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My Legal Settlement

Earlier today I received the following email from a regular reader here at the blog. For personal reasons, the reader has asked that they be kept anonymous.

Maria,

In your blog, you said you signed papers with your doctor not to name them.  Did you have a settlement?  Did you have the option not to settle, instead spread their name all over? Or did an attorney advice you about libel or defamation?

If you can comment without naming the doctor, much appreciated.

I have written before about how I tried to deal with the legal ramifications of what happened to me. I also wrote about the settlement that currently binds me from mentioning the name of the surgeon. HOWEVER, before I agreed to the settlement that prohibits me and my “agents” from mentioning the surgeon’s name, I wrote a few posts. Those are listed below in my response to the reader’s questions.

Dear Reader;

I am, unfortunately, also bound from talking about the terms of the settlement as well. I DID have the option not to settle. At that point I was deeply clinically depressed and traumatized. I didn’t want that person to have anything to do with my medical care any more. I would start shaking every time I had an appointment. I just wanted it to be over with so I went with the first available way out.

People keep telling me that I’m brave. This is one of those instances where I was not. I DID put up a synopsis of what happened on the Complaints Board [Editor's Note: This post has been edited on advice from my lawyer.Please visit the link for details]

I never spoke to a lawyer about defamation, but I was a journalist so I know that once I signed those papers, I am legally bound, along with my “agents”, not to reveal his name. HOWEVER, those two links were written up before the contract went into effect.

Here is where things get interesting. I just happened to notice that a person I am presuming is the doctor in question or one of the 2-3 staff members familiar with the case (aka one of his “agents”), made a brief response to my initial post on the Complaints Board. I am presuming this because of the use of the phrase “ridiculous herbal remedy’ in the response. That is FAR too personal to have been written by someone just reading entries on the complaints board.

And so, dear reader, I am going to war. For some reason I am having technical difficulties logging on and making a response to that accusation. Once I do, you all may want to stop by for a look because I can guarantee that things are going to get very, VERY interesting.

This surgeon does not know with whom he is messing. He’s about to find out.

 

The 200th Post

As the title says, this is the 200th installment of BoobCast. Today I am writing about you, dear reader. Today’s installment is all about the support and the stories that people have shared with me since I first started this blog on Oct. 11, 2008.

When I first started writing this, I was also fairly active on a website called All About Plastic Surgery (http://www.allaboutplasticsurgery.com). When I posted what had happened to me it didn’t take long before I was inundated by questions about various aspects of the surgery. You can find that entry here: http://boobcast.net/2008/10/14/questions/ People expressed a great deal of concern about how well I had checked out the surgeon, what indications I might have had and what legal recourse I might have taken. During that period so many people gave their support and I am grateful for it. So my thanks goes out to the women of the All About Plastic Surgery forum. They were the ones who inspired the idea for BoobCast.

Now you’re probably asking yourself, “Gee Maria, why do you call it BoobCast? Were they wrapped in plaster or something at one point?”

No, dear reader. There are reasons this site is called BoobCast.  In 2007 the podcasting community lost a precious member by the name of Joe Murphy. He died of a vicious type of cancer that took him quickly. During his medical treatments he talked in vivid detail about what was going on, the testing and all of it. His strength inspired me. I wanted to be as strong and as brave as Joe Murphy. So I planned to podcast what was going on with my breast necrosis. The name of that podcast was going to be BoobCast.

I never met Joe but his life inspired me. It just turns out that I’m not that strong or that brave. To honor that bravery I have kept the name.

I also owe thanks to a very dear friend, Tee Morris. When I was trying to find the strength to create BoobCast, He was there for me. He gave me mental and emotional support by letting me know that I *could* do it. I’m sorry I disapointed you Tee but want to thank you for being a friend when I needed one.

In the time I’ve been writing BoobCast I have had people email me directly for advice. Of course, after reading the email, my advice was always “Contact your PS (plastic surgeon) and ask for [fill-in-the-blank]. Whether it was about bruising, skin texture or pain, I advised talking to their doctor. If they couldn’t get a decent answer from that doctor, talk to another one.

The one that really broke my heart was the husband of a woman who, a few days previous the email,  had the same procedure I had. According to her husband, the pain pills her PS had given her weren’t doing much and she was in constant pain. She couldn’t eat or sleep and she was suffering. I told her husband to call her PS immediately and insist on different pain meds and not take NO for an answer. i explained that, right now it was his job to advocate for his wife since she couldn’t do it herself.

A couple days later I got an email from him saying that her PS had changed her meds and she was doing MUCH better. It’s emails like those that made BoobCast well worth the emotional pain of writing those early posts.

I also want to thank everyone who talked to me about BoobCast at DragonCon last year. Being told in person that I’m making a difference means the world to me. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me.

Finally, my thanks to Carol Montoya, Lolly Daskal and the Woman At Denny’s. I promise that once I’ve had nipple reconstruction and recuperate from that, I WILL write the book. The foundation is in the works already.

My thanks to you all for reading, commenting and talking to me. Here’s to another 200!

