So, I am new to posting online about anything but...
I am in the process of getting the breast reduction done, but it seems like it is now taking forever. I attempted the insurance route but was told I needed to have 6 months to 1 year of "documented proof" that my pendulous breasts are the cause of my discomfort. I became discouraged because I know why I have headaches and a dull, constant back ache. I know why it feels like I am always deprived of oxygen. I did not want to go through a years-worth of procedures, spend a few thousand on co-pays, pills PT, chiropractor (which scares me), as well as the possibility that after the year of "proof" I may be denied for whatever reason. I decided I would come up with the money and fund this myself. I feel I will have a lot more control of who I pick as my surgeon and what size I hope to be when I am done. Wow, I am actually tearing up as I write this. It's a little overwhelming. I know many of you reading this understand exactly how I feel. How you feel somewhat imprisoned in your skin when your breasts are so large.
I am now scheduled for my first consultation on July 11th. I had a physical done a few weeks ago and am having blood drawn on July 12th. I am actually quite nervous about the surgery. I have never had GA and have a fear I could go into some sort of fatal cardiac arrhythmia during. It just weirds me out to think of being supported mechanically. Out of the entire BR process, anesthesia seems the scariest. I am not too concerned about the healing aspect. I believe that will be uncomfortable but not so extreme that I have to fear that part. I will post my befire pics soon. I would ideally like to be a "b" cup. Something small enough to go without a bra and not sweat constantly under the breast. Based on other posts, I have learned that I need to be very explicit with my PS and tell him exactly what I want as my outcome. I appreciate the opportunity to even consider getting BR and am so glad to have found this site. Sorry for such a looooong post.
It kind of feels like it's taking forever to get to the consultation. I can't wait. I think this will really help me put everything together.
My PS suggests I go to a C cup but I will probably ask for smaller. I want to be able to not wear a bra and feel comfortable. I have a tentative date of Aug 2nd, which is crazy cus that's in three weeks! I am still super nervous about GA but was really put at ease. My PS said I was like the perfect patient. It's very scary to think that I may actually have new boobs in three weeks!!! Ahhhhh!! It's kind of sad in a way because you get so used to your cans that the thought of not having cans seems a little lonely... Anyhow, here are specifics about the consultation:
Current weight guesstimate of my breasts:
Rt side 1100-1200. Lt side 1300-1400.
PS wants to remove ~ 500 grams Rt side
~ 650 Lt side
I would like a little more as long as it can be done technically with maintained pedicle.
None used as a routine (YIPEE!!!). Maybe if there's lots of blood at surgery but not as a routine.
Might be done at axillary area if needed (will check again at pre-op)
All dissolvable. Internal stitching used and steristrips used on external skin incisions.
After surgery, I'm going to be wrapped in what looks like a giant ace bandage. The bandage is left in place for five days. I won't get to see them for the first time until the doc unwraps them. That's a little unnerving to think about. I'm worried that he will unwrap me and I will have a black nipple or be totally freaked by the appearance. I will only be able to sponge bathe for those first five days.
I do need to ask if I can have intra-op photos taken just for having a photo so unique (will do at pre-op)
I have allergy to Sulfa and Amoxicillin, so they wanted me to take Cipro pre-op for antibiotics. I have known a few people that had bizarre side effects so I want to see if there is something less spooky.
I'm not required to buy any specific type of bras post-op. I think I will check again at pre-op. I know the first 5 days I will be wrapped in a giant ace bandage, but I need to see what I need to wear for the weeks following that.
Not required pre-op because I have no family history and my age.
Length of procedure:
Roughly between 2 hours 30 min and 2 forty-five min.
I can't think of anything else for now. I just need to confirm on Monday for August 2nd date. Insane!! I'm taking 3 weeks off work and may go in sporadically to do catch up on easy paperwork. I will see if I'm feeling up to it.
Had labs drawn today. Labs not required for surgery (seems strange...). I had labs incidentally for annual physical, so thought the timing was perfect. I should know results in about a week.
I think that is it or now. I am surprisingly calm writing this info down. I guess it hasn't sunk in. I think when I pay for a bulk of the surgery it will feel more real.
