Recently several things have changed regarding my surgical journey. I’ll try to be as succinct as possible while still being clear about this part of the journey.
I thought I had announced that I had a surgery date with Dr. Curtis Crane last year, but apparently all I did was talk about my lower surgery decision and discuss my frustration with my first phone consult not happening when it was scheduled to. So, eventually I did have a phone consult with Dr. Crane and I scheduled a surgery date for October 6, 2017.
There’s been a lot of ups and downs since that time. There’s been six medical malpractice suits filed against Dr. Crane. The office increasingly became more doom and gloom about my insurance situation, i.e. the Texas practice not taking it. I obtained, and through no fault of my own, missed a phone consultation with Dr. Mang Chen (his day ran long). I then had my rescheduled phone consult cancelled, as all of Dr. Chen’s phone consults were this summer. At the urging of Manda, the office manager at Brownstein and Crane Surgical Services, I scheduled a phone consult with Dr. Heidi Wittenberg. I have since also scheduled a phone consult with Dr. Safir.
Ready to get off that roller coaster? Me too. So let’s break a few things down specifically:
This is the number one reason that I have cancelled my surgery date for October 6, 2017 in Austin, TX. Initially the office was like this about my insurance situation: “We don’t take it there, but we do pre-authorizations all the time. You have a good chance of it going through.” Thus, I went ahead with my plans. Over the last year, the office has increasingly been more doom and gloom with statements like these: “We don’t take it there and the chance of it going through is a million to one.” or “Only one man with your insurance has ever managed a pre-authorization there.” In the end, I am a month and a half out from my original surgery date and we still didn’t know if the insurance would authorize the surgery. I chose to cancel the date and go through the San Fransisco office for this reason. I cannot pay for this surgery out of pocket. Thus, I chose to not go forward with something that had this many questions.
As stated above, I did not cancel my surgery because of Dr. Crane. I wrestled with what has been going on with him this year for many months, but in the end felt that I had made the right choice. There has been a lot of upheaval in the BCSS practice this year. Besides the lawsuits, Dr. Chen has left the practice, effective September 30th. Dr. Safir and Dr. Santucci have joined the practice. Dr. Wittenberg has begun performing metoidioplasties on her own. More options have become available and that made me feel more comfortable about my decision to cancel. I feel I can still get the results I want from surgeons who have trained with Dr. Crane and Dr. Chen.
As you can imagine, this has been a very stressful time. That is no excuse for me relapsing into smoking again, nor some of my heavier drinking. Between this surgery journey, buying a house, and obtaining roommates, I have fallen hard off the wagon of exercise and moderation that I had been riding. Eliminating unknowns and hammering down a surgeon and a date through a practice I know will take my insurance gives me time to get my physical and mental health back on track. How you go into these surgeries in that respect has a huge impact on how you recover. I owe it to myself to be the best I can be for this.
So this is where we are. I will document both my consult with Dr. Wittenberg and with Dr. Safir and then I should be able to announce a surgery date that is set in stone.