I haven't had a breast reduction yet, but at...
I haven't had a breast reduction yet, but at 34/36K, and finding that tight I have had enough. So I went to the doctor today to ask for a referral to a plastic surgeon. I am 52 years old, and weirdly I did not have these really huge boobs until I got pregnant at 44. I hate to think of what would have happened if I had had more than one child!
I first grew boobs when I was about 12, and while they were big compared to other girls they weren't the bad. They always sagged though, right from the start. I was about a D for many years then a DD, which was OK, then they went to E in my thirties. The last eight years have been awful. Very uncomfortable all the time. I haven't worked out the payment yet, or anything like that but I expect it will cost a lot. I don't have insurance so I will have to find a way to pay for it. I will see the plastic surgeon in June.
On the road
I have just had my meeting with Dr Alastair Taylor. He is lovely, and so are his staff, and they are very sympathetic to my plight - ie the big boobs. He explained what was involved and I am to have an anchor scar with inferior pedicle, with some liposuction at the sides. That sounds good to me. It means that apparently, there will be no droopage at the end - I said that was great. I have had the drooping boobs for more than 30 years and I am totally over it. He also said that the reduction would reduce my chance of getting breast cancer by half. That I didn't know but it sounds logical, and good to me. I am booked for 26 September and will require two weeks to get over it. I will have to pay about $14,000 but will get some back from Medicare, which will reduce it to $12,900 or so. Having private medical cover would reduce this, but I dropped it years ago as it is too expensive. Some of this should come back to me on tax I hope. I am so doing it. Even more sure now.
I went for my pre op today. It took almost an hour. They went through the procedure in the hospital then gave me this cute bag. I was told that everything that I needed to bring would fit into this bag. Presumably this is to stop people overpacking and coming in with heaps of stuff. They also started me on a supplement called vital greens. I am to take this every day from now until two weeks after surgery. They also gave me some arnica to start two weeks prior. It is only four weeks away now. The time has flown since booking this. It is kind of scary now. Like others I am afraid of not waking up. I ordered two bras. I am to wear the surgical bras for two weeks.
Only two and a half weeks to go now. I am getting organised. Taking my vital greens every day and I am going to start with the Arnica on Thursday. By sheer poor timing I am starting a new job this week, but what can you do. My BFF is coming to stay to help me for the first few days. It is such a weird transition time waiting. I don't want to buy new clothes yet, but all the new seasons stuff is in and I am itching to get some new things. But have no idea of what size I will be. They wouldn't commit themselves, just said that he will make the boobs to be in proportion with my body.
My after dress
My boobs look terrible in this dress, totally saggy and huge. I love it though and am really looking forward to being able to wear it.
Getting nervous now
I paid for my surgery today. So that will be a big shock to the bank account. I have been madly saving money for it all year. I am getting very very nervous now. I almost wanted to pull out today. I read a few reviews to keep myself going.
I know that if I don't go through with this, I will regret it for the rest of my life.
The day after tomorrow
So I am to go in on Thursday morning. I will be so glad to have this over with. It has been a long wait. Like others I wonder what it will be like. Will I be sad? I am so used to these huge boobs. Will it change who I am? Then I think, no I have always hated these boobs. I am being silly. I can always buy false ones if I want to. As always, it is about comfort. And I am comfortable all of the time.
Uncomfortable that was meant to be.
26 Sep 2013
Day of treatment
So I am done. The pain is manageable. I threw up from the medication earlier but don't feel bad now. They took 2kg from the left and 1.7 kg from the right. And I will still be a D or thereabouts he said. I am staying overnight and should be going home tomorrow morning. Let's see how it goes. He said there was a problem with the left nipple and I may lose part of it. Not that unexpected really. Already my shoulders feel so much better.
So this is the new me
26 Sep 2013
Day of treatment
Here I am the day after surgery. I am so pleased with the results. He took three quarters off! My shoulders are so much more comfortable now. And Theodore news that I have sensitivity in both nipples, so far!
