So, I finally decided to do something about it. I consulted with two doctors here in the Chicago area, and chose Dr. Lorri Cobbins. I just loved her personality -- warm but no nonsense. I had actually made an appointment with her partner, Dr. Brian Braithwaite, but he initially canceled my first consultation, just a few hours beforehand. His staff called and said "the doctor needs to leave for the day." Okay, things happen, no problem. I got the second appointment, and my boyfriend and I sat in the waiting room for about an hour, with no real explanation. It was while I was there that I saw Dr. Cobbins' nameplate, and saw that she has F.A.C.S. after her name. I knew from researching plastic surgeons earlier that that meant Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, which requires an additional extensive evaluation (I'm sure it means much more than that, but that's my layman's understanding. Also, Dr. Braithwaite may have this too, I'm not sure, I just know Dr. Cobbins does, and it made me feel better, because I didn't really know anything about her before that). I told the receptionist I would be happy to meet with Dr. Cobbins instead, and she came out within like 5 or 10 minutes.
Prior to the consultation, I initially wanted my knee fat transferred to my boobs (i was willing to get more than my knees lipo'd if it would give me enough fat for my boobs!) She said she doesn't like to do those procedures (I think her exact quote was something like "if you got 100 plastic surgeons in a room and asked them about fat transfers to the breasts, they would all agree that implants are the way to go.") She also said they're mega expensive, like $10,000+ I think. So while I was disappointed that I couldn't get my fat transferred to my boobs, I appreciated that she was honest and didn't agree to a procedure that would make her a lot more money but maybe wouldn't turn out as great for me. (I want bigger boobs, but I don't want it badly enough to go through an implant surgery).
I consulted with her on October 10th, then interviewed another doctor, and ultimately decided to go with Dr. Cobbins. My surgery was yesterday, November 18th. I could have had it sooner, but my schedule was too difficult, so it was my fault, not the clinic's.
I opted to get just my knees done. Well, that's not entirely true, I also had 4 dermal piercings over my hipbones that I wanted her to remove. So the $1,500 covered both the lipo and the piercing removal. (I could have gone to a piercer to get them removed, like my sister did, but she said it was excruciatingly painful, and I'm not about that life.). I also opted for just local anesthetic, not general, which kept the cost down. Oh, and Xanax, which I'll talk about later.
My surgery was yesterday at 3 pm. I rolled in, chatted with Gordana the patient coordinator who is fantastic, and waited for the doc. Then, she told me to take my Xanax and it was showtime.
Now let me mention that I am a very anxious person. Just in life in general, but also related to medical stuff. I have never broken a bone or had stitches or anything like that, which I'm sure would have desensitized me to medical stuff. I also pass out when I have to have blood taken, or really just at the sight of blood, no matter how fascinated I am by the surgery or whatever I'm watching. So, i requested a Xanax ahead of time. (My dentist used to do that, probably better for him than watching me white-knuckle through the fillings.). They called me in a .5 mg pill, which, in retrospect, was not enough (neither they nor I had any way of knowing how much would have been a good amount). The poor Xanax didn't stand a chance against my wired little brain. Even though Dr. Cobbins and her nurses were perfectly lovely to me, and patient, I was still clenching my hands together throughout the entire procedure, 100% aware.
That's not to say I was in pain though. The initial local anesthetic injections hurt more than I had anticipated, but they were over quickly. No more real pain after that. But it is a very bizarre feeling to know that somebody is cutting holes in your legs and wrenching a giant needle around inside, because you know it SHOULD hurt, but it doesn't. It made me very anxious and uncomfortable just to know what was happening. (Now I am a very rational person and I know I should just be thanking my lucky stars that it didn't hurt, but anxiety does not listen to rationality.).
I was allowed to bring in earbuds and my phone, so I could listen to music and not hear the suction from the vacuum. That helped a lot, I think.
The entire procedure (lipo + dermals removals) was over pretty quickly, I think less than an hour and a half. They helped me get dressed afterward, told me I did great, and sent me on my way, with 2 pages of post-op instructions and a few prescriptions. Oh, and she ended up taking out ~300cc of fat, more than she had anticipated she would get. 300CC, Y'ALL! That's basically an average sized breast implant. I had breast implants on my knees. That's the level of weird knee fat we're dealing with.
It is now ~30 hours post-op, and i'm not really in any pain. They gave me prescriptions for Norco and Motrin 800. My one small quibble is that the Norcos are really upsetting my stomach, and I had mentioned that I had taken Vicodin once when I got my wisdom teeth out and they gave me severe stomach pain. When I saw the Norco prescription, I didn't realize that it's basically the same as Vicodin (I really don't know much about painkillers.). I wish that they had given me something else, instead of Norco, but maybe that wasn't really an option, I'm not sure. Maybe any strong pain reliever has the potential for stomach pain and nausea like that. Anyway, tomorrow I will just try to eat more food and see if that helps. If not, I'll call the office and see if they can switch me to something more stomach-friendly, or another prescription to counteract that. (I asked the pharmacist today if there was a good over the counter anti-nausea med and explained about the Norco, but he said that the OTC kind wouldn't really help because something about receptors? I'm not sure.)
Anyway, I brought my own Spanx for the surgery, and I just took them off for the first time a couple minutes ago so I could change my underwear. (They told me I could shower today, bc my dressings were waterproof, but I was too chicken). I was nervous about what I would see, figuring I would be black and blue, and boy was I SHOCKED at what I saw when I pulled down my pants...ALMOST NO BRUISING AT ALL. Seriously. I was expecting to be all kinds of crazy colors, but nope. The incisions are all well-behaved, covered with their tape (aside from one that's apparently been bleeding like a brat), the surgical marker is still there, and everything looks relatively normal. They did seem swollen, but not a whole lot -- basically, they looked like I had fat knees, which I'm already used to! I only had my pants off for 3 minutes, long enough to take a few photos, and then I put those babies right back on. I figure one of two things: either these tight-ass pants are helping to keep down the bruising and swelling, in which case I'm going to store today to get another pair; or the bruising and swelling just hasn't set in yet. I don't know a lot about the field of medicine, I just assumed that most of the bruising would have already set in, over the course of the first 24 hours, but maybe that's not how it works. I guess I'll see soon! My knee skin looks kinda baggy, actually, where the fat was removed, and the clear tape makes it look worse, but the doctor assured me that would happen and that the skin will contract over time.
[Written between ~11 pm Saturday November 19th and ~11 am Saturday November 20]
Note: I have the "not sure if worth it" because I don't feel like I can honestly say "Yes, worth it!" yet, although I am confident I will feel that way when the swelling/bruising has subsided!
Hopefully, if I can figure out how, I will update this as I go.