Where do I begin...?
My name is...
Where do I begin...?
My name is Margaret and I have had a large chest for as long as I can remember (okay, since 5th grade / 11 years old). I matured physically at such a young age that I had a hard time coping or managing the changes. As I got older it quickly became clear that my chest was a popular topic among fellow students. I was always thin so my large chest was very noticeable.
By my senior year of high school I was a full DD and at 5"2 and 125 pounds it was a serious source of pain, both mentally and physically. At 19 years old I began to gain a considerable amount of weight and by 22 years old I was over 165 pounds. I started seeing doctors to find out the source of the weight gain and in October of 2012 I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The weight gain had increased my breast size to the point that I could no longer find a bra that fit in a regular clothing store.
I'm currently stuffing my overly-large breasts into a DDD, but I know I am MUCH bigger. I am in the process of controlling my weight with exercise and diet but it is going to be a long journey.
I currently have Kaiser Permanente as a health insurance provider. I have had a few issues with the process so far and I'll explain it all in detail below.
I went in for my initial consult with the PS on April 5th, 2013. This was easy, painless, and informative. It was a relief to hear that I was a perfect candidate. He took a number of pictures for insurance approval reasons. I was told it would take up to 2-3 weeks to hear back from insurance. At the end of week 3 I called and after a few hours on the phone I was told there was a "glitch" in the system and the request wasn't put through. It is now one week later and I am still waiting to hear back. I will absolutely know whether the surgery is approved by Friday the 10th.
Good news to report! I got a call this...
Good news to report! I got a call this morning from my insurance provider and was told my surgery was APPROVED and it was covered 100%! I am walking on air!
I am scheduled for surgery on June 17th at 7:30 am. I will most definitely be checking the forums for info and advice. Yayyyy!
Feeling A Wave Of Feelings
Wow! What a whirlwind. I waited patiently to hear back from my insurance provider and now that I did, I feel like everything is moving so quickly. I am going on vacation with my family next week (going to be laying out on a beach- woo hoo) and once I get back I will only have 3 weeks before my surgery.
I am starting to have feelings that I had no clue I would feel. What if my stomach (which is a bit larger than I would like) is much more noticable after my surgery? What if I am too small? What if I'm still too big? What if I have complications?
I know that all of the what-ifs are something I just have to deal with because it will all be worth it. I'm just being a worry wart. And I also think the waiting period is making me anxious. I just want it all to be over with.
Okay.. I'm done rambling for now. Check back later today for pictures. I am finally uploading pictures of my current size tonight.
Okay ladies. As promised, here are my current pictures. As of tonight, I am down 2 pounds to 172 pounds. My goal is to lose a few pounds before the surgery.
So ready for June 17th to come
I really thought that scheduling my surgery a month and a half away was a smart thing for me to do... I would prep/plan for the big day as well as the healing... but now all I can think about is the damn surgery. I just want it to happen already!!!
I am starting to purchase things for my recovery like a husband (back rest for the bed), button down shirts from Goodwill (thanks to all the ladies who made me realize that they might get bloody so I should go buy USED), vitamins, etc. I'm really just ready mentally. It's all about patience now!
I just took a little break from work and was looking at dresses online... I just realized that in less that two weeks I will be able to put on a dress and belt it without looking like one giant boob.
Really though... I'm starting to get extremely excited. I'm each day one day at a time... but could that dang surgery just get here already?!?!
June 17th. June 17th. June 17th. June 17th....
Pre-Op Appointment Done
Well I just got back from my pre-op appointment and I'm excited, nervous, and apprehensive all at the same time!
I went to the appointment with a million questions (okay, 32) and the PS answered every single one. I brought my mom, since she will be the one taking care of me after the surgery.
I am so ready for this to just be done so I can get started on my healing.
June 17th here I come!
Day of Surgery and Post Op Day One
So yesterday was the big day. I'll go through everything in detail, since other detailed reviews helped me so much!!!
I woke up at 4:30 am to take a quick shower and head out the door. I got to the hospital at 5:30 am and signed in. They took me to a waiting room and 15 minutes later I was taken back to the a small space where a lovely nurse had me put on a gown that is open in the back (that you can tie up) and these really nice looking socks and paper underwear. Haha! She put an IV in my hand and then allowed my parents to come into the room (I can be a big baby and wanted them both there). The anesthesiologist came by about 30 minutes later and talked to me about how everything was going to go during the procedure on his end. Then about 20 minutes later my surgeon came in. He gave me a general overview of how the surgery would go and then had me lower my gown and he "mapped" out where the incisions were going to go. It was incredible to watch him in action. He took a few pictures with the marking, so I'm going to ask him if I can have a copy.
