I wrote and published this post for That’s Fit on December 15, 2007.
So I’ve got this loose skin on my tummy. I thank my little boys for this curse I can’t seem to whittle away. My two whopper guys barreled into the world weighing 10 pounds, nine ounces and 10 pounds, two ounces and no matter how hard I work out or how well I eat, this baby fat just hangs on tight. It’s gotten better over the years—all four and a half of them—but still, sometimes I wish just a little bit for a tummy tuck to erase my bothersome birthing battle scar.
Would I really follow through with a tummy tuck if money were no object? I’m not sure. That’s why I asked my doctor today for his opinion on this surgery. “I think it’s a bad idea,” he told me. Sure, it’s an option, he said. And it would probably clean up my problem pretty neatly. But it’s surgery. And while tummy tucks have gotten less and less invasive—they can be performed in a doctor’s office without general anesthesia—the procedure requires an incision from hip to hip to ensure a tidy final product. And any surgery can cause problems. Infection, mistakes, difficult recoveries, and scarring are just a few worst-case scenarios. These are the very things that cause me to stray from such a seductive surgery.
A flat tummy would undoubtedly lift my spirits. But a surgery-gone-wrong could permanently crush them. So I think I’ll rely on good old-fashioned hard work as I try to fix my flab. What would you do?
It’s been three months since I determined I would not submit to such a surgery, three months of obsession and depression and plain old hatred for this stomach of mine. And now I’ve changed my mind. I can do that, right?
I’ve decided that I need this surgery. Not medically. Just emotionally. Because no amount of eating right and exercising right is going to change what hangs from my mid-section. I’ve got a team backing me on this—family, friends, doctors, and fitness trainers. They all assure me that I’m not cheating by opting for this procedure, that I’ve done all I can, that it’s OK to remove what drives me absolutely bonkers. I’m not taking an easy way out then. I’m taking the only way out. And while money is an object, I realize I’m worth the investment.
It all begins on April 23 when I allow a plastic surgeon—an expert in breast cancer reconstruction using tummy tuck skin and thus very well-equipped to handle my issue—to cut a football shaped chunk of skin from my middle. While there, he’ll repair and reshape the muscle my big babies separated, fix an umbilical hernia, and sew me back together. I’ll end up with a repositioned belly button, a few missing moles, a flat gut, a six-pack even.
A tummy tuck is no simple surgery. It is in fact still very invasive, I will receive general anesthesia, and a full recovery, which will allow me to exercise and lift heavy objects, takes up to six weeks. And yes, there are risks. But I think—I hope—the benefits of this fix will outweigh the small chance that something will go wrong. There is just so much that can go right with this surgery that I really don’t want to deny myself the peace of mind and comfort I know will come from it.
I admit there is some reservation swirling around in my head, made worse by a new acquaintance whose own tummy tuck 11 days ago has left her feeling great remorse about what she’s done to her body, what she’s done with her money, what trouble she’s caused her husband and daughter. With time, I think she’ll probably regard her decision as one of the best she’s ever made—most women do—but right now, she’s struggling. This causes me to pause.
Big decisions are never easy. I have three weeks to secure mine, three weeks until I attend my pre-op visit and hand over my cash. I have three weeks then to make a final call. What will I do? I’ll let you know.