It’s been two and a half years since I had top surgery with Dr. Rumer, so this is a little late in coming, but I just wasn’t ready to post it before (although I pretty much told everyone I knew at the time the gist). I’m not into signing up for stuff so I can post it, but I’ll put it here and if you or anyone you know is considering surgery with Dr. Rumer, you can read about one person’s experience. At the same time I had surgery, an HIV+ friend also had a really shitty experience with her. However, the reason I even saw her for a consultation was because I had heard really stellar praise from a friend.
I’m not posting photos because I think it’s ridiculous to think you can know much of anything from a photo. Without knowing someone’s medical history, how their body heals, how they took care of themself, etc. you can’t know much about their surgical/post-surgical experience. And it doesn’t tell you anything about what will happen to your body. Besides, Rumer has puh-lenty of pre and post photos to share. The most I can say is that I personally was pleased with her more ‘square’ approach and the fact that she actually leaves some tissue, as opposed to one or two big smiley faces and a concave chest.
So, my experience:
- She had me unknowingly commit insurance fraud (by using a mammogram code for “suspicious mass” and not telling me) which triggered an impromptu counseling session where I was forced to lie - mostly by omission, but also outright - in order to get the mammogram she requires.
- She told me I could get an ultrasound instead of a mammogram - not the case. They cannot ultrasound your whole chest (which she should know??) leading them to ask, “Where did your doctor find the lump?” because of her “suspicious mass” code on the prescription.
- The mammogram fiasco was a four hour ordeal (!!!) and while there (Jefferson-Honickman Breast Imaging Center, as per her recommendation) there was a transguy with a full beard also waiting. They called his government name out to the entire waiting room.
- She essentially tried to sneak me in to the surgery center, where she apparently prefers doing surgeries (and likely makes more money), with my insulin pump on. Upon the advice of a family member who is a doctor, I called and spoke with the anesthesiologist directly, who was scandalized that my surgery was not being done in a hospital where my insulin would be administered by IV.
- The anesthesiologist later called Dr. Rumer and cancelled my surgery. However, Dr. Rumer’s office did not tell me my surgery had been cancelled until the day before I was to go in, when I called to ask if I could take cold meds.
- I was pretty displeased with her general attitude. She blamed me for my surgery being cancelled, and actually told me not to try to “take the bull by the horns” and “Let doctors talk to doctors.” Her front desk person had something sassy to say too, along the lines of “You really put the fear of god into them, they’re not going to do your surgery now.” And more. Um, why are you in my business??
- I have it written down that she lied about talking to my endocrinologist. I don’t remember the exact details of the lie, but I do remember hanging up the phone and realizing…she didn’t even know my endo’s name!!!
The rest of this was written two weeks post-surgery as a follow up to a phone conversation I had with someone about all the horribleness that happened leading up to my surgery:
I am very happy with the results. I do think that her technique (slightly more straight line approach, versus big half circles - and also the way she uses “nipple bolsters”) is really good, and I am happy with the care she took in measuring/making things even (even though I think that’s really just part of the job).
I still think she kind of just sucks in the concerned doctor department, as compared with other experiences I’ve had (twice with surgeons and also just with regular doctors). Here are things that happened after we talked that I was NOT pleased with:
- the anesthesiologist did not follow the protocol that they had told Dr. Rumer/me/my other doctor that they were going to follow with regard to my insulin pump. JUST before they put me to sleep, I asked about it, and they said “Oh, you’re going to keep your pump on.”
I had to let them know that at 9am, the insulin rate was going to jump a significant amount, and that I needed to change that. If I hadn’t said anything, that would have caused really serious problems during my surgery, and if they didn’t know how to deal with it, could have killed me.
While this is not directly Dr. Rumer’s fault, she REQUIRED me to have my doctor find out how the hospital would deal with my diabetes before she would even book a new date for my surgery. So I would have appreciated it if we had stuck to the plan. And I also sort of felt like after all her going on about how I should let doctors talk to doctors, and I should have come to her first, she should have stepped up and made sure that everything was ship-shape in the diabetes department and went as PLANNED. It just further solidified my “See? I DO have to take everything into my own hands” standpoint. It’s just more obvious that no, I could not have trusted her to do all that for me in the first place, when she was trying to get me in to the Surgicenter.
- At my first post-op appointment, I almost passed out in her office. She was really pushy in trying to get on with the appointment, and I had to keep saying, “I need a minute. I need a minute.” It felt like crap.
- Upon first unwrapping at home, my partner noticed that I had a huge deep bruise from the one drain tube that had been wrapped under, and one part of it was raw and slightly bleeding. Dr. Rumer hadn’t even mentioned it. We’ve been putting ointment and a non-stick pad on it, and it’s healing.
- At my second appointment, I said, “This is the part where I almost passed out last time. I should lay down just in case.” And she said, “Oh, let’s just see” and immediately just started ripping the steri-strips off my chest, and at the end she was like, “See?! You made it!” and I was like, “Actually, I’m feeling a little woozy….not as bad as last time, I guess…” and she said, “Great! Getting better every time!” ….what the fuck??? And then she rushed us out of there, even though I felt like I probably should have laid down so as not to pass out. Luckily my partner was there to hear everything else she said, because I was having that ‘woooooshing’ noise in my head.
Thank gawd I’m almost done seeing her.
Now, the things I was pleased with:
- I had concerns that my drains had been taken out too early (I had told her how much I was draining and she said, “Sounds close enough”) and thought I was having trapped fluid under my skin. I had to call her on her cell on a Sunday, and she was nice enough on the phone and got me in the next morning to check it out. She tried to aspirate the left side, but it turned out that it was just swelling and there was no fluid.
- My surgery went fine, my hospital experience was fine overall. The worst pain I had was from the bandages biting me under the arms and the drain tube that was pressed against my back. In the week after surgery, I only took a total of 2 Percocet and managed to get along using just Tylenol mostly.
I think most people might not encounter the kind of problems I had with her if they have no chronic health problems. I know the mammogram would be a dead-stop bar for a lot of trans people, and it WAS super horrible and traumatizing (and her encouragement to basically commit insurance fraud by saying I found a lump made it more so, because it triggered the impromptu “counseling” session at Jefferson). But I think for most people, that would be the worst part of it all. And she is a very skilled surgeon.