personal situation and case.
House explained that I would likely get better results in the long term by breaking all the procedures that I would need up over 3 different surgeries. This would allow my body to recover better, allow the skin to be stretched in one direction for one procedure and then tightened the opposite direction on the next procedure. House also explained that in the USA they tend to have to do all the procedures at once to get their health insurance to cover it as they often won’t cover and pay for multiple procedures despite this providing better results over time (Yet another reason to be thankful for Australian Health Cover).
House was great in the initial consultation, he showed me pics of his work and I felt at ease with him. I scheduled the 1st surgery for tummy tuck including a lateral thigh lift (this means it goes a bit wider than a tummy tuck over to the sides) and a Brachioplasty (arm lift) for Feb 14th 2012…We agreed that these were the two main areas that were affecting my health, exercise progress and self esteem the most, and to start there and work on the other areas progressively over the next 18 months.
From this point it was a matter of working out the logistics such as; time off work, money, and staying fit and healthy… What I found out in the lead up to surgery was that despite wanting the surgery I was very scared and fearful of what was ahead.
Some days I was fine with the idea of surgery, but mostly I spent most of my time trying not to think about it. Part of the reason (apart from not liking hospitals) was that I was scared more this time than the last time I had surgery (which was the lap band surgery). I was scared because I love life now; and actually have a life to lose… Last time I didn’t have any quality of life, nothing to lose and the prospect of something going wrong didn’t seems like it could be worse than the life I lived then.
I spoke to friends and colleagues, and my Psychologist about this… Their feedback was it is OK to be scared (it is normal) but they also reminded me that my surgeon and all the people involved in the surgery are professionals and do this type of surgery all the time!
This was what I needed to hear and allowed me to think about the surgery in a new way…
So in the lead up to surgery; I used a variety of strategies to get through and deal with the anxiety –
*Being informed & trusting that House is a professional who knows his stuff and practices at a great hospital.
*Staying busy and speaking to my friends, family and Psych. A Big thanks to my all friends and family for listening to me and a special thanks to SM who told me her personal story of plastic surgery and what she went through with a tummy tuck!
*Continuing to live a very social life – Meeting up with friends, going out, working out and having a few drinks; still living and enjoying life.
*Knowing that at the end of it all, I am strong and can get through this (They have drugs for the pain right!)
So in the next installment I will talk about the day before surgery and the big day itself!
Till next time