Took the Risk hoping to Brave the Reward
Took the Risk hoping to Brave the Reward
"Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts." ~ Arnold Bennett
I am hoping to posts updates of my journey, as others have helped me by sharing. After 20 years of large breasts & ridicule (even if THEY felt it was flattery - be it family, public, dating & Yes, especially WORK - oh the things said). I took the risk this year to get insurance approval for a reduction, after contemplating for years. May 9th I received my approval that my suffering (mental & some physical) was validated by Drs & Insurance without Proving myself jumping through hoops. I am blessed in being on an HSA insurance this year I met my deductible early on due to my Crohn's medication, so this surgery will be paid in full.
Such an incredible relief yet the nerves are setting in my surgery is set for July 22nd, unless something changes Thursday. So many questions & my first consultation with Dr. Cohen was in March but I go back on Thursday, June 6th to get them answered & settle a bit more into this new reality of being "normal". I'll have to tell you about my "2nd Opinion" sometime - a real trip, and thankful for the surgeon I've chosen.
About me, 39 yrs old wearing a size 38K bra, however it doesn't fit me correctly but the "L" (wth they have "L"'s) was too large...and the Dr said he thinks a DD might be the smallest I can hope for. I have some fluff so I hope if I slowly lose the weight, I can make the difference I need & still be proportionate.
2nd Consultation/Preop'ish ....Left me Overwhelmed
2nd consultation today, I hate downtown so per usual I got lost again...so I wasn't the calm collected I needed to be. I thought I had all my questions lined up, it was going to be GREAT...he was going to walk thru & be all smiles because I'm his "Cape Cod" girl (where he vacations) ...and he'd be nurturing, helpful like last visit. Not exactly, and I never feel like I see him long enough in my mind to not be taken back he's not the little white haired man I expect...as the nurse explained afterward he's a surgeon they are often focused/not all have fantastic bedside manners - but he's one of the best & extremely meticulous so as to get the best outcome. (Which i want).
I am so confused right now, I've seen many of these blogs - all the tips & pre-shopping lists shared, and all the pics good/bad...and they said you won't need all that, you'll be fine because of our techniques. Surgeon made it clear, we won't know what the new breasts will look like UNTIL it's over. He said there is no perfect,, they won't be a specific shape you ask for - they could be boxy...everyone is different due to their own circumstances the FNG could have issues reattaching to blood supply...but I will "feel" better & he will do EVERYTHING he can to make sure i have the best outcome possible my body will allow. I understand he has to give his disclaimer perfection & needing realistic expectations....but that's a very scary pill to swallow. Also hard was knowing an Intern will be assisting...though they are qualified/rigorous selection process - It's all so overwhelming. I was relieved to know I will be staying under a 23 hr observation at the hospital...According to the nurse I will be on his mind before the surgery & lucky for me he'll be in my home town vacationing...flying back the day before...so rested, happy & ready to give me my life free of this extra weight.
Regardless, I cried on the way home, feeling alone & confused. So forgive the way this blog might read. Any thoughts like this?
Pre-Op 6 days - Nitty Gritty, Denial & Fear
Finally made it to downtown yesterday w/o a hiccup & early which always makes for a smoother visit. PS came back from vacationing in my hometown & was happy - all right in his world. Demeanor was much more friendly & was easier when we had a serious discussion on expectations and really what was going to happen. Due the weight my breast are elongated/so wide - All that I know of (fullness) of my breast will be what is discarded. He may have done his "standard MO CYA" bit but he said due to the flatness I have where the breast needs to go he doesn't have much to build with, and is unsure right now how full he could make them. We were discussing D/DD but right now my fears are running wild that I will have flat banana boobs (forgive me for those who do have them) & a B/C cup and right now I'm a 5'4 200 pd curvy girl - take some of that curve I'm toast. I joked at the time and said look I've been know for having a great rack, please stay in there until you get something right. His entire staff and the PreOp surgery area just LOVE him and said he's a perfectionist & a wonderful man/surgeon I couldn't be in better hands. But it all just went by so fast that as I sat at work today, I started to realize how much would be removed; I am feeling fear of being disfigured. I see now why they used the word in my case "amputation". I thought some of the good stuff would be pushed up for fullness, not completely gone. I am single for the most part & resigned to not having children but I have been identified the last 35 yrs that my breasts exemplify my femininity & defined me both positive/negatively and I'm so worried who/what will I be - let alone if I'm mis-shapened, unhappy & how will that affect my future? I sure hope others have gone thru this (making it normal), but I know i have to muster up improving my mindset to be more positive in the next few days and focus on those cancer survivors and others facing far worse. But this is huge for me. Someone did call me brave though today for facing this journey - ha how's that working for me now. What is also not helping is my cycle is here (hoping it finishes by Monday) & some Caretaker Mother issues - so stress is high and I still hate the idea of being recorded etc & wearing no underwear...too much all at once. I hate how my coping strategy procrastinates. Thx for reading...
