Finally Time to Take This Step. - Georgia

I've got 34G breasts, and have had problems...

I've got 34G breasts, and have had problems from them for so long. Physically, my upper back and shoulders are always sore. I like to run, but can't run long distances because they bounce. I'm embarrassed, always have been, by the kind of attention they attract. I don't like being unable to wear so many different styles of clothes (at least, not without looking like something R-rated). I've been wanting a reduction for almost 20 years, and it's time.

My surgery is set for 12/2!!! I'm both very excited, but also very scared (risks! complications! the usual and expected amount of pain!). I am a wimp when it comes to dealing with pain.

Hi Kathleen

I just had a BR 5 weeks ago and i feel amazing! :D
Dont be sorry worried about the pain. Its tolerable and the meds they give you will help ease the pain. I havent had any complications this far and i dont think i will. As far as the pain goes all i can say is take it easy and get lots of rest. I on the other hand didnt do that. lol. I was up and moving on the first day. I acted as if i hadnt even had the surgery. thats how minimal the pain was for me..
if you would like to see how recovery can be expected, you can follow my breast reduction journey on youtube. that is where you can find some good informative fter information about before and after surgery
Hey Kathleen! Don't been too worried about the pain. I know some of the girls seem to have some, but I had almost none. I took my pain meds around the clock for about the first 36 hours and then switched to Tylenol and that was really all I needed. In fact I would find that I would do a little too much that first week because it really didn't hurt enough to stop me from doing some of the chores I wanted done. I was tired more than anything. I started as a 34H and was hoping to get to a C cup. I don't know that it will happen as I'm 11 weeks post op today and still seem to be a large D or a DD. I'm trying to be satisfied though that I'm significantly smaller and I have bought sweaters and cute cute shirts for the first time in my life!!
Good luck to you and can't wait to read of your journey!

So I'm still a month away, but I'm becoming more...

So I'm still a month away, but I'm becoming more excited. The last several months, I've obsessed with whether or not this is something I want to do, and now I've made the decision, I really don't feel any ambivalence.

My insurance won't cover it. My doctor won't give me the letter I need to give the insurance company just to get the insurance to cover an initial consultation, because I just don't meet the criteria for getting that letter. She showed me the criteria. Here's what I did wrong:

1. I lost weight. I didn't even intend to do it, but I went from 200 pounds to 160 pounds last year, during a seriously bizarre episode of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (which cleared up incredibly when I went off the birth control pills I'd been on for many years, and quit gluten and dairy). That means smaller boobs. Not as small as I want, but I don't have as much mass to remove as I did before. I've kept the weight off for about a year now, too, with diet and exercise.

2. I went to physical therapy for back pain, and did the exercises religiously. Then I bragged to my doctor about how well it worked. I haven't had an significant documented back pain in the last 3 years! I even asked for some milder muscle relaxants to have on hand for an emergency back spasm, because I don't like to feel dopey, and never had to get them refilled.

3. I bought super expensive bras at Intimacy and the should divots disappeared. Yes, my $200 bras are now specially ordered from Denmark, but I don't have bra strap indentation.

So with all that, if I still wanted to see the doctor I picked out with hopes of insurance coverage, I'd have to put $1000 down first. I went with the free consult instead as a self-pay patient, and he affirmed that insurance would not cover me, after he examined me.

So that's why I'm going to pay out of pocket for this. I'm okay with that. Struggling to get the insurance coverage was emotionally exhausting. I'd rather give up fancy vacations for a couple years, and eat beans and rice for dinner a few times a week (along a few other austerity measures), and have this done for myself.
Hi Kathleen! Congrats on beginning the process and thank you for sharing with all of us. I'm sorry to hear you have had so much trouble with getting your doctor to file the insurance forms. I truly feel the insurance game in this case is rigged to only benefit those who play it. If you are sincerely trying to get better and not just trying to get surgery it would seem that at least ONE THING out of their normal requirements of physical therapy, special bras, muscle relaxers, etc. would help a bit, but that that would not mean surgery was not a much better long term solution.

