Monday, April 11, 2011

Hurt like a bitch

As you probably know by now, I had gastric bypass in March 2004.  I lost 165 pounds, leaving me looking like a sharpei puppy, although not nearly as adorable. 

In 2006, I had three rounds of plastic surgery to remove the extra skin.  I couldn't get insurance to cover it (or didn't have the patience to), so I paid out of pocket.  The total for all surgeries was around $43,000.  I had a great surgeon -- Kevin Degnan in Walnut Creek, California.

My first round of surgeries was a breast lift and augmentation, lower body lift, along with liposuction of the inner thighs, in February 2006.  It was a pretty painful surgery, and I walked like a hunchback for about six to eight weeks, but the work was awesome.  The cost for that surgery was a little over $28,000.  (Maybe I'll save this for another post but since I wasn't able to get insurance to cover it, my CPA found an IRS case that allowed a woman who lost a significant amount of weight to write her reconstructive surgeries off on her taxes, and I was able to do this for 2006.  It resulted in an $8,000 refund.  Didn't cover everything but it was definitely better than nothing.  There were some things that I had to do before it could happen so please check with a CPA before you try that.  But it also explains why I shoved all of these surgeries into such a short period of time.)

The second round was an arm and inner thigh lift in June 2006.  That cost about $10,000.  My surgeon also did a little lipo of the lower back, above my body lift scar, which was holding some swelling.  He did that free of charge, though.  And it didn't help anyway.  I still hold a little swelling there.

The last round was the "bra overhang" in November 2006.  After the breast lift, then the arm lift, it kind of left that area under your arm, that hangs over your bra, saggy and ugly.  So my doctor connected the arm scar to the breast lift scar.  Sounds uglier than it is and the result was fantastic.  That surgery cost about $5,000, I believe. 

The purpose of my blog today is to actually talk about the arm and thigh surgery.  Everyone told me not to do my arms and thighs at the same time.  I figured it would be fine.  Boy, were they right.  The inner thigh surgery was ROUGH.  It was more painful than the lower body lift.  The scar is kind of in my underwear line so there's no way to sit without sitting on that incision.

When I had my first round of surgeries, I bought pink sweats to wear home, because on TV, all the girls wore pink sweats home from plastic surgery (usually boob jobs).  The lower body lift (tummy tuck that goes all the way around the body) wasn't bloody.  I had drains, which were gross, but nothing was leaking.  However, due to the drains, I had to wear my super baggy black sweats.  No adorable pink ones.

So, for my second round of surgeries, I was DETERMINED to wear those damned pink sweats.  First off, waking up from that surgery was miserable.  I was in a surgery center, not a hospital, and they want you awake and going home as soon as possible, so they can put the next person in that bed to wake up and "recover."  I got to spend the night for one night with the first round.  Not so for this one.  They kept trying to wake me up and I do not wake up from anesthesia easily.  So, they got a wheel chair and dumped me in it and put me in my then-boyfriend's car to go home. 

I was so tired, in SO much pain (significantly more than the other surgery) and I could feel EVERY bump in the road.  Luckily, I only lived a few minutes from the surgical center.  However, I lived in a second story condo and I clearly did not think that one out beforehand.  When we got to my house, he parked as close to my condo as possible, but I still had to walk a bit of a distance.  So I refused to get out of the car.  I went in and out of consciousness in the front seat of the car.  He finally went up to my condo and got my rolling computer chair.  He begged me to just sit in the chair so he could roll me to my house. 

I finally agreed.  He helped me get into the chair and he rolled me to the bottom of the stairs.  I finally got a look at my adorable pink sweats.  They were covered in blood.  I looked like I had been stabbed in the crotch or had started the worst period ever.  We got to the bottom of the stairs and I looked up at my door.  And I decided that I wasn't going to get out of the chair.  I was in so much pain and I was so tired.  So he let me sit in my chair for a bit, where I went in and out of consciousness.  He sat on the stairs, which kind of hid him from people walking on the walk-way, so I just looked like a bloody girl sitting alone in a computer chair. 

Finally, I heard a somewhat worried voice say, "Hello?!  Are you ok??"  My neighbor saw me sitting there, clearly bleeding to death, and probably wasn't sure if he should call 911 or what.  My ex called out, "Don't worry, she just had surgery!"  So that finally gave me the motivation to get my ass upstairs.  I could only take one step at a time, and it was a painful journey, but I finally got into the house, out of my bloody pink sweats and into bed. 

I wouldn't say that I wish I hadn't had those surgeries, but I definitely warn people that the thigh surgery especially is not an easy one.  And like my surgeon likes to say, he can hit a home run with a tummy tuck, but can only "'round third base with the thighs."  I'm happy enough with the results.  (I have photos I can share for those interested.)

 So now that I've spent so much to put my body back in order, you can see why it's become so much more important to me not to ruin the results by gaining weight.

And my quest to lose this 30 pounds continues.  My back feels better and I'm in the gym again.  I'm tracking my calories.  And I am going to be happy and accept that, even if I only lose a pound a month, at least I'm moving in the right direction.  :-)


  1. Yeah Lori....and steps is better than no steps at all..when you lose weight at a slower pace its more apt to stay off!I always remind my clients not to diet....that word is die...with a t we just change our life've worked so hard and you're on the right path...I see the changes!!!! You go girl....

  2. Lori how do you look now??? i am having a thigh lift June 26th

    1. They're ok. That was the most painful surgery and I'm not sure I would do it again. As I gained weight, I put most weight on there, giving me a saddlebag look that I never had before. I guess the scars from my lower body lift kind of pushed the fat into new areas. There are some pictures on my profile if you click on it, which will show me in shorts. I also have more cellulite now than I did 100 pounds ago...but I attribute that to being ten years older.

  3. Your experiences are really tough, but you handle it well. I must say, you’re one very brave woman. And thanks for sharing your journey, Lori. This can serve as a great guideline to all the people who are considering on taking the same surgery. How are you, btw?

    Carol Baker

    1. I'm happy to share my experiences if it is helping others! I am doing pretty well! How are you?

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