A Long Time Coming...- Longmont, CO

I am 40 years old, 5'6", 175 lbs, married for 10...

I am 40 years old, 5'6", 175 lbs, married for 10 years and have three children, all breast fed. I measure 36E, but I have squeezed into a 38 or 40 DDD minimizer bra for several years now. I have constant back, neck and shoulder pain. I didn't develop early, but by the end of high school I was spilling out of a C cup, and by the time I got married I was a DD. I have wanted a reduction for a long, long, time. My youngest is five, and my breasts never snapped back to a manageable size after the pregnancies and nursing.

I have been actively working on getting prepared for a BR for over a year now, as I worked through the hoops set by my health insurance to get this covered. My insurance is Cigna, and they have proven to be incredibly difficult to work with. I did two years of chiropractic care, several months of PT and recently underwent shoulder surgery - due in part to the stress of my bra strap over my AC joint. I submitted five letters of recommendation for this procedure (3 of them written by MDs) and my PS submitted the entire request (pictures, letters, outline of proposed surgical procedure) to my insurance on July 8th. It was denied the next day. Cigna did not believe there was enough evidence to warrant a BR, and that the PS was removing too little. My PS though 400cc on the L and 500cc on the R was appropriate. Cigna wants 600cc, each side. I was spitting mad. I wanted to appeal, so my PS resubmitted, reluctantly agreeing to the 600cc/each amount - just to see if Cigna would accept. Normally appeals can take up to 30 business days. Cigna went over that mark by a few weeks, because it took over a month before they admitted that the appeals department never received my file. My PS had to resubmit everything, and it was another two weeks before I was approved. I have nothing nice to say about Cigna. They were completely unprofessional, and this 600cc amount is a very aggressive amount to require - it is in excess of what the industry standard is for removal, based on my BMI (28.6) and height (5'6"). This 600cc amount is actually complicating the whole procedure. My breasts are not the same size, and by removing this much tissue, it could place me in danger of losing feeling or worse - my nipple on my smaller side.

I had my pre-op the day before yesterday, and that was when the serious concerns from my PS about the 600cc amount came about. When I went to the PS for my initial consultation back in June, I weighed 192 and had a BMI of 31.5. Since I have lost about 15 lbs since then, this made the whole situation a little bit more critical. Imagine...getting in trouble for losing weight!!!! I left the appointment with a decision to make: go forth with the surgery and follow the ridiculous dictates of my insurance company, and risk complications - and be unhappy with really small, unnatural-looking results in comparison to my frame, OR totally switch gears and make this an out-of-pocket ($7200) cosmetic procedure instead - and take off what is right for me. Talk about pressure!

I had never felt so devastated and conflicted! The surgery is a week away - the surgery I have been waiting YEARS for and fought so hard for, and now I get this unexpected curve ball. My husband and I went back and forth. I am so desperate to be done with the pain and discomfort that I was totally willing to accept the risks. My husband was not. He went pale when I said I could loose a nipple. He was disappointed that I could potentially end up with B cups. We looked at lots and lots of pictures - on this site and other surgeons, looking for what end result we could agree on. We found the ideal picture, and agreed that that was the goal - if he could achieve that by adhering to the insurance company's strict amount, great. If it meant we would fall short of that 600cc/breast amount and have to pay out-of-pocket, so be it. I can't let a bunch of idiotic number crunchers dictate what I end up looking like. It is my body.

I have been visiting this site for about a year now. It has been tremendously helpful to see what is in store for me from start to finish. It has really helped me prepare mentally for the changes and hardships that are to come. I am so grateful for all of the previous contributors who bared their soul and their bodies in the interest of building this supportive community.

I would like to offer my own advice... I have read many stories about women who go to their consultations with just a preferred size in mind. I would like to suggest that you think long and hard (before you go) about what changes you are really after. What is your desired profile? How wide? How high? What sort of physical activities do you see yourself doing in the future? When my husband and I were looking for that 'ideal picture', I was keeping all of that in mind. My ideal had to show the maximum amount of projection I was going to be comfortable with. I want to see my feet! The maximum width - I want to be able to swing my arms about and not have boobs in the way. I want them high and tight. I've had droopy boobs forever - I am so tired of boobs in my armpits when I sleep. I want MINIMUM bounce. I want to make running a part of my daily life in the future, so I want an appropriate size that won't get in the way and cause discomfort.