It's as if we pay them literally tens of thousands of dollars a year jus to have them try to pawn any little thing they can off on us. Of course they are going to prefer special bras (which they don't pay for), medication (which they only pay a portion of), and physical therapy (which they also only pay a portion of) to surgery, which they have to pay for. No matter that doing all of those things means a consider portion of our lives each week (hours of physical therapy every week, being doped up on meds, paying for expensive bras, etc.) would have to be dedicated to managing out large breasts.

Basically, they have no concern for our quality of life, jus their bottom line.
I can't believe you couldn't get covered...or that your surgeon wouldn't at least submit and inquiry for you. I was a 34H and had no problem with getting covered. I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield for insurance. I'm sorry that you are having to pay for it yourself, but it will make such a difference for you! Good luck!!
Hi Kathleen, here's how the conversation went:
"Honey, put your glasses on, and come here," and he did. I pointed to the pictures you posted of yourself, and he asked me, "Is that you?!" that's how similar we look! I am still trying to decide, have canceled once already, thinking again, maybe about mid December. I didn't go the insurance route because no one really has enough concern unless they are directly benefitting. Feel good about the weight loss!! Good luck, and I will be thinking of you.

I dreamed last night that I had the procedure, and...

I dreamed last night that I had the procedure, and was so ridiculously happy to have small boobs. Of course, it was a dream, and weird the way dreams are, but it's nice to know my subconscious is happy about this.

I wonder how it is for people who go for other kinds of plastic surgery. People with breast reductions seem almost universally happy to have done it, so I'm looking forward to that kind of happiness. At the same time, I want to be realistic, and not count on a plastic surgery to make me happy-- does that make sense?

I guess I want realistic expectations. I'm not going to have perfect boobs, and it's not going suddenly make me completely happy with my body. But, I'm still excited.

I've had dreams twice, now, that I've had the...

I've had dreams twice, now, that I've had the surgery, and have been so excited, it's been a let-down to wake up and know I have weeks to go. I still want to manage my expectations so I can be happy with realistic results, of course.

I'm so nervous and excited about this. I still have weeks! Dec 2 just feels very close sometimes, but also very far away!

I don't really have anyone I can talk to about this, so I'm going to use this space to vent. My family is cautiously supportive, but think it's a lot of money. My friends are sort of supportive, but are also really critical of plastic surgery. I spend a lot of time thinking about this, but not really being able to talk it out.

One random thought-- I've spent a lot of money on fancy bras at Intimacy last year. I've barely worn them out, have been so careful to wash them delicately and be gentle with them. Too bad they'll get an early retirement! :)
This is the perfect place to vent, worry, question, and rattle on and on about boobs :-) I know my husband got sick of hearing about it. I think it was a combination of his worrying about what could go wrong with me...and his worrying with what could go wrong with my boobs. He seems quite happy with them now, and I think the fact that I'm happy with myself and my new clothes makes him realize this was a good thing...oh and he likes the fact that I show him the cute bras that I buy :-0
And I also agree with LexiLou...this isn't cosmetic surgery solely to make you look better, it is to improve your quality of life and it is selfish of anyone to make you question that.
I was always amazed at the people that used the arguement, "This is the way that God made you." I wanted to respond, "And God made you with mousey brown hair, but you sport platinum blond...go figure."
Stay positive and if you need any support, encouragement, or cheering up, you know where to turn!
Thanks! I did hear one good perspective recently-- yes, my body is a temple, and there is nothing wrong in decorating the temple in the way that brings me joy.
Great comment...I'm going to use it sometime!

So I realized it's time to start following...

So I realized it's time to start following pre-surgical instructions, not to take any aspirin, etc., for 2 weeks before surgery. That makes me feel a little freaked out, like this will really happen! I haven't been worrying about risks, etc., but I'm thinking that maybe I'm going to start worrying now. Yikes!

I met with the doctor today to discuss my concerns...

