Posts Tagged ‘SmartLipo’

It is done.

The actual SmartLipo procedure, that is.

The healing process is just starting, and it hurts. And itches. And is generally pretty swollen, bruised, lumpy, and gross.

But it will get better, and I will be better for it.

I was planning on detailing the days immediately leading up to the procedure, but they didn’t really include anything special, aside from avoiding alcohol (which I’m pretty good at anyway), drinking a quart of water a day (which I’m decidedly not very good at, though I’m committed now), and picking up my prescriptions (which turned out to be the only part of this whole process I’d classify as “affordable”).

I picked up my prescriptions on Monday:

All these bad boys cost me a whopping $12.76. Thanks, insurance!

On Tuesday, I went to all my classes like normal, and then boyfriend and I headed up to Coeur d’Alene, which is roughly a two hour drive. We got into town about 8pm, and headed to dinner at a roadhouse type joint I’d been wanting to try for a while. I had some delicious pulled pork and grilled shrimp, and a sweet potato, which sadly I did not photograph. Sad, because it was epically delicious. I’ll snap a picture on a return visit. Promise. Then we checked into the hotel, which was a little dated, but contained a lovely, suite-sized bathroom and comfy king sized bed:

All this, and a view…

We spent the evening watching bad reality TV, and I took my first dose of antibiotics, and first shower with the requisite Hibiclens anti-bacterial wash as instructed. Hibiclens basically smells like rubbing alcohol/hospital hallways, is red, does not foam, and leaves your skin feeling dry and tight. Which was kind of a bummer, since no lotion is allowed in the 24 hours before surgery. But if it prevents infections, I’m all for it:

And yes, I politely wiped off the tub after staging this photo.

The hotel also provided this center-less soap, which at first I thought was kind of ridiculous, but ended up actually really enjoying:

In the morning, I got up about 6:30, called for room service, and took my second Hibiclens-required shower. I picked the hotel because it was the best deal, but mostly because it came with room service. Because I do not do mornings (willingly) and getting up to drive somewhere sounded like a lot of work. I had some delicious French toast crusted with almond flakes and drizzled with a huckleberry compote:

This cost half as much as the room. Seriously. So either the room was a *really* good deal…

After breakfast, which was counter-intuitive to have before a surgical procedure, I dried my hair and gulped down my handful of pills about 45 minutes before I was supposed to be at the surgeon’s office:

Two painkillers, two anti-anxiety/muscle relaxers, and one anti-nausea pill. Done.

Then I had some free time to kill, which I used to pace around nervously and take pictures of my old tummy in the mirror. Because while it is (finally) going away, it will always have been a part of me:

Sweatpants are sexy.

We finally headed out to the doctor’s office and got there promptly at 9:15. At that point, I was still marveling at how I didn’t quite yet feel the effects of the medication, and wondering what it was going to do to me, since taking 2 substantial doses of Ativan is essentially what I presume crack would be like. My awesome nurse, who rotates between calling me “sunshine,” “girlfriend,” and “sweet pea,” settled me into a cushy chair to wait. About five minutes later, I informed her I was going to vomit. My French toast had turned a marvelous blue color (no pictures of that). That was the point where I realized the drugs had kicked in and I no longer cared what was going on around me.

Somewhere in all of this, I donned on my extra-sexy disposable panties and robe they gave me (I assume the nurse was involved in the process, but honestly, I remember very little), took some pre-op pictures, and walked down the hall to the surgery room. The nurse put some little covers over my eyes, and for the next three or so hours, I recalled vague snippits of conversation, saying “Ow” a few times when asked if I needed more local anesthetic on my tummy, and at one point the surgeon noting they’d taken out a liter of fat.

