Part One: My Story: To come
Part Two: POSTPONED.
September 11, 2012
I am crushed. Grief-stricken, in fact. I went to my pre-op appointment this morning, about an hour away from where I live. They called me yesterday to ask if I could come in 15 minutes earlier. After checking in, filling out a little paperwork, talking with my surgeon's nurse about my chart getting moved to the new system, blah blah blah... "someone" was supposed to have called me yesterday to cancel my appointment.
Not to just cancel my pre-op appointment. To CANCEL my SURGERY.
THAT IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN IN EIGHT DAYS. 8 DAYS!!
But... you asked me to come in earlier?
We don't know what happened. You should have been notified. Your Surgeon has broken his leg, and cannot do your surgery until late October, at the earliest.
But, I have 6 weeks scheduled off at work. I'm a hairdresser. A busy one. All those appointments?? My partner has a week scheduled off to take care of me. You can't be saying what I think you're saying. He broke his leg? ... Really? ... He broke his leg??
So, I guess, I'm no longer part of the "September 19th" club. They won't even be able to give me my new date until mid-October, and it will likely be postponed until January, since I can't afford to take off 6 weeks right around the holidays, the busiest time of the year.
It's like being pregnant, and having that due date first in your mind the whole time, and waiting for it and eating sleeping breathing it... then 8 days away, they say, "Oh, whoops! Sorry, you still have to wait another 3 or 4 months. Ish. We can't even tell you when exactly." Late December maybe, if the Surgeon isn't on vacation.
Grief really is the best word for it. Disappointed doesn't begin to cover it.
Part 3: To Be Determined
Part One: My Story: To come Part Two:...
Part One: My Story: To come
October 8, 2012 I have a new date! Finally. ...
I have a new date! Finally. January 7th, 2013. 91 days away. My first countdown was only 48 days, this time was more than twice that. BUT. In THREE MONTHS, the dream will finally come true.
One bonus to the postponement: Shortly after my surgery was postponed, we decided to buy a house! We started the pre-approval paperwork on September 25th, looked at our first houses last Monday, October 1st, and made an offer on the PERFECT house that afternoon!! We should close, as long as nobody breaks another freaking leg, on Halloween, and "take possession" that day!! Sooooo excited!!
Also, we had a home visit this morning from a dog rescue organization in our area, and we will be fostering some doggies soon! We initially were going to just adopt a second dog, but seeing how much good the rescue does bringing dogs to New England from southern kill shelters, we opted to foster instead. So we will have a rotating second (and third!) dog, and will be helping find more deserving dogs their forever homes!
Everyone said "there's a reason for everything" when my surgeon broke his leg and had to postpone my surgery. Well, I've got TWO good reasons! I'll be more than ready for my surgery in January, from the comfort of my new home, with all the four-legged love I can handle to help me recover :)
Chins up ladies! The universe never sends us the wrong direction. "It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy."
January 2, 2013 I just got back from my Pre-Op...
I just got back from my Pre-Op appointments! Everything looks good, I'm all set to go! Monday! 5 days!! It's real! I AM SO EXCITED.
I met with my PS, the Nurse Anesthetist, and my lead OR Nurse. My surgeon took more pictures, since it had been a while (my surgery was originally scheduled for Sept 19, but my surgeon broke his leg). We discussed my general health, history, and the surgery itself. I emphasized that I want him to err on the side of SMALL. My biggest concern is that I'll go through all of this and still wish they were smaller. He said when I check in for surgery, he's going to mark me all up, and that's the most important part. That's his map, and once he gets into surgery, it's more or less "just" connecting the dots. He said to remind him before he makes his map that I want to be a SMALL C rather than a full one. I told him not to worry, I would certainly remind him! He says there is a 90% chance I will have to have full nipple grafts, and he warned me that the healing takes longer and isn't pretty, and if he can avoid it he will, but he suspects it won't be avoidable. I was already prepared for this so it didn't come as a surprise.