I met with the doctor today to discuss my concerns about his belief that insurance won't cover this. He examined me again and explained that he will only be removing less than 200 grams from each breast, and since I don't have a lot of dense tissue, he doesn't think he could remove more without making me way smaller than I want to be. This puts me under what the Schnur sliding scale requires for BCBS to approve me. Plus, I don't have any documentation of back/neck/shoulder pain in the past 3 years.

A couple years ago, before I lost weight, my boobs were bigger and I might have been able to get covered. But since the weight loss, my problem is more droopiness than volume. To get me to a perky small C cup, I'm really getting more of a lift with some reduction going on.

He offered to take my surgery off the schedule and send me through the process to ask for insurance coverage, but he put the likelihood of approval at 10%, and it would move me back about 6 weeks.

That's good enough information for me. I'm not going to reschedule-- I am full steam ahead!
Soooo excited for you Kathleen! Everything is going to work out just fine and your going to have beautiful results. Check with your doctor and see if there are any vitamins you should be taking, I heard vitamin C and zinc are good for healing. I put the link below for you to breast health online's "Healing Diet," I hope you find it helpful:)
Thanks! I'm taking vitamin C, and will start some supplements soon (bromelain and arnica), and I've been trying to eat tons of veggies, fruit, and healthy foods. I'll check out the link!

So here's my supplement regimen leading up to...

So here's my supplement regimen leading up to surgery (writing out to provide the info, and also to get it straight in my head).

Vitamin C, 1000 mg/day for two weeks.

Bromelain with quercetin for three days before the procedure (Tues, Wed, Thurs) and continuing for one week afterwards.

Arnica starting 5 days prior to the procedure (starting Sunday) and continuing for one week afterwards.

Two pills the morning of, for nausea and to settle my stomach.

Percocet and duricef afterwards.

I had my pre-surgical appointment yesterday, and met with several people at the surgical center, had blood drawn and photos taken. I feel comfortable with the location. I also paid (ouch), but I've figured out financing with my credit union, so that's okay.

I'm excited, but also totally freaked out! This is happening!
i hope that you continue to update us on your progress. as I am just starting through this journey!
I just came across one of your comments in another post that encouraged me. You are very level headed and the gist was that almost all go through waves of "this and that" while recovering, having reactions to all sorts of unexpected things, but ultimately are glad it was done. I will try to remember to check back a year after my own to post positive feedback. It's human nature to move on, but for those anxiously scanning for help and encouragement it can be a lifesaver. I am now scheduled for Dec 14. Just thinking about my appt to lock this in and pay next week makes me anxious. Good luck to us all!

So this is weird. Maybe once a year, or even more...

So this is weird. Maybe once a year, or even more rarely, I develop a sort of pimple on one of my breasts. Usually, I squeeze at it even though I shouldn't, and it takes a month to heal. (I had acne as a teenager and young adult, but it mostly cleared up when I went on birth control). I am so lucky I don't have scars on my face-- I have cousins who had it much worse.

With the stress of all this, my face broke out last week. Okay, nothing I can do about that. And then Saturday, I see I have one of those blemishes on my boob! How crazy is that?! It's deep, kind of cystic, but something I'm familiar with. These usually happen, and then go away.

What if this causes a problem with the surgery? It's right over my nipple. I *think* it's in the area that will be removed, based on what the doc said, but what if it's along the line of an incision? What if it causes problems with healing, or is a reason to put off the surgery? I can't find anything about this online, anywhere.

One thing's for sure-- for the first time in my life, I have managed not to squeeze/pick at/mess with a blemish. Ugh.
It can go both ways, depending upon your PS. I had a cystic pimple on my left boobie three days before surgery. I thought this would hold up my procedure for sure. I asked my PS about it and he said it would be fine to proceed with the operation. I haven't experienced anything strange on that breast. I also read the story of a woman whose PS decided to delay her operation because of a break-out on her breasts. You big day is coming! I wish you peace and you approach your date and a speedy recovery after. :o)

Tomorrow's the day! I'm nervous, excited, scared,...

Tomorrow's the day! I'm nervous, excited, scared, and just want it to be done and over!
Tomorrow is your big day! I know you're feeling all kinds of emotions, but you are in my thoughts and I look forward to hearing about your healing. So excited for you, can't wait to hear more about your journey:) You're going to be beautiful!

