Let’s get something straight right up front. I am grateful for this body. This body has produced and birthed 2 amazing children. It survived 2 major life threatening injuries in 2 years and fully repaired itself. The human body is a beautiful vessel that is life giving, resilient and forgiving. I could not be happier than where I am today. There is no BUT here. Just AND.
I made the decision a long time ago that if I reached my optimal weight goal that I would reward myself with a tummy tuck. Losing half my body weight has been a journey in itself but what I didn’t anticipate was the aftermath. The mental battle of entering the maintenance portion of the ride, replacing my entire closet (necessary after going from a VERY tight size 28 to a 6) and the excess skin. Lots and lots of extra skin. Saggy and flappy skin in places I had no idea were possible.
I’ve maintained my “half my size” status for over 6 months now. I went from 321 to 156lbs. That is 165 pounds lost total. I’ve been very transparent along my journey and have not been particularly quiet about my intentions to get plastic surgery. I get a lot of messages about what an inspiration my story is on a daily basis. The most common inquiry is, “how did you do it?!” I also get lots of questions about the loose skin situation. Do I have it? Yep. Responses like, “I’m afraid to lose weight because of the loose skin.” Really?! I would rather be at a healthy weight and have the extra skin! Don’t let the negative ruin all the positive things that happen when you live a healthier life! The positives outweigh the negatives by far. When you lead a healthy life you have more energy, less inflammation, pain relief, mental clarity, less or no medications, less sickness… the list goes on and on.
No, insurance will not cover any of the procedure. Apparently there are 3 criteria for insurance coverage. You must:
- Have lost 100 pounds or more. (CHECK!)
- Kept it off for over 6 months. (CHECK!)
- Had bariatric surgery. (NOPE! All natural here.)
To say I was a bit disappointed to be disqualified for insurance coverage is an understatement. Don’t get me started on the fact that the bariatric surgery itself would have cost more than my tummy tuck, let alone any complications that could arise. I saved them a ton of money for doing it myself and should be rewarded right?!?
Once I forgave the health care system I was able to move forward and begin making plans. There are many reasons for my decision to have a tummy tuck but here are my top 5:
- Ewwwww. I’m gross.If you’ve never been obese and lost a substantial amount of weight you aren’t aware of the problems with excess skin. A flap of skin develops in the abdomen area that I’ll call the “apron”. It hangs down and over my girly parts. Then there is the bellybutton that folds into itself. (my stomach folds inward vertically when squeezed into pants). These areas create the perfect environment for yeast growth, infection and horribly painful sores. During the summer it’s exacerbated of course and no amount of showers can solve the issue. Gross right?! I’ve had my dermatologist record all my irritations in hopes it would help my cause when it comes to insurance but unfortunately it doesn’t matter.
- Clothes don’t fit right.This may be vain, but really it’s about my comfort level. The struggle is real though. I’ve got a crazy daily routine just to get into my clothes. Every day I’ve got on several layers just to contain all the skin so I can simply fit into my clothes. I range between a size 6 or 8 depending on the brand and would most likely be a 4-6 without the skin. It’s extremely difficult to find bottoms that fit right to accommodate the excess skin and fit well everywhere else. One day, if I’m brave enough I’ll do a video for my followers to show how on earth I squeeze all my saggy skin in to look semi “normal”. My secret to attempting to hide it all is smoothing camisoles and high wasted shapers (if you haven’t tried Ruby Ribbon’s braless camis and shapers they are crazy good at smoothing and shaping!).
- My muscles are shot.So when you’re obese and/or you have kids (I’ve had 2 BIG ones. 10Lbs 1 oz. and 9lbs 5oz.) the abdominal muscles become distended and pull apart, called diastasis. Muscles stretch to accommodate the growing baby when you’re pregnant and they stretch so far that they separate. A million crunches cannot bring them back together and it can only be corrected with surgery. This separation causes discomfort for me if I’m not wearing a support garment. I’ve spent years “sucking it in” to relieve the discomfort and I just don’t want to do it anymore. Luckily this is something that be corrected with the tummy tuck procedure!
- I want more self-confidence.I’m not trying to be a swimsuit model. I just want to be comfortable in my own skin. I want my outside to match what I feel on the inside. I have always had a certain amount of confidence but it’s always been overshadowed with feelings of self doubt and shame. I will never be perfect, no one is. I’m always striving for progress and not perfection.
- I deserve it!When I reached my 100 pound weight loss I treated myself to a pair of special earrings with 100 stones (50 on each ear) and they’re an excellent reminder of how far I’ve come. While my excess skin is also a reminder of how far I’ve come in my journey, it’s also a reminder of the years I spent abusing my body. Obesity isn’t all physical abuse. It’s mental as well. So this procedure will be for my mental and physical health. I’ve worked so hard to improve my well-being by developing healthier habits (by replacing the unhealthy ones), gaining a healthy relationship with food and adding in healthy movement whenever possible. It’s easier said that done sometimes, trust me! I believe this is the ultimate reward for my consistency and utter persistence.
Do I have fears about going under the knife? Of course I do. The biggest one being my family. We’ve all heard stories of mothers dying during plastic surgery – articles describing children left motherless because their mothers decided to have elective surgery. I did my homework, asked for referrals and visited 3 surgeons before finally choosing one that I fully trust and respect. It came down which one truly had my best interest and safety in mind.
The surgeon I chose is experienced, comes with excellent references and referrals, was the most professional out of the 3, was honest in expectations and is not the cheapest. My favorite part about him was when he personally called me the week after my second consult with him and he had been thinking a lot about my case after I left and he’d changed his mind about doing a combination of procedures we had discussed. He wasn’t comfortable having me under for that long. While I was bummed about having to recover twice, I totally respect him for speaking up and ultimately putting my safety first. I’m not sure either of the other 2 doctors I consulted with would have done the same. I also love what my dermatologist said about him, “His nurses hate working for him because he’s a perfectionist. If he isn’t 100% happy he fixes it until he is.” As a self proclaimed perfectionist I can appreciate that!
So January 15, 2019 at 8am will be this life altering event. This is the next chapter in my journey and I appreciate all the love and support that I’ve received so THANK YOU. I’ll need all the support I can get as the date gets closer!