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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Indiana Reporter Left Hanging After Weight Loss, Too


Dan McFeely understands my dilemma with hanging skin

This Indianapolis Star story written by Dan McFeely gets into the reality of life after weight loss -- namely, hanging skin.

McFeely had gastric bypass surgery in 2003 which "saved my life," but is now contemplating surgery of another kind -- the abdominoplasty, or "tummy tuck."

He said he wants to have the $6500 procedure done to "look better and feel better about my body."

I can certainly relate. After losing over 180 pounds thanks to livin' la vida low-carb in 2004, the hanging skin is probably the only physical reminder left on my body that I have of the man I used to be. I share openly about this in Chapter 10 of my book "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb."

In a way it is good because I never want my belly to get that big again. But in another way it is that final piece of the puzzle in a happy story that has yet to be completed. Whenever I stare at that mesh of flesh in the mirror, it pains me that I have to look this way.

I'll NEVER go out in public without a shirt on until this gets taken care of, but I'm about to show you what hanging skin looks like (WARNING: Massive skin alert! For the first time ever, this is what my stomach looks like as November 27, 2005):





EWWWWW! I know, I know, it's pretty gross looking. But that's what I stare at day after day before I put on my shirt in the morning.

While it does make for an interesting freak show to entertain my wife with, it's not something that I want to live with for the rest of my life.

And lest anyone think I am ungrateful for my weight loss, don't get me wrong. I am VERY happy to be at the weight I am now compared with the 410 pounds I used to be. Even if I NEVER get the excessive skin taken care of, I know that I have done something VERY GOOD for my health and body by losing the weight.

However, with that said, people like McFeely and me are not alone. Over 100,000 people were able to have some sort of body sculpting procedures done last year which was a significant increase since 2000. In fact, my friend Roger Troy Wilson, who lose 230 pounds on his special diet plan, said getting the abdominoplasty surgery done "has made all the difference in the world how he sees himself when he looks in the mirror."

But a lot of us who want to have it done cannot afford to have it done.

As I have blogged about before, insurance companies so willingly pay for the gastric bypass surgery, but they don't give a flip about helping people who have hanging skin get the surgery to take care of that issue. Since I did my weight loss naturally, one would think they would at least pay for that considering all the money I will be saving them over the long term as a result of dealing with my obesity now before serious (and expensive!) health problems come in the future.

But nooooooooo! It's cosmetic and nothing more, they say. Unless I have a rash or bumps or some other idiotic nonsense, they're not paying a penny. Yadda yadda yadda.

So for now McFeely and I are stuck with what he calls the "flapper," which amounts to about 15-20 pounds of skin in my abdomen and inner thigh. My wife Christine calls it Play-Doh because of how squishy it is. I know, TMI, but it's true! My weight loss would be in excess of 200 pounds if all that skin were taken care of.

My doctor said the elasticity in my stomach is so far gone that doing 100 ab crunches a day won't do much to help with it. I tell people I've got a six-pack underneath all that skin! If you press on my stomach, it is solid as a rock. The only thing is your fingers feel like they are engulfed by marshmallows when you poke on my tummy to feel. Sigh.

McNeely went from a size 60 pants when he weighed 460 pounds down to a size 44 on his 268-pound body now. For me it was size 62 pants when I was 410 pounds down to a loose size 40 pants now at 225 pounds. We could both easily wear 2-4 pant sizes smaller if we had the "tummy tuck" surgery performed.

A clergy-friend of McNeely said getting this done for him would be "another step toward mentally removing myself from my old life."

WOW, what a great word illustration. And that's what I'm referring to about this being the final step in "the change" that has happened to me. I can then move on to the bigger and better things that life has in store for me after closing this chapter on my life for good.

While McNeely said the 2-5 hour abdominoplasty surgery will cost him $6500 to have done, I was quoted $12,000 PLUS missing three months of work while I healed from the incision. That's a HUGE sacrifice for people who are not as financially secure as others.

As for McNeely, he's still losing weight so it may not be a good idea for him to do it just yet. But for me, I don't see myself losing much more weight over the next year. This is a dream of mine to have done and I will not stop hoping that it will happen for me. I sent my weight loss story to Oprah and Maury and will never stop believing that I will be able to have that surgery done -- someday, someday.

You can e-mail Dan McFeely at dan.mcfeely@indystar.com.

11-28-05 UPDATE: I got this GREAT e-mail back from Dan McFeely today:

Hey Jimmy ... thanks for the note and the blogging. Sounds like you have had an incredible journey yourself. Maybe some day you and I will win a lottery and be able to pay for twin tummy tucks!

Since I don't play the lottery, I doubt that'll ever happen. But maybe I can sell enough books to make it happen! :-) You can get it by clicking here. THANK YOU!!!

5 Comments:

Blogger Mrs. Drobnis said...

Jimmy,

First of all, I'm a big fan of your blog. The way you described sugar as rat poison has really helped me stay off of the stuff since June.
One of my friends had the abdominoplasty done earlier this year, and she was only out of work for a couple of weeks. I'm not sure how much it cost her in TN, but I'd be glad to find out for you.
Vicki

11/27/2005 7:41 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey Mrs. Drobnis,

THANKS for your kind comments about my blog. I appreciate hearing from my readers anytime.

I'd love to hear from your friend who had the tummy tuck done and was back at work in two weeks. I think mine may be a bit longer for the healing process because of the amount of skin they will have to remove.

Any info you can provide would be greatly aprpeciated. E-mail me at livinlowcarbman@charter.net with the details. THANK YOU!!!

11/27/2005 8:26 PM  
Blogger Kent said...

Well I call mine (stomach and inner thighs) the "CharPei," and while bad or annoying, any one who says they would chose the former self over the problem of loose skin is just making excuses. I am not sure if I will ever get a tummy tuck or keep exercising until time eventually heals all wounds or exhaustion tires me out too much to worry about the mirror. I figure everyone needs bears wounds from past mistakes, and mine just happen to be visible ones. Thankfully they are only visible when I go topless, which for an Iowa in the middle of winter is not very often.

I do have hope though for the future as my saggy chest has firmed up quite a bit. Who knows maybe the 'Pei will go away eventually too...

11/30/2005 10:53 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

I'm suddenly very happy I put a stop to my weight gain at 206. I'm now between 145 and 150 and only have a ton of stretch marks to show for it.

1/01/2006 9:46 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Hi

I found this blog searching for information on tummy tucking etc. I was wondering to myself why I was bothering to lose all this weight if I was just gonna look like an empty bag at the end. Congrats on your weight loss. I don't wanna sound like a jerk cause that is not my intention I too started off at 400 pounds, (408 at my highest) and am 256 atm.. anyhow having lost the exact same amount of weight as you I have to say I am nowhere near done!!

if you are happy at 250 then more power to you but it's a bit ridiculous to say that your gut is the product of loose skin. I see a bit of loose skin, and I see some fat too, (Just like I have)


If your'e really concerned with the look of your stomach you should consider dropping some more pounds before undergoing such a costly and time consuming procedure!

lol I really do, do between 100 - 400 ab crunches a day and with a layer of pooch overtop, your'e right, it doesn't do squat! my stomach still looks like yours but we look damn better then we did at 400 eh?

-Ash

5/31/2008 6:44 PM  

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