Pre op instructions are to be npo after midnight. I need to get to surgery center at 6 am because I'm the first procedure. Surgery starts around 0730 and will last around 3 hours. Then recovery and able to leave around noon. When I leave I will be wrapped in ace bandages and shouldn't have drains.
I will see if the PS can take an intra-op photo with one breast reduced and the other one not.
I was given prescription for Keflex antibiotic post op and Vicodin. I have to have Keflex because I have allergy to Amoxicillin and Sulfa.
Still hard to believe surgery is two weeks from tomorrow. It just doesn't seem real. Seems like I'm going through the motions as a spectator. Very odd...
Surgery next Friday!!!
I am starting to get excited about the surgery! I haven't really been excited thus far, just more nervous then anything. I guess it's feeling a lot more real and I have the results of all my tests and they are normal, which is a huge relief.
I appeeciate the kind words of encouragement I have received over the past month. It's really made this process a lot less scary.
One week to go!!
I really have three questions I need to ask right before surgery:
1) am I getting lipo in the axillary area
2) how long until I can sleep on my side (I am not thrilled about back sleeping)
3) ensure I relay my desired outcome with the photos as mentioned above.
This site has been very helpful because I was able to search other accounts of surgery, see before and afters and get an idea of what I might possibly look like afterward.
I can't really say how I feel being one week out. It's strange. I guess my mind is attempting to assimilate what is actually happening. It still does not seem real or possible that I am actually doing this. I think it may set in when I actually get to the surgery center :)
4 more sleeps
Tomorrow is the day!
On the way!!!
I am on the way to the surgery center! I will update when I am on the other side! Wish me luck and send prayers my way!
On the other side!
Anyhow, I will post pics soon once I can stand up for longer duration. Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers. :)
Surgery update and pics
Recap of surgery:
I arrived to the surgery clinic at 0600.
I was checked in and taken back. The RN's took vitals, started an IV and put leg massagers on me for the surgery so I wouldn't get clots.
The anesthesiologist came in next, talked with me about the procedure and really reassured me that things were going to be ok. I gave my lab work and EKG to him for his records.
I did start to cry when the RN's put the leg massagers on. That's when it felt real.
Dr. Chen came in a little later and drew on me. I showed him a few pics of wish boobs and asked if I would be able to have axillary lipo. He said that should not be an issue. I told him I understood that the breasts may look out of proportion to me and that is ok. I want to loose about 20lbs and they will look really proportionate then. I would look at before and after pics and see C cup reductions that look a lot larger than what I wanted. I decided to err on the side of caution. I also asked if I could have an intra-op picture with one large breast and one reduced, but was told that would not be permitted. I am ok with that. Never hurts to ask.
Dr. Chen left and a nurse helped me to the bathroom right before the procedure.
Then the Anesthesiologist came back in and gave me some lovely cocktail in my IV. It made the room seem distorted and helped me to relax a lot.
I remember being wheeled into O.R. and sliding to the table. I could feel them strapping my arms down and the leg massagers were starting to work.
The last thing I remember is being told we would start soon and to start breathhing in the O2 mask. I remember telling the doc that the O2 mask smelled funny. Then it was lights out. I woke up in recovery mid conversation. I know I had been talking already because it was mid-sentance that I mentally came to. Very weird feeling. I do not remember being woken up in the O.R. or anything at all. It is so bizarre being awake then waking up hours later and feeling like only a few minutes passed.
Anyhow, I am not in too much pain. Just the axiallry liposuction more than anything. The swelling is a little uncomfortable too. Not unbearable and I am being careful to keep up on pain meds to keep the uncomfort to a manageable level.
Dr. Chen called me last night to check in on me. I asked how many grams he removed and he said about ~660 grams on one and ~680 on the other, so about 1 1/2 pounds from each side!! Holy cow! That is a lot!!
I am just taking it easy and really doing nothing at all. I feel a lot less dizzy now which is great. I think the dizzy is from the antinausea patch behind my ear and the pain meds. Not too bad really.
I have added some pictures of me in the ace bandage. I wont get to see them until next Thursday. I am excited to see what is hiding under there...
Thank you all for the kind words and support :)
pics as promised
Day 2 post op
Im still alive...
