This post is a bit of a personal one for me. In fact I wasn’t sure I was going to even admit it, but I figured I am about full financial transparency (well some things, not all at Mrs. ROB’s request). We were out with some friends a few weeks ago and we were talking about plastic surgery. Now no one at the table had gotten plastic surgery or anything, but they were speculating on what they would do? Tummy tuck? Botox? Chin lift? I never did reveal it, but I actually have had plastic surgery or better known as elective surgery. Let me say that again I have had plastic surgery, which is a little embarrassing, but it was probably the best money I ever spent.
In the 5th grade I started to gain weight, a lot of it. I went from being a fairly skinny kid to one that has been overweight most of my life since then. I say most because there have been pockets of time when I have lost 40 to 50 pounds, but the weight has come back. I am actually trying to lose weight now, but it is really about changing my lifestyle and eating habits than weight loss. Health is more important.
Anyway with that weight gain I also gained other things. I began to suffer from a condition known as gynecomastia, which in American popular culture is commonly known as man-boobs. When you are 5th grade kid, you are overweight, and this happens to you well you can probably guess what happens. I was teased like you wouldn’t believe. I wouldn’t go swimming anymore. I would always wear lose fitting clothing. I hated dressing for football practice. I mean it was just embarrassing to say the least.
I think I probably delayed going on different vacations (e.g. the Caribbean) because of this condition. I remember on my honeymoon with my ex-wife when we went to Punta Cana that I didn’t want to actually go swimming because I thought everyone was looking at me and making fun of me. In fact, I know it happened a couple of times on that vacation. I tried to stay under the water the entire time so no one would notice.
This isn’t meant to be a pity party and I am sorry as if it is coming off that way. So when I began my career after about two years I decided to do something about it. In the middle of the Great Recession I researched different treatments. There didn’t seem to be anything out there. I actually went on a couple of message boards, anonymously, and shared my story and listened to others. It certainly helped. Really, the only solution that most people talked about was plastic surgery.
Just as a side note weight loss does help, but it certainly does get rid of them. In fact, I lost 50 pounds and it was almost more embarrassing being skinnier and having this issue. When you are heavy you can attribute it to that. When you lose weight you can’t.
So in October of 2008 I pulled the trigger. My ex-wife was extremely supportive and understood my need to do this. She was someone who was in excellent physical condition, but had severe body dysmorphia, but she understood my embarrassment. To her credit she never said anything negative and I thank her for that.
Anyway, the surgery was going to cost $7000 and of course insurance doesn’t cover it (and I don’t think it should btw)At the time, we were in the middle of the biggest downturn since the Great Depression and I was actually scared of losing my job. So what did I do? I went ahead with the surgery and put it on a credit card. Probably not the best financial decision I have made, but I wanted to do this. We did pay off the credit card within a year, but again not the best financial decision.
My recovery period was about six weeks. I couldn’t go to the gym or work out during that time, but I could already tell that things were different. My clothes fit better. I no longer jiggled went I walked (except for my mid-section). I just felt much better about myself.
Over seven years later my clothes still fit better. I am still overweight, but I certainly don’t look like I did seven years ago for good or bad. So that is my confession. In the middle of the Great Recession I decided to get plastic surgery for something that, for me, was extremely embarrassing. It is embarrassing to talk about it at some level. However, it was the best $7000 I ever spent. I still have a lot of things I need to do to improve my health, self-esteem, and financial net worth, but some times you just have to do what feels right.
P.S. There is no “cure” for gynecomastia. Some kids grow out of it. Others it plagues them there entire lives, even if they are thinner. People are not sure why it happens in guys. I just know it is embarrassing or at least for me it was. Plastic surgery isn’t for everyone. That is probably why I don’t have that big of an issue when people get it, unless they are doing multiple procedures and distorting themselves. I can see where it can actually help people.