A couple of years ago I tried the hCG weight loss regiment and was successful. I followed that up with daily workouts with a trainer and thought I had finally found the way to be healthy and slim forever. Then I had a few life changes: lost my job, broke up with my long time significant other, moved across the country, had a sudden death in the family. I didn't have a trainer at my new gym, had a slip & fall injury on ice and generally felt sorry for myself. Naturally the weight crept back on and I found myself exactly where I had started years before. To be completely honest, I felt a little desperate.
To combat that, I made an appointment with the only Dr in the area that I could find (by searching the Internet) who was doing hCG. During my consultation with Dr. James Holehouse I was very forthright and told him the above story, ending with my request to do a "reset" and start on hCG again. His first response was that he would recommend hCG and a follow up of Phentermine. I found that immediately odd because my experience with hCG is that it naturally reduces appetite during and after the treatment cycle. (Maybe that's just me; the naturopathic Dr I used for hCG on the west coast would never have advised pharmaceuticals as a followup treatment to hCG.)
Dr. Holehouse then had a secondary recommendation: "high volume tumescent liposuction". He asked if I had ever considered it (NO) and explained that I would continue this yo-yo diet lifestyle forever if I didn't do something more permanent. I was intrigued, and let him explain how safe and effective it is. Then he examined my belly and concluded that I "would be a great candidate" for abdominal lipo.
SIDE NOTE: This doctor didn't ask me anything else about my health, other than if I've ever given birth. I've been asked to provide a more complete medical history in order to get a massage at a spa, or a gym membership, than I was asked to give Dr. Holehouse. Take from that what you will. His career was made in OB/GYN in Fairmont, WV, and he actually told me that he started Renew Liposuction and Cosmetics because he was tired of sending his mothers up the road to combat their post-baby body with limited results.
Dr Holehouse then claimed he wasn't trying to sell or upsell me, but then proceeded to write a price list of all the tumescent lipo procedures I could benefit from and the corresponding (cash) cost. He even offered me a discount on chin/neck lipo if I brought in a loved one who might also benefit from it. I even commented at the time that I felt like I was buying a car from him! LOL
He let me in to 2 different procedure rooms where other women were being prepped for lipo. One for lower ab and one for inner thigh. The tumescent liquid was going in and they both seemed happy and calm. These nearly naked strangers let me ask them how they each were feeling and I watched their skin rise as their bodies filled with fluid. Special thanks to those gals! There's no way I'd ever allow a stranger into my procedure room!
Obviously I chose to allow Dr Holehouse to proceed with tumescent lipo on my upper & lower abdominal area. This was indeed an impulsive decision made out of a feeling of desperation. I've never had more than Botox as a cosmetic procedure, so I had some research to do. At the end of the consultation I paid for the procedure and took home a packet pf papers that contained pre- & post-op information and policies of the facility. I learned from that packet that I had 3 days to back out and get my money back if I decided not to go through with it, which I found oddly comforting. (BTW, I think the same policy applies to buying a car, depending on the state in which you purchase it!) Naturally I spent 3 days absorbing all the info I could on the procedure.
The Receptionist explained that she would call in a prescription for antibiotics the day before the procedure and I should have a day's worth in my system on procedure day. I explained where to send it and asked he to call me when she did it so I could pick it up as soon as it was there. That did NOT happen. No only was the 'script not called in to the correct retailer, I received no promised phone call. When I called the Dr office on the morning of the procedure about it, she was indignant. Eventually I did get the pills and took a couple before we began, but that was annoying.
On surgery day I was prepared with 2 expensive mail order compression garments, Poise pads and absorbent non-stick bandages to soak up the stuff that I'd read would leak out of me post-op. I placed a plastic shower curtain and a dark colored blanket on the car seat I would ride home on (didn't want the "blood tinged liquid" to stain her car). I was nervous on the inside but tried to be calm on the outside, figuring I could lower my blood pressure that way and have a good surgical experience.
I changed into a surgical gown and the Dr administered Xanax and an analgesic, took a couple of photos and then measured my belly and drew on it while we discussed my expectations. During this prep there were very few medical history questions, save for the list of medications I'm allergic to. 30 minutes later I was asked if I was calm enough to start. An internal check of my own resulted in "yes, I'm more mellow than I was when I walked in".