Fears, Surgery & Beyond
I am so behind on updating but haven't sat in front of the actual pc & my cell keeps screwing up.
A week before surgery I was overworked in freaking out & gratefully 2 ladies on this board helped me refocus on my reasons for having this surgery & that I was beautiful and these imperfect breasts that weigh me down don't define me as a woman. They gave me a calm I needed to get through the next few days. Thanks Girls!
Night before surgery - decided as a painter, I would make some breast memories of each into flowers (FYI: that is also what the Profile pic only it sold) & that is what Payudara is Indonesian. I also went all crazy trying to clean, I think it was a major distractions/avoidance of feelings. I only got about 5 hrs sleep but it wasn't restful. Thankfully I woke up & was calm, I'm not sure if I was in denial still or just acceptance it was going to happen.
Nitty Gritty - Met the team including the "Fellow" - chosen General surgeon to learn Plastics (yea don't call them interns eep). They all appeared positive, up until one nurse came in grumpy & argued with me. That was when I lost my cool - she questioned what I was told by PreOp nurse/PS and gratefully the staff replaced her & I was calm again. I think it's important you feel comfortable with your team, apparently she was known for attitude. I was very concerned about removing my undergarments in front of the PS, especially since I was on the tail end of my cycle (oh joy) so I waited til last minute, and kinda fought them to "loo" before surgery when they thought nah lets just use a catheter. I hate surprises so I pushed & said when I'm out do what you want. I am glad I spoke up, not rudely for what little control I needed to stay calm. Funny part was one of the reasons they didn't want me up was had taken a strong valium & didn't want me to fall - I had to tell them um...not strong enough, hit me again. I also asked for a photo of my markings, which was like more than 1/2 my breasts. It weird because I saw so many people on this forum got to take their own & I had no one in my room except the staff - then was wisked away. So if I ever get that picture I will post it - it was also sweet that right before we left he showed me a picture of the beach in my hometown he vacations at so I know he had an invested interest in me.
I don't remember much being wheeled down the to the room, or recovery but I recall not feeling in pain. In fact I have felt little pain these past 2.5 days, though I used full advantage of the morphine, which didn't cause itching, sickness or feeling loopy. In the hospital, I only had irritation every time I got up 30/45 min to go to the loo. My poor guy had to get up each time & thank goodness as the nurse staff wasn't as diligent as I'd like.
I woke up feeling very flat, comparatively, but I felt normal. Something I didn't expect & an immediate weight lifted. However, I can now see my tummy eep, oh well. The "Fellow" changed my bandages the next day & all I saw were cones & these little cotton sewed in balls on my FNG to protect them. Problem was - I never saw the underneath which made them normal looking. My guy drew me a picture & after seeing how pleased my very serious PS was I knew it would be ok. He said I was a difficult case due to the heavy weight stretched my skin and usually those women are flat on top & not as pretty. But after discussing with weekly meeting of PS's he figured out a true plan. He also apologized for preparing me for the worst that 2nd visit & being so serious that 2nd visit when I was in tears. He said thanks to the team & his approach he was able to cut 3 hrs off the already 5 hrs surgery (dang 8 hrs would've been aweful for all of us). I can't say I've ever felt excited, but I'm glad I went through this and awaiting the final results.
