A little off center and I’m out of tune

The last few days I’ve been feeling rather blah.  I can’t put my finger on the reason, but I’ve risen each day – quiet, contemplative.  Friends have commented.  There’s nothing new and unusual going on, nothing tragic or horrible.  We’re not in a full moon phase, I’m not PMS.  I just feel off.

I took a day off yesterday from the gym, although not intentionally.  I brought my gym bag with me to work but didn’t go.

Sitting here, thinking about it…  I do know why.

I had an appointment on Tuesday with a plastic surgeon about reconstructive surgery for my abdomen wall.  Let me go back a few years though and relate another story.  During and after my divorce, I started losing some serious weight.  Got down to 201 pounds.  I was watching what I ate, walking 3 or 4 miles every night after I put the kids into bed or spending my lunch break at the gym around the corner from Blue Haven.  I was feeling VERY good about myself.  I went in for my annual gynecological exam and my doctor, who I normally adore, while I was flat on my back, feet in the stirrups,  made the comment:  “You know, you’re never going to get rid of this.”  As he placed one hand on my abdomen and pushed, palpating my ovaries.  “You’ll need to see a plastic surgeon.  Your abdominal wall is a mess and you have a huge build up of scar tissue.”   Further, he asked why my obstetricians didn’t clean up this mess after each of my cesarean sections.  I didn’t know they could!  I’m assuming it’s because the birth of each of my children wasn’t planned/scheduled.  Breach, cervix dilation issues, pre-eclampsia and eclampsia.  Maybe if they’d been planned…

Sucker punched.  I worked SO hard to lose SO much weight, feeling really good about life for the first time in years and then WHAM!  Back then, I could barely afford food.  Surgery was never going to happen.  I sucked it up and went about my business but I didn’t go walking another night.  What was the point?  I can lose every pound but I will always have the kangaroo pouch.

There’s an advertisement I hear pretty regularly on my way into work.  It’s for a plastic surgery group.  The commercials talk about repairing damage from multiple births.  I didn’t call that particular group since someone I think very highly of recommended her surgeon.  I called, made an appointment (free consultation!) and went on Tuesday.

I arrived 15 minutes early to the appointment.  Highly unusual for me.  I’m a last-minute kinda girl.  Filled out the paperwork, offered my insurance card and sat down to wait.  Within a few minutes, I was escorted to a room where I was directed to remove my outer layer of clothes, leaving my underthings on.  Paper drape, opening to the front.  Done.  Sat down to wait.  The doctor entered my room, nurse following close behind and asked me what I was there for after shaking my hand.  I explained my situation.  He had me stand up and the humiliation began.

Yes, I have four beautiful children and my body paid the price.  I nursed them, too.  I’m stretched and scarred and misshapen.

Inside of a mere three minute, maybe five, examination, I was emotionally broken.  I was pulled, grabbed and squeezed.  “Cough.”  Grabbed.  “Cough.”  Grabbed.  “Cough.  Lay down on the table.  Pulled, grabbed, “Cough” and squeezed.  “Was this always hard?”  Tug, tug, tug.  “Get dressed.”  He didn’t leave the room while I reached for my dress, divesting myself of the paper gown.

Without looking at me in the eyes, the doctor explained he would be able to perform an abdominoplasty.  Ten days off work.  $7,000.00 will cover the anesthesia and 23 hour hospital stay.  Yes, I can keep my own belly button.

Insurance?  “Lots of women have c-sections.  No insurance.”

He left the room.

The nurse explained most people come in for a consultation and within a week have their surgery.  Still in shock from the treatment I just received, I declined.  I don’t have $7,000.00 sitting around.  That’s a car note!  She escorted me to the door of the waiting room after stopping to fumble in a storage closet, rifling through a box so she could hand me a couple of leatherette 2012 pocket calendars.

I went back to my car, climbed in, pulling my door shut behind me and sat there, stunned.  I texted Becki, told her I’d meet her at the gym and then drove.

I hurt for two days from all the grabbing and pulling on my body.  I don’t even have any nerve endings in my abdomen!  How did he manage to manhandle me to the point of pain??

Was it really such an inconvenience to him, my consultation?

I came home and googled reconstructive surgery following multiple births.  Guess what?  It IS covered by insurance.  I bet it’s a fair bit of work to prove I’m not looking for a quick fix.  I’m already losing weight.  I didn’t ask to lift this, tuck that and liposuction everything else.  Please, just fix my abdomen wall.  But I bet he’d have had to do a little bit of work in order to obtain insurance on my behalf.  I know many women who have had only two c-sections and their insurance companies paid for good portions of their surgeries.

If I hear of someone looking for cosmetic surgery of any kind?  I’ll tell them to run far, far away from this practice.  My friend was astonished by his behavior, told me she was going to call him and tell him flat-out she’ll never refer him again.

I will find a different doctor who will treat me as a mother who earned some serious scars as a result of one of the most loving sacrifices a woman gives – her body – for the sake of her children.

And this is the last time I’m giving that doctor any space in my head.

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