I survived! Finally, no more wondering if I ought...

I survived! Finally, no more wondering if I ought go back out-- it's done!

Very loopy. Pain was bad when I woke up. When I got to recovery room (don't remember this), I was apparently "feisty" and woke up hard/fast like a teenager. That's good, I guess? I remember crying from the pain, getting Demerol shot in the butt, remained in some unhappy pain until I got home, ate a rice cake, and took percocet. Now loopy, but pain at maybe 6 on 1-10 scale, no longer 8-9. Almost time for another pain pill, so if I feel ok at this moment, I can manage it.

Pix later-- standing and being coordinated isn't in my skill set yet. Left nipple is numb, right is not. I've oozed blood onto my walmart pj shirt, so will change dressing after next pain pill and change shirts. This is normal/expected amount of blood, is ok.

Feeling good about this, and want to see the frankenboobs! With this site, I know it will be ugly and that part won't bother me, and I know final shape will be different, but already am pleased at general umprovement in size.

Thank you, ladies, for your fantastic support!

My pain is much more manageable (same day,...

My pain is much more manageable (same day, evening), maybe a 4 on the 1-10 scale, and sometimes not even noticing it. I am on the max dose for percocet. Will remain at this level, maybe try reducing the percocet tomorrow. I don't like being so dopey. Drowsing in and out.

Very happy with the size they seem to be! Of course, way to early to tell how it will be.
Congratulations, Kathleen! I'm so glad everything went well for you. Keep those pain pills going for the first day or two even if you don't have tons of pain, you don't want to let the pain get out of control. Now its time to take care of yourself, get plenty of rest, and heal!
Oh you sound like you are doing great!

Day 2-- The percocet has been making me very itchy...

Day 2-- The percocet has been making me very itchy all over, so I've tried taking it less often. That helps with the itch, but I've got more pain to deal with. Ice helps. I think I like having a clearer head, too. I called my doctor, and he called some lortab in for me. Hopefully, that will do the trick for the next day or so, and then I'll switch to tylenol.

I think that when the swelling goes down, and things sort of settle, I'll be just the right size. I already feel relief along the back of my neck and shoulders. I'm sure the healing process is going to have its ups and downs, but I feel really good about the decision to do this. I look forward to clothes shopping!
U look great Girl, What part of Georgia did you have your surgery at?
Atlanta, at Emory plastic surgery at Paces.
great results! I am excited to see your progress.

Switched from percocet to lortab, which I seem to...

Switched from percocet to lortab, which I seem to tolerate better. I look forward to when I can switch to Tylenol, I'm frustrated with how loopy the pain meds make me. The pain is manageable-- this morning, I could have taken pain meds at 2am, but slept until 6am, and the pain was a little too intense for just Tylenol, but only a little.

Long, rambling story short-- feeling better! I hope to shower later today.

Ok, so surgery was Friday morning, and now it's...

Ok, so surgery was Friday morning, and now it's Sunday night. I was cleared to shower yesterday, but didn't feel up to it until today. It went fine. There's tape over my incisions, and I tried to let it dry out well before putting clean dressing and the surgical bra back on. The incisions feel really itchy, which is to be expected. They look pretty uniform.

I'm amazed at how firm and perky I am! I know the swelling will go down and they'll soften up, but they're kind of bizarre. I have full sensation in my right nipple, and some sensation, some numbness in the left.

My stomach looks bigger, and I definitely don't have anything like a hourglass shape, now. It's going to take time to get used to my new shape! I think I'll feel better once I'm a few months in.

I don't feel a lot of pain, just some discomfort and itchiness.
You look fabulous! Hope your pain is becoming more tolerable.
omg i love them! i hope mine come out looking as close to yours as possible...almost can't believe its almost my turn!!!excited beyond belief!
Congratulations, you got an amazing shape. Very nice work indeed. I had mine done 2 months ago and very happy. Hardest part was sleeping on my back for 3 weeks straight. And the emotional part too. All the best during your recovery. :)

I'm feeling cranky, but I kind of expected this....

