Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Have I got news for you?

I have been hit and miss lately for several reasons.  Once is that I have been uber busy at work which is why I'm writing this one late at night (although my Internet died so I had to copy and post today!)  I haven't even had a little break for a quick post and I have a feeling this will be a doozy.

So...another reason I haven't been writing much is that I have had something on my mind that I haven't been able to talk about until now. I had an appointment with a plastic surgeon this afternoon to discuss putting some of myself back together after the damage from my prolonged bout of obesity.  Here is the backstory:

While I don't judge plastic surgery at all, I never thought it would be for me.  I left the door open and never said "never", but I just kind of assumed I wouldn't ever ACTUALLY do it.  But lately, I have had a lot of frustrations with my body.
  1. Physically - my skin actually gets irritated and rashy from where there is skin on skin where there shouldn't be.
  2. Mentally - working my butt off at the gym and knowing that there are things that will not be fixed no matter how hard I work out...it gets old to not get to see the fruits of my labor.
One thing that has really changed in my life is how I feel about being photographed.  I avoided it almost all the time "before" or I would work hard to have a good pose.  OR...I was ashamed at what I saw.  I look back at so many pictures of myself and I can still feel the shame I felt back when they were taken.  I'm very glad to say that now, while I like some pictures way more than others (like a normal person), I don't have that feeling of shame anymore.

Well, almost anymore, anyway.  Whenever there is a picture of my arms or when I look at myself naked in the mirror, I feel ashamed.  Should I feel that way?  Probably not.  Can I wish away the feeling?  Probably not.

I decided that it was time to see a surgeon just to discuss my options.  I have had small breasts all my life, and I never really thought I wanted implants.  But one of the pros of having a small chest is perkier boobs, right?  Yeah, not here.  My itty bitty bumps still manage to hang to my belly.  I compare them to ping pong balls in a stocking.  Not hot.  In addition to considering a breast lift, I was interested in discussing an arm lift.  I didn't know what could be done, but I figured it didn't hurt to ask.

Y'all know me.  I have done my research and I felt confident I had most of the information I needed to ask the right questions.  My priorities (in this order) were:
  1. What can be done?
  2. How much does it cost?
  3. What is the recovery?
I basically set parameters for each one to help me decide whether to have any procedures at all and if so, whether I would have them now, after my Olympic trip or next year.  Amazingly, once I started the appointment, I  realized that they had set it up exactly like my priorities!

First, I met with the nurse who was nice as could be.  She said that usually weight loss patients start with the tummy but since I have not 100% ruled out having kids, we agreed that should wait.  I also feel that I can hide my leg issues for the most part so if I were to do anything with them, it would be down the road.  I wanted to focus on upper body.

I explained my skin issues and how I wanted to get rid of the irritation and rashing.  I explained how I wanted perky but not big breasts.  And I expressed my desire to fix my arms.  She explained that while all kinds of breast surgeries are very popular, arm surgery is not.  She said that people often decide against it when weighing the cost/benefit.  Anyway, we went through several questions and she was just delightful!

Then the doctor came in and I ADORE him.  He talked, talked, talked and asked questions and I really felt he wanted to do what is right for ME.  While I was still fully clothed, he went over everything I thought I might want and what he thought he could do.  As we discussed my Lap Band, he said, you know, everyone always tells you what you are doing wrong, but I want to tell you what you are doing right...making the decision to have surgery and lose the weight had to be hard, but you have added quality years to your life and you should be commended.  He did not have to say that and I thought it was very nice!

Then he had me stand up and he took his first look at my unclothed arms.  I think he might have actually squealed.  Ha!  His face just lit up and he said that this is another thing I had done right.  By working out extensively, I have built up the muscle mass in my arms so it is completely separate from the loose/hanging tissue.  He said that I'm a perfect candidate for this surgery and he already knows that he wants me for a website example.  Ha!  That made my day!!

Then onto the chestal area...  (Yes, I'm 12.  I actually giggled when I held the implant samples.)  Anyway, he said that the excessive weight loss had created this excess space on top of my breasts so a lift alone wouldn't be effective.  Nor could it be fixed by implants alone.  He put me in a bra contraption that simulated each look.  Not great.  He said that in order to "fix" the damage, he would need to do both.  I knew from my research that it was a possibility.  He told me he was going to have me try on two sizes.

I tried on the first ones and gasped.  My chest was HUGE!!  He giggled a little and said that they were the small ones...full B/small C.  He said that even thought I wear a B cup bra, I'm actually barely an A in one and not even an A in the other.  Wowza.  I knew I was small, but DANG!  He had me put in the full C cup and I laughed out loud.  I felt like a porn star.  Not can do, brotha.  Small C is is.  I was asked whether I wanted saline or silicone.  He recommended saline because it would work better with my shape (or lack thereof) and help fill out the broken down tissue.  Who knew?

Anyway, he had me try on a tank top with the implants and you guys...I almost had tears in my eyes.  And that was still with my ugly arms.  I told him that I had convinced myself that this was all for shallow vanity...and quite honestly I had come to terms with that.  But he said that wasn't the case.  That he sees people that come in that want something from him that he can't give, but what I want is true restoration.  Even thought I was already fine with what I wanted to do, it made me feel even better about it.

He said that I will have anchor shaped scars under each breast from the lollipop lift.  And I will have a scar down the underside of each arm.  He said that many times he steers people away from the arm lift because of the scars, but you would have to be up close to see them after the fade.  Right now, my loose tissue is visible from very far away.  It is a good trade!