The Anesthetist was very nice and explained exactly how the sequence of events would go. When I get there, they will take a urine sample for a pregnancy test (I'm gay, so there's no chance of that! LOL!), it's a silly paperwork precaution. Then they will right away give me something to relax me, before I even get the IV in. Once the IV is in, my PS will come in and mark me up, then the party starts! He said they'll relax me enough so that I won't care what else is going on or what they do to me, lol. Then I go to the OR. I'll be in surgery 2.5 - 3 hours, but to me it will seem very quick, like I took a nap. I'll be in patient recovery for about 3 hours, then they'll get me ready to go home. I'll have drains in each side, and everything will be "wrapped up like a neat little package" under a surgical bra, and I'm to touch nothing, remove nothing, basically do not disturb, aside from the drains, until my post-op appointment in one week. So no showers for me! I had my hair cut extra short in preparation for this!
The OR nurse said that most patients right out of surgery say that it's more of a stinging pain they feel, and I'll be medicated generously as needed. She actually recommended that I get Arnica to take, she said it makes a big difference in bruising and swelling and that I would be glad that I took it. I had already ordered in on Amazon on the advice of you ladies, so I'm glad I did!
Before surgery, I have to wash for 3 consecutive days with Dial to decrease bacteria on my skin. The night before, no solids after midnight, but I can have clear liquids up to 3 hours before I arrive. The anesthetist actually suggested that I have some kind of sports drink at that 3 hour mark, for electrolytes and hydration, and that patients find they feel better after surgery if they do. I'm all for that!
It was so much information, I feel like I should have taken notes in case I forget something important! I think just writing it all down here right after getting home will help me remember. Now I just have to wait! 5 sleeps to go!!
I can hardly believe this is happening again. At...
He looked me in the face and discussed details of a surgery he knew was never going to happen. 4 days away. I just had my pre-op yesterday, I finally believed it was really going to happen, even after the last time it was postponed. I had the time off scheduled again. My partner and so many other people have rearranged their lives twice for this, and it's just cancelled. I am devastated. I have been crying for two hours. I don't know what to do, where to start, how to face starting the process over again. Depressed and angry and disappointed and sad. I'm scared to hope this will ever happen for me.
If you ever meet Dr Jeffrey Cole, punch him in the face for me.
I am seriously SO ANGRY. I'm a hairdresser. As I...
I called looking for surgeons today. There are none in my county that accept my insurance. There is one in the next county, but they don't accept patients from out of their local area (weird). So the nearest surgeon to me that does breast reductions and accepts my insurance is 2+ hours away. It's as if nothing I've gone through up to this point ever happened. I have to start with a referral from my doctor, who must again verify with the insurance company that I meet the list of criteria (I was already approved once, I don't understand why this is necessary). Then I have to wait for an appointment to meet the doctor for consultation. Wait for them to submit the application, wait for the letter of approval that isn't even a sure thing anymore, because they don't care that I was approved previously. Wait for the pre-op. Wait for the surgery. Drive two hours one way for each appointment. All without knowing if any of it will ever actually get me closer to my goal.
I AM SO ANGRY!!! I thought I was near the end of all of this. Life on hold. I'm not waiting for anything anymore. I'm just going to live my life as if a reduction isn't even a possibility. I'll just continue to endure constant pain and discomfort. I just wish I could get past the anger.
July 8th. Allegedly...
My new surgeon seems to be a stand-up guy. It's a good thing, too, because this is my last option. As it was, because of where I live, there are few choices that will accept my insurance. I had to cajole the receptionist into even giving me a consultation appointment because I live 110 miles away from their office, and they have a policy against taking patients outside a 60 mile radius. He requested that I stay close (hotel for me) for the first 24 hours, to be on the safe side. It's only a 1 1/2 hour drive from home to the office, but apparently this policy evolved from distant patients skipping post-op appointments. I was lucky, and he saw how desperately I need this once I got into the office to see him.
The best thing I think about this new surgeon is that his method is completely different than the other guy's. The old surgeon would do a lollipop incision with drains. My new surgeon does an anchor incision with NO DRAINS! Also he said he has NEVER had to do a full nipple graft, whereas the old guy said he may have to. So, assuming it actually happens, I think I will be far happier with the outcome.