Yesterday (day 5) started off bad but by around 3 pm, I started feeling a little more normal. I had taken my last antibiotic at around 1 pm and think being off the narcotics for 24 hours had helped a lot. I walked a little yesterday and felt decent during the evening. I went to sleep at 7 pm last night.
Today (day 6) I'm not sure yet how I'm feeling. My back hurts from sleeping on my back and I feel a little nauseated and dizzy. Imgetting my bandages taken off at 10 this morning so hopefully that will help. The compression of this bandage is soooooo tight it's hard to breathe. I'm also ready to see what's been lurking under the bandages.
I have a question, does it feel like your breasts are contracting,then releasing constantly? I feel like my breasts contract and release off and on all day, almost like the muscles are doing this on their own...it's very weird feeling...
Anyway, I will update with pics later.
Bandages are off
Trying to get pics to load...
Post op appt
I was so nervous about what might be going on under there. I kept thinking what if they are really really bruised, black nipples, hematoma, free nipple grafts that I didnt know about...my mind was coming up with all sorts of things that could be lurking under there...
As she unwrapped me I could stop staring as the breasts were coming out. The wraps came off and I saw tiny perky breasts! The first thing I did was touch each nipple and YAY they both work!! I told her that I was scared that there was a free nipple graft and she told me he never takes your nipples. I was relieved to hear that. She left the room to get the surgeon and I was just amazed at how small and perky they are. I instantly accepted them and felt like they are mine. I thought I would cry or get weepy but I didn't. I just owned them straight away. It was very odd. I also cupped each breast in a hand and couldn't believe they fit! I finally understood the saying, 'more than a handful is a waste'. I couldn't believe I had little TINY boobies!
The surgeon came in and said his assistant said my boobs were cute. I showed him and he looked very pleased with the results. It was so crazy hearing anyone refer to MY boobs as cute. I have never had cute little boobs. It was so great to hear that.
My surgeon looked at the steri strips and shape. He said the Steri strips should fall off on their own in a week and if they don't, I can start picking them off. I was permitted to take showers again, yay! He talked about areas of this surgery that tend not to heal as well. The lateral sides of the bottom incision, near the axilla, tend to be a little thicker and bumpy. I wonder if it's because it's stretched a little more because of moving your arms around. He also talked about the T-junction taking time to heal. He said it may weep yellow, maybe blood for a few weeks. He said that's ok as long as I keep the sire dry and clean. I am so glad I read about a lot of this on Realself. It made me feel a lot more comfortable.
He also talked about the medial aspect of the incisions. He said he doesn't take the incision as far in the center toward the sternum as you may see other surgeons doing. He said in his years of doing this procedure, it seems the site heals worse the farther in the incision goes, plus, he said he wanted to avoid the scar in case I wanted to wear a triangle bikini or low V cut shirt. For this I was very thankful.
Scar treatment: he said to massage scars with some pressure a few times a day and I could use maderma or scar guard. He also suggested silicone strips if I wanted. I may end up using those until everything is completely healed and there is no more weeping.
I told him that of all of this, the liposuction under the axilla was the most painful part. He said it is a pretty rough procedure and takes a lot to get the fat removed. He said he removed 500-600 grams of fat from the armpit area. I did the math in my head knowing he removed ~660 from one breast and ~680 from the other breast. This means that around 1,000 grams of fat and glandular tissue was removed from each breast! A little over 2 lbs from each! That is shocking to me!
He checked my pathology report while I was there and said everything sent came back clear. Yay!!
I asked him about this weird contraction feeling I get in my breasts. It feels like they both tighten up and release. He wasn't sure about that, but he checked the breasts for fluid accumulations and said he didn't feel any (wahoo!). I asked if he sews into the chest wall as I had seen some procedures that do. He said he does not, but goes right up to the chest wall itself, so it may be the muscle is a little irritated.
For anyone on the fence, take the plunge. I was terrified of anesthesia and really thought I didn't want to do the procedure. I almost backed out as they started the IV. I prayed a lot and trusted in God to take care of me. I trusted the team at the surgical center and it ended up not being too bad. And bonus, now I know I can tolerate General Anesthesia. I felt back and forth this week about my decision. I didn't feel well the first few days and wondered why I did this to myself, why did I purposefully decide to put myself through such uncomfort. I think seeing the results has really helped psychologically.
