Plastic Surgery, Take 2!
Plastic surgery, take 2! I was way more calm than the first time around but still totally nervous.
After getting checked in and chatting with the receptionist about the terrible potholes, the first person I saw (after the nurse) was a medical student since the University of Michigan is a teaching hospital. Side note: my mom, husband, cousins, and I all graduated from UM. Go Blue!
Anyway, I could tell he was nervous and I was thinking to myself...oh MAN…..he got stuck with MY stomach. For the life of him he couldn’t find my rectus muscles. He tried really hard, poor guy. In any case, I hope he learned a lot from my situation.
After waiting a long time in a really cold room, the med student came back in with the doctor. The doctor starts off the same way as the first one did...sooo we want to get this stomach looking better? However, this time when I explained to him about my athletic goals and CrossFit, his eyes lit up. He definitely knew all about CrossFit and was so excited to hear that I was a previous regional competitor. This guy was genuinely excited to help me. In fact, he told me how much he enjoys doing these surgeries on athletes because they have high success rates and are very rewarding.
I could tell he thought I was a little crazy with all of my physical therapy talk and that I went to California to see Julie etc etc...I definitely still think many surgeons think physical therapy isn’t going to do much in my extreme situation. That isn’t their focus, so I get it. However, as we all know (because I don’t stop talking about it) that even with my extreme case, I have still made many improvements with the goal of going into surgery as strong as I can. It just makes me even more motivated to get this information out there for women so they can make informed choices.
Anyway, this doctor says I don’t need to stay overnight in the hospital but I would be put completely under for the surgery. He explained the surgery in the same way that the other surgeon did, and he said the hernia was small and he would not use mesh. When I asked him about the 80% strength number from my first appointment, he replied with an eye roll and then said, “it depends.” This made me so happy, but not just because that was what I wanted to hear. But because “it depends” is an answer that I use all of the time as a pregnancy and postpartum athleticism coach. He was speaking my language. He said anything is possible and with my background I shouldn’t count on only regaining 80% strength. I will live another day to hold my breath and lift really heavy.
Then I went on to ask a few more questions.
1. Is there risk of sewing me too tight?
No. He didn’t have much to say other than "No", but he did remind me for a second time about my restrictions. For 6 weeks I cannot pick up anything over 5 pounds until that area fully heals. This is pretty standard information for this procedure. However, he went more in depth on what happens after that 6 weeks. He said I would be sore for a long time, and it would take a while to recover. I really appreciated that insight. I really think he took into account my athletic background, so he was setting my expectations about my physical limitations.
2) Is there any risk of getting prolapse or incontinence from the surgery? I currently do not suffer from those issues.
No. He said he doesn’t even touch the areas of the body. It is a blessing and a curse to know so much stuff at this point. I know two different cases where women developed these issues after this surgery. Now, neither of these women were doing physical therapy before and afterwards, so I know I am set up a little better...but still...ugh! I am beginning to think that not one surgeon is going to address this as a possibility, even the best of the best at U of M. That is okay. I am still going to keep asking.
Actually, the most helpful person was the surgery scheduler. I almost didn’t wait to talk to her because I am not scheduling this surgery now, but I wanted to get an idea of how busy the doctor was and also get a quote for the procedure.
I found out some important things:
1. He is even busier than he let on. The doctor told me he books about 3 months out, but the scheduler said probably longer.
2. I was expecting the price to be more, but it was almost exactly the same as my first quote.
3. With U of M you have to pay it all one month before surgery. With the first place, we had 6 months to pay off the doctors fees but had to pay the hospital bill portion up front. We gotta plan way ahead for these expenses- so stressful! So I am glad I got this information early.
4. I explained to this lady a little about my story, and she looked me right in the eye and told me to choose this doctor. She told me about what a great guy he is, all of the research he does, and how many people fly in from everywhere to see him. Oh, and how he likes working with athletic people.
5. He wants to see me again about 4-5 months out from surgery to talk about things more in depth, so I asked her when I should come back if I wanted surgery early next year. I got a plan of action for that (going to make an appt for sept or oct) and also her card directly to her desk. Boom.
The first surgeon was $125 for consultation, and this one was $95. The next one I am going to in March is free. I am going to take what I got from both of these surgeons and then see how this third guy compares. Right now it seems like the U of M surgeon might be the one, but I want to educate myself as much as possible. I will see how I feel after meeting with doctor #3 and if I feel like I should meet with more or if I feel satisfied with my choice at the University of Michigan.
This is all so incredibly overwhelming!
More to come soon :)