Ok now for current stuff, if you're still with me.
Day 2.5 - Sneaking out!
Forgot to mention - All the tissue taken looked healthy according to the PS, but they will check it either way to be sure there is no cancer/etc.
In being home, I noticed a bit of seepage of blood/whatever and accepting it might be ok. My first night home kinda sucked in sleeping as my body was very sore...I had bought a wedge pillow that really helped me not roll over but I think it might be a little hard - the leg wedge really seemed enough with all the pillows to keep me still. I also hadn't had any movement since the before the surgery so I figured some walking at the mall would be good. I was told no showering, driving or outside to overheat as were trying to make sure my nipples attached. Ok so might"ve gotten a bit tired but my body feels a little looser and I got to see a few coworkers to test the waters as its such a big shock. They were all smiles and really made me feel normal that this was the right thing to do.
I got to really look at the girls today, pictures posted and I must say that he really did make them full, I'm not going to judge them too harshly as they have much healing to do but holy crap they are perky. Tad icky. I emailed a pic of my Left FNG as the cotton protector looks shifted, his nurse said it was normal, wrap it and leave them alone; but I later got a message from him saying - go ahead and come in tomorrow if you like tomorrow. Don't mind if I do, my girls after all.
Things to keep in mind so far, movement seems important to not be stiff but don't go crazy. I've noticed however each PS has different instructions,. Mine said absolutely no ice as it would prevent my nipple from attaching - makes sense. Brushing teeth has been a challenge, since bending over doesn't feel good - so using a cup and being real careful. Feeling bloated sucks as I have Crohns disease and am off Meds, I worry on complications but so far so good. Been drinking tea and lots of gas x. So far, I prefer tank tops for extra security on the bandages and then pullovers to button up tops. I make sure to take my temperature regularly, and meds on time. Rest is super important so after drs thinking I'm homeward bound - honestly I'm glad I took 2 wks off but feels like it wont be enough. I definitely am protective of myself now, not being able to be hugged will take some getting used to.
Well here are my pics, hopefully they help someone. Its very impressive how I went from long pendulums to full perky - PS he might just right some research paper on it as he tried a new technique. Let the healing continue...and I'm not the best writer so hope some of this was helpful. I also lost punctuation on my pc not sure what thats all about.
Take care of the Baby Girls
So admittedly I've been out & about more than I probably should. My PS would probably be unhappy but I've been mostly careful, and not gotten overheated. Even though I enjoy the stimulation of real life. I have probably done a few light chores, but sweet guy has been stressing so much, i felt a little help would ease him. I got in trouble for opening Crackers LOL. I am taking it more easy now as I have more draining/bleeding than I'd like to see - even if it's probably normal. I did however get my Hair washed today - Whoo Hoo, I feel so clean & cute!
My hairsalon have been my biggest fans & much like my 2 cowkrs that saw me - nearly cry at being so happy to see the change. I never expected that, but it's a positive feeling! I had one gal at my allergist office when I asked is there anything new you noticed - say "You're wearing sandals?" - Really??? LOL, at least it's not the first thing people see or they are so used to "not noticing", so that'll be good for my work transition.
I feel very protective of my girls, checking/changing discharge bandages - and even though it was suggested to let then breathe, I shutter the idea to let anything touch them. I can't even imagine going to work Aug 5th, if I am still as raw looking but I'm sure it's too soon to tell. Shoot I'm not even allowed to shower, drive yet til next weeks visit to see if we can take the FNG Toppers off.
I went Thursday to see the PS just to makes sure my Left Graft looked ok being partially covered & it was adorable how pleased he was with his new technique he tried and said I was healing ok so far. He even called me into another Consults room (think botox patient) just to share my story even if she only saw the clothed version. I was at first anti-research paper/teaching but now I would be honored to be an example to help other women.