I am in quite a lot of pain today. I started out with nausea, and it has been quite a difficult day. I am not wanting to take my pain medication because it is making me so nauseous. Also my problematic left nipple is not looking good. It is quite dark and it is possible I will lose it. They had warned me about that. I contacted the doctor. They said it is a waiting game to see how it goes. I still have feeling in it though. Despite all this I am not sorry I did it. Hauling those huge boobs around was pretty horrible.
Turned the corner
I think that I am gradually on the mend now. Still some soreness around the incisions, especially if I try to do too much, but at least now I don't need to be on the heavy pain pills, which were making me very nauseated. For people preparing for this, the stuff about constipation is true. You need to stock up on laxatives before hand to keep things going as they should be.
I felt really quite swollen and uncomfortable today. Anyway had my first post op so went to the surgeon. He said I could be brewing an infection as one of the incisions is getting a bit manky looking. He put me on antibiotics and I have to rub antibiotic cream in twice a day. It is getting more comfortable now. He said that my nipple will be ok. The other good news is that the tissue which went to the path lab was clear.
Reflecting on it all I think I should have had this surgery when I was about thirty, then again now. There is no doubt that the boobs would have regrown. But I would have had more years of comfort in between.
My infections did not settle with the keeled and chlorsig cream, and got slowly worse. It became very uncomfortable in the night, so today I contacted the surgeon and went to the after hours doctor. He rang me just before I went in and told me what to ask for. She swabbed the wound for analysis and put me on a high doseage course of the Dicloxacillin, which he had asked for. I felt better two hours after the first dose. I really hope I am on the mend soon. I just love love these new boobs, and I want to start playing with them. From reading other questions etc is have always known that I am likely to have a hard road to healing due to the extensive reduction and the fact I am over fifty.
Not keeled. The predictive text is really annoying.
So much better today
Those antibiotics were kick arse. I am so much better today. The incisions are settling down and I feel like a proper person.
I just feel so grateful that I could have the opportunity to do this. Despite the discomfort, horrible nausea I had for the first few days, the pain on day three, which was the worst day during this recovery, fear of losing a nipple, not being able to do much or move around for a couple of weeks, not for one second did have I felt any regret about doing this. I am so very glad I did it. There have been so many benefits. It really is life changing. One weird change I have experienced happens when I am out in public. I don't know if anyone else has experienced this but I bet some of you have. With the big boobs, I was aware of stares all the time. I was so used to it that I tuned it out because I hated it, it was embarrassing. Now it is gone. Completely. I go out and I am not noticed at all. It has made me realise how much I felt like a freak before.
I am feeling much more normal today, and the infections seem to be drying out. I am on a second course of the Distaph antibiotics. I got a bit of separation under my right breast, which will take some time to heal. My left nipple now is quite black. It has full sensation though so the PS thinks it will heal up quite nicely under the black area and come back ok, although it will be patchy.
I am putting these up here because even though they are gross, I have really been encouraged by similar ones posted by other people who are ahead of me and being able to see theirs heal. So mine might be able to help someone else. The big scab on the left nipple is coming off slowly, and the skin underneath it is pink and has feeling. Given that I nearly lost the lot I am very relieved about this. I expect it will take a few more weeks for it to finish what it is doing. Similarly the breakdown at the T junction under that nipple is slowly healing. The bigger wound on the other side is getting better with extreme slowness. The skin around the edges is starting to grow, and should fill in the lot soon. My PS has given me calcium alginate to put on it. I haven't seen anyone else use this. It is a dressing that you put on after a shower. It adheres to the wound, keeps out bacteria, and it keeps the area moist so it can keep healing. Taking it off is pretty horrible, but is over in a couple of seconds. I am seeing him every week at the moment, and I am going back tomorrow, so I will see what he will do. He assured me that when it heals it will shrink and pull all the tissue back together.
I am really wanting this part to be over so I can go and buy bras. Don't even want to think about trying any on at this stage.