I'm feeling cranky, but I kind of expected this. Too sore to go without pain pills, but so over the side effects that go with them. I should enjoy having this week to rest, but I like being busy. It's going to take some effort to just sit still.

I'm really delighted by the results so far, though. I can't wait to be healed enough to go shopping. Why did I wait so long to do this?
Glad to hear you are feeling pretty good. I hope you continue to do so. It is hard to be still for that week or two, but remember it will all be worth it. Plus...remember all of those times you have said, "If I could just sit down for 5 minutes..." well this is you time, so enjoy it all you can!
Hi Kathleen, I want to say your new boobs are fabulous, I can't believe how good they look after such a short time. My operation is scheduled for 21 Jan 2012 and I am so nervous but when I saw your before and after shots I got my courage back (I think). I hope you continue to recover well.

6 days in, and I'm feeling pretty good. I'm still...

6 days in, and I'm feeling pretty good. I'm still shaped strange, preternaturally perky (there isn't really a crease under them-- they stick straight out) but it will be several months before they take normal shape.

I don't have much pain, except I wake up around 4am feeling extra sore. I think it's from lying down. I'm still propping myself up (one pillow under my back, two under my head), but maybe that position is just horizontal enough to increase swelling?

I didn't have any drains, so I've had it easy in not having to deal with them. I wonder if I have a smudge more swelling to deal with, though, than I would have if I'd had them.

Right nipple has total sensation, left is numb. It's kind of white-ish, around the areola, but still pink-ish, and really pink in the center, so that seems good.

I tried on a t-shirt today, that used to be very tight. OMG, it looks fantastic on me on now. That makes me so happy!
I had doubts up until they put me to sleep. I am so happy I did it though. I feel very good and light!
Abby, I wasn't certain at all! I kept wondering if I should change my mind, right up until I climbed onto the table. The thing is, I have wanted this deep down for almost 20 years, so the part of me that wanted it was so much louder in my head than the part with doubts-- I would have been so mad with myself if I had backed out! You just have to listen to all the different "voices in your head," make all the best arguments you can for both sides, and go with whatever's right for you. Just because this was right for me doesn't mean it's the same for you. :)
Good! That sounds like what we are told to expect, getting tired easily, taking it easy, and gaining strength every day. How did you handle the anxiety the night before the procedure? Also, my chosen surgeon said mental attitude is key for proper healing. Were you 100 percent sure in the 24 hours prior, or did you have flashes of doubt? He tells me I just have to make up my mind to "jump off the cliff," let him do the technical work and for me to just work on staying calm during the healing part.

So I'm generally a wimp when it comes to pain,...

So I'm generally a wimp when it comes to pain, which is probably why I've been bothered so much by the pain of this recovery. Last week, at work, I found myself almost in tears (when I was in front of a lot of people and it would NOT be cool to cry), just from trying to soldier through it.

I spent Fri, Sat, and Sun just sitting around at home, and I think I've improved a lot. I'm significantly less sore, and mostly just itchy.

On Fri, I did go to the doctor and get the surgical tape changed. That hurt, but it felt good because it took off a lot of the scabby parts, and I could see the actual incisions.

Sat night, though, I noticed a new little sore, sort of radiating out from the nipple incisions, and it was kind of oozy. It freaked me out. I talked to my doctor Sunday morning, though, and emailed him a photo of it, and he said it's just where my skin was irritated when they removed the surgical tape. It gets neosporin for a couple days. (It's not on the incision, just near it.)

In two weeks, I take off the tape and start massaging the scars with vitamin A&D ointment, and maybe a little vitamin E oil. I mark that as the point where I will start mild exercise (walking), and will try to get back into running in another two weeks. I also want to start watching what I eat (where did that big tummy come from????) but have been feeding myself as well as I can to heal the incisions.

I go back and forth between thinking they're too big, or maybe too little, so I figure they're probably just right! I'll get a better sense of it in a few months, of course! Though it would be nice for them to stay this perky for a while.

4 and a half weeks out, and I'm doing pretty good....