Went to my ENT today, as it seemed the Antibiotic Cyclimycin , burned the crap out of my throat & made it hard to sleep last night. He put me on a bland GRD type diet with antacids/probiotics to help the reflux probably due to the anethesia & irritation tube intubation. For heavens sake, take it one at a time & with a full glass of water - -yea didn't do that right first time around. My body is also quite burpy ect, so can't wait til that's over as well. I know that some hair shedding will be coming in the next
few wks (for those that don't know that) But I've been there before, just comes when you've already forgotten about it. But it grows back!
I'm tired, but think I force myself up because my sleep schedules so off. I am not really in any pain, though I take at least 1 pain pill maybe 2x a day to help ease the ache, twinges. I have noticed a few little pains here and there near my nipple so I imagine it's just healing - been talking to them - hey whatever helps right? I also had few little tears fall, maybe it's just the body reaction to it all which I read about, otherwise I feel quite pleased with my experience.
This week has gone a little too fast for me - so I hope the healing will catch up. I love reading your comments & stories. Not many out there to relate to, so thanks Real Self!
Super sleepy girl today!
I am so tired today, slept more than all week. Also a bit more sore due to the sides incisions which I hope get better over time, they are kinda aweful & puffy - side boobs so far (oy). I can't freaking wait to get this ace bandage off since it's irritating my skin, no rash thankfully t-shirt strips are helping some - anyone else having that issues? I look forward to my Post Op on Tuesday to see how it's going & see about these bosters. I haven't had as many zingers as I'd like lately with the FNG, mostly because that seems a sign of nerves attaching but I'm having faith they are finding their way. I am so glad I'm healthy & not a smoker - my risk are so low for damage. I am staying away from my Mom (who is) as even 2nd hand can be damaging & definately staying out of this Texas heat. I haven't changed my dressings today, to see how much seapage but seems to be less each day. I just hate seeing the blood on the right breast, but sure its gotta go somewhere.
I love the feedback & reading everyones updates - I remember before having trouble finding anything on this site, but now that I need it - I can't wait for my inbox notifications. Thanks Ladies, Have faith in the process and healthy healing!
Oh hint I was going to share for those who can swing it - My hair can last about 4 days or so unwashed because I use Wen products (found on amazon etc) - I just love this stuff and makes my hair healthy and not greasy.
Whole lotta Emotion going on! Plus Photos!
So thank goodess, this site posts for you how many days - clearly Day 6 post op - wow! (Now if they could just help with & edit button to fix typos) I had mentioned being very sleepy the last few days, and more emotional. I think some is just being in such a vulnerable state right now, otherwise still happy I went through it. Feeling lonely as well, not many friends I expected to check on me did & well I can't "do" anything - but grateful for the few that have made efforts. I had some worry about my FNG & wondering if under those bolsters they were finding their blood source, but that's out of my control & I'm sure its fine. I also trust that if Anything ever bad happens at all my PS will do all he can to help fix it. So can't wait until Tuesday! Nipples, driving, shower? Yes please?
With this Houston heat, I realized I better leave early morning/night to go outside. I still can't drive so I did have someone with me. Hit a quick breakfast, and then Walmart for my sports bra (I can't wear one until approved by PS, maybe Tuesday) I purchased $7.98 Fruit of the Loom, comfort front close up Sports bra shown to me by the PS nurse. 2 sizes up from my initial bra width 38 to a 42.
Wanting to add some fruits/veggies - I decided after checkout to go pick them up myself leaving my friend waiting with the cart. Not sure what happened but suddenly that feeling of "I'm going to pass out" - thankfully I didn't but that scared the crap out of me on being very careful & wondering why it seems I was so energized after surgery & now am so fatigued. Anyone else have that happen? Don't have much appetite, heard small meals will help with that.
I've been using LBEmuoil.com for my bruising/swelling - something my mother/I use for all sorts of things. I will post some pics of a different a day makes. I have only changed my bandages 1x a day, otherwise I'd be further along in healing I think. But as I've said I'm so protective I don't expose the girls for anything if I don't have to. The oozing has subsided to yellow finally (wth is that?) & the side stitches are bruised to the touch more from relaxing from the pucker and hurt more. I can't wait til that glue crap is off cuz I know that's some of the tugging.