SmartLipo didn’t really hurt too much while it was happening. I could vaguely feel the instrument under the skin moving around, but by that point, the Ativan had done it’s work and I could have cared less. It took me a full 24 hours to realize that two of the incisions are about an inch up from my lady-parts. Do no remember the surgeon being down there…

Eventually, they stood me up, assessed, laid me back down, took off some more fat, and called it good. Then the nurse had me stand and balance against a counter while she zipped me into my compression garment. Which, I might add, is crotchless and has simultaneously become my best friend/worst enemy. My bra was very bloody and gross from things running up my back (this is normal, apparently), so we took that off, and she took me to the recovery room to hang out for a little while until I was coherent. Boyfriend had apparently been at the grocery store for most of this time, and him and the nurse chatted about the medical benefits of orange juice and saltines while I munched on some of my own saltines, apple sauce, and apple juice. When I was mostly back on the same planet as everyone else, the nurse helped pour me back into my clothes and the doctor wheeled me out to my truck in a wheelchair. I remember thinking at the time that it was odd for the actual doctor to do that, so bonus points for him.

Back at the hotel all of 5 minutes later, I curled up into bed and promptly slept for the next six hours.

I woke up long enough to direct boyfriend to purchase me a mushroom-swiss burger and salad (they said to eat whatever I wanted…) and went back to sleep until he got back from picking up dinner. By that point it was about 8pm. I ate about half my burger (which was delicious, and everything I was hoping for), took one painkiller, and went back to sleep.

The next morning, I got out of bed (which hurt a lot), and we checked out of the hotel before heading to the surgeon’s office for a post-op check up. We pulled into the parking lot at the same time as the doctor, headed up to the exam room, and I got to change into another fashion-forward pair of disposable panties for round two of picture taking. This time, I got a sweet print out of before and after shots. The doctor said everything looked good, the nurse changed my bandages and dressed my incisions (I have four of them, one below each side of my ribs and two about an inch above my ladyparts), gave me instructions for my first post-op shower (which couldn’t happen for 48 hours), and boyfriend and I headed home.

Somewhere along the way, he decided it was necessary to go to Harbor Freight, so we drove back through Washington, which was a terrible idea, because Washington’s idea of road maintenance is to not do it. Bumps were not my idea of fun, but I survived. We swung into Target for a few minutes so I could buy some boyshorts (these, I’ve learned, are the post-op undergarment of choice, because they fit nicely over the compression garment, which is crotchless). Limping around was actually a nice change after not moving for 24 hours. We swung through Hu Hot Mongolian grill for lunch (win, as I could get mostly veggies and a giant 7-up zero with cherry!) and then drove the rest of the way home. Where I promptly went back to bed for the rest of the day.

On Friday, I waited for boyfriend to get home from work so I could shower and wash my compression garment. By hand. It took forever to dry, which sucked, because while I was ecstatic to get it off for a while, by the time it was dry three hours later, I was achy and ready to put it back on. They recommend you buy two for this reason, but at $100 a pop, I couldn’t justify it for something I’ll only wear for two weeks of my life. The nurse said that was okay…

I was only allowed in the shower for 15 minutes (I’m not good at short showers…sue me…I had enough 2 minute dirty-water ones when I was a kid to make up for it) and boyfriend had to stand there the whole time to make sure I didn’t pass out, as per the doctor’s orders. I was really sore and limpy the next day (turning over in bed, standing up, and bending over are decidedly not fun), and I have a strange sore/numb sensation on my stomach that I’m not a fan of, but it’s supposed to go away in 6-8 weeks. All in all, the experience has been pretty manageable, and I’m able to get around the house now without too much discomfort. I’m applying cold for an hour or two each day to help with swelling and taking it easy. And hanging out with my cat.

Pictures of the results, coming up…

SmartLipo Diary: Part I

Posted: January 26, 2012 in SmartLipo
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Let the countdown begin!

My SmartLipo surgery is scheduled for one week from today, which means that for the next week I’ll be doing some necessary prep work.

Today, my biggest challenge was to drink at least a quart of water.

For me, that’s a lot of water.

But I got it done.

Conveniently, I have a water bottle precisely that size, which I typically consider ridiculously huge, but for this it’s perfect. I’ll be drinking one of those every day until surgery.

Tomorrow: prescriptions!

Having a Schedule: So Far, So Good

Posted: January 11, 2012 in SmartLipo
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Today marked day 2 of being back on having a schedule, getting up early, and being on campus in my little tiny office from 8-5. It’s actually been quite a nice change.

