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I thought I would take a minute and talk about something that is pretty relevant in my life. I have talked about it before and I am probably going to talk about it again.
In the past few years I have lost a significant amount of weight. I have lost sometimes at a steady pace, sometimes with fluctuations, sometimes felt like I wasn’t losing anything at all, sometimes well motivated and sometimes extremely discouraged.
I have not had gastric bypass, but I never look down upon those who do elect for the surgery because this weight struggle is a hard one and if I hadn't seen results in my journey you bet your sweet ass I would've elected for bypass or banding in a heartbeat.
I’m a little downtrodden today, not because I feel hopeless or anything, in fact I feel a rather good sense of promise in regards to the next leg of my journey, however this next part involves me letting perfect strangers into what has in the past been considered a very private part of my life.
When someone sees someone obese, their first reaction is “Well lose the weight and you’ll feel better. Lose the weight and you’ll be happy.”
And while losing the weight DOES in fact feel better and increases overall mood there are aspects of enormous weight loss that the general person just doesn’t think about.
There are two major pains in my ass right now. The first being excess skin and subcutaneous fat (fat that will not burn) as well as the muscle stretching and loss that comes along with being pregnant 4 times in 5 years.
When you lose a significant amount of weight things drop; that’s the easiest way to explain it; the fat that you can burn or burn easily is no longer supporting the weight that you can’t burn or won’t burn easily and the skin that stretched to support that fat all starts to droop. It droops and creates a pannus roll (or apron) and these pannus rolls can be heavy and impede further progress. They cause lower back strain and pain, they cause the side wall abdominal muscles to ache from bearing their weight, they can cause breathlessness and make what some consider “normal” exercise quite the challenge and depending on the exercise, somewhat impossible.
Luckily I live in Canada and “most” panniculectomy is covered in my province if there is adequate symptomology reported. Adequate symptomology is reported as being lower back pain, mid back pain, breathlessness, difficulty in standing for long periods of time, and skin afflictions such as rashes, yeast infection and fissuring.
The problem with merely having a panniculectomy is that there is no surgical attention paid to the underlying muscles. No surgical tightening involved and in most cases this is required or at the very least recommended. This is called abdominoplasty and so far all of my research has indicated that this is a non-covered procedure.
The second pain in my ass is my breasts. I have lost approximately 11 inches in the banding area of my chest. Where I was a 48DD, I am now a 37DD (or higher cup) I “can” wear a DD stretch fabric cup, but for a non-stretch fabric I probably need a G.
*shrug* I’ve never purchased a G cup however and I loathe non stretch cups at the moment.
I have lost inches, but I have not lost cup size and the smaller I get around the rib cage the more rediculously large my breasts appear to me.
So along with exploring abdominoplasty or panniculectomy, I am also looking for a reduction/lift and preferably both procedures can be done at the same time to decrease overall healing time.
I know with almost absolute certainty that breast reduction/lift will be covered for me because I meet every single symptomology requirement as lined out by my province. They have physical requirements as well as symptom requirements.
The hardest part? The hardest part is wondering, and yes even worrying. Worrying that the socialized health care system is going to look at my ability to lose the weight without need for bypass as some kind of indication in regards to my body’s ability to somehow magically absorb the loose skin, or will they think that because I have managed to lose this weight and maintain a healthy self image that I don’t “need” the surgery because I am not at blathering idiot every time I look in the mirror?
I’m not thrilled with how my body looks, but I am not in tears over it either. I knew going into this journey of mine that there was going to be imperfections, that there were going to be challenges and that there were going to be up days and down days.
I knew that there would be a point when I would have to seek out medical intervention to help me reshape my outer me to help match my inner me.
So in the coming week, I am off to my GP (general practitioner) to seek a referral and consult with a plastic surgeon. In the middle of one journey, I have to start another in order to truly complete the first. Talk about a fork in the road!