So I went BACK to the PS yesterday to have further conversation about what my decision was. When I showed him the ideal picture and we compared it to my photographs that were taken there at the office (a second set had to be taken to update my profile because of the weight loss). We talked at length about breast tissue density, fat deposits, projection, how the removal happens bit by bit during the surgery, how he pulls from the armpit forward, and how my new size would mesh with what I want vs. don't want. It pays to openly and explicitly communicate with your surgeon. He is feeling more confident that he can appease the insurance requirement, but we are both in agreement that, if at that point in time during the surgery that he is concerned about the risk of removing too much, he will stop, and sort it out (ie. fight like hell) with the insurance company after the fact. And, if in the end it has to be treated as a cosmetic procedure, so be it.

I am feeling very confident in my decisions. I've never waffled on whether this was the right thing to do. I worry a bit about losing sensation or God-forbid my nipple, but the risk is so worth it to me. I can't take the discomfort anymore.

I have a lot to do in preparation - get my Rxs and OTC meds, a couple of cheapie hook-in-front sports bras (chosen according to band size -36), and general around the house stuff - laundry and freeze some meals. My husband is working from home for about a week after my surgery, so I will be able to rest properly in those first critical days. I am thankful to keep busy, it will help the next six days go by fast!

Morning of surgery

It is the morning of surgery and I have a few more minutes before my mom comes to pick me up for the hour drive to the surgery center. I check in at 8 a.m., surgery begins at 9:15. My husband and kids are still in bed, they will all come to pick me up when it is okay to go home. I had an incredibly difficult time putting the kids to bed last night - especially hugging and kissing them goodnight. I am very emotional right now... I cried with my daughter (age 8).

The past couple days have been a whirlwind. The day to day activities did not let up, so I had to squeeze in my prep shopping, cleaning, laundry what have you, whenever I could. So I feel like I have very little mental processing time. My breasts have been very painful in the past couple of days. Shooting pains and they feel like they are on fire. Not temperature hot, just a burning sensation deep within. I've never felt that before. Maybe they know something's up?? Lol..

I am feeling excited but pretty scared. I am not looking forward to weeks of discomfort. But I am so ready to get this done. One look at my body this morning in the mirror after my shower, and I was on cloud 9, knowing that in a few short hours it will be all different. TODAY is the day I have been waiting for years and years. See you on the other side!

First Day after surgery

My surgery was yesterday morning and it lasted about 3.5 hours. My PS took 630g (1.39 lbs) from the right side and a whopping 818g (1.8 lbs) from the left side. So I guess there were no worries about not being able to meet the insurance company's requirement for 600g from each side!

I stayed in recovery for almost 4 hours. I guess I was moaning in pain quite a bit and so the nurse kept pushing painkiller through the IV, and that just kept me in a very drowsy state. My husband kept pushing me to take spoonfuls of crushed ice, and small nibbles of saltines. Since I was able to keep that down the nurse relented on the IV and let me take a strong dose of Vicodin. I was in and out of it all the way home and throughout the evening. I have a 10 day supply of antibiotics to take, which I also need to take some Florastor to help replenish the flora in my gut. I have an anti-nausea patch behind an ear, painkillers (Hydrocodone), stool softeners, and benedryl in case I react to anything.

I don't have drains, and the stitches are all internal and dissolvable. My PS taped all of the incisions and the tape needs stay on for two weeks. I was sent home with tons of gauze padding and a huge stretchy tube top with Velcro tabs to pull it tight. To say that I am uncomfortable is a huge understatement. What's left of my breasts is pushed up high with the padding wedged underneath and to the sides. I can't rest my arms at my sides right now. I am feeling the most pain from my incisions and my sides. It is tolerable when I am reclining, but whenever I get up the pain is just incredible. I think it is a combination of gravity, swelling and this ridiculous tube top that is cinched so tight I can barely breathe.

I did sleep sort of okay last night as I am still pretty drowsy, but my back is already killing me. I see the PS this afternoon, so I hope that he switches things around so that I can get *slightly* more comfortable.

Second day...

I managed to get some decent sleep last night. I've found that when sleeping in a reclined position, it really helps to put a pillow under my knees to prevent a backache.