I’ve pretty much been a slug since I finished taking my prelims a couple of months ago. I was super burned out from that whole process, so I crashed into a nice, cushy spot on my couch and basically didn’t move except to clean the house and shower.

It was nice for a while. I did get a lot of non-academic stuff done.

I wrote lyrics and music to some songs that I’ve been toying around with for a while. They’re beautiful to me. Pretty soon they’ll even be up online, and I’ll post the link so you can go listen to them. One is the song I played for my family at New Years. One is a tribute to someone we all lost two years ago. One is a little song I wrote when I was sixteen. I’ll post the lyrics soon.

I finished editing (again) on my first novel, and now I’m ready to start shopping around for a literary agent (again), as soon as I steel myself for all the rejection letters I’m inevitably going to get (again).

I made a gingerbread house:

And baked lots of cookies:

…I gave most of them to people. I didn’t eat them. All.

pretty

I read a book by Buddy Levy. Who just happens to teach at my University. And whose email address I just happen to have. More on that later.

I hung out with my cat. He is just as pathetic as ever.

I also hit a Nissan. But that goes on the fail list. Hopefully, I get my precious precious truck back this week, all cleaned up and put back together and painted.

And, as you know if you’ve been reading, I booked my SmartLipo procedure, and just making that decision was life changing.

But, in some ways, it was harder to be at home, with no schedule, on the couch, than it is to be at work, on a nice, consistent schedule from 8-5, Monday through Friday. I’m a little relieved to be back to that. I feel productive.

And smart(er)…my first article is getting published in a couple of months. 🙂

This week I survived my first round music classes, including choir, convocation, and guitar. Next week I finally have my first voice lessons.

Yay.

Hello, Insurance?

Posted: January 10, 2012 in SmartLipo
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Question of the day:

Will insurance cover the cost of prescription medications, in whole or in part, for my SmartLipo procedure, or will it not?

This is an interesting facet of things I hadn’t really considered.

Obviously insurance isn’t going to cover the cost of the procedure, because it’s not medically necessary. But the medication is necessary for the procedure, and I have pretty good prescription coverage, and the doctor’s office was even nice enough to go the extra mile and have my prescriptions filled at my student health pharmacy. Not all places will do this, and it warms my tiny heart just a little bit.

I’ll be interested to see how this turns out.

Done.

Today, I lined up a few things that are making my upcoming SmartLipo procedure seem a little more real.

I ordered the necessary compression garments that I have to wear continuously for about 3 weeks after the procedure, and I booked the hotel room boyfriend and I will be holing up in on surgery day. I haggled and saved money in both cases. Win.

SmartLipo comes with a lot of instructions. A. Lot. Of. Instructions.

Let me give you some idea. Here’s a brief recap of my instruction sheet from the surgeon:

  • Order compression garments
  • Have blood tests (1 week before procedure)
  • Fill prescriptions (5 separate ones: an antibiotic, pain killer, anti-anxiety/muscle relaxant, and two for anti-nausea)
  • No aspirin or ibuprofen, multivitamins, St. John’s Wort, or Vitamin E for 1 week prior to procedure
  • Shower with Hibiclense solution the night before and morning of procedure
  • No creams or makeup the day of the procedure
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing the day of the procedure
  • Eat full breakfast high in protein the morning of the procedure
  • Evening before procedure, begin antibiotics
  • Morning of procedure, take second dose of antibiotics; take remaining medication one hour before procedure

And that’s just part of the preparation. I also have to line up places to stay, payments on my Care Credit card, make sure I have the correct amount of money in the bank account to pay for the remainder of the procedure. I have to make arrangements for missing three days of class and make sure boyfriend remembers to take the time off work.  I have to remember to pack everything I need. And I have to remember to document all of it, because this is a major decision for me and I want to share the journey.

Today I checked two major things off the to-do list. I ordered my compression garments, which took all of ten minutes and involved speaking to a very friendly lady named Lynn on the phone. She took my measurements and discussed a couple of options with me, issued some instructions for washing and caring for the garment, and (of course) took my credit card information. It ended up being not as expensive as I was anticipating – I was prepared for $150, which is what the medical assistant at the surgeon’s office told me, but it only ended up costing about $110, because my short height meant I needed a different garment entirely, but customized for this procedure. Score.