After all of that, I was supposed to talk to the nurse about cost, but she got delayed, so I talked to the Doctor about recovery.  He said that he felt with my age, fitness, & body, that I could have the surgery on Tuesday or Wednesday and be back to work in a limited capacity (I have a desk job) on Monday. 

You know my next question was about working out, right?  He said that I could get back into leisurely walking after a week, brisk walking and leg exercises after two weeks, and back to full work outs in a month.  I will probably plan for 6 weeks...longer for CrossFit.

Then it was time for cost.  I had a number in my head and his number for both procedures was slightly higher than my hope, but right at my expectation.  But I want this guy to do my surgery.  I don't need to price it out because I'm willing to pay extra for a doctor I like this much!

My final question was about timing.  I told him that I have scheduled a trip of a lifetime at the end of July and asked if I should wait to schedule this until the after.  He looked at me and asked why I would want to do that.  Good point!  I think it that moment, I knew.  I just had to work it all out in my head.  I will have to give up a few things for a while to pay for it, but if this isn't worth, I don't know what is!

I mean this is the year I LIVE, right?  So why wait?  I want to shed this last remnant of Fat Beth Ann and concentrate on Fit Beth Ann.  It is time!



Lap Band Gal said...

OMG! Congrats! :)

How exciting to be embarking on this journey of improving how you feel about your appearance. You are so fit, that I know you'll rock this. yay!

Steph said...

Big old massive congrats to you. first off, THANK YOU for referring to it as plastic surgery! Surgery being the key word!

I'm glad they were up front with you about thr tummy tuck issue before the option of kids is out of the picture. That is just throwing away money for vanity's sake. What you are doing is reasonable and well thought out. I'm glad he thinks you are a perfect candidate for the arm lift. As a plastic surgery patient, the scars will fade in time and I consider any to be a battle scar and it is 1000 times better than hanging skin in my opinion. (Plus laser treatments can help with scarring!)

I am so happy for you!!

Steph said...

Oh and one thing, my pain didn't set in until around day 4, so don't rush going back to work. Get some thigns on netflix and chill for a week! :)

vickyd said...

I've met with a few plastic surgeons and it sounds like you've found a winner! I know that it takes some time to wrap your head around all of the info they give you but it sounds like you've done the research and know exactly what you're getting into.

I'm so happy for you...I can't wait to see your results!!

kagead said...

Soooooo excited for you!!! Those are the two areas I'll want done, too (although my "chestal" area needs to decrease, not increase.) :)

You already look amazing and I can't wait for those nagging doubts to be GONE.

Theresa aka Tessie Rose said...

Good for you! How exciting!

Dawnya said...

Congratulations!!! This is awesome. I'm super excited for you!

Anonymous said...

Hugs Beth Ann.
I sounds like you got all your answers and are ready!

Cat said...

Awww, Hero, I'm so freaking thrilled for you. I am definately looking into an arm lift, I think you probably know that, so it's very encouraging to hear that the surgeon was impressed with the toning and definition in your arms. Please post before and afters of your arms if you will! I understand the breast issue being much more sensitive being on the net and all. : )

chloes_countdown said...

its takes courage to schedule & follow thru with the plastics appt! Its all about you and whatever you need to do to be happy. that is not vanity - its smart.

Good luck & keep us posted!

Anonymous said...

Beth, if you don't follow
Jen, @ http://www.priorfatgirl.com
go check out her site. Look for her post about surgery.
she probably would answer questions for you too. she had tt, arm and breast done not long ago. (i've had TT, and breast (lift with implants))
she has pics up too.
Good for you! deciding to do something for ourselves is always a tough decision, but we need to take care of and feel good about ourselves too!!

Angela said...

Good girl! So proud of you for taking this step. I feel the same way sometimes waffleing between vanity or necessity. I am going to email you because i have a question for you that you may not want to share on the blog. :)

Stephanie M. said...

I never said never either...and I'm looking into having my arms done next year...AFTER Alaska! Congrats to you on your decision...I think it's awesome.

Andrea said...

Wow, how awesome!!! So excited for you!!! What doctor did you go to? I may just have to check him out someday!

Kristin50 said...

That is so exciting and you have worked so hard for this!

You should reward yourself!

It is wonderful that you found someone you are so comfortable with!

Laura Belle said...

oh honey! I'm so proud of you! I think you know exactly what you want and are not afraid to get it. I know it must be horribly frustrating to work out as hard as you do and not be able to 'see' the results. I know, with the limited workouts i muster, i feel the same and it sucks.

I also am a firm believer in doing what makes you happy! And I definitely think this will make you happy. you're not doing it to fill a void, or because you think other people will like you more, you are doing it for you!


Stace said...

wow!! What exciting news!!! I can't wait to see your new boobies!!

greenie said...

That's exciting. I'm so glad you're posting about this. Good luck!!!

adorkbl said...

So exciting!! What a great post. Thanks for sharing your experience. Can't wait to see the results.

Joey said...

WOW!!! Good. For. You.

trisha said...

Hey girl! I am just getting caught up on the blogs and am reading about your EXCITING news!! How AWESOME!!

I wonder if your surgeon is the same as mine was when I got my breast aug done - cause mine was just as fabulous! lol

If you have any questions about the breast surgery stuff please don't hesitate to email me! I had mine done in 2005, back when I was skinny :( But I love my "girls" now and have never once regretted it! :)