So after he made the markings the nurse came back in and gave me a pill to help me relax. It immediately made me relax... and get a little dizzy and giggly. They quickly took me back towards the OR and I got a quick goodbye with my family. Once I got into the OR, they had me move to the table and put my arms in these stirrup things. I don't remember much more, so they probably gave me the medication to knock me out.
When I woke up I was in the recovery room with a heavy blanket over me (I was freezing). I was pretty woozy but remember looking at my nurse Donna, and telling her I had a breast reduction. She laughed pretty hard at that one and agreed that, yes, I had just had a breast reduction. I looked under the blanket and saw a little bit of cleavage but I was in a surgical bra to keep them tucked away. It probably took me another 45 minutes to wake up enough to have my parents come back. The nurse started to give me Gatorade and saltines, since they didn't want me taking pain meds on an empty stomach. My Mom, Dad, and Brother came back once I was more lucid and said I looked great. About an hour and a half later we left the hospital with pain meds, lots of gauze, and lots of info about post-op care. I can't say enough good things about everyone who was a part of my surgery and recovery yesterday. It's amazing what those people do every day.
So I get home and get in bed immediately. I was dizzy and a little sick to my stomach, but I never threw up, which I'm grateful for. After I had some pineapple and cherries I took a nap. When I woke up I took more pain meds and had some soup and crackers. I think eating really helped my stomach and helped to flush the surgery meds out of my system. After another nap I woke up, watched some tv, and then had a light dinner (more soup) and fruit. After that I had a hard time going back to bed but I finally passed out around 12 am.
This morning I woke up at 7 am with quite a bit of pain around the actual incision lines. This is the only real pain I've had so far. I'm surprised how smooth this whole process has gone so far. I'm staying in bed, except for the occasional trek to the bathroom (still no #2 unfortunately).
I go to see the doctor tomorrow, where he will take out the drains and where I will get to see my new breasts for the first time. I'm nervous and excited at the same time. This bra is like a security blanket for me.
I'll update more tomorrow, after my meeting with the doc. Thanks for all the kinds words and support. This forum/website has been such an incredible asset during the entire process!!!
Day 2 Post Op
So I had my 2 day post op appointment with Dr. Hadeed today. I felt nauseous all morning but I still haven't thrown up. I started getting freaked out on the way down to his office and by the time I got in the room I was crying... like a damn baby. I was just so freaked out about getting the drains taken out. He assured me I was through the worst part (the actual surgery) and that it would be a piece of cake. I was told to breathe deeply and he pulled them out one at a time. I'm not going to lie- there was a pinch and then a second of pretty intense pressure but they didn't get stuck so I'm grateful for that!
I took the surgical bra off for the first time and was amazed at how great they look just two days after surgery. I have little bruising, but I do have a lot of swelling. He said to ice and take it easy for the next two weeks, until my next appointment.
I feel so lucky that things have gone so smoothly so far. I get woozy pretty fast if I get up to get some water or go to the bathroom. Other than that I just stay pretty sleepy.
So far, so good.
Day 4 Post Op
Well I have officially hit a wall and no longer feel like I have energy. I have pretty much been in been for the last two days. I haven't gotten much sleep during the day but I stay lethargic.
After I wrote my 2 day post op review update I took my first shower... that was intense. I was very aware of the water and soap on my breasts (my doctor told me to just let it run over my breasts- no rubbing or scrubbing). I was exhausted afterward and when I tried to put my surgical bra back on I had become so swollen it wouldn't close. I freaked out! I put on a normal sports bra, iced, took my bromelain and arnica montana and tried to get some sleep. The next morning the swelling had gone down and I put the surgical bra on (I feel like it gives me the support I need).
Yesterday a friend came over for a bit and was so excited for me. Other than that, I stayed in bed. I finally had a bowl movement last night, after taking dolcolax. That entire process was more painful than anything I've gone through with my healing (glad it's over with).
I took update pictures today (so the pictures are from 4 days post op, not including the day of surgery). I'm a little concerned about my left nipple. It has a small spot that is darker than the rest and it is the one I have no feeling in. I know that my healing is going well overall so I'm trying not to overreact. One day at a time.
