Monday, September 12, 2022

The entire plastic surgery department

Accompanied by my dear friend Miriam, I went to the team discussion at the plastic surgery clinic last Monday. I'm pleased to say that it wasn't as bad as I imagined it might be. Although there were at least 15 or more men in that room (yes, all men), all crowded around a conference table, I wasn't shaken. Much. It freaked me out a little when the leader of the pack, the head of the plastic surgery unit, asked to see my scars, in front of the whole crowd, but according to Miriam, I handled it all very well. I indeed lifted my skirt and showed off my badges of honor. I was mainly talking to the head of the department, and blocked everyone else out. The one doctor I was hoping to meet, I noticed him from his picture on the internet, well, he was texting the whole meeting, so he obviously wasn't interested in my case. Nobody introduced themselves.

Mainly the discussion was about whether or not they think they can help with my pain. They looked at the evaluations of the MRI's, and weren't interested in looking at the discs. The main upshot is that they wouldn't do anything surgically. They admired the great job that was done by the NY surgeon, and said they have nothing to add to that. They agreed that the most likely scenario is that I need a hip replacement and that is where all the pain is coming from. I'm still not convinced that there isn't a plastics component to the pain, because I often feel it radiating from (or to?) my belly. But they said that going in again could cause more damage and not fix anything, so they'd leave well enough alone. (although *is* it well enough?)

Of course that is what I got from four other surgeons I saw four years ago, before I had the surgery done in NY. All the surgeons I saw because of the pain I was having all said they couldn't help me, and wouldn't go in there for any sort of surgery. Until I met the NY surgeon (through the Mayo clinic visit) who actually helped me tremendously. So I wasn't so surprised at this team's opinion of "do no harm", don't go into a surgery without a clear and present goal. I suggested some goals, like to take out the remainder of the mesh that is still in there, take down the adhesions and clear away scar tissue, but they weren't supportive of any of those ideas. I asked them, if I were to have hip replacement surgery, could they come in during that time and clear out scar tissue while I am having the hip replacement on the same side. No was the answer to that. They wouldn't do any procedures on me, and wouldn't do a plastic surgery during an orthopedic procedure. Again, I am used to this response. It was only different with the NY surgeon, and he actually fixed many problems at the time. I am eternally grateful for him and his ability to take the pain away for two and a half years. BTW, the pain I have now isn't at all like the pain I had then. At that time, four years ago, it was all in my belly, and I suffered tremendously. I was suicidal, actually, because all the doctors here told me they can't help me. So I saw the NY surgeon as my savior, in a way. He gave me my life back. The pain I have now isn't so clear that it's coming from the belly, or even the left side of the belly like I sometimes think. It may all be from the fact that I need a hip replacement, I'm just not sure. When I needed the right hip replacement (two years ago), the pain was very different than what I am experiencing now. That's I why I am questioning what would be helpful in this case.

Now I await the response from my NY doctor. He received my MRI discs last week. I'll write to him if I don't hear from him in another week or so.

In the meantime, I am not emotionally ready at all for hip replacement surgery. I have a block against it in my head. Surgery sucks so much, and I've been through more than my share. I may have to wait till the pain gets unbearable, or until I can wrap my head around yet another surgery. I just can't get myself to make the phone calls necessary and get a date for hip replacement surgery. Anyway I'll wait until I hear from my NY doctor before I do anything.

In the rest of life, things are good, thank Gd. We are coming up again on Rosh Hashana, which I can't believe is right around the corner. I may pull out the wheelchair to get to shul and to various friends houses during the holidays. One day of walking to and from shul often can put me in pain for the rest of the day and the next, so I'd like to avoid that. I hate using the wheelchair though.

You know, pain is so all encompassing. and constant pain is debilitating. It's just about all I can write about today. When you see me, we talk about many other things, and I don't usually show that I am in pain, though, which is still a blessing. Life is a blessing.


  1. My dearest Sarah,
    Baruch HaShem As I navigate four surgeries in four years after returning to United States and still recuperating, dealing with pain although it’s miraculous that I feel this good. Your journey thru good and bad times has encouraged me spiritually, physically and emotionally. I wish I was standing in front of you to give you a hug but in the meantime I will continually pray for both of our Refuah Shlema

  2. I hope the NY surgeon will have some answers.

  3. You are so good at disguising your pain, no one would ever guess what you are going through. Hang in there.

  4. You seem to have handled the meeting well. Thank Gd for friends. Alone would have been harder. Gd willing you'll find a solution.