4 and a half weeks out, and I'm doing pretty good. I took off the tape at the 4 week mark, and several scabs and stitches remained along the incision. Over the weekend, as I showered and tried to be gentle, the stitches and scabs fell off. There's a spot under my right nipple that's irritated and seems to have a small amount of separation, just a couple millimeters. I'm keeping it covered in ointment per doc's orders, and it is slowly resolving. I probably let the scab on that spot come off too soon.

I know, kinda gross, but I figure it's good to know what's going on with other folks, so you won't be weirded out by what happens to you!

I've shrunk a little, to probably a mid to small C. They are a little smaller than what some people want, I think, but just right for me. I'd rather go through the rest of my life being too small than too big. I can't wait to see what it's like to go for a run now!

The pain had improved dramatically in the last week. I'm only a little sore along the incision. There's still a lot of itching, though.
Hi Kathleen many thanks for your advice and answersing my questions. My surgeon also specialises in reconstructive surgery and is head of this department at the local hospital. It gives me such confidence to see your new photos, again I have to tell you that your boobs are fabulous. If you don't mind I would like to show your photos to my surgeon when I meet him on Monday. I think I have a high enough pain threshold - its feeling nauseous that I can't stand. Feeling more apprehensive as I approach the 21 January but will keep visiting this invaluable site and providing updates on my progress.
Best wishes.
This was very helpful, thanks! Your before pictures resemble my breasts so much and I hope that I can expect your results! Also, my insurance is covering 80% so I'm going to make sure I don't lose too much weight before my surgery this summer. Thanks again for your detailed testimony!

Almost at 8 weeks, and I'm pretty happy with my...

Almost at 8 weeks, and I'm pretty happy with my results. Pain is rare, though I still have soreness along the lower incisions. I definitely have to keep sleeping on my side or back, and after being a stomach sleeper my whole life, it's not comfortable. It's a small concession, though. I catch images of my reflection during the day, and I am so pleased with my new profile!

It took a couple weeks for the open wound at my incision to close up, but it finally did. I'm treating my scars with vitamin E oil. I've got keloiding along some parts of the scars, but it's too early to tell what the scars will look like long term.
I absolutely love your shape Kathleen! It looks like you are healing nicely, question, was your surgery performed in the hospital or your doctor's surgical suite?

I hope your doing well:)
They look great! Congrats!!

It's been about 3 1/2 months now, and I thought...

It's been about 3 1/2 months now, and I thought I'd check back in. I am so happy with my perky little boobs!!! I can't begin to explain how nice it is to feel normal in my body. I know I'm not skinny, or whatever, but I just feel so much at home with my shape now.

I am still a little sore around the scars on my sides. I can't sleep on my stomach, and if I sleep on my side, it hurts after a few hours. I am mostly feeling fine the rest of the time. My breasts have even started to feel (ahem, PG rating here) nice to be touched in an intimate context. The numbness on the left nipple is going away, and the feeling is coming back.

I am so happy I did this. I haven't done much bra shopping-- I still feel comfortable in the surgical bra with its wider band. (Or sometimes, no bra at all!!! Woo hoo!!!) I am about a 36 or 38 C.

The weather is getting warmer and I totally want to get a few of those maxi sundresses you can wear with no bra! I tried one on that looked great, except I didn't like the color, so it's time for some shopping!

So I do have scars that are big and red in some places, but I've had scars before that settle down after a year, so I'll wait and see. One nipple is larger than the other. I'm not too worried about that, though. If someone is going to be close enough to see the scars, they're already going to be someone I trust enough to not get weirded out by them.
Really do breast reduction surgeon's hit a homer most of the time they don't. WOW outstanding job on nipple and areola's. You got girl boobs taunt and puffy.
Thanks for posting new pix. It is very helpful. Are you putting anything on your scars? and yes you are to skinny! You look great!
Glad you are doing well and feeling good!
Dr. Albert Losken

The doctor is excellent because my boobs look great. I chose him for his surgical skills, not his personality. I did not get any hand-holding, and had several phone calls go unreturned, but no major issues.

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