A well fitting bra
Well today I covered everything up with waterproof tape and went bra shopping. For the first time ever I bought a well fitting bra. What a revelation.always they have been uncomfortable. But this one isn't. It sits exactly the way it should. It is size 16 E. A big difference from the 16 K I had before that never fitted properly and always hurt. I am so excited. And it only cost about $20. A big difference from what I had to pay for those huge bras.
Still hanging in there
I am still getting along here. The PS said that at some point you feel like it will never heal, and I am there. But he assures me it will. The wound is nice and clean he says, and the edges are getting thicker so it is getting ready to build new skin. He has said to me that we could do a skin graft, but at this stage I don't want to do that. I figure that will give me another area of pain, put different coloured skin on my boob, and I won't get the contraction from the scar. But if it has to be done the I guess it will be. At this stage I want to give it the chance to heal. He is checking every week, debriding the wound when he feels it is necessary, and giving me the dressings for the next week. I have a script for antibiotics if it gets infected. Basically I shower each day, put the calcium alginate dressing on, put some gauze around it and go about my business. I try not to think about it too much. It can be a bit itchy or have some short term stabbing pains but basically it just sits there and doesn't trouble me much. My nipple on the other side has come out from under the scab, which is slowly but surely shrinking. I have full feeling in all the skin as it emerges, and the nipple has full sensation. I love the fact that almost six weeks on the boobs are still so perky. I am really happy about that.
The rest of the time I am greatly enjoying the smaller breasts. I feel invisible now when I go out and I love love it. I love the fact that ALL of my clothes look better. I have had some surprises, clothes that are about four inches longer than I thought. Despite the complications I have not regretted this one bit, not for one second. And as one person in the clinic pointed out my surgery was really extensive. She said I am very lucky that these complications are all that has gone wrong. I think that she is right.
For ladies who are considering this surgery and who have seen reviews like mine and who are scared I would like to say that even if you have problems the benefits for me have far outweighed the downsides, and you may find the same. I would rather be like this than having the terrible discomfort I had before. It really was very hard to live with. This is so much better.
Wounds closing. Apparently.
Well my PS said that the wounds are closing now. I surely hope so. He said that within another week they should start to look smaller. Yet another setback, it seemed to get quite infected over the past week. Again. More antibiotics. Fortunately they helped very quickly. I also had a major skin issue, half my right boob went red and very itchy. Not sure if it was cellulitis or an allergic reaction to my bras, or what I am washing them in or the dressings or whatever. Anyway, after two days of antibiotics, and some cortisone cream, it is settling. I am trying to remain positive, after all I really expected to have constant infections with this, as I get them a lot for any cut, pimple etc this is only the second time.
16 Nov 2013
2 months post
Well this is a bit horrible and sorry for it, but the wounds are closing now. It really does seem to take ages, and the PS says that you feel you are going mad with waiting. I really do. But I am encouraged that things are healing now. Hope so at any rate.
And now this....
22 Nov 2013
2 months post
So the yuckity horrible scabby thing finally came off to reveal a small area of fat necrosis. So now that the awful wounds beneath are finally healing the universe has decided I am ready for this. My PS saw it at the beginning of the week and said that he would like to leave it alone at this stage as he is certain it will come out on its own. However if it does not fix itself, and soon, I guess, he will excise it. I assume that the small amount of fluid that is still draining out of it is the fat breaking down, and that is how it happens. It will take many months at this rate as the lump under the nipple is about the size of a walnut. I am full of questions.....if it does auto amputate, as he put it, will there be a big hole where it was? Will the wound in the areola finally heal or will it need a graft? What does it mean for managing it? Will the boob look like a volcano that has a huge crater in it, or will the tissue grow back on its own? Will my poor nipple, which has amazingly survived this process with full sensitivity, still continue to do so? That breast is slightly bigger than the other so I am confident it will be ok in the end, as it could be trimmed down a bit. Will I need more surgery? But seriously... It just goes to show though how close I came to losing the nipple altogether. I go back to him in a few days and I will ask him these things and let you all know what he says because I know I won't be the only person to face this challenge. I think that the message from this is, anyone who is considering this surgery needs to ask themselves the question, if you know that it will take six months or more to heal is it worth it to you to go through it? In my case the answer is yes. Definitely yes. I hated those huge boobs with a resounding passion. I haven't had much pain with all of this, it has been more inconvenient, very annoying, kinda scary etc, but basically I just cover it all up and get on with my day, which involves a lot of preening in front of mirrors and other reflective surfaces such as windows and glass doors and just loving the smaller breasts. I look better in everything....feel better...no more back pain, no more tingly fingers etc etc etc.
