Who "needs" surgery?
Who NEEDS Surgery?
Do I? Do I have a “functional” core? I am alive with minimal athletic restrictions and doing well at the gym. However, what implications would there be 30 years from now? Would it be healthy to have my organs unsupported my whole life? Insurance apparently believes I am fine and that I should just get my hernia repaired since the rest is purely “cosmetic.” However, my number one reason for getting surgery is function and long-term health, not ascetics. Don’t get me wrong, I do NOT want to look like this. But, hypothetically, if I had this surgery and could never CrossFit again... I would take the way this stomach looks now over that scenario in a heartbeat.
Even though surgery seems like the obvious answer in my case, it still isn’t an easy decision because there is so much unknown about my recovery and little guidance in the world about it.
Brianna Battles is getting the same surgery for her long-term health, and her stomach won’t even look that much different when it’s done. There are so many different situations and hard decisions to make. Each woman has unique considerations but, unfortunately, most of them only find black and white answers or contradicting messages.
- Surgeons will tell you that you can’t heal with exercise.
- Doctors/PTs may scare you out of exercising.
- Women on social media sell exercise programs that will heal you.
- The women that don’t “need” surgery are getting surgery because they think that is the only option. And women that actually “need” surgery are feeling ashamed they “failed” and couldn’t heal on their own through PT and exercise.
What should be happening…
- Surgeons and OBs should send you to pelvic floor physical therapy. It’s a win/win because if you do decide you want or “need” surgery, you’ll be set up much better for the healing process post-op.
- Doctors/PTs should provide an approach that slowly progresses you back to the movements that you love with strategies to manage symptoms.
- You should be able to get the right prescription for your individual case and receive ALL the information to make your own educated choices.
Surgery is not good or bad. Rather, it is all in HOW, WHY, and WHEN it is done. I love hearing success stories of women avoiding surgery. And, hell, all I do is prove people wrong about how diastasis can function in high level CrossFit movements. However, women need hope that is also accompanied with education and realistic expectations, too. Surgery can be a very real reality, too.
Finally, if your only reason for wanting surgery is to look better, that is more than valid. It isn’t easy looking completely different after having kids. So, can we all just chill out about this aesthetic judgement stuff? That would help a lot, actually. Women blame getting a tummy tuck on a 2 cm diastasis rather than risk being criticized for just wanting to look different. This, in turn, makes everyone else freak out about their 2 cm diastasis thinking they “need” surgery and the vicious cycle continues.
Also, apparently some surgeons see that there is an aesthetic concern and operate on women at 5 weeks postpartum (yes, this happens). And, some OBs are stitching up diastasis during C sections without telling the patient until afterwards. Women are going into these procedures without being fully informed because they are trusting their doctors that they “need” this procedure to look better, so why wait? Diane Lee talks about how it can take up to 1- 2 years for tissues to fully heal. So, even if aesthetics is your number #1 goal, it still shouldn’t be rushed so your surgery can be successful with the least amount of complications.
You can’t advocate for yourself when you don’t even know what is possible. I am trying to put out there what IS possible. Please share it with those you love.