Then I started calling hotels near my surgeon’s office. The surgeon’s website recommended two: a Hampton Hilton, and a Resort/Casino. Online rates were $129 and $199 a night respectively, but I was told these particular hotels had corporate rates for the surgeon’s office, so I called. The Hampton’s corporate “discount” brought the price down to $119, which still seemed ridiculous, so I called the Resort, which is way nicer and offers room service, which I’m guessing I’ll want at 7 the morning of the procedure when I’m in a strange city and needing breakfast. The lady on the phone was very nice and friendly (in contrast to the grumpy-pants who answered the phone at the Hampton) and initially quoted me a rate of $112. Still cheaper than the Hampton, but I decided to haggle (politely, of course) by mentioning that the surgeon’s website said that corporate discounts there started at $89 a night (honestly, that’s what was on the website). I was fully prepared to be told that $112 was it, but to my delight the nice lady on the other end of the phone agreed to give me the $89 rate for an economy room – which at this resort, basically means no Italian furniture and no view of the mountains. Since mountain views are the last thing I will care about at 10 pm when we check in, 6 am when we get up to get ready for surgery, or the afternoon after surgery when I’m sleeping/seeping/trying not to vomit. So basically, I got a sweet deal on the room and will now have room service. WIN.

I’ve decided to organize my SmartLipo journey into its own section on here, so check back for that if you’re interested! I’ll document. With pictures and videos. Promise.

Smile.

2012 is going to be a great year.

I can feel it.

It’s starting off on the right track.

A few weeks ago, I auditioned for the music program at my university. This raised some eyebrows, because I’m a) not a music major b) have essentially no music background and c) am almost done with an advanced degree in something else entirely.

I was terrified of this audition, because to be told no at this audition would have felt like being told “Sorry…you just can’t sing. We don’t see potential here.”

Waiting was a big test of patience. It was almost a month before I got the final word that I had passed, been assigned to a voice studio and choir, and could register for classes.

That’s right. 3 semesters out from finishing my PhD, I’m enrolled in all undergraduate music classes.

It’s going to be strange going to classes again. But I’m excited.

I’m also doing something a little out there, and investing in me this year: I’m having SmartLipo, which is essentially the newest format for liposuction, performed with lasers.

It’s expensive.

It’s costing me, all said and done, half of what I make in a year. (I pulled this off with some extreme budgeting…bye bye iPhone…and a payment plan).

I’ve been self-conscious about my weight and my stomach for a long time. As long as I can remember. A few years ago I got tired of people asking if I was pregnant, so I started doing Weight Watchers and exercising like a fiend.

I lost over 25 pounds.

I’m only 5 feet tall, so that was significant. I’m currently only about 20 pounds from my super-pinnacle of achievement goal weight of 105 pounds, and I’d be happy with making it to 110. I’m not overweight, and in general I’m pretty happy with my size. I’ve cut out soda, candy, butter, white bread, full-fat everything, and anything fast food, besides the occasional Whopper (plain, with cheese, add barbeque sauce) from Burger King that I generally get twice a year, at Fourth of July and Christmas when boyfriend and I head over the mountains to visit his family. I’ve reduced portion sizes, taken to measuring everything, and acquired a Bowflex Treadclimber (second hand). On top of classes at the gym.

After a couple of years of that, I got discouraged and gave up. Because my stomach wasn’t getting any smaller or less-pregnant looking, despite the fact that I’d lost a lot of weight and developed abs of steel beneath it all.

Why exercise and give up all the foods I love if I wasn’t feeling any better about the one part of my body I’m self conscious about?

I binged and gave up exercise for a while. But I realized that I didn’t miss huge portions, or regular soda, or fast food. I did sort of miss exercising. I just needed an added boost.

I got a doctor’s opinion, and a second opinion. It turned out, I wasn’t failing in my diet and exercise routine. I’m just built this way, and genetically, my extra weight wants to go straight to my stomach. The bottom line was, there isn’t much I can do about it short of a) going hardcore-all-out-bodybuilding or b) having surgery.