The procedure to fill up with the tumescent liquid was weird. I was numb for the creation of the access points (holes) in my skin, and the expansion process made my numb belly feel very tight. See my pics of that. That part was relatively painless but still uncomfortable.
Next the Dr came in with the cannula and began the lipo process. Toward the end, the numbing had worn off and it felt like he was stabbing me with a hot poker. He would make a move and I would jump and yell out in pain - it was a scary time and I felt completely helpless. I even asked if we could stop the procedure right then, due to the pain and misery I was experiencing. Dr Holehouse very kindly explained how he couldn't do that and how dissatisfied I would be if he complied with my urgent request. He left while I begged the RN for more numbing, but she explained they had hit the limit of lidocaine they could administer in one procedure. The Dr returned with more Xanax tablets that I very willingly swallowed. A few minutes later we continued with the lipo, but I was not calm, and still the cannula felt like a searing hot poker under my skin, especially when he got up to my ribs and along my flanks. It's been 5 weeks and 2 days, but I still remember the torturous procedure like it was yesterday.
SIDE NOTE: At one point during the lipo, I looked up to see the material being removed, which was deposited into a sort of "pitcher" for lack of a better word. That's gross, girls. Don't look at that! That's a container of YOU in there, and you should definitely not see it.
Once it was over, I started to feel the effects of those additional Xanax. I'm not a drug taker, so was surprised at my loss of control over my own functions. I couldn't think and could barely walk. The nurses stood me upright and massaged some of the blood tinged fluid right out of the holes they used to put it in. That was as hellish as being stabbed with the hot cannula! I thought I would faint at the sight of liquid being pushed out of the small freshly cut those holes in my lower body. Seeing the liquid fall to the floor onto an absorbent puppy pad was more than I ever imagined I could stomach. That was technically the beginning of the healing process and I'm thankful that my short prayer for death was not answered then. Next I was Ace wrapped tightly, with absorbent pads covering those holes. Fun :-(
After all that, I was trashed. Wasted. I had help dressing and was wheeled out to the waiting car. That's when the real adventure began. I hallucinated and slept off and on during the 40 minute ride to my recovery destination, save for a brief stop at a pharmacy to collect a prescription for pain meds. I clearly remember wanting to go in and get it myself but was surprisingly immobile. According to my friend who was driving, I was a hot mess and then some. She still hasn't told me every drug induced thing I did, just like a good friend should not say "do you remember what you did?" after a night of drinking together. Love her!
She put me to bed and I woke up fresh as a daisy (actually still heavily medicated) several hours later. I even had the presence of mind to launder a blanket that I'd bled on, and I re-made my little bed nest of the plastic shower curtain and dark towels to sleep on.
I slept like a vampire that night, not moving at all. When I woke up to breakfast in bed the next morning, I was in a lot of pain, had trouble breathing and my skin was red all over. I stayed in bed most of the day, head pounding and belly aching.
It was that first day that I got a phone call from the Dr office Receptionist. She asked how I felt and if I was doing okay. In my Vicodin haze I told her that I was completely flush, like a sunburn all over my body. She didn't understand what I was saying at all. English isn't her first language, so I explained it again to no avail. She finally offered to "go get a nurse" to talk to me, but the conversation was way too exhausting and I couldn't continue to discuss it with her. I basically hung up on her and went back to sleep. (Was I rude? Probably. A patient care provider needs to make that phone call; not a receptionist with no medical training whose second or third language is English. Sorry-not-sorry.)
8 days after the procedure was my follow up appointment with Dr Holehouse. He was patient with all of my questions and very kind about my drugged antics a week earlier. I unwrapped my middle for a quick exam and then we tried to re-install my belly piecing which I removed on procedure day. The hole had already closed, plus my belly button skin was still swollen so we gave up. NBD. The Receptionist joined us in the room and asked about our last phone conversation. I told her I didn't remember it because it's too much effort to explain a problem that clearly wasn't a problem any more. She suggested I get upper arm lipo next. Thanks lady.
Congratulations if you're still reading this! I know it's long winded, but I want you to know everything before you decide on this procedure, and more specifically, this physician.
My Recommendation: If you've never had surgery, never given birth and /or never experienced lipo at all, don't let a "high-volume" abdominal lipo procedure be your first. I have experienced great results, but wish I would have dipped a toe into the sea of lipo procedures before going "All In" with the abs.