Yesterday, I went to see a plastic surgeon.
After losing about 180 lbs, I'm left with a lot of loose, excess skin. What troubles me the most is the skin around my stomach. Even though I've lost so much weight and can fit into a size 12 pair of jeans (and even accidentally squeezed into a size 10!), I sometimes still feel like I'm 300+ because of my huge stomach. And, it can be difficult when trying on clothes - shirts and dresses that fit over my tummy are loose everywhere else. Mostly, though, it would be nice to be a little more comfortable in my own skin...with less skin. :)
A couple weeks ago, Steve and I were talking about finances and our summer trip and at one point he suggested that I think about getting a tummy tuck. I guess I've mentioned my tummy issues more than I realized and, sweet guy that he is, he said that although he loves how I look, he wants me to be the happiest I can be. If that means getting rid of my excess skin, he was all for it. And, as he pointed out, this summer I'm not taking classes or working and would have plenty of time to recover.
So, yesterday I met with a plastic surgeon. I really liked the doctor and really, really liked that he is in Ogden as opposed to Salt Lake City. It would be so much easier to have the procedure closer to home. With a nurse in the room, I bared my body (with the important bits covered) to the doctor for him to inspect. He was surprised when I told him how much weight I have lost because he's treated a lot of weight loss patients but none that have lost that much. As he inspected my stomach, I mentioned other areas that I dislike (inner thighs, breasts, and upper arms) and he then proceeded to point out other areas that he could tighten up in time (bottom, back, sides, upper abdomen, armpits). I wouldn't have excess skin anywhere, no little pockets of fat, just a few scars that would eventually fade and would be worth acquiring for everything else I'd be losing. Other than the scars, my body would be "perfect" - my thoughts, not his words.
I left the doctor's office with a folder of information; brochures on all the procedures we'd discussed and their prices. I hopped in my car and drove 40 minutes to the Salt Lake airport to pick up my husband (yay!). As I drove, I thought about my body. What would it be like to have a body that was contoured exactly the way it would have been if I had never gained so much weight, if I had always been fit? Amazing!
At some point, I woke up from the fantasy. Do I really need a perfect body? After weighing 350 lbs and then losing 180lbs, will having some excess skin under my armpits really destroy my ability to be happy with my body? I hope not. I look a million times better than I used to (and feel great!) and refuse to let myself be satisfied only with some perception of perfection. Because where will it end if perfection becomes the goal? When I've been cut, stretched, resewn, and made all taut and fat-free, will I find something else about my body to not like? And then what? A nose job? A face lift? Butt implants (because I have the flattest behind known to woman-kind)?
So, I'm going to have the tummy tuck. As mentioned above, it's the area that gives me the most heartache. It's not like I have a tiny little pooch, my bariatric surgeon told me he thinks I have 5-10 lbs of excess skin in that section alone - that's a lot of skin! Afterward, I'll see how I feel, and in time I might have a breast lift or another procedure or two, but I'll definitely still have excess skin in places. My body will never be perfect.
And you know what? That's okay.