The left side is swollen more than the right. My left was bigger before this procedure so I'm wondering if he took out more tissue and maybe that's why it's more swollen. I may end up with small dog ears on the lateral aspect, but will be a little more aggressive about massaging those areas to flatten out the scars. All in all, I'm very happy with the results so far. Its hard to believe that one week ago, today, I was under Anesthesia getting my reduction. Now one week later, I'm feeling much more normal and finally feel like I have regular boobs of a woman in her twenties. It's a great feeling :)
Thanks to all for the love and support.
10 days post
I will post pics once the steri strips fall off. They are all still on and probably won't come off on their own so if they don't come off by Friday, I have the ok from my PS to start picking off the strips.
As for areas that may need support after the strips are off, I think I will use paper tape. I have heard that the paper tape helps a lot and I am not comfortable leaving open spots open for any length of time.
I am curious to see what they look like without the strips. I am taking it slow and letting my breasts do what they need to.
Interesting thing, I have had hardly any itching at all. I have read so many posts about women three days post op and later talking about having crazy itchiness. I've had very little. The top of the left nipple and some under the breasts, but only where the tape is pulling at the skin. So part of me is relieved I don't have the itchiness, but then I worry a bit too because I wonder if I'm not healing under the tape...
One other note, I tried on clothes yesterday (first day I have had energy to try stuff on) and my belly looks HUGE!! I knew it would look bigger but man, it was ridiculous. I cried. It was depressing because now the clothes fit nice up top but my gut looks 6 months pregnant. The hubby was supportive and said not to worry. He said just wait to heal then start working out. I will be able to run, hike easier, boxing. I thought about it and he was right. I knew I had other problem areas and have always hated how my gut looks like a 50 year old mans' beer belly, but it's a shocker when the boobs are gone, the belly is way more noticeable.
Interesting revalation, I have been following jerseypersons posts and she describes the psychological changes that come along with this transformation. She was right. I am learning that it is very different to now have small breasts because I am still the same. My husband told me that the recovery nurse said I had just had a "surgical assault" and I needed to give my mind a "surgical assault." I need to change my mind in as drastic a way as my chest has changed. I suddenly felt reassured. That I was normal to have these thoughts, but what I need to do now is remold a better me psychologically. I need to embrace myself and learn a whole new me.
12 days post op
I have also noticed that I have a lump next to the incisions at the lateral aspects on both sides. I don't know if it's just scar tissue or swelling from lipo in that area but they are sore to the touch. The right one is bigger than the left, yet my left breast is more swollen overall.
I'm starting to get a little concerned that my left breast is going to end up bigger than the right, but I won't even address any sort of revision for at least 6 months. Who knows, I may be ok with the size difference in lieu of having revision (I would most likely opt for lipo to even out the size). They aren't drastically different, but different enough to need help if they aren't settled at 6 months.
Anyhow, feeling pretty good and getting a little stir crazy not getting to do as much as I would like, but need to be patient.
Post Op Tips for the first week
Some tips for immediately post op:
2. Definitely take your pain meds as prescribed
3. Don't be too active for the first week
You don't want to aggravate the cauterized vessels in the breast tissue and spring a leak. I mean nothing. No dishes, cooking, washing hair, cleaning. Do zero and you are doing yourself a huge favor by letting the scars begin to form and helping yourself heal quicker!!
4. Do be sure to take really deep breaths, as deep as you can (it actually was very uncomfortable as I swelled up). Be sure to exhale as much as you can after the deep breath.
Do that a few times every hour your awake. It will help your body avoid anesthesia complications such as pneumonia, lung infections and fluid build up from the anesthetic and intubation.
5. Flex your calves. Flex your feet up and point your toes down many times an hour when your not sleeping. I did this to the point of being sore over the first 5 days. I am still doing this 2 weeks post. The stretching illicits blood movement in the legs and helps to avoid DVTs, blood clots.
The risk for blood clots after surgery can actually last for three months post op, so making sure to stretch a lot during the first few weeks really cuts down the risk and helped me mentally feel like I was being proactive. This was especially helpful on post op day 2-5 when I felt like crap and really did not get out of bed except to use the bathroom.