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2010 in anchor breast lift, Anxiety, barter, boob job, Bra Fitting, bra sizes, Bras, breast, breast cancer, breast health, breast implants, breast lift, breast reconstruction, breast size, breast volume, Cash fees, checkup, chemotherapy chemical, clogged surgical drains, communication, complications, compression bra, compression dressing, cortisone, cosmetic surgery, cryotherapy, debreiding, debridement, deformity, dehiscence, Depression, Drain, Drugs, emotional healing, emotional scars, Excise, excise fluid, fear, Flashbacks, flourouracil, Fluid, granular tissue, granulation tissue, Healing, Hospital, Hospital fees, Hosptial Costs, implants, Incisions, Infection, Insurance, interferon, Invisibility, keloid, keloid scars, laser, Latissimus flap, latissimus flap reconstruction, malpractice, mammogram, mastopexy, Medical, Medical Insurance, memory, Nausea, necrosis, negligence, Nipple prosthetics, Nipple reconstruction, Nipples, Pain, Pain Management, plastic surgeon, plastic surgery, Plastic Surgery Disaster, podcast, Post surgical depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Prescription Drug Addiction, Prosthetics, PTSD, radiation, Reconstruction, Recovery, Scars, Seroma, serous fluid, Sex, silicone sheets, situational depression, Sleep, slow healing, suicide, Surgery, Surgical complications, Surgical drains, Surgical Fees, Ta Ta Tuesday, Uncategorized, V.A.C. machine, Vacuum assisted wound closure, wet to dry bandages, wheelchair

 

The Valium Story

One of the more mind boggling instances of the HiQ totally blowing me off is what I refer to as the Valium story. After the initial surgery I did not have surgical drains. Drains allow for serous fluid to leave the body so that it doesn’t build up and cause complications in the tissues.

Serous fluid is the yellow sticky stuff that beads up when you scrape your knee. It’s the stuff that allows a scab to form. It also occurs when there has been damage to the capillaries. Basically your body is trying to heal itself. Mine produces a metric shit ton of the stuff. Unfortunately I didn’t know that THEN.

In the evening some time early during the first two weeks after the initial surgery I began feeling pressure in my chest. It felt like a baby elephant standing on my breasts. The pressure made it difficult for me to breathe.

So I had Ken call the HiQ’s answering service. I took off the surgical bra and laid down on my back because I thought the compression from the bra may be causing problems. I felt better and it became a little easier to breathe but I still felt pressure in my chest.

When the HiQ returned the call about 15 minutes later it was still kind of difficult to breathe. The first thing he told me to do was that I needed to calm down. I explained about the pressure on my chest and he said that I needed to put the surgical bra back on. He implied that not having the surgical bra on would make the pressure worse.

So I handed the phone over to Ken and did that. While I was occupied, the HiQ suggested that Ken should get me a Valium and that there was nothing wrong.

As I have said before, when the HiQ took the implants out he also found about 300 ccs of serous fluid in each of the pockets. That is probably what caused the pressure.

A couple weeks after that incident at a checkup one of the nurses noticed a bubble on the outside of my left breast about the size of a jumbo egg cut length wise.

Perhaps a little of it might have been anxiety. After all things WERE starting to go wrong. I’m still REALLY angry about being blown off like that though.

I also have a vague memory of  him telling me that even if he had known about the fluid in the pocket there was nothing he could have done about it.

Dr. Elliott and Dr. Guy excised over 500 ccs of fluid from my back between the two of them. So how is it that someone with supposedly 15 years experience couldn’t do the same thing? It still just pisses me off to no end.

 

Complexus Inferioritus 2

I admit that I was intimidated by what appeared to me to be massive amounts of cutting on my breasts. On the other hand, I hated what I had SO much that, while it was pretty scary, it was something that I could definitely see myself doing.

After the video was over, the PA came in and she explained what the video had just shown and then she asked if I would like to see what I would look like after the surgery.  I think this is where they REALLY sell women on the idea of plastic surgery. It was where they really sold me on it.

The PS brought out a couple of implants and hat me put them in my bra. She showed me a mirror and it was love at first sight. I felt beautiful for the first time in a quite a while. As I said, I was sold.

I was given an estimate for the two procedures.  And augmentation is still considered a separate procedure from  the lift even though they’re usually done in unison. At least they were a few years ago.

I was given an estimate for the two procedures.  A total of around $10,000 if I’m remembering correctly. So I brought it home and showed the estimate to my husband.  And that’s where the heartbreak of this story truly begins.

He said we couldn’t afford it and maybe in a couple years we’d be able to do it. I cried as though my heart were broken but by the end of the day I had calmed down. I hadn’t accepted that it was over though. I was bound and determined that I was going to make this happen. I just had to find a way to make my husband understand how desperate I was to be beautiful. So, in my emotional state, I reverted to high school. I wrote him a letter. I felt that was really the only way to articulate what I felt that I needed.

After reading it later that night, he told me that if I could find a way to make it happen cheaply, then I could get it done. This is where I admit to having more than a bit of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). This wasn’t a compulsion but it was most assuredly an obsession.

So I was off. I had another consultation about a month later with another local PS. Again, I was quoted about the same price. At this point I was feeling pretty desperate. So I looked on our barter network website for plastic surgeons in Orlando.

Barter networks are different than how many people perceive them. As an example say I have a product or service that I sell within the network for $10. Someone within the network buys that product or service giving me $10 barter dollars in my account. I can then take that barter cash and use it for ANYTHING in the barter network that someone else supplies.

I have gotten handyman work, housekeeping, contact lenses, pre-purchase home inspection and the surgical fees for my initial surgery on barter. There are SO many things you have access to and if your barter club is part of a network with reciprocal agreements, you have access to an even wider range of products and services. Just a couple days ago we bought fudge, jam, wine and dinner on barter.

Yes, I found a plastic surgeon on barter.

Tune in tomorrow when I continue with my story.

 
 
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