Doctor report number NINE. I can’t tell you how much I’m pushing myself to write this one. And … believe it or not … for the first time since this project began, I did not take any notes during this appointment. I planned to take notes. I even brought my little breast doctor notebook with me, confirmed that I had a functioning pen (there are never any guarantees in my world) and opened both of them as I waited for the doctor to come in. Literally poised to begin scribbling.
But I took none and, thus, we are limited to the confines of my memory for details about this big event. God help us all.
Anyway … as I mentioned a few days ago, I decided rather spontaneously that (along with Doctors 4&5) I wanted to give Doctor 1 a second visit. ‘Spontaneously’ is sort of true and sort of not true. Doctor 1 has never left my mind (and, apparently, the mind of a few other readers as well). I mentioned that I was still thinking about her as we entered round two (10/20/11) and even made a follow-up appointment with her office at that time that I was forced to cancel due to a family issue. So, a few days ago, I stopped hemming and hawing about the whole thing and called her office. And she was able to see me immediately. My husband was not able to rearrange his schedule this week to come, so my mom came along for the appointment.
We got there a few minutes late and the staff was already waiting for us so we went right in. Doctor 1 came in, met my mom and we got to talking about everything immediately. I was pleased/delighted/tickled (whatever, you get the point) to learn that she’s been keeping up with the blog and thus knew a lot of what I’d been told along the way.
I explained to her that I had gotten caught up in “blog fever” and was following the direct path dictated by the voting … but that her name had never left the front burners of my brain. I explained that, while I felt very fortunate to be choosing from two great doctors for a mini-lift/implants combination surgery, her recommendation of a full lift and very possibly no implants sounded like a good option for me as well.
Didn’t I start this whole thing saying I felt saggy from years of breastfeeding? It’s really problem one that I was (and am) looking to solve. I never wanted to make myself huge.
My mother and I talked to Doctor 1 about everything we’ve learned so far from the other doctors. For the record, Doctor 1 is a saline as well as an over-the-muscle believer. I was on the same page with her on the first point but was unsure about the second. But we weren’t really talking implants at this point. We were talking full lifts. And, while she certainly made me feel as though she’s seen much worse cases than mine in this area, we both agreed that it would be the easiest and least complicated way to get me to my goal of physical, pre-breastfeeding restoration.
Further, she’s not a big proponent at all of the whole mini-lift. She says the crescent incision on the top of the nipple does very little to raise things up and often the nipple stretches to fill in the areas where it was and where it is now creating a rather oversized end result.
I think at this point I actually volunteered to take my top off. It was the best way for Doctor 1 to explain to my mother the technique involved with the full lift. So, off came my top and out came her breastmarking pen. (I’m guessing it must have other uses but who knows?) Inking in the exact placement of the cuts really enabled both of us to see exactly how things would fall (or rather rise) in place. And this literal blueprint allowed me to bring the proposed plan home to my husband so he’d be in the know about everything, too.
Now, we were ready to see some before and after pictures. Doctor 1 took us into her office and shared them from her computer. (I want to point out that she is the only doctor who personally handles the “aftertalk” of pictures, finances and other questions with her patients. Everyone else had an assistant. I like this personal touch.) Again, she showed us images of several women who opted merely for a full lift over implants, or perhaps went that route after removing implants from a botched job. And these ladies all looked great. Very natural. The higher, more consolidated breast tissue actually seemed (visually) to increase the overall volume on some level. Or so I thought. And, with a full lift-only surgery, there would be less risk and overall maintenance. Definitely something to think about.
My mother asked my husband’s ‘What about insurance and complications arising from elective surgery?’ question. Doctor 1 was very frank. She said ultimately that any complications brought on by this surgery would not be covered by insurance. But then she said a few things that enabled me to exhale. First of all, she said that every patient who undergoes this and similar procedures in her practice must first submit to a complete physical (in addition to the mammogram required by all other doctors) to rule out the potential for any health anomalies or other irregularities that can occur during surgery. She said that approximately once a year they discover a health issue in a patient that prevents the surgery from moving forward. Of course, it’s never a big deal because it is caught beforehand.
Once a patient’s health is cleared through the physical, the chance of a complication arising during the surgery is very slim. She said that she has had only one person come down with an infection since Katrina (the Hurricane – it’s still how we classify things chronologically in New Orleans - it’s like saying ‘B.C.’ around here) and she was able to treat her quickly and easily with oral antibiotics. She added that, like the other surgeons we interviewed in round two, she fully guarantees her work and would not charge a patient for any repair or revisions that might be necessary.
I left the office feeling very good about the appointment. I was glad my mom had gotten the chance to meet Doctor 1 and ask her questions but sorry that my husband had missed it. We walked to the car together and I felt my stomach turn at the thought of writing yet another doctor report.
Oh, and I made a mental note to drive very carefully so as to avoid any kind of accident. Mothers talk a lot about the importance of ‘clean underwear’ in these situations but I don’t ever remember hearing any warnings about the potential embarrassment of strategically inked-up boobs in a crisis. And, for the record, I’ve showered three times since this appointment and I’m still wearing the markings. They’re a little faded but I could still totally demonstrate Doctor 1′s proposed full lift technique in a pinch. (Pardon the pun.)
And now, I need to go think about this whole thing. A lot. So much so that I sort of expect my brain to start smoking.