When It Comes To Plastic Surgery, My First Step Is RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCHby Summer Selby-Drew on 09/08/13
God blessed us when he gave us enough brains to create the Internet.
The internet is indeed my friend. I remember a decade or so after it was "invented" it came into my household via a Commodore 64 computer (I still have it. Don't laugh.) I told my 2 sons (I hadn't yet found my son Kendall, and Tyler hadn't yet been born) to be very, very careful with the internet. I said "The internet has sooooo much knowledge in it, it is almost like the mind of God. So you have to respect it, even fear it a little. You cannot possibly comprehend it. So be very mindful of how you use it or it could destroy you." I said that approximately 25 years ago. If you stop and think about it, wasn't I right?
So what a "convenience blessing" the internet is. I can sit at home in my big shirt and leggings and do all the research I need to in order to learn as much as I want about ways to "deal with" my melting tummy and my growing, gi-normous breasts (bra size 38G on a 185lb, 5ft 6in frame). Oh yes, its great being busty - its how I initially attracted most of my boyfriends and husbands over the decades. But around age 60 I reached a point where I began to develop neck pain, pain from shoulder to shoulder across my back, and a dull ache connecting to that and going down my spine. When I stood in my kitchen to cook or clean, pain grew across my lower back and connected to the upper back pain. Not fun.
During the 3 years this pain developed I also developed an inability to hold a writing instrument and journal (I was on my 3rd journal) or even just sign my name. Long story short, I was examined and treated by a hand specialist, given jars of Ibuprofen to take, given back and stretch excercises by my internist, and was examined by a neurologist (very painful exam!) who stuck my arms and hands with needles and connected me to machines to measure this and that. No luck.
This year I started researching these issues on the internet. Long story short, for months I read blog postings about pain very similar to mine and other "weird" symptoms, like my inability to write (is "weird" to me). I wondered if the deep, deep grooves in my shoulders from heavy, dense breasts pulling on overworked bra straps might cause a pinched nerve - and could that nerve extend from my shoulder down my arm to my hand? Both specialists said I had only very mild, untreatable carpal tunnel syndrome - right on target for my age and occupation history, not enough to affect anything. My inability to hold a pen was baffling to them. The neurologist told me "Not to worry about it. Find another way to hold a pen."
Anyway...I learned from other women on the internet that the back pain and other symptoms were due to heavy, large breasts, a condition that affects mostly African American, Caucasian and Hispanic women from what I saw. And the solution, I learned, was to loose weight if one is very overweight, and to consider a plastic surgery procedure called a breast reduction or reduction mammaplasty.
I was relieved to know there could be a solution for my back pain. But SURGERY! I had already been considering another surgical procedure, a panniculectomy - a procedure that removes the melting tummy or "pannus", that big pouch (or maybe not so big for you, if you're one of the blessed ones) many women have left over from pregnancy or from massive weight loss. My doctors told me that underneath my pannus or pouch, my stomach muscles were fairly firm for a woman my age and they showed me how to feel for the muscles my self. I was relieved. I thought all that hanging flesh WAS my stomach muscles! But no, its actually fat and tissue, not muscles.
So I continued to research and read and I saw "before" and "after" pictures of women of all ages and races who had relieved back pain and/or who had "made themselves over" and gained a waistline back using plastic surgery breat reductions, breast lifts, and "tummy tucks" which is a procedure that more thoroughly corrects a hanging, swaying, bouncing pannus. Oh. Sorry. TMI?
It took me months of consideration. Whether to resort to surgery? If so, which procedure? How do I find a doctor who would take on such a huge responsibility on my behalf while protecting my life to the best of his ability. Could I, should I do such a thing in order only to "feel better about my physical appearance"? Isn't that just plain frivolous? Vain? Women blogged about giving themselves the self confidence they lacked, hating themselves and how they looked, being embarrassed to undress in front of husbands, boyfriends, themselves! I experienced none of that. Well...maybe I felt a little frivolous thinking about plastic surgery. Me? A Black girl from the south side of Chicago??? I camoflouge my thick waist with strategic clothing choices and had always been proud to be busty.
But... then I thought...wouldn't it be great if I could look similar to the way I did in my 20s and 30s now, at 64???? That idea grew and grew on me as I looked at more before and after pictures.
So I went back to researching on the internet to figure out my next step. I'll write about that tomorrow. I hope you come back and "journey" with me. You can even leave your Comments here....