Plastic Surgery-- Take 4, Kinda!

So I found my plastic surgeon, but she is in Arizona… is what has happened the past few days.

First, I listened to Diane Lee’s interview on the Birth Healing Summit 2018. This was exactly what I needed when I needed it. I have no question that I am a candidate for surgery, but the way she talked about it helped me for three reasons.
  1. Apparently, some surgeons are overlapping the rectus muscles when they do the repair. This is something that I want to avoid. Good to know so I can bring it up with the doctors.
  2. Diane discusses how it can take years for connective tissue to heal. It just confirms my decision to wait on surgery as I play around with rehab and the gym.
  3. I straight out ugly cried when she talked about how amazing her clients feel after surgery. Those that rehabbed, waited, and worked hard didn’t have nightmare recoveries. She was clear how hard it is at first, of course, but the end game is strong.  

Second, I talked to Jamie Moenster, who is a plastic surgeon in Arizona that does CrossFit.  She reached out to Julie Foucher after the podcast, and Julie put us in touch. This was the absolute best hour- EVER!  The only thing that would have made it better would be if her practice was in Michigan. For once, I felt like I could ask a million questions to a plastic surgeon, and I was totally comfortable. She was so happy to help and explain the process. She told me like 3 times to please email or text with any questions that I might have. I was on cloud 9, and I still am.

I feel like I need to go back to U of M and come with a solid and educated list of questions. Then, I can see how I feel after THAT. I was going to wait to go back in the Fall but now, I may try to go again soon.

Advice (as best as she could without feeling my stomach):
-  I will most likely want a double fascia layer closure.
       **no mesh and no overlapping rectus muscles

- I will most likely have a belly button decision to make.
*As I found out with my first PS, there is a chance I will lose my belly button. Jamie told me that area is much harder to heal (plus I have that hernia there). It could take 2-3 weeks delay in healing, and there is a small risk of inflection.
*She said nothing looks as good as your original belly button. PS can make you a new one or some women get tattoos. I need to process this one a little bit. At this point I don’t even care about it, but that might change.

- Check about billing because if they do bill out for my small hernia it might actually cost more.
*I need to explore this further. The first place I went wasn’t going to bother with insurance but U of M has their protocols so I am sure so I need to be careful. I still cannot believe this isn’t covered. I am not functional; my organs are exposed. I am regularly feel my intestines. Unreal.

- Drains have never failed her.
*I asked her about the drain vs non-drain procedure. I would rather be annoyed with drains (7-10 days) and know I am healing the best way possible than risk it without them. When the fluid drains out as it heals, the muscles bond and heal flat.

-Don’t worry about staying overnight in the hospital. (This helped a lot as I have been confused on what to do).
*There are sick people there
*You can get pain meds faster at home
*They can send you home with a catheter (in fact I should request that they leave it in given my traumatic story from having Chase - couldn’t pee because they took it out too soon and they had to put one back in- MOST MISERABLE TERRIFYING PAINFUL THING EVER)
*You might not have a private room
*You will get way more sleep at home
*I could hire a nurse for the same money or less to stay with me a day or two if I was really worried
*** all things to consider!!

List of questions to ask at U of M:
  • Who helps you during surgery and what are they allowed to do?
  • Who does my closure?
  • Who does my follow up and how often do I go?

Jamie does them at 1 week, 2-3 weeks, 1 month, and monthly after that for a while.

Isn’t that amazing?

I doubt I’ll get that. I talked to someone else that went through U of M and had an amazing experience but didn’t get to see the doctor to get the drains out. That is okay though, unless I am having major problems.

I just want this surgery to be out of this world. No stone unturned. I am in this FB surgery support group learning all about what can go wrong and arming myself with knowledge. However, this group also makes me freak out on the daily. BUT...thanks to Jamie I am now informed and empowered instead of terrified. Here is an example below:

Patient: “Really bummed. 14 wpo and that swelling is not from surgery. PS is confident it isn’t from the stitches because those are so strong, he thinks my tissues were damaged (frayed) and mesh is my only other option. He is talking reopening me up at my incision and pretty much redoing the whole upper area. Anyone else experience this? “

Jamie’s response when I texted her:
“...Likely didn’t tighten enough right at the belly button. We lace up the diastasis like a corset but over the belly button you can’t because it would cover up or bury the belly button. So I do an up and down suture lateral to the belly button to tighten the muscle there. Her looseness is likely the muscle by the belly button”

Jamie knocked out my freakout in a matter of 2.2 seconds!!!

Knowledge = Power (and a calm mind)

The entire problem with postpartum life is that women just do not get ANY INFORMATION. Who is telling them how to work a car seat? Who is telling them how to take care of their bodies and the changes and injuries that occured during birth? Who is really checking up on their mental health, besides a questionnaire at the OB office? The list goes on. The first day of my pregnancy and postpartum athleticism class I talk about all of this. I have an amazing therapist, registered dietitian, and pelvic floor physical therapist I can refer all of my clients out to get help.

Postpartum is a black hole.

You have to advocate for yourself and be relentless.

Help me change that by sharing YOUR story so women don’t feel so alone. 


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