I want to say major kudos & empathy to those that have to go back to work a week later & haven't had someone to help with the chores/especially bandages. I have been blessed & don't forget it. With as tired/sensitive as physically even though it's a desk job I can't imagine how I'd sit for 8hrs a day & be helpful. I'm not just tired - yawn, I'm like Tired - eyes drop better lie down & sleep for 3 hrs tired. I do have a weaker immune system so probably just how my body is compared to most, just probably a reminder to slow it down!
To my ladies that are having surgery tomorrow, this week or around the corner..chins up & have faith. To the rest that are recovering with me or well on your way & still teaching us ropes ~ Thank you & happy healing and enjoying the new view!
Oh Oh - forgot to mention - I can eat at the table without my breasts on it & see my food. It's the little things!
One week in review - What a blur!
Son of a biscuit - I just typed this great post, hit something & voila it was gone. One wk today & Post Op tomorrow. I can't even promise if this one will be as good but you did choose to read on....
There was a great quote that indicated - it's not the Surgeon who makes recovery Possible it's YOU/Your body that makes it happen! Rest, food, positive vibes, following instructions/intuition. Each night I sleep with a Healing Meditation on, and I talk to myself and praise my girls & encourage their healing. Power of the Mind I tell ya!
Funny note - I had been describing my recovery stage as Frankenboobies - I mean I am his creation & stitched together like mad but I do feel ALIVE again! Can't wait til all that stuff heals though - eegaads. I'm thrilled I did it, but still can't believe i trusted someone to rearrange stuff with sharp objects. Guess that's why you do your homework.
I thought this week would be long & painful/full of worry & disgusting and it just wasn't. In fact I can't believe it was a week already - felt like a few days. I have some serial zingers last night & I can only hope that's good. I also noticed some inflammation on my left FNG on one side today like when you have a cut that needs might need extra attention. So Relieved my Post Op is tomorrow. So much I want to ask him, What was the new procedure, will my left girl keep veering left or are these still being molded, what is that yellow ooze exactly....can I drive/shower/throw away this aweful itchy ace bandage?
I had my caretaker (catch all of terms for him) relive the day with me - funny stories etc. Like, Ice chips seemed like the most awesome thing in the world & I looked like a baby bird eating them. How much I apparently loved my morphine button, and knew exactly how many minutes before my next one ~ Hey pain/no pain I'll never know but I'm ok with that. My stubborn streak on being demure & insisting even before getting off the gurney to the bed/getting hooked up to leg compressions & even midddle of the night - I'm going to the loo ON MY OWN! Ok ok but get me there first please. Pfffht bedpans/side toilets. How my first thought when the heart/oxygen moniter went off when I was falling asleep was yelling "OMG Am I dying?" - really as if you could say that if you were? And how inept some of the staff was there on little stuff - irritated to the point of tears my throat because the oxygen was too high w/o having the humidifier attached and you seriously have NO MINTS/Cough drops in the entire hospital to give someone to numb it...oh they had them earlier in the day but apparently lock them up trust me he looked lol? Even the vending machines weren't dispensing from that row I heard. So you have to wait forever for an OTC Script for Childrens Cough Spray? It was nice to laugh about it, and realize it all went better than I expected.
Favorite things so far : A crumb fell into the bandaged cleavage & was so easy to dig out, The fact I am wearing no real bra & they aren't to my belly anymore....no armpit boobs, clothes I have tried fit as they should - I don't even mind the belly I need to lose, the scale saying 200 (that's 10 pds since last week - 8lbs from surgery & 2 I guess just a bonus for being good), but MOST OF ALL - I look in the mirror every time, smile & see ME - that was always there hiding. I so can't wait to socialize and see people, feel normal. My mom's not even seen me yet, her jaw's gonna drop!
Ugh I need to sleep, can't wait for my appt - see these Powder Puffs come off & know I'm right on schedule for healing. I must admit I feel like I should throw a parade or something for them...but no clue what to do. Maybe a card or fruit bouquet - anyone do anything worth mentioning?
