A week ago, I sent an email to Dr. Medalie’s office:
“I am contacting you in hopes of scheduling top surgery with Dr. Medalie. Attached to this email you will find my completed patient history form and three photographs (front, left, and right sides) of my chest. I also have been working with a therapist, Dr. M, for over two years…”
And a day later, I got back this note from Valerie, Dr. Medalie’s secretary:
“Dr. Medalie has reviewed your information. The procedure that he would perform is the peri-areolar mastectomy vs the double incision mastectomy. Dr. Medalie said that you are on the border for the peri-areolar mastectomy and he would need to see you in person to decide if that is the best procedure. He can make the decision the day of surgery. Both surgeries are the same price and it takes the same amount of time in the operating room. The total price for surgery is $5976. This includes the price to send the breast tissue to pathology. Let me know if you have any questions or would like to schedule surgery.”
Eep! Surgery! For real? Then I panicked a little bit: it seemed like things, just days ago, were theoretical, in my head, top surgery was just this thing I wanted to do that I thought was going to take a long time. I thought there would be lots of emails back and forth, lots of protocol, lots of forms and faxes and whatnot. Paperwork. Red tape. But there it was, after a single form and some tit pics I have surgery on the table, so to speak. I had planned to fill that long presumed wait time with therapy and exercise: to get my mind and body in the best possible shape before surgery.
So over the next few days, as I exchanged some emails with Valerie and Dr. Medalie in regards to some insurance questions and procedural concerns, I spent that time also talking with K about the pros and cons of having the surgery in May or waiting for my original planned date of Feb. 2013. I decided I wanted the surgery now for the following reasons:
1. I am certain I want it, and already knew I would not regret it, regardless of whether I have to wait ten months or two. In my gut this timing feels right.
2. Dr. Medalie is my first choice, and I feel good about having my surgery with him. (This isn’t a reason for the timing, per se, but rather just a reason for having it with this doctor in particular.)
3. May works well for my time off: the summer is so slow at work my hours will be cut, and so having surgery in May will affect my income less than having it in February.
4. I feel ready to come out to my family about top surgery.
5. There is no good reason to wait until Feb. 2013, I was just bracing myself for what I felt like was an inevitable waiting period, essentially, I had no idea it would be this easy to schedule top surgery–I assumed the doctors would be scheduling much further out than they are, or that my first choice would not be available for a long time.
I did have some fitness goals I wanted to reach before surgery. And while I have not met all of them (converting some waist weight to muscle) I have met some of them. Namely, I have a good gym routine down, one that will be easy to go back to after I have recovered to the point of being able to work out again. Also, I mentioned above I am ready to come out to my family about top surgery, and that is something I obviously want to talk to them about before I go through with it.
Right now, I’m feeling pretty excited. Next step? Drafting a coming out letter to my family…
Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli