It has been a lot. Has it been worth it? Yes, a thousand times yes.
I still have pain, just a little from the procedures and, of course, the chronic pain since arthritis and the cervical neuropathy are not going away, though the injections I got this past year have been helpful in managing the pain. all the procedures have either improved the quality of my life or just made me feel better. Maybe, if I had no pain, I could weather the changes that come with age better? We’ll never know.
Still, plastic surgery is a big step and very expensive; though I see my retirement money disappearing more from a bad world economy and a managed fund, I am questioning, than I do from my spending.
Some procedures I had this past year were not elective nor plastic and were covered by my insurance. Not all the work, and I'll not detail each and every medical procedure, was for vanity. Even my eye procedure, done by my plastic surgeon, as the Kaiser doctor did not think it necessary; in reality, was needed. My vision has improved so much with everything looking brighter, the world looks lighter, and I’m not bumping into things like I did.
In general, I love my Kaiser providers. My outside care folks are my dermatologists at Laser and Skin Surgery Medical Group and my plastic surgeon, Dr. Hugh Vu in Stockton. I could not be in better hands. The beauticians I’ve seen have worked wonders too with Lani at California Concept keeping my hair great, Kim of Stunning Skin by Kim doing my eyeliner tattoos, and Melissa at The Lash Addict attaching the eyelash extensions.
I also appreciate the folk at Curves where I modify the exercise a bit to work within my pain limitations. My belly dancing is more like stumbles than dancing, and Fatima of Fatima's Bazaar is wonderfully patient. Of course, I cannot make all the moves and sometimes need to sit and rest. It’s not about perfection or being a great dancer, though. I’ve often said my Pilates instructor, Robyn Naymick-White, at Time To Be Fit, is the reason I am not in a wheelchair. She has been working with me for six years, incrementally adding fitness to my life with kindness and patience. She watches my neck like a hawk. I know she’s a major force behind getting me to try Kaiser Weight Management for my weight loss and for getting me to check into having my knee repair. She has encouraged me through so many of the choices I’ve made.
I will post a photo of me in something like a bathing suit when I am fully healed. I visit the RealSelf site, but I cannot bring myself to post nude photos or reviews there. My doctor took enough clinical pictures that I can go back and reference if I need to do so. I did become mildly obsessed with RealSelf before and just after my surgery. I’m glad some folks are narcissistic, anxiety-driven, or just trying to be helpful and reveal what they looked like before, during and after their procedures. I found the site fascinating and helpful, though occasionally scary.The incredible obsession with each and every detail that many of these people had is unbelievable. They worry about every 25cc of their implants and the most minute details of the surgical procedure. I cannot imagine that level of obsession. Still, the site gives a lot of good detail on the mysteries of plastic surgery. So glad to have found folk I trusted who I felt would give me the best functioning knee, the best pain relief and the most natural body improvements they could and let them do it. Heavens! Even my hairdresser knows the most I will say is the hair length I’m aiming for and maybe whether or not I want to avoid extensions for a few months. Otherwise, it’s “fix it.”
I am thankful for modern medicine. My surgeon and I discussed how amazing it was that there was so little pain after his last round of four major procedures at once. (Tummy tuck, breast lift, and implant revision). He said that 20 years ago I’d have been hospitalized for two weeks following all that. I did not remember much about 43 years ago when I had my breast surgery, but I do recall a lot of pain.
Even with a course that was relatively easy, I’m impatient. I want to finish healing and have my energy back.