Well, I do have some things to update from my long whine of a while ago…
The eyeball thing is still up in the air. The “top of the line” retinal surgeon I was referred to turned out to be one of those “I am a surgeon-god --- don’t ask me questions” types, who wasted a ridiculous amount of my time either not telling me anything or lying to me. He did, apparently, refer me to an ocular oncologist to get the thing checked out, but left with a “don’t you worry about it – leave the worrying to us – enjoy your Christmas”… and a follow-up appointment in January. The Man was with me, and neither of us have a clue what that appointment is for --- it could be for a biopsy, it could be for surgery, or it could be so that the twit could just waste more of my time. This dude may be awesome dealing with unconscious patients on the operating table, but he is obviously incapable of communicating with someone conscious.
Ummm. No. That’s not how things work in my world. In my world, I get copies of test reports, discuss them with the doctor, and make the decisions about my own care.
So – I am in the process of going around him, and have my oncologist from the colon cancer arranging to get me in to his preferred ocular oncologist. It will likely be a few weeks before I can get in, which will work out well with my schedule.
The other update is that my hernia repair surgery is confirmed for November 25. I had my final pre-surgery meeting with the surgeon on Tuesday, and the surgery itself has now changed: instead of a simple hernia repair, it is now a complete abdominal reconstruction combined with a panniculectomy (removal of the pannus, or “apron” of skin and fat below the navel).
Both my surgeon and I are dedicated to doing whatever we can to make this a permanent fix, with the lowest chances of complications and of future re-herniation. This was the reason behind me losing weight, and he was thrilled that I had done so well.
I am extremely grateful for some folks who have blogged here about their thoughts and discussions with their surgeons about hernia repairs combined with either panniculectomy or abdominoplasty. Those blogs spurred me in to doing the research, so that I was prepared when my surgeon wanted to discuss the same thing. The studies that I found showed that there were fewer complications with repairing a hernia by stitching the muscle together instead of using mesh. I also found studies showing that there were less complications and less chance of a new hernia if a panniculectomy were done at the same time.
Since I am so obviously dedicated to doing whatever I can to make this work, my surgeon wants to do the same. If I hadn’t done what I had, then the repair would not have happened. Due to allergies, I can’t have the “standard” “stitch in some mesh and hope that it holds”. Instead, it will be a much longer surgery, with the skin and fat separated from the muscle, the muscle pulled together and stitched, and the excess skin and fat removed. There will be a full horizontal incision from hip to hip, and a full vertical one from pubis to sternum.
He’s not a plastic surgeon, but I have incredible trust in him (since he did a great job with me on the original cancer surgery), so the new incisions will be stapled shut and I’ll have some new “railroad tracks” to go with my old ones. We’re definitely not talking about “bikini ready” here!
What I’ve found really interesting about this is that I have discovered that I apparently have a lot more vanity than I had realized. I’ve always been comfortable with myself nude (even at 290ish pounds), am quite fond of my current sets of railroad tracks, and even have a somewhat bittersweet fondness for the “flap of flab” that I had thought would be my permanent reminder of what size I used to be.
Yet still, when I found out that there were definite health benefits to the removal of that “flap”, I discovered that I was quite happy about losing it. I went searching on Dr. Google for pics of similar surgeries, and discovered that I am actually quite adamant that the results turn out to look at least remotely human, and not like the end of a 3-year-old’s day playing Dr. Frankenstein with the office supplies on their teddy bear. I’m quite fine with scars, but had my surgeon laughing when I firmly reminded him that straight lines and even curves are wonderful things, and that I would be more than happy to supply a straight-edge and a compass if they were required…
He, in turn, reminded me that I’m not allowed to start back with even the simplest strength training until he tells me it’s ok (he figures at least 3 months with the extent of this surgery), so I guess I’ll focus on being a bit excited to see what my “new” body will look like for a while, before I’m allowed to focus on what it can do! I’ve had the Man shaking his head and laughing at (with) me as I pose in front of the mirror and try to push/pull the old belly in to what I think it might end up like…(ok – I’m a goof – I’m good with that!). I have absolutely no mental image for myself post-surgery, so I’m hoping for a pleasant surprise!
Many, many thanks to those of you reading this, and to my Spark-buddies for their amazing support. I’ve had a few bumps in the road lately, and you all have done so much to keep me focused on finding the good stuff in each and every day.
Now, the question is: do I record the weight of the removed pannus as weight “lost” on my ticker?!? Or is that cheating?!?