And closing more
30 Nov 2013
2 months post
The horrible wounds under both boobs really are closing now. Once the process started they seemed to speed up in terms of the healing. In fact the smaller one may even be closed completely soon. The horrible fat thing is still there on the left areola. It is pretty gross and leaks all the time. It has some weird thing going on at the top of it, itchy, stingy, and if I press on it a thin fluid comes out. This is new. I am going to see the PS on Monday and will ask him to take a special look at it and see what is going on. I posted a question about the fat necrosis on the question and answer board, so I will see what the surgeons say.
Down the rabbit hole
The wounds beneath are really healing up now. Not too much further to go. It is a huge relief. The weird hurty thing that was going on above my left nipple last week opened to a hole. This was my body opening up another way for the fat necrosis to get out I guess. It was extremely fortunate that I was already going to see my PS that day because I think I would have totally freaked out otherwise. I had decided that enough was enough and I was going to ask him about the excision part of things, expecting I would need an anaesthetic or something and that there would have been something to it. But he obviously decided it was time to put me out of my misery and just got right to it then and there. It didn't hurt. He took out about an almond sized amount. It must have relieved some pressure because I felt so much better, and strangely cleansed after it. I have to go back next week and he will see if there is any more he can take out. In answer to my previous questions, it is all expected to heal up. No need for a graft, and no hole, no crater. He said that by about six months it should all look fine. In regard to management, I have to pack it daily with a rope like version of the calcium alginate. I haven't seen much about calcium alginate on here so I did a bit of research. Apparently it was derived from an old sailors' cure for wounds, where they put seaweed on them. It comes in two forms, one which looks like felt, that is what I have been using on the wounds beneath. And the rope version, which looks like hair. The idea is that the alginate absorbs the exudate from the wound and forms a gel. The gel is supposed to bind any bacteria etc which means when you remove it you take all the bad stuff out or off so it keeps the wound wet and clean. I think it has been great. It is much more comfortable than using gauze, and easier because you don't need to wet anything or do anything except place it on. Anyway back to the PS on Monday so I will update more after then.
Hip hip hooray
11 Dec 2013
3 months post
One of the wounds has healed, and the other one is going to really soon!
I feel like a new woman! Yippee....
13 Dec 2013
3 months post
Now if only that double hole in my boob would close!
Improving all the time
21 Dec 2013
3 months post
I am happy to report more progress although I have had a small set-back with one of the scars opening again, the smaller one. We really do have to take a lot of care with these scars. The holes in my left boob, are closing, and are considerably smaller than they were. My PS checked them on Friday and seemed quite pleased with the progress. He said to use a much smaller amount of the alginate in it to allow it to close. He has told me to use Strataderm gel on the scars. This is supposed to help them lighten and heal.
Almost healed. Finally.
Happy new year everyone. I am happy to report that my healing journey is finally coming to an end. The opened incisions have healed, except for a few small skin issues, which are resolving. The top hole on my left boob has closed, and the bottom hole is nearly there. I am still using gauze to prevent more splitting and damage, the skin seems to be quite fragile on the scars there still. I have been moving my focus onto the scars now, they are quite red and raised in places. I am using the Strataderm cream every day on them. Here are my latest photos.
