October 21, 2013
I sat in a daze as I listened to Dr. A and Dr. S examine my face. Dr. A had called Dr. S into the room to take a look at my face for both a professional, and a woman's, opinion. Dr. A's German accent came through soft spoken and authoritative at the same time, "I don't think she really needs anymore," he said to Dr. A. "Maybe a little here," Dr. S pointed to right under my eye, "but she's fine without it,' she added.
They continued to talk to each other as I sat waiting for the bottom line. "I think if we could get rid of her chin, Dr. A said, while pulling back his own chin to illustrate, "I think she would be perfect." Dr. S started examining me closer as Dr. A started explaining to me what he and Dr. S had just concluded.
Dr. A had been giving me Sculptra injections since February and this was my last and final round. I didn't think that my HIV face, as I call it, would ever get any better. The shifts in my body fat have been my worst nightmare. The extra fat in my stomach, back and under my chin...and then the lost of fat in my legs, thighs, buttocks and checks has been the pits.com. Read older blog post on lipodystrophy HERE!
HIV lipodystrophy transformed my body without my permission well over 12 years ago. The cupcakes, stress eating and lack of exercise only made the stomach and back worse. It's been the one thing that has caused ongoing emotional baggage for me.
It has been the one thing that has made me feel unattractive with HIV. Having HIV never made me feel unworthy, but how HIV reshaped my body, for sure, made me feel ugly and caused me a lot of doubts.
I didn't think anything would ever be done, until my HIV doctor referred me to Dr. A, who is a medical dermatologist that sees patients in the HIV clinic where I receive my care. My HIV doctor told me that Dr. A was doing great things for people with HIV. I thought that I had nothing to lose, so I made an appointment.
When I saw him, he thought that I was a candidate for Sculptra. The drug Sculptra builds collegian in your face. Many women use this drug for vanity purposes, but the pharmaceutical company has been giving compassionate use to people with HIV lipodystrophy. More on lipodystrophy HERE!
The first time we applied for Sculptra, I was declined. You talking about being disappointed and sad, man oh man, but Dr. A didn't give up, and they finally said yes.
So, on this last round of Sculptra, I sat and listened to the medical dermatologist examine my face closely. We could see a difference for sure in my face. I'm not as sunken as I was before I began the Sculptra injections.
Two rounds of Sculptra, but that chin.
The problem was, this darn chin of mine. As Dr. A talked about wanting to get rid of my chin, Dr. S said, "You know, I think we should check to see if she is a candidate." My face lit up, huh, what? LIPOSUCTION!!! I started praying right then and there, LOL, but for real y'all.
Dr. A whipped out a camera and took a picture of my chin as Dr. A explained that there might be a slim possibility that they would be able to give me liposuction. You should have seen my inner light beam. Not in my wildest imagination, or dreams, did I think it would be possible.
My chin outlined for the procedure.
They took the picture and promised to get back with me on Tuesday. Four long days, and I couldn't wait for Tuesday, but as 4:00 p.m. turned into 5, and 5 into 6, and I hadn't heard from Dr. S, I started to lose hope. Then, as I settled into my bed about 9:30 on Tuesday night with a book and a cup of tea, I checked my e-mail, and POW!!! An e-mail from Dr. S was waiting, "It's a GO!!"
The fat they removed from my chin!
So on this past Thursday, I had LIPOSUCTION!!! They removed 20 cc's of fat from my chin. I was awake during the entire procedure. There was no pain during the procedure, but I could feel Dr. A pushing the fat into the syringe and the pressure from the suction. Afterwards, I was swollen, but that has gone down a great deal. I was in pain over the weekend. There is still some mild pain and I'm still really sore, especially to the touch. I'm sure time will make it all better.
WOW!! I'm still basking in this blessing. I have to wear this pressure gauze for two weeks and you better believe I'm following directions. If I don't wear this gauze I stand the chance of the skin under my chin sagging. This is a blessing that I do not intend on messing up. I never understood people that are given a breakthrough with their health and then turn around and mess it all up again. No, the gauze ain't cute, but neither is a sagging chin. There's no way, that will I trade a fat chin in for a sagging chin. People can stare all they want!!!
I go back for my follow up visit on Thursday. I have a stitch at the lower part of my chin where they inserted the needle. As it stands now, I think I'm done, but they want me totally healed before they decide. The bandage under my chin, I was able to remove on Sunday. The stitches will come out on Thursday!
As you can see in the picture on top, I'm a new me! This was taken Sunday after I removed the bandage. The picture below, is a side by side. Someone at the knit shop took the picture of me in the grey sweater two weeks ago.
All and all, this is pretty remarkable! I'm happy, happy, happy! I thank God for doctors who really want to treat the whole person. Thank you Dr. A and Dr. S!!!! I'm feeling really blessed right about now!!
Now that the chin is gone, watch me get rid of the body fat in the front and back upper parts of my body. I have already lost 13 pounds since I began my year-long body transformation in September. CrossFit will do the job, but for sure it's not for the faint at heart!
I keep telling people with HIV to just keep on living! What may seem your worst nightmare today, may end up being a blessing in years to come. All you have to do is just KEEP ON LIVING!!!
Read Rae's blog Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks.