Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Quest, part 1 of an unknown part series

"Hello, I'd like to speak to you about my testicles. "

I was thinking that might be a better way to start the conversation than just jumping right into, "HI, my baby died so my wife and I decided that I need more scar tissue on my scrotum!"

I suppose that may just be a bit unsettling to people, but when you call about a vasectomy reversal just a few weeks after having the vasectomy, the people on the other end of the phone tend to wonder why.

After losing Joel, my wife and I came to the fairly quick assertion that we didn't just want to have two kids, we wanted to raise two kids. Our quest had begun.

Now we didn't know much about vasectomy reversals other than hearing Dr. Phil brag about having done it twice (good lord...his scrotum must look like Mickey Rourke), and I'm willing to bet that you don't know much about it either, so in hope of some mild amusement, and of course to spread a bit of our hard earned education, I thought I would chronicle our search for a vasovasostomatician.

To begin, we considered going back to the same urologist that performed my vasectomy, but somehow that seemed a little weird for us. We didn't realize it at the time, but he actually doesn't do reversals. In fact, according to our research, there isn't a doctor in West Virginia that does! (not sure why I used an exclamation point, as if it is really that surprising of a statement...) A reversal is a pretty involved micro-surgery procedure that requires some pricey equipment and training. Well, that is if you want it done in the least invasive and quickest way. There apparently are still docs out there that do it the 'old-fashioned' way. It's cheaper, but you get what you pay for. So as you might imagine, there is a relatively small group of doctors that perform the procedure with all the latest gadgets and the high-success rate that comes with them.

Since my guys are getting enough awkward attention as it is, I'm not going to go into the details of the procedure. If you want to know more about all that, you can go here. For our purposes, let's just use this imagery: take a drinking straw. Cut it into two pieces. Use a lighter to melt the ends of the two pieces, sealing them (vasectomy). Now, cut the melted/sealed portion off the two pieces and try to reconnect the straw like it was new, so you can blow spit wads through it without it breaking open(vasectomy reversal). See what kind of trouble you run into.

It just dawned on me that "spit wads" may have been a poor choice...

So when reconnecting your straw pieces, apparently there can be quite a bit of trouble, calling for an advance
d procedure called a vasoepididymostomy. Advanced procedure = even fewer docs can do this.

Blog reader, COME ON DOWN!!!! it's time to play our pricing game! We've told you all about our lovely vasectomy reversal, and if you can guess the correct price range you'll get a chance to have awkward conversation with Drew Carey and his creepy new haircut!!

$2,000? 4,000? 6,000? 10,000? 15,000??

Well, they're ALL correct. Depending on where you go and who you see, a reversal can cost anywhere in that range. Of course, for the microsurgery option, you're looking at 5-15,000. Very rarely will insurance help pay for a reversal, and even then it is usually just a small portion. In our case, it is total out-of-pocket expense.

So: a doctor who performs the reversal via microsurgery and can do the advanced procedure if necessary, within an acceptable traveling distance, and within our teacher's salary budget...

Hmm, this should be EASY!

to be continued...

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