6. Drink a lot of fluid. A lot. This will help to flush the anesthetic out of your blood stream which will hopefully cure the post anesthesia headache that a lot of us have experienced.
7. Antibiotics. Take them as prescribed. As a warning, I felt really yucky after about day three on the antibiotic. I got diarrhea (only for around 6 hours), and had a general feeling of malaise. Just felt poor. This does dissipate after your are done with your script, so thankfully there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Just thought I would pass on some words of wisdom. Happy healing to all who have been to surgery and good luck to the ladies coming up on their date :)
2 weeks post op!!
I do have one spot under my right nipple that needs to heal a little more. As soon as I took the strips off and let the spot air dry, it looked soooo much better. Should be good there in about a week. I am surprised at how good the incisions at the T junction look and the area at the sides. I feel a tiny bump under the right T junction that feels like it could be a stitch trying to work its way through. I will just let it do what it needs to. If it gets really red and irritated, I can always make a visit to my docs office.
It was a very weird feeling having the steri strips off. I felt extremely vulnerable and like the incisions were going to bust open all on their own. It was strange to feel so fragile. I bought paper tape to retape the incisions and avoid the excess tension on the scars. I think it will help to keep them from widening and turning really red. I think they look pretty good. They feel cord-like, but that is fine with me. I know it will be months and months for the scars to heal and flatten. I am going to buy maderma today and start massaging the areas that are fully healed. The spot under the right nipple and some areas with tiny scabs, I will leave alone.
I thought I would give myself a little break from a bra and went shopping yesterday braless!! It was very different. One, having tiny breasts that stay up on their own, Two, having nothing covering the nipples and Three, not sweating under my breasts. I liked the free feeling and am excited to not have to wear a bra. I am feeling better about the size and can see small changes in swelling so that is excited. They are starting to settle a little bit and not feel so hard. I really cant wait to be at 6 weeks because things will start to feel more normal. I return to work on the 26th (boo!!!!) and want to be comfortable at the place in my healing. I don't want to stress the incisions at all.
I have put up some pics and am so excited to be at this point already :)
Just a quick note...
I bought tops I would have never been able to wear and am so excited about the fit. The tops are a few button downs, and a one sleeved top! The buttons closed with room to spare!
My bras...they are a 38 B!! I can't believe it! I bought the band a little bigger because the sides are still swollen from liposuction. I also bought a 38 C and it was a little big in the cups! I am in disbelief but the tag says what it says :)
Just thought I would share this joyous moment!!
3 weeks post op
The left breast is still bigger but I am hopeful it will shrink to match the other.
The right breast had two spots that were not quite healed last week. This week both spots are doing much better. The one by the nipple has a scab and I am leaving it alone, no creams or anything. Just letting it heal on its own. The T junction looks better as well. Nothing was open, just has a weak looking spot that is a little white. I am leaving that alone and not putting anything on it either. Just keeping it dry.
I also have a stitch pop through on the right side. I trimmed it and am letting it do what it needs. It is awfully tempting to pull on the stitch... I have began using scar treatment on the areas that are completely healed. I am using Maderma per my PS recommendations. I am not required to tape the scars or anything like that. I had used papertape for a few days after I posted the 2 week pictures but when I removed the paper tape a few days ago, it seemed to be doing more harm than good. The incisions looked a lot more moist and everything looked irritated. So, I removed the tape and have not had anything on the incisions. I do wear a supportive bra all day to keep from excess strain on the incisions and it makes it easier to apply Maderma.
I drove for the first time yesterday to see where I was at in that process. It went ok. I have to return to work on Monday (boo!!!!) and wanted to see how my drive would be. Its a 45 minute commute each way. I only drove a few miles and noticed that I need to get one of those seatbelt covers that pad the seatbelt. The seatbelt rubs against the right areola/nipple and is very irritating. I will be getting one of those before I go back.
I have been feeling a lot better with energy and have been able to take long walks and not feel the need to sleep constantly. I am really glad I opted for taking a third week off. What a difference.
I will update after my first day of work to let you all know how it went. I also have a business dinner that same night so Monday will be super busy. I hope I don't get too tired.