11 Jan 2014
4 months post
The healed incisions are settling, the strataderm is lightening the scars, it is all settling in now. My big fear is that they could be getting bigger again. I put on 3 kg over Christmas, I sure hope that is all it is. I am now madly trying to get it all off.
Shopping for bras
17 Jan 2014
4 months post
The scars seem to be getting a bit lighter with the strataderm, which I have been using for some weeks now. The PS seemed pleased with the progress of the incisions, and said to use moisturiser to stop the skin from splitting. He said that was only superficial so not a worry. I am using a plant oil and Aloe Vera based one that I find is very gentle. I find that mineral based ones actually seem to dry my skin.
The necrosis area and the hole is a bit of a disappointment, it should have been closed by now. I think that it is because there are deeper lumps of the necrosis and they are breaking down too. It is pretty annoying and I could have done without that. I have no idea how long this will go on for.
I went and tried on bras today. I am still a 38E in some brands, and in others even that is too tight. It is very frustrating. I would have loved to be a C cup and was prepared to accept a D. I was hoping that it was just the swelling from the operation but I am not sure that they will get any smaller now. I have a very sturdy body, so they look fine on me, but I have no leeway at all, as I recently found out when I put on weight. Well call that incentive to lose more weight and see if they get any smaller that way.
I won't be seeing the PS again for three months, so at least that means he thinks that my healing journey is pretty well over. I am thinking about what to do next. What I have learnt from this is that we have the possibility to be what we want, and I think that we should take it. I wish I had done it earlier and I am thinking that after a couple of years I will do this again, and go smaller and firmer. I think that as it won't be such a big operation it will be easier on me. The operation was just so large I wasn't surprised I had all of these issues and I am not surprised either that already I am thinking about a revision.
My healing journey in a nutshell
17 Jan 2014
4 months post
I remember how vulnerable I felt through all of this and how lost and disappointed I was. I am posting these for people who have similar problems, so that they can see the transition from having problems that make you feel really quite hopeless, as I did, to now when most of it is all healed up.
A positive transformation.
28 Feb 2014
5 months post
My scars are shrinking now, and some of them are getting lighter. I still have a few issues with the fat necrosis on the left boob, but hope that it will stop soon. I have posted pictures to how the improvement in the scars, and also the new proportions. I am an E cup, but as I am quite a sturdy person, this kind of works for me. I am now only a slight bit smaller than the last update so I guess I won't get any smaller than this. I am exercising five or six days a week now, so my overall health is improving.
All healed now
22 Mar 2014
6 months post
I have at last healed completely. Finally. It turned out I had some kind of slow growing infection, which kept the wound from healing. It took some time for it to get bad enough for a doctor to swab it and thus find the beasties which were causing the problem. It got quite nasty at the end. I will spare you the details. Long story short the pathology result showed that there was a mix of anaerobic bacteria infecting the wound. Anyway the result also showed that I would need Flagyl to improve it. And lo and behold, four days into the course of Flagyl, the wound finally healed. I am now waiting to see if the dimple caused by all this will even out. I hope so. It has only been a week. I feel so much better now. Now back to scar therapy. I still have two or so lumps of fat necrosis in my left boob. I will go back to my general practitioner soon and ask her to have it scanned and biopsied etc. I expect I will need this for mammograms etc. I won't have it removed unless there is a medical reason to do so. I am still so glad it did this. Every day I look myself and think how much better I look. I hated those big boobs. I have not ever, for one second, regretted my decision to go ahead with this surgery.
Photos, six months
22 Mar 2014
6 months post
Photos from today. The indentations are caused by my bra.
So here we are, eight months later and the scars are really fading now. I am so used to the smaller boobs now that they look big to me now. When they were first done they looked tiny. The measurement is the same. My left nipple survived the trauma, and the dimple has come out mostly. There is some loss of pigment, but that isn't so bad. There is still some fat necrosis, but that too is much smaller.