Cross your fingers and toes, hold your breath, wish on a star...
watch for pics on Instagram! follow me...
2 weeks to go!
I will be staying busy though. Two days at work, then pre-op, then 10 days off. I wouldn't have volunteered to have time off before surgery, but the salon I work at is closing for good at the end of the week. The timing was good and bad. Bad for finding a new job and retaining clients, since I'm taking 6 weeks recovery time. But good financially, as I'll be drawing unemployment benefits instead of going without 6 paychecks! Not much, but something is better than nothing! I'll use that week before surgery to cook up some meals to put in the freezer (my partner can hardly boil water), and to get some summer fun in while I can! Keep your fingers crossed for me...
pre-op was today!
Pre-op shopping and Surgery time!
I have my list of things to bring with me to the hospital/hotel: water bottle, easy-on shoes, prescription pills, wall and car chargers for my phone (we're 2 hours away from the hospital), loose clothes, sucrets, chapstick, and a pillow for the car ride home. Am I forgetting anything??
I called today for my surgery time on Monday, it is at 12:30pm, and I need to arrive by 10:30am. THIS MIGHT ACTUALLY HAPPEN!!!
4 hours and counting...
I haven't had anything to eat or drink since midnight, as ordered. I can handle being a little hungry, I don't usually eat breakfast right away anyway. But I am SO THIRSTY!! I normally have a glass or bottle off ice water wherever I am at all times. I'm seriously parched. Oh well, I will survive!
I feel like I'm in a dream. Is this really happening? I'm still paranoid that we'll get to the hospital to check in and they'll tell me I've been cancelled, or it's the wrong day or something horrific. I will feel so much better when we're there and actually admitted!!! I will post as I'm able to keep everyone updated!
night 1 - hotel
For those of you concerned about anesthesia, allow me to put your mind at ease. They gave me pepcid, antibiotics, and valium in my iv before taking me to the surgery room. I hardly remember being rolled down the hall! I took a few deep breaths into a gas mask, then woke up in recovery! Like no time had passed at all. No immediate pain or discomfort. Just exhaustion- but in general once I get to sleep I hate to wake up, so that was nothing new! My throat isn't sore at all like I was expecting. Still feel parched, but no discomfort.
The surgery took a little over 3 hours, and they removed about 5 pounds total. I forgot to ask exactly how many grams from each breast, but honestly I don't really care! Before going back to operate, my surgeon asked if I had any questions. I said the only thing I wanted to tell him was that if there was a choice between larger or smaller, smaller was what I wanted. He said he took me down to a B cup proportional to my body size. They are definitely lighter and smaller, but it's hard to tell how much with all the bandages and swelling. If I'm a B or a C I will be ecstatic!!! :-)
Overall so far I am completely convinced this was 100% worth it. Let the healing begin!!!
First "after" pics!
Day 2 Pics!
I do have a question... those of you who have been through this already, what steps did you take after showering? I didn't have any specific instructions other than to let the water run down over them. I didn't scrub or use soap, just rinsed them really. Then dried them and put gauze over the incisions and put the surgical bra back on. I'm too swollen for the other bras just yet. I seem to recall someone saying that the incisions should stay dry, so I didn't dare but any bacitracin or anything on them that might soften the healing skin. Should I have?
Anyway. Everything is going really well so far and I couldn't be happier! I can't believe the difference already, and I know they're going to be quite a bit smaller once the swelling is gone! Yay!!! Happy healing ladies :)
Days 3 and 5, pictures and quick update
I stopped taking the vicadin yesterday because it was causing such discomfort in my belly... I did have to get up about midnight to take one because I couldn't sleep, so I took one tonight as well so I wouldn't struggle so much and just be able to rest. Trying to water water water hydrate as much as possible so that belly "problem" doesn't compound again! Honestly the constipation has been way worse than the surgery itself.
Tomorrow I am going to have a marathon TV day. Not. Doing. Anything.
1st post-op done!