Thank you all for the support!!
First day back at work
I worked on maintaining a good posture while working on the computer. That is very helpful for helping a sore back. I would get up and walk roughly once an hour to stretch and give my legs a break.
Overall it was a good first day back.
Funny thing, it's hard to tell if people at work notice the change in my chest. The people who don't know I had this type of surgery looked at me a little differently. Im not sure if it's because I look a little smaller or am walking more upright.
Then, I had a business dinner to attend after work and it went well. I felt pretty good and hope the week continues to be tolerable.
1 month post op
I am getting antsy for working out. Not that I was ever really working out but now that I won't be flopping all over, it seems really exciting to get to. I would like to try jogging. I have heard great reviews ; ) Anyhow, not much has changed in the last week or so.. Just getting more used to the smaller boobs. I can still feel them being tender a lot of the time. I also have to remind myself I have to not pick up heavy things and not to stretch too far. So far, everything is going good and things are healing well :)
6 Weeks Post Op!!
As for me: the scars are a lot more red this week and last. They are a lot softer which is good. I have been using Maderma once a day and massaging the scars when I put the Maderma on. I have not been taping the scars. I initially taped the scars around 2 weeks post op but noticed my scars felt too soft and weepy. It made me feel like it was hindering my healing so I let them air dry and have not put anything over them. So far, the scars are pretty light and small. I am hoping the side scars lighten up and shrink a bit.
From what I have read, a lot of doctors say the six week mark is the time where the body does a significant amount of internal and scar healing. I believe that to be true because the scars are much softer and feel more solid, like they are not going to pop open. I get this crazy feeling like if I hit my breast by accident or put too much pressure on them, they will bust open like a piñata..
I have not really started an exercise routine but am feeling like I need to soon. My belly bothers me a lot (not a shocker for most women), plus I really want the rest of me to match my new boobs. I am concerned a little that the left breast is going to stay a 1/2 cup bigger than the right. I will consider revision at 1 year and would probably see if lipo would work. They are not drastically different but I can tell. I am considering chin lipo as well and if I can save enough, maybe I can do that together. I don't believe I have to have general so that would be really good. I want to drop 20 pounds and see where I am at that point. Genetically, I have chin fat and no good profile in my face so hopefully I can drop the weight and have that resolve a bit...I also hope that cures the difference in breast asymmetry. I really don't want to do any formal procedure again, but I want to be completely satisfied. Now I need to do my part and drop some weight so I can know I did everything possible on my end. That's all I have for now.
I hope everyone else is doing great! I will post again around 3 months. :)
12 weeks post op
I haven't really accomplished much in the weight loss department :/ but am gaining a lot of strength and walking more than I was. I need to drop a few to get rid of the upper breast / armpit fat I have. I think that would really help to have the breasts look a lot more even...working on that...
I did want to update on how the scars are doing. Around the nipples are faint and a little hypertrophic, but not really noticeable. The medial scars at the cleavage are light and thin. They feel a lot better and the color is getting much better. I have some wrinkling on the left breast at the medial, cleavage area and am hoping that it is still a bit swollen and will resolve over time. I have noticed that it is a lot softer but still a little wrinkly. I know some of the internal suturing takes 6 months to heal so those sutures are probably the ones used at this area of the breast. The scars on the sides, toward the armpit, are still really red and do appear hypertrophic. They are thick and tough feeling. I may talk to my doc if after the 1 year mark I still have ropy scars. If I do, I may opt for cortisone or steroid injection into the scar itself. I have heard this helps to shrink the scars.
On another note, I have read a few posts of women who have had issues post-op and am praying for all of you who may be having post op issues. I am thankful I have not had to endure those struggles and hope all that do are feeling relief knowing the time will pass and they will heal. I am looking forward to getting further along with healing and having days where the breasts are not sore (really the left breast is sore).
Anyhow, happy healing to you all and thank you for checking in!!! :) xoxo
Dr. Chen is fantastic! I had my procedure today, August 2, 2013. Dr. Chen is extremely professional and listened to my concerns and desires. So far, healing is going great! My chest is small and well proportioned thus far! Thank you Dr. Chen!!!