Thursday, June 30, 2005

Thinking about having lipo?

Six months ago today, I had lipo. Specifically, I had some stubborn little fuckers love handles and a very thin layer of abdominal fat sucked out of my body and flushed into the sewer where I’m sure it’s living with a family that loves it much more than I ever could. And while I have no regrets about having lipo, my opinions on plastic surgery have narrowed along with my waistline: I still have no objections to people having plastic surgery, but I’ve stopped thinking it’s necessarily a good idea.

In any case, if you’re thinking about going under the trocar yourself, here’s some stuff for you to ponder in your decision-making. (The information here is based solely on one blogger’s experience with one surgery, so it in no way reflects the broader realities of plastic surgery or the experiences of any other patients.)

Make sure you’re having lipo for the right reasons.
And keep in mind that the definition of “right reasons” is highly subjective. For me, it meant that my little fuckers love handles didn’t respond to years of eating right, working out, running/biking/blading, and doing two triathlons and a marathon. I wanted them gone, and they clearly weren’t going away on their own—so the surgery was an option of last resort after all other reasonable courses of love-handle-killing action had been exhausted.

Make sure you have realistic expectations about what lipo
will do for you.

It won’t make you more popular. It won’t make you necessarily sexier. It won’t get you hotter dates and wilder sex and a better job and cooler friends. It won’t solve all your problems. It won’t make you happier.

But it can give you more confidence. It can make your clothes fit you in a way that makes you feel sexier. It can eliminate something that prevents you from enjoying your life. (Could someone please aim a trocar at Antonin Scalia?) These small changes can act as a springboard for helping you achieve other things—but they are in no way a final step or a magic cure-all.

Make sure you can pay for it.
Plastic surgery is not cheap. And it’s not covered under any insurance I know about. I saved up for five years so I could pay for it outright. And quite frankly, I don’t think it’s something that’s worth getting yourself in debt over.

Decide how open you’re going to be.
You can have plastic surgery on the sly and let people think you’ve naturally lost weight/grown boobs/upgraded noses/de-wrinkled. Or you can be totally open about it so when your friends and family gossip about you—and they will—they’ll at least be talking the educated truth.

Either way you approach it, be prepared for people to have opinions. And oh dear lord baby jesus on a ritz cracker will people have opinions. Some will be excited for you. Some will be fascinated and will pepper you with questions. All kinds of questions. Some will solemnly pronounce that it’s your body and you’re free to do anything you want with it—as though you were asking for permission. A tiny few won’t care one bit. And a small but vocal handful will feel obligated to tell you on no uncertain terms just how arrogant/stupid/vain/hateful/deserving of censure and ridicule you are. Be ready for these people; they have a way of catching you off guard.

In any case, you can’t have plastic surgery completely anonymously; reputable surgeons won’t operate on you without proof that you have somebody to take you home and take care of you for your first 24 hours out of the hospital. And take it from me: It’s best to pick a wealthy friend with a fabulous home for this job—a wealthy friend with a fabulous home who likes to pamper people and make them yummy dinners.

Be prepared for a long, uncomfortable recovery.
Lipo is not a manicure or a waxing or a spray-on tan. It’s surgery. And surgery hurts. At least the recovery part does. I knew my recovery would be less than fun when I went in, but I hadn’t adequately prepared myself for the extent of the pain and discomfort and numbness and itching that hung around for months after the drugs wore off.

Aside from the constant pain and the difficulty sitting and standing and lying down and rolling over and getting up and pooping and performing other private activities, there are other aspects of recovery they don’t tell you about in the brochures. Like the persistent numbness you get as your nerves struggle to rewire themselves through the area where there used to be fat. Like the alarming black porno cock you develop as bruise blood drains south from your surgery area. Like the sweaty, dead-flesh smell of your fucking itchy compression garment. Like the concerns that if your compression garment doesn’t fit just right, you could pinch your skin and it could grow back with weird folds and dents in it.

Be prepared for results that aren’t what you expected.
I’m generally happy with my results. My little fuckers stubborn love handles are definitely gone, but I still don’t have the smooth, dramatically V-shaped back-to-waist look I was hoping for. But that’s because the skin around my lower back is 37 years old, which means it’s never gonna be as tight and clingy as it was when I was 18. So there’s a tiny bit of poochiness over my waistband that will probably never go away.

And my secondary hope—that the thin layer of fat on my abs would completely disappear, leaving me shredded like a cobblestone driveway—has just not materialized. From about my belly button down, the fat is DEFINITELY gone (I can even see veins!), but from my belly button up it’s like nothing has changed. The doctor told me I had so little fat that the difference wouldn’t be very noticeable, though—and my self-perceived “problem area” is more about thick skin than fat, so there’s not much I can do about it.

Six months after the surgery, I still have a band of slightly painful scar tissue around my middle that the doctor promises will eventually disappear—leaving “dramatic” results in its wake. The thickness is slowly dissipating—and by this point it’s probably invisible to everyone but me—but I was promised a full recovery in three months. And it’s been six. And counting.

And the scars on each of my hips are still plainly visible, though they seem to be fading more and more as time goes by. I don’t really care about them, but they could freak out some patients who expect blemish-free supermodel bodies once the bandages come off.

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