Friday, November 20, 2009

Reconstructive surgery

My weight loss after gastric surgery has flattened out; my weight hangs in the 305-310 range now. I could probably push it down by engaging in the same kind of draconian diet that I was on before the surgery, but even if I did that, it probably wouldn't drop more than a few dozen more pounds at most, and I'm content to have it stay where it is.

That means it's time to start thinking about reconstructive (plastic) surgery to tuck the loose flaps of flesh I still have from losing 180 pounds, so an appointment has been scheduled. I'm not sure what to expect. The idea is a little scary and I'm not sure how much that might influence my thinking.

The big worry is that insurance won't cover it, since it's "cosmetic": one can argue that the loose flaps of flesh increase the likelihood of dermatological problems, and people certainly have gotten these surgeries partially covered, but I am not sure we'll get away with that. On the one hand, Siobhan's a fierce advocate and happy to go toe-to-toe with the insurance companies. On the other, I don't know that I'm convinced that this surgery is really needed to prevent dermatological problems, or if those problems are really serious enough to justify the surgery. If I am not even convincing myself, how likely will we be to convince the insurance company?

All of which suggests the other worry, that even if it isn't a huge cost (and it probably will be), it'll also be some risk and a lot of pain and recovery time, and I'm not sure if the benefits will be worth it. I'm hazy on what the benefits are other than fitting more easily into clothes and maybe looking better.

My appointment in January will be a chance to hash out these issues and let the doctors advise me. It's possible that there are benefits I'm not considering, for instance. Maybe the doctor will say "no, you shouldn't get this" after hearing my story and that'll be that. No sense in worrying about it or investing much time into figuring it out before talking to the doctor since I'll have to talk to the doctor anyway and that's probably the most efficient way to get the information I need.


drscorpio said...

Consider that any extra weight you carry on your frame puts additional stress on your joints. Having the surgery may have long-term benefits for your mobility especially as you age.

Plus there is a not inconsiderable psychological advantage to looking better and fitting into smaller clothes even if it isn't a huge thing for you. A little improvement over the course of your life may reap large benefits to your overall sense of well-being.

Hawthorn Thistleberry said...

I don't think the surgery is intended to have a non-trivial effect on my weight, is it? I mean, there might be a few pounds lost just from what's cut away, but that's a one-time drop and not a significant one, I thought.