Feeling pretty good today. I can go about 5-6 hours now, between doses of pain meds. I took a shower, and it went okay. I felt a little bit of stinging here and there, but it was tolerable. I patted everything dry and put my stretchy sports bra back on. I noticed a drop of blood here and there along the incision lines, but the nurse said that it a good sign, so I am not going to worry about it. I am getting some sensation in my right nipple, but the left is still completely numb. There is A LOT of bruising on the underside of my left.

Even though all I've done this morning is make some coffee, help the kids get dressed and hop in the shower, I feel very tired and sleepy. I think it is the meds...

Third day...

It is the third morning after my surgery. I slept pretty well again last night. I've been very itchy, but the Benadryl is helping - so I highly recommend it. My daughter helped me check along the tape lines last night to see if there was any oozing. We put neosporin on a couple of spots (over the tape). The PS didn't mention anything about doing that, so I hope I am not screwing anything up. My daughter is helping me (vs. my husband) because he doesn't want to see 'Frankenboobies'. Lol... He wants to see them when they aren't so scary looking. Men! (Sigh).

I had more energy yesterday, and I managed to help out a little around the house. I put away dishes, did a load of laundry and cleaned our smallest bathroom. It hurts if I reach for ANYTHING, so I ask for help. Just doing that, plus my shower, wore me out. I am not going to shower today. We're not planning on leaving the house today, so there is really no point. I think I will go with showering every other day, so that my tape will last the full two weeks.

I got up early so that I could take a long look at things in peace. I'm about 90% happy with what I see. I think my nipples are now too small. I watched the PS draw the lines, he told me how he would calculate their new size, so alarm bells did not go off just then... But now, as near as I can tell (through all of the dried blood), it looks like they may be like the size of a quarter! That would really bother me if that is how it turns out. That small of size would not look natural on me.. :(. I also see a very large pucker of skin on my left side, at the end of the suture line. I know it is still really swollen, but it looks like it will still be there from now on. My PS mentioned in my consultation that he would go back and revise it if that happened... (Lipo?). We'll see. I have no sensation, as of yet, in either nipple or in the skin below the nipple and towards the center. It's early yet, but it's on the back of my mind!!

As I said, my energy level is continually improving, which is good. My biggest complaint is that I feel like I am going to burst! My boobs are soooo swollen and hard. It hurts. Bad. I'm afraid to sneeze - I might blow out every suture line!

Day Five

I am still VERY swollen and tight. It still hurts to take a deep breath - and I am still on full doses of pain meds. Luckily I still had some Hydrocodone left from another minor surgery a few months ago, because I ran out this morning of the Rx for the BR. I still haven't had a BM since surgery, so yeah....that's SIX days. I'm miserable. I've taken all of my Dulcolax, and a I drank a 10 oz. bottle of Magnesium Citrate about six hours ago. That was what the nurse said to use as a last resort - but it should have worked by now. Btw - that stuff tastes NASTY. It sort of feels like things are moving, but it also just made things a whole lot more uncomfortable.

My breasts still look exactly the same as when I came home from surgery. They are high, tight, and a little awkward shaped. I know it takes time, but nothing seems to be moving/improving/deflating whatever... Maybe this is the post-surgery blues. I'm sure I would feel a thousand times better if I could get the bathroom business taken care of.

I have two suspicious spots on both breasts, that are cause for concern. I took some pictures and sent them to my PS tonight...so I hope to hear from him in the morning. Throughout all of this, an infection/wound issue was my biggest fear.

I still have total numbness in both nipples and the underside of both breasts. I have felt a couple of pins and needles from time to time, but it was very fleeting. I also felt like a total boob squeeze/tightening happen from time to time, where they would tingle all over. I'll count that as a good thing, since I don't have much else to go on...

Day 10

I went to my PS at a week post op, after I took sent in those pics of the weird yellow spots. They removed the tape and gave them a good look. It was just a case of too much moisture under the tape, and it was best to let them air dry at that point. The exposed incision on both sides feels a little vulnerable, but no issues so far. My right side has closed up, but there is still a small section on the left that refuses to close. I have to use gauze and fabric tape to keep it covered, and change it out about every 8 hours or so. This pic is from the gauze I had on overnight. It shows how much fluid is still leaking. It does seem to change in amount, leaking more or less from time to time.

I am still very, very swollen, and my incisions are still very tender. I am now able to wear my stretchy