I don’t particularly want to be a body builder. And I have a friend who does it, and it’s expensive when you add up all that goes into it. So I picked surgery. And a good combination of yoga, pilates, tabata, and recommitment to my Weight Watchers plan.

I don’t expect surgery to give me a six-pack or fix all my body issues.

I do expect it to give me the boost I need to continue moving forward with my weight loss goals, and an added dose of confidence that I believe I deserve after all the hard work I’ve put in on changing my attitude and response to life in the last few years.

I’ve done a lot of work on me.

It’s time for the outside to match the inside.

So there we have it…two major major steps I’ve taken toward building something amazing in 2012. It’s a new beginning that has been in the works for a long time.

I love when a plan comes together.

Welcome to 2012

Posted: January 2, 2012 in healing, weight loss
Tags: ,

Today was the perfect indication of how I imagine 2012 is going to go.

Food. Frustrations. Laughter. Family. Music. Hope.

Today, I had dinner with my family. All of my family – both parents, and my brother.

It was the first time we’ve had a family dinner all together for a major holiday since about 2003. And in 2003, I came down with pneumonia and spent the evening in the emergency room while everyone else was having dinner.

It was nice to have my whole family together, and we had a pleasant afternoon just eating and talking, exchanging presents, reminiscing about happy times. That’s a huge step, because it seems like for the past few years, most of our energies – mine included – have been focused around the negative parts of the past. There were real, legitimate negatives, but it’s important to remember that there were good times too.

We did some other things together this afternoon that were amazing steps in the right direction. We laughed.

I played my guitar and sang a song I wrote about letting go of California, and we cried.

Then we laughed some more.

We enjoyed traditional recipes that my grandma used to make, including an amazing (and easy) macaroni salad and pumpkin pie that I made from scratch. I’ll post the recipes…

I’m exciting going into 2012, because I’m really happy about the foundations I built in 2011 that will make 2012 a better year. I’m happy that I’ve taken steps toward taking charge of some things that are really important to me, like playing guitar and singing. Boyfriend and I have taken some big steps toward strengthening and improving our relationship and I’ve made some really big steps toward rebuilding my relationship with my brother.

And, just so you know, I’ve decided to take charge of something about my body that has bothered me for a really, really really long time. I carry all my extra weight around my stomach, and so do most of the women on my mom’s side of the family. I’ve done a lot of dieting and exercising. I’m not done with those things by any means, but the moment I realized (and a medical professional confirmed) that those things alone wouldn’t remove the extra weight from my stomach was a devastating moment.

So this year, I decided to do something about it. I budgeted, and I planned, and I researched. And I decided to have SmartLipo to remove the extra fat from my stomach. I’ll still be hitting the diet and exercise more this year, because getting into better shape and just feeling better are important goals for me. But I’m going to stop hoping beyond hope that diet and exercise changes are going to make me feel comfortable and confident about my stomach.

I have made some drastic changes in the last few years.

I cut out regular soda, and butter, and regular salad dressing; mayonnaise and full fat sour cream and milk. I got up at 5 in the morning to hit the gym, and sometimes spent up to 4 hours a day there, five days a week. I lost weight, and I’ve kept most of it off. I’m within about 5 pounds of my lowest weight right now, and in general I’m pretty happy with my body.

But not my stomach.

And it’s hard not to lose motivation to work out when it feels like all the hard work you do isn’t touching the one problem area you’re most sensitive about.

Two separate medical opinions confirmed my worst fear: I could reach my goal weight without it significantly reducing the amount of fat on my stomach. Genetically, that’s where my body wants to store it, so that’s where it’s going.

I cried over that revelation.

Then I took charge of it.

And yes, this surgery is expensive, and it has risks, and I’m nervous. I know it will not give me a perfect body or solve all my problems.

But I wish I’d done it sooner.

It’s an investment in me, and a turning point. Not the biggest one or the last one I’ll ever have, but a moment in my life that will make later moments different.

I’m all for that.

And I’ll keep you posted along the way.