I hope whatever stage on the journey you're at - you're doing well. For goodness sake go to bed it's Late!
2nd Post Op & Beyond - Boy am I behind!
Forgive me for being Remiss to you all my favorite supporters - be it sharing your stories or rooting me on! Because I’ve been so lax I’ll have to post my pics later.
(written at 23 days PO)
Ladies – I'll admit it after my Post op I was a bit gun-shy on posting anything, as bountiful20 was expected to have her Bolsters off on Friday & my new friend purplesugar was anticipating her arrival for surgery and I didn't want to make anyone more antsy. I want to thank me950 for talking me off the ledge, as I was quite upset when my nipple bolsters came off & they were in such a state of healing (grey/scabbed) and feeling so unsafe in the world without those silly Puffs on, feeling like one little mistake would make the grafts not take & I’d be nippleless. My esteem deflated in my appearance for a day or so, until I finally embraced it was a healing process and would take some time, and here I am at 23 days out & very proud of what the surgeon did. So Patience....Ladies is essential.
Discussion at Post Op - PS was very pleased. All 8 pds of my Tissue was "Healthy" so I have a great start going into my 40's in not worrying about cancer/tumors - positive thinking anyway. I believe its important ladies we don't forget that fact when we reduce, considering all this excess tissue being healthy. At the initial look I was quite full on the top which was something he was striving for but did not expect & they were lovely but still very swollen.
My instructions for the next month which seems different than most of you (I’m still not crazy I never received Post Op instructions). No Sweating, No Heat (outside - I live in 100 degree weather is he nuts & wearing a sports bra?), No Swimming/water submersion, no working out (except light walking/major a/c), No massaging & no discussion of steri-strips or anything. He wasn't a huge fan of any topical treatments either except maybe Vaseline.
What I’m doing: Each night I sleep to Healing Harmony (meditation music), power of the mind is underestimated so I have been doing what i can to cheer my body on to healing. I am using my Country Divine Ultra Emu Oil (at least 2x daily) & an aloevera product I have to promote skin growth. (Max Heal Skin Restoration Gel). Products I have long used for other issues & are natural (and do not distribute); I also just started some LED (Light therapy) Treatments to promote faster healing/reduce scarring. Guess I want to take a more holistic approach & so far things are looking up. I am wearing a full sports bra at night & as I’ve posted this prior bras similar to Playtex® Women's Simply Sized Wirefree Bra - an inbetween bra of sorts in the daytime. I spend only an hour or so outside of the bra when the girls feel swollen. About $16, depending on your size you might find similar cheaper at Walmart.
What I’m experiencing: Sensitivity to cold – like icecubes, tenderness, still hating sleeping on my back but with pillows can sleep on my right side for a bit & TIRED!! That’s it, no itching, zingers, no pain. Few scabs but all appear to be healing well. Upside, increased confidence in looking in the mirror - not just at my "baby girls" but in seeing my overall beauty that was clouded it all. I no longer feel extremely overweight - as I have a torso now, my scale has reached below 200 & gives me far more confidence for when I can start working out. I am getting more compliments on my appearance & clothes I've always worn but now I wear them properly & you appreciate them because I have a figure. My work chair is more comfortable sitting all day & despite needing a serious chiro adjustment for a few areas (he can't touch right now) - I feel much better. I also have very little issues in breathing without that 8 pd baby on my chest. I am elated at the shape of my girls & if I could show everyone (HA) I would & do not feel disfigured as I thought on the scaring because it looking reasonable if not awesome in some areas. I haven't spilled on my chest in a few weeks & I need to pull the table to me because of all the room I have now.
At this point I had been to work 1.5 wks & it was literally kicking my butt. I look perfectly healthy to everyone & was working myself as I was - but it takes a toll. So for my sake & works - I took that following Monday off to prove a point & ha I slept most of the day. So Listen to your body....before it crashes! Ok expect more recent update & then pics soon.