Tape removal / First look at actual incisions
It's been a big day ladies. My PS told me last week that he wanted me to take the tape off my incisions at 7days post op, if they hadn't come off on their own.
Well today is day 7 and they were still on there good. I started to pull the inner edge of the tape on my right breast last night, after a shower and it just freaked me out to much so I stopped. This morning I called the advice nurse at the PS office and she told me to do a little bit at a time over the next couple of days. (Side note- I also talked to her about my concerns over my nipple and she said the purplish coloring on my nipple was all very normal- whew! I'm relieved). So she then put me on hold for a moment and came back to tell me the doc could see me at 2 pm today to take the tape off for me.
Well I got ready to go and then realized I didn't know where my car keys were... come to find out they are in my mom's purse AT WORK. So I had to cancel the appointment.
I decided to take one of my prescription pain killers, wait for it to kick in, and try to do it myself. Turns out it was easier to pull them off when they were dry! I did the right breast first, since that one hasn't been hurting me as bad. Came off pretty easily, but took most of the scabbing with it. I then did the left breast, from the cleavage to the t-point, to the outside, and then up to the nipple. My doc used external stitches at the t-point, as well as the bottom of my nipple.
Everything seems to be just fine. I haven't gotten a good look at the incisions, because I was a little too shaky to at the time. I will take pictures of the incisions later tonight and post them. The advice nurse told me to keep the incisions clean with soap and water and to keep the dry and covered in gauze in my surgical bra. She said absolutely no hydrogen peroxide (for anyone thinking about using that).
I'm so relieved I was able to do this on my own. Feels great. Another step accomplished.
Day 8 Post Op Pictures
Here are my day 8 post op pictures with no tape!
I keep them covered in gauze and have my first shower without the tape tonight... super nervous!
Less swelling but more frustration
Hello ladies! So it's almost the end of week 2. I am healing just fine so far. Here's the update on a few things.
- The incision line under my breast are a little ropey/not smooth, but I'm hoping they will smooth out over time. I also have one spot that bled pretty bad when I pulled the tape off so there is a spot on my left breast that is still pretty tender.
- My right breast is healing beautifully. It has softened quite a bit and had continued to round out. I have few shooting pains in this breast and also have full feeling in the nipple and all the skin on the breast.
- I have had almost all of my pain and issues with my left breast, which was 1/2 a size bigger than the left before the surgery (or so the doc said). I still have no feeling in my left nipple or in the skin under the nipple (and around the vertical incision). I continue to have almost constant pain in and around the t-point under the right breast. My PS put stitches at this point to keep things together for the first 2 weeks. I'll have them out in 5 days, so hopefully this will help with the pain.
One thing to note: I had a little bit of yellow discharge coming from the left breast incision, close to my cleavage. This area tucked under the breast a bit (if that makes sense) so it isn't hit by air directly. I've been making sure this area is cleaned regularly and I replace the gauze as often as possible. Trying my hardest to avoid any complications so I'm laying around the house, trying to just relax. I'm actually a little worried about going back to work because I get tired so easily.
I have a small group of friends coming over on Saturday to celebrate the new boobies with some good food and drinks. Hopefully I'll be up for the action!!!
Until next time... :)
Two Steps Forward. Three Steps Back.
So tomorrow will be 2 weeks post-op and I feel like I have stalled out on my healing. I still have draining from the t junction on both breasts and some from my left breast near the cleavage. I am starting to get a little concerned b/c I don't want to have any issues. It doesn't drain enough to drip- it just covers the spot on the gauze that touches my breast.
I am swollen today, but I think some of that has to do with the fact that I hung out with friends yesterday and probably moved around a little too much. I'm getting my stitches out on Wednesday so I'll talk to my PS about the discharge then.
First Holy Sh*t Moment Post-Op
Last night, before bed, I decided to change my dressings one last time for the day. I took the dressings off and, again, saw a decent amount of drainage near the cleavage on my left breast. I also had a dime sized discharge stain on the gauze at the t junction on my right breast and a mixture of yellow discharge and blood at the same spot on my left breast. I lifted my left breast slightly to get a better look and yellow liquid (no puss or bad smells) began lightly dripping from a tiny spot along the inner part of the incision line. I grabbed a piece of gauze to catch it and began very lightly pressing around the spot to see if I could get more out. It continued to "leak" for about 5 minutes (I filled up 2 3x3 gauze pads). After I felt like I was done I cleaned the entire area and put clean gauze over both breasts.
