25, 36G. Denver, CO

Hello all. I have been following the stories on...

Hello all. I have been following the stories on realself for quite some time, and now that my insurance company has scheduled my surgery, I thought it would be a prime time to begin sharing my own. All of you ladies have been so helpful in normalizing this experience, and all of the feelings that come with it through the entire process. I feel so much more prepared and reassured thanks to this community, and I am so proud of everyone here.

A quick backstory: I started developing breasts at a fairly young age, and by the time I was in the eighth grade I was regularly being asked if my breasts were real. They were about a hefty C cup at the time, and quickly ballooned up to an F by high school, to where they currently rest at a 36G/34H. For a decade, they have been the primary fuel for my low self esteem, the topic of every dreaded conversation, and have taken a real toll on my upper back and shoulders. I have always had problems looking even somewhat professional, and at a young age adopted what friends refer to as my "uniform:" a black v-neck t-shirt and dark jeans, thinking that this pretty effectively minimizes the appearance of my chest. I have been researching breast reduction surgeries since the days of AOL, but the opportunity never really presented itself until I obtained substantial health insurance coverage through Kaiser with subsidies from the Affordable Care Act. I work in the service industry and attend college, and neither of those fields provide much in the way of benefits.

I visited with my primary care physician a few months ago, and asked her what could be done about my crunchy shoulders, and if Kaiser covers breast reductions. She wrote me a referral to the plastic surgery department, where I was to attend a group information session early one morning. After the hour spent there, the nurse scheduled our individual consultations with surgeons.

My consultation with the surgeon was about one month ago, and upon running some numbers and measurements (height/weight, bra size, nipple distance, estimated removal, etc), he determined that I would be a great candidate and told me he believed Kaiser would cover the procedure. Just yesterday, I received a call from their surgery scheduling offices offering me a surgery date of October 15th, and I jumped at the opportunity.

The relief and excitement this brings to me, knowing that it is all coming together, and the support from my family, friends and boyfriend has been incredibly overwhelming. I am so ecstatic and nervous. I'll keep this page updated as the date comes and goes!

Quick question for anyone who works on their feet, how long did you take before returning to work? I am a bartender at a relatively high volume venue. Money is tight, but I want to make sure to give myself enough time to not do any damage. Also, how long before any students returned to normal classes? Thank you guys!

Before photos

I figured it is time to upload a few before photos to document this journey. I am lucky to have a pretty full upper breast with relatively highly placed nipples, so I am hoping that will help simplify some nipple placement concerns I have had in the past. My PS doesn't believe he will have to move them very much during the procedure.

Two days left!

Only 36 hours or so until surgery! I finally told most people what I'm having done, including a post on Facebook. The encouragement has been unreal. The outreach from so many ladies and dudes, saying how excited they are for me, and tons of women saying they, too, have always wanted this.

I have my mom coming with me the morning of, and staying at my house for the first night to take me to post-op on Thursday. After that, I am hoping to be somewhat independent with the help of my roommates and boyfriend.

I'm more excited than anything at this point, and am spending the next couple evenings preparing my house and self for this (hopefully) awesome change.

Any last minute hints and tips?

I'll let all you wonderful gals know how it goes!

And it is done!

Today was the big day! I've spent most of it groggy and halfway asleep, but here is the rundown!

Arrived at the hospital two hours prior to surgery, where I was pretty quickly taken to a private room to be put on an IV of saline solution, antibiotics, and nausea meds. The surgeon came to mark my breasts for surgery, and told me my case would be a different one than he is used to as he would not be preforming much of a lift alongside the reduction.

By 9 am, I was in the operating room and shortly unconscious. I woke up after the procedure pretty easily and without too much pain. The incision sites were stinging pretty notably, and my throat was irritated from the intubation, but I wasn't experiencing too much soreness. About an hour after waking up, the nurse thought I could try to get dressed and see how that treated me. Oh boy. Was that a task. I started bleeding pretty dramatically from my right breast, dripping just everywhere. I had fully saturated the surgical bra, the hospital gown, and their sheets. Both the nurse and the surgeon deemed that to be of no real concern, and re-wrapped my chest with a few extra layers of gauze and gave me a new surgical bra.

I was home by 3:00, and went straight upstairs and fell asleep to Netflix to wake a few hours later with pretty bad soreness. I have been prescribed Vicodin every 4 hours, and am currently hoping this takes the edge off.

My PS removed 1.3 lbs from each side, and they feel GREAT so far. I am sore, swollen, bruised, and bloodied, but I am already so happy I have followed through with this.

One day post.

I have been home from the hospital for about 24 hours now and just returned from my first post-op. I spent most of last night waking up to bloody bandages and aching stiffness. My doctor is mildly concerned about the amount of bleeding and bruising on my right breast, and has set up another follow up visit for this coming Monday. We are hoping that a hematoma doesn't form and that the swelling subsides. My nipples are still nice and pink and have maintained sensation - I couldn't be happier about that.

3 days post-op

I have been cleared to take a gentle shower, and wow, was it lovely. My right side is still notably rougher than my left, the bruising is not improving, and I'm experiencing some oozing of blood under the nipple and towards the armpit - the incisions near these oozing points are looking a bit "pulpy" for lack of less disgusting word. I'm really crossing my fingers that Righty steps up her healing game.

So far as pain is concerned, I am feeling pretty normal. My surgeon insists on not icing my chest, and recommends against any blood-thinning medication, so I am at a bit of a loss as to how to counter the swelling.

Good luck to everyone going in soon and everyone healing!

Day four.

The past 24 hours have been pretty rough. My right side has worsened, in regards to both swelling and bruising. I have an appointment in 12 hours with my doctor, and though I amconfident he will have either a solution or reassurance, I can't help but be filld with anxiety. I feel like a monster- both in appearamce and emotional vulnerability. I have been following his aftercare instructions to the T, and it just isn't goung my way. Has anyone had similar bruising and swelling? My doc insists on not using any ice.

Send some healing vibes this way, if you find any to spare. I'm hoping I can just sleep until my checkup.

Feeling better.

One week has passed and I am feeling much better. The bruising, swelling and pain are still pretty severe, but my surgeon has been wonderful. We are meeting every few days to keep an eye on the darkest parts of the bruises, and to make sure the incisions are healing well without the tape. There are some areas that are more painful than others, like the end of the incisions beneath my armpits - man, those are tender. My nipples are ridiculously sensitive right now, which sort of rules, if I'm going to be blunt.

I am down to maybe two Vicodin a day at this point, one in the afternoon and one before bed. I am still experiencing some light bleeding underneath my right breast, but it can be fairly well controlled with a single 4x4 of gauze.

I went to the store and bought simple plain sports-style bras to wear in leau of the surgical vest during the day. For the first time, I was able to pull a bra off the rack and have it actually provide any coverage. What a wonderful feeling!

Slowly but surely...

To nobody's surprise, the terrible bruising on Righty turned out to be a hematoma, which drained over the course of a few days earlier this week. Since then, the bruising has gone down dramatically and I'm left with just dealing with a couple of small openings at the incision sites. Both breasts are still a bit swollen, but Lefty is doing fabulously. Righty doesn't have as much sensation as the left. but that seems to be congruent with the rest of the healing so far. Just hoping these holes close up nicely, and everything continues to come together. I resume work on Monday. Eep.

One month out!

A lot of healing has happened in the last couple weeks. A hematoma drained, followed by a seroma, and now I am on a good healing path. My breasts are still swollen into some semi-strange shapes and densities, and Righty's t-junction hasn't quite closed up, but I feel like these are totally normal events, and all there is to do is give myself time. They look great under my clothes, and I am anxiously awaiting the day I feel as confident with them without a couple layers.

Because my breasts are still big, partially due to swelling, and partially due to keeping a natural looking appearance, I have been a bit down, feeling like maybe the surgery was visually ineffective although three pounds of tissue was removed. I decided to try on my old favorite bra to test my theory. I wore this bra the day of surgery, and again yesterday. Seeing the difference made me so happy I nearly cried. This feeling alone is worth almost all of the trials this has put me through.
Brad McDowell

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
3 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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