I Swore I Would Never Have Plastic Surgery
We may say “I’ll never do that!”, or “You always do this!” When we use these extreme adverbs of frequency we can can be pretty sure we aren’t speaking 100% of the truth. If we say to our partner, for example, “You never take me out!”, what we really mean is “You don’t take me out as much as I would like”. It would be a rare, extreme situation if someone actually never took us anywhere.
As I observed myself and my friends start to show signs of aging, I saw some choose to undergo risky, surgical procedures to try to avoid looking older. I judged them for risking their lives in the name of vanity. If we’re having general anesthesia, we are taking a big risk. I swore “I would never do that”.
This is not to say that I was not as vain as any of my friends. My face and body have certainly shown the same signs of wear. Perhaps even more so having been disabled by a severe stroke at age 35.
In particular, the shape of my body was severely affected by the need to sit in a wheelchair following the birth of my second child. Conventional wisdom regarding the return to our pre-pregnancy size and shape dictates that we should get up and walk as much as possible following childbirth. I had been paralyzed by a stroke in the sixth month of pregnancy so this was not an option for me. Instead, I took very short walks in the hospital hallways with a team of physical therapists until I after I gave birth.
I transferred to a rehabilitation hospital after I had the baby in order to re-learn how to walk. Most of the time, however, I sat slumped in a wheelchair. The stroke had rendered me too weak to sit up straight. My abdominal muscles had already suffered one round of weakening and stretching following my 50 lb. weight gain during my first pregnancy.
I did in fact learn how to walk with a cane and a brace on my leg. I was never really able to stand up straight due to weakness and spasticity that linger to this day. I walked slowly with a pronounced limp.
I kept my focus on having gratitude for being alive and able to walk at all. There was also a beautiful, healthy baby boy. With so much to be grateful for, there was no room for feeling vain about looking like I was pregnant for years after I had the baby.
In the 20 years since I had the stroke, I have tried various things to lose weight and get in shape. The weakness and spasticity have been severely limiting factors. Any gains have been minimal. I maintained a look of being a few months pregnant.
Stroke or no stroke I remain a normal healthy woman. I didn’t like looking like I was pregnant. A stranger once approached me in a store and congratulated me on expecting a baby! Some people are stupid.
In 2017 I decided to try a new, noninvasive treatment to freeze abdominal fat. It was expensive and the results were not as I had hoped. The plastic surgeon who performed the procedure pointed out that I had an abdominal diastasis that was giving my abdomen its pregnant shape. The two sides of my abdominal wall muscles had become separated which meant they could not become strengthened.
He recommended an abdominoplasty surgery to repair the damage. This is also known as a tummy tuck. It is extremely invasive and expensive. It is considered an elective, cosmetic procedure so there is no insurance coverage. I wasn't ready to take this on. Yet, I knew the potential was there to improve my core strength and stability on my feet. I decided to think about it and opted out. It was too scary.
I didn’t completely close the door, however, and knew the option would always be there if I could muster the courage.
I did a lot of traveling with my brother and walked on challenging terrain in Europe. I absolutely loved it. We were in Italy last year when he pointed out “You have a lot of steps ahead of you!” I liked his perspective. I started to reconsider the tummy tuck to make those steps easier and safer into my old age.
I decided last fall that I will never be this young again and not to wait to take the chance on improving my physical structure. Instead of scheduling a winter vacation, I scheduled a tummy tuck for January 9th.
I am in the process of recuperating from a difficult operation. Winter sucks, anyway. Never say never.
Thank you for reading :)