I called the advice nurse this morning and she emailed my doctor about the situation. I received a call about an hour later from the nurse, saying he wanted me to put neosporin on both t junctions but to keep the left cleavage area completely dry. I am also to continue covering the incisions in gauze. I have an appointment with him on Wed (3 days away). He said if I see the area get red, very hot, smelly or if I run a fever, to call back and let him know.
I am surprisingly calm, considering three issues have popped up in under 3 days. Hesitantly optimistic. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
So I'm going to see the doc tomorrow about the two issues I'm having and to potentially have the stitches taken out. Wish me luck!!! I'll post update full frontal pics once the stitches are taken out and will update about what he says about my trouble spots.
I saw my PS yesterday and he took a good look at the areas I was concerned with.
1. The spot that was leaking seems to have closed up. It isn't badly swollen or red so he isn't concerned. He said the fluid that came out is normal body fluid most likely caused by my doing too much too soon. His recommendation was to try and take it easy for the next couple of days (easier said than done).
2. He removed the stitches at both t-junctions, as well as the stitches just under each nipple. He looked carefully at the left t-junction that I've been concerned with and he said it looks like it is just healing slower than the right. He said the deterioration could have been caused by me doing too much too soon but whatever I saw before I got to his office seemed to have healed up well enough. I took a good look at it when I got home yesterday and it looks MUCH better than it did. I might have a giant case of PARANOIA! Haha!
I am happy with the way my breasts are looking. My only concern is that I may end up a bit bigger than I wanted, once the swelling goes down (which he said could take 2-3 more months). I am determined to lose weight so I am beginning LIGHT cardio, which has been approved by my PS. Anything is better than laying around all day.
I will post pictures tomorrow of my two week progress pictures.
1 Month Post Op Today!
I am one month post op today and I feel fantastic!
Let me update you on what's been going on.
-The swelling has calmed down in both breasts and they are taking on a very natural shape. They are also getting much softer, although they are MUCH firmer than they were before the surgery (yay for perky, firm breasts!).
- After speaking with my PS about the t junctions I started putting gauze over them to keep them from touching my bra. Well, this turned out to be a bad idea because every time I took the gauze off it would pull parts of the new scab off. After a week of that (painful!) I decided to lay in bed with my bra off and put a mini fan to the areas that were still wet/not scabbed over. It worked! I was gentle with those areas for a few days after but now they are much smaller and scabbed over. Yay!
I had an additional issue pop up under my left nipple. You can see in one of my last pictures that I had pulled off a scab under my left nipple. Well this area has had a hard time hardening up so it can heal. A few days ago I had some leakage in the area, which made it stick to my bra and when I took it off it pull the entire scab off. That was pretty painful and looked frightening! I wrote my doctor yesterday and he said it was okay, To try and keep it as dry as I can and to call if I see it spread more. I just need to be patient and I know it will heal just fine.
He gave me the okay today to start massaging the scars. He said this is the #1 way to reduce your scars and to ensure that they do not end up raised. He said to use lotion or vitamin e oil to massage the scars with two fingers (light pressure) in a circular motion. Tonight will be the first time I try this so wish me luck! I will post pictures tonight or tomorrow and will do another update in two weeks.
Finally posting updated pictures (6 weeks post op).
Most of the swelling has gone down. I finally have movement in them if I don't have a bra on, which is a wonderful thing. I have had much settling in them yet, but I was very full on the top half of my breast before surgery anyway so it might not change.
I have an appointment with my PS tomorrow to do a check up and see how things are going. I have quite a few internal stitches starting to pop through the skin. One can through on my right t junction (that one freaked me out), one is poking through along the scarring on my right breast (near the cleavage), and I have one poking through at the incision line on my left nipple.
I've started massaging the scars and I almost feel like I'm not doing it right. I'm not using any other scar treatments. Do any of you have recommendations (silicone sheets, paper tape, oils)? Any advice would be appreciated!
4 month update
I am finally back to do an update.
I got to a point in my healing/recovery where there wasn't too much to talk about on here. The swelling has continued to go down and I have been massaging the scars regularly (mostly in the shower).
I am officially a DD. I was hoping for a D but I have a good bit of weight to lose so I am sure they will go down with the weight loss.
Overall, I am happy with my new 'ladies'. I can actually look down and see my nipples clearly. I can wear normal clothing without feeling like one giant boob. I can exercise without pain.
I will post again at 6 months and again and one year. See y'all then!