Friday, March 2, 2012

Cosmetic Procedure

I had Zeltiq Coolsculpting a week ago in the attempt to flatten my tummy a bit in time for the summer, it was my first time having a cosmetic procedure done and I am a bit chagrinned at admitting this, but what good are blogs for if not to provide a forum in which to publicly humiliate yourself?  (and a little bit of self-deprecating humor never hurt anyone!)  Anyway, I’ve wanted to give Zeltiq a try for quite a while now.  I was initially interested by reading some “How to Make Yourself Skinnier by Doing Nothing!” article in one of those magazines that make their money by brainwashing women into thinking they are chronically too fat/ugly/old to be seen in public.  After reading it I thought, “Finally, I have found a quick route to get that stamp of approval from the magazine Gods – a flat tummy!”  This technique obviously appealed to the efficiently-lazy part of my personality so when I found a 56% discount coupon for it on Groupon I jumped on the deal, and by ‘jump’ I mean I clicked a button on my laptop while sitting on my living room sofa (someone really needs to create an app that blocks people from buying things on Groupon past midnight). 

When the appointment time came I traveled to the Upper East Side and entered an office equipped with all the kinds of pamphlets that would encourage a person to get a cosmetic procedure done, the regular pamphlets with headlines like “Have you noticed more wrinkles in the mirror lately?” and “With just 8 treatments of XYZ product, you can stay young forever” and big shiny photos of perfect appearing people smiling as though they lead the kind of lives you wish you had, instead of being the struggling actors they actually are.  On the up side, there was almost no wait time, on the down side there was not much of a consultation either… as in there was no consultation.  It was apparent that their office had spent some time perfecting how to create that “get ‘em in and get ‘em out” allure.  I was efficiently dumped onto a hospital type-ish chair, brusquely instructed to remove my pants, pull up my shirt, lathered in jelly and stuck with a constantly-whining pale sucking device that left huge red welts on my body and then was left alone in a stale room shuddering with alternating pangs of regret and self-pity. This procedure felt eerily familiar to me for some reason. 

When the nurse initially placed the smaller suction cup on to my lower-ab area, it felt like my entire mid-section was being dipped in liquid nitrogen.  Surprisingly, my autonomic nervous system went into shock.  I broke out in a cold sweat, became nauseated, and had to recline in the chair while taking deep yogi breaths to avoid passing out.  My best guess for this reaction is that human bodies just aren't very happy with being cryogenically frozen.  For the first 10 minutes, I was in tremendous pain.  For point of reference, I've had my nose, ankle and foot broken (three completely separate and completely idiotic occasions) and lived through the surgical removal of four impacted wisdom teeth (while I was awake {I can't tolerate full anesthesia}) but I have never experienced such devastatingly odd pain as this.  The pain did not completely dissipate after the first ten minutes, when the area went numb, like the assistant had promised me it would.  It continued to be rather uncomfortable as the edges of my skin around the freezing apparatus never froze completely so were stuck in a kind of purgatory of pain (If only Zeltiq had been around during the Spanish Inquisition, how the priests would have relished in it's torturous power). However, I was able to read some and whimper to my boyfriend a little on the phone to distract myself from the agony for the rest of the hour.

The end of the procedure involved the abrupt removal of the suction device, and the shocking exposure to my frozen margarita skin of room temperature air may have been the worst part.  It was at this point that the nurse’s nurturing nature really shone through.  While I curled into a little trembling, fetal ball she questioned my ability to ‘deal with the pain’ as though dealing with pain were a class everyone had taken in under-grad but one that I had obviously failed.  Quite oppositely, I thought my lack of sobbing hysterically and cursing at the top of my voice showed that I was coping quite well with the pain.  As soon as the nurse wiped my tummy of frozen goop, I took off to the restroom as my abdomen unclenched itself and I experienced a case of acute diarrhea (sorry to be so graphic here, but I want to share the experience as accurately as possible, and misery loves company).  It has been 4 days and I am still experiencing numbness, itchiness, cramps and some shooting pains.  I've checked out some forum posts and apparently this shooting nerve pain is normal for the first couple of weeks.  I am not letting my hypochrondria get the best of me, so with every painful jolt, I whisper a small "No Pain, No Gain" and keep moving.  Although, moving may not be the right word, it is more like a hunched over hobbling, but you get the picture.  Unfortunately, my one place of solice, Sleep, has become a long forgotton oasis from pain.  I finally broke down and called the office.  The nerve blocker I would need to block the pain, Neurontin, is something the dermatologist apparently does not feel comfortable prescribing to someone she sold a Groupon to.  Fantastic.  But there is an upside to this, as the bf pointed out last night, it is a great way to prep for labor pains (not that I'll be experiencing those any time soon) woman on the realself forum even compared the pain to her recovery from a maybe the bf has a point. Anyway, if it is anything like this, then labor & delivery is going to a mess of pain, I hope Eve enjoyed that apple.
Initially, the skin was very sensitive and felt rather like a terrible sunburn for the first two days.  That, thankfully, has subsided.  The initial bruising from the procedure has faded away also.  Hopefully, I only have another week or so to go before the abdominal cramps and shooting pains subsist.  It takes 3-4 months to see results, as it takes about this long for all the fat cells that underwent apoptosis to be naturally dispelled from my body via the lymphatic system.  I have my hopes set on this experience having fantastic results!  Regardless of whether or not I come out of this with glowing 6-pack abs, I’m glad I did it.  I don’t want to live my life with “If only I had’s” or “I wonder what if’s” I want to do it, whatever it may be, as long as it takes me further along this beautiful journey of life!  Every chance to overcome my fears, I’m going to take, because, after all, you only live once (OK, maybe not every chance, but definitely all the ones that offer the promise of making me more attractive).  If by chance you come across me huddled over my abdomen in the next week or two, ask me how I’m doing.  When I lie to you and say, “I’m just experiencing a little PMS” I encourage you to call me on my lie. I’ll laugh and lovingly shake my head and know that you are going to be a life-long friend of mine….because you read my blog and so know enough incriminating info on me to motivate me to stay on your good side for a good long while ;)