Friday, May 24, 2013

Upper Body Lift Quote

About 2 months ago my body lift surgeon dropped the bombshell that I needed further surgery. So in addition to the (lower) body lift I had last November, I will need an upper body lift now too. I completely agree with him now I have seen my results, but I guess I was just not expecting to have to have more surgery and try and find more money...

You can see in my 'after' photo below that I have two big rolls of fat on my sides and that I also still have a lot of fat sitting above my bottom where you are supposed to curve in. Now if you look at the second photo below, my 'before' shot, you can see my surgeon did a great job to fix what he could, but it just requires further surgery.

After (lower) body lift)

Before (lower) body lift
It is not just my back and sides that require the upper body lift, it is also my torso. Unfortunately, it looks like I must have been cheeky when I took these pictures and cut off the photo below where it starts to show my upper torso overhang (I'll have to take another picture to show you). My tummy is perfectly flat, but the surgeon needs to do an incision from below my breasts so he can pull my upper torso tight to smoothen that out. Once again, looking at my before photos demonstrate my surgeon did a great job, but I had a lot of loose skin on my upper torso (the flab in my hands) which is unusual and due to me having particularly poor skin elasticity- yay me!

After (lower) body lift)

Before (lower) body lift

My surgeon emailed me the quote a couple of months ago and I glanced at it, realised that I couldn't afford it and filed it away so I didn't have to be disappointed about it. Well I still have no money, but I thought I would share the cost her on this blog in case anyone else is interested.


Surgeon's Fee: $9,200
- Medicare/Insurance rebate: $1,523.65
Total Surgeon's Fee out of pocket expenses: $7,676.35

Hospital Fee: $1,183.60

Anaesthetic Fee: $3,000 (approx)
- Medicare/Insurance rebate: $1,500 (approx)
Total Anaesthetic Fee out of pocket expenses: $1,500 (approx)

Insurance Excess: $500

TOTAL: $10,859.95

So it is about $4,000 less than my (lower) body lift, which I believe was a more complex and extensive procedure. My surgeon also said he included a discount due to it being a second surgery.

Now, I also asked about the cost of having a thigh lift and arm lift... just to torment myself with more surgeries that I can't afford and this is the quote I received.


Surgeon's Fee: $8,175
- Medicare/Insurance rebate: $691.75
Total Suregon's Fee out of pocket expenses: $7,483.25

Hospital Fee: $1,183.60

Anaesthetic Fee: $3,000 (approx)
- Medicare/Insurance rebate: $1,500 (approx)
Total Anaesthetic Fee out of pocket expenses: $1,500 (approx)

Insurance Excess: $500

TOTAL: $10,666.85

Phew, that is a lot of money that I don't have unless I take yet another loan. At this stage my first priority is to just have the upper body lift done because I can live with my arms and thighs as they are now. I would like to have my upper body lift done before the end of the next financial year in Australia (June 30 2014) due to some tax rebate changes that have been proposed that will mean I can't claim my surgery on tax. So now I just need to get some money... I don't know how yet, but I know I will find a way.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

4 Years banded

Today marks 4 years since I had lap band surgery.

After 4 years I can't say that I think much about it anymore. Well, I guess I do subconsciously think about it a lot throughout the day, but more in the way you might think about your commute to work. It's just a normal part of your day, you know you got there, but you can't really remember the details of it...
'that sandwich will never get through the band'
'better not get the beef because that will stick in the band'
'wait a minute for your next bite, the last bite is still sitting on top of your band' 
A lot of people ask me if I would recommend lap band surgery-- which is an impossible question for me to answer. What I have learnt over the past 4 years is that the lap band is a different experience for every single person. The success of it depends on a lot of factors and is not just about calories in / calories out or whether you are 'motivated' enough to eat healthy and go to the gym.

I am truly happy for the people that have the lap band inserted and are able to stop dieting, feel full, eat less, start to move more and lose weight. That is the ideal situation, the dream that was sold to many of us by our surgeons, but not the reality for everyone. So many of us that have got to the point of needing weight loss surgery have such complicated relationships with food and exercise that the little band of silicone they insert around the top of your stomach just isn't enough to deal with severe and long-term disordered eating issues.

Since having my lap band I have lost and kept off about 50 kilos. I can't tell you exactly how much because I don't weigh myself anymore, but the main point is that I lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off. So that must mean I am a success right? Well, maybe you could say I am a success on paper. In reality I still deal with a lot of the same disordered eating problems I had before I had the lap band. I would even say that some of my eating issues are worse due to how hard I pushed myself to lose weight with the lap band.

I was desperate when I had the lap band and I felt like it was my last chance to lose weight. I thought that if the lap band didn't work, nothing would work and I would be obese forever. The pressure I put on myself led me to engage in some extreme diet and exercise habits that just added to my already screwy weight loss mentality. Once I had the lap band I was determined to lose weight, no matter what...

Despite what might seem like some negative reflections on my 4 years with the lap band, I am happy that I got it, and I wouldn't want to be without it. I have lost weight, I am healthier, I am happier, I have better relationships with my loved ones, I am more confident and I am a stronger person. Most importantly, I am continuing to push myself to improve my health, my relationships with food and my body. It is a bloody hard path to take!

April 2009
March 2013

If you want to read more about my 4 years with the lap band start here.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Oops!... I Did It Again

Yes, I know Britney, I am frustrated with myself too...

Yet again, I am coming into winter with a jacket that is too small for me. I really did not intend for this to happen, this wasn't one of those motivational purchases to help me shed weight. When it started getting cold I spent hours shopping in the city trying to find a jacket that I liked, that fit me and that didn't cost $700. Unfortunately I was not successful so I turned to online shopping for help. I ended up finding two jackets that were on sale from, the first one being only $54 and perfect for wearing to work and the second one only $30 and great for casual weekend wear. Awesome!

Well, not so awesome as it turns out. When I got my new purchases in the mail and tried them on I discovered that they did not fit me at all. Once again, I will be freezing my arse off until I can manage to slim down enough to squeeze into my jackets. I guess being tortured by freezing conditions is one way to motivate myself...

I just hope that I am just as successful as I was last year at getting into my winter jacket. Until then, I will need to buy thermals!

Thursday, May 09, 2013


Arghhh. Ever since I went to Thailand at the start of March I have stuck my head in the sand and ignored my increasing weight. First I was on holidays, then it was Easter, then I had a new house to organise, so the last thing I had time to worry about was healthy eating and exercise. So I kept telling myself anyway...
I have finally emerged from my denial and realised that I have stacked on the weight and none of my clothes fit me and I feel terrible. In the past this realisation would mean that I would go on a diet and lose some weight and eventually start to feel good about my body. Then inevitably my mind would say 'wow, you're so hot now, you don't need to diet, you should eat 17,000 calories a day. Then I would just keep eating until I could take no more and I started hating myself again.
Up and down on the rollercoaster over and over and over again. It is so bloody exhausting.
I do think that I am very slowly learning from my mistakes. It was only 5 years ago that I was eating drive-thru food almost every night. I thought healthy eating was only chicken breast, broccoli and starvation. I thought exercise was 2 hours at the gym every day or it wasn't worth doing. I thought if I ate one jelly bean that I had to eat 4 packets of jelly beans.

Over the past 5 years I have gradually introduced a healthier lifestyle that involves being more active, eating foods that fuel my body and some sense of balance when it comes to eating 'good' and 'bad' foods. I am by no means perfect, or even close to it, but I do know what I have to work on.

What I do right

Eat a healthy and balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner
Ever since I got the lap band, savoury food has lost some of its appeal to me. I am happy to eat good healthy foods most of the time, it's just the sweets I have trouble with!

Drink 1-2 litres of water per day
This is easy for me, I drink lots of water at work, and if I don't, I get very thirsty.

Drink alcohol only once per week
I am not the type of person to have a glass of wine or two on a week night, instead I'll normally have one big night with friends or family and drink 2 3 bottles of wine on a Friday night. I know that is not any better, but I'll still count it as a plus!

Keep my lap band at a level that stops me binging on fast food
My band could be tighter, but it is tight enough that it stops me contemplating getting pizza or any other takeaway because it would just be too annoying to eat.

What needs work

Exercise 30 minutes per day
Yeah, this is a tough one. I get motivated some days, but it is never going to be easy. I am not sure if I will ever consistently do this (without being miserable).

Stick to my goals on weekends
I used to always allow myself one cheat meal on a weekend and could get right back on track after that. Lately, my treat meal has been turning into a treat weekend because there has been so much going on. I think I'll be able to get this working again, I just need to focus.

Keep my body functioning so that I can exercise
My stupid plantar fasciitis has made this extremely difficult. I have had two cortisone injections in my heel, but I need another one and I have ignored it because it scares me so much. I did get brave and try and book an appointment with my doctor earlier this week, but she is on holidays for 3 weeks, so I will do it when she gets back.

Don’t eat in the middle of the night
I have had pretty severe insomnia for the past 12 months and during that time I have started eating in the middle of the night. I would lay awake for hours and the only thing that would soothe me is food. I am trying really hard to break this habit, but when you are exhausted it is very difficult to remain strong. The insomnia is due to my anxiety/depression medication so I will make an appointment to see my doctor to see if I can chnge it because it can't continue.

Don’t use my emotions as an excuse to eat
Hmmm, I saved the worst until last. I don't have the answers for this one just yet. I'll just have to keep working on it.

Monday, May 06, 2013

6 Months Post Body Lift

Today is 6 months since the best day of my entire life-- my body lift surgery. It is, without a doubt, the best thing I have ever done for myself. While the physical benefits of the surgery have been immense, it is the mental benefits that I appreciate even more.

The two overwhelming emotions that I had about my excess skin was shame and fear. I was ashamed of my body and lived in constant fear that my 'secret' would be found out. I went to elaborate (and often painful and expensive) lengths to hide my skin. Now that is has been removed I just feel so free and like a massive weight has been lifted (pun intended!).

I don't have to constantly worry about my top coming up and exposing the bulge of skin tucked into my pants or if it is a windy day and my dress clings to my stomach and shows the outline of the hanging skin. I can get changed in a store change room without holding the door closed in case someone comes in and happily have spa treatments with my girlfriends without the stress of keeping my stomach hidden. I can dance and exercise without the skin flopping around and I can even feel sexy and beautiful on the odd occassion!

I just feel normal for the first time in my life and I am thankful for my surgery every single day.


On holidays in Thailand in March