My surgeon said everything looks great, exactly how he would expect them to look at this point. (9 days). He said in 2-3 months the swelling should be gone and the shape should be settling a little. At that point we can see if a revision needs to be done on the "points" of my little footballs :-) I told him I'm not worried about it, the weight is gone and that is the important thing. If a revision is covered by insurance then fine, but I'm not going to pay out of pocket for it, it's just not that important to me. He is so laid-back, such a nice guy. I asked if there were any stitches to remove, he said that I have a ton of stitches inside, but the external ones I have will dissolve, but there aren't many because he prefers to use dermabond. It's neater, causes less scarring, and you don't have to get assaulted one week after surgery to have sutures removed. Plus, he said, you're dealing with a lazy surgeon when it comes to suturing, lol! That is just fine with me! Overall I am so happy with his techniques. It was bottom-panel anchor, which is most likely to retain nipple health (mine are more sensitive now than before surgery). I had no drains to remove, no stitches to take out, and he didn't argue with me when I said I wanted to go from a 36J to a B if possible. I said SMALL and he said "sure". I would recommend him with no worries to anyone (including my mother, whose doctor suggested she have it done the same day I was in surgery, without knowing about me).
I am healing so well that instead of seeing him in another week, I don't have to go back for two! I have been taking 200u arnica montana every 4 hours, relafen (anti-inflammatory I take for fibromyalgia) once a day, and 1000g Tylenol as needed. Haven't taken any vicadin in a couple days, and only at night a couple days before that. Drinking lots of water, eating lots of vegetables, beans, vegan smoothies for nutrition and fiber. I think the more you can nourish and hydrate your body, the better and faster it heals. I'm certain the arnica has helped too, the bruising was pretty severe but has improved dramatically already (I will post new pictures later from my laptop at home). I told my PS that a few days ago it looked like somebody beat me with a baseball bat. He looked at me with a straight face and said "I did!" Lol!
I hope the rest of you are healing well and taking care of yourselves! :-)
2 weeks out!
I can't believe how quickly everything is healing! The glue on my incisions is starting to peel off and loosen, some of the dissolvable stitches around my nipples are giving way, some of the dark scabs are falling off (which frightens me to death thinking everything is just going to burst open!), and the tight skin underneath the nipples is starting to peel a bit like a mild sunburn. They are a little "hot" today, but no signs of infection, so I'm thinking I just overdid it the last couple days and the girls are just unhappy. I also ran out of arnica montana 2 days ago, so that could also be affecting them. I'm expecting more in the mail from Amazon today, I take 4 of these every 4 hours, they're tiny, dissolve under your tongue, and don't taste bad: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00020HTTS/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 .
I'm now a day late for my period, more or less expected. I forget that this could also be contributing to the extra swelling. Oh well, off for more lemon water! Happy healing ladies :)
Tiny little setback...
Roughly 72 hours after starting my 2nd round of antibiotics, the girls are looking MUCH better than before. The swelling has subsided, there's no heat or redness, and they're softer again (and smaller! yay!). Curious though, right after surgery, I was very comfortable with moving my arms around, reaching for things, etc. Now, I experience tugs and twangs sort of under my armpits that I didn't have before. So, I'm being more careful and not doing anything that feels like it's pulling at all.
All in all doing well, taking it easy, and watching way more tv than I normally would in July!! Happy healing :)
22 days - pictures
3rd post op done!
He said I could walk all I want at this point, but higher impact exercise and lifting weights needs to wait until the 6 week mark, and swimming not until after everything is fully closed up and healed. I'm excited to start walking, but more so that I feel up to it! :-)
4 weeks tomorrow!
I'm going to be adding activity as I feel I can handle it, I need to work myself back up to working shape! Only 2 weeks to go, if I don't get my belly to shrink I'm going to have to wear dresses or buy bigger pants!! :-/ Have been slacking on diet and water too, need to get that back where it belongs. Lots of work ahead, but soooo much easier now! I am in control!! :)
My plastic surgeon is Charles Foley, M.D. at Central Maine Plastic Surgery in Lewiston, Maine. Very knowledgeable, accommodating, friendly, and efficient! Very happy with his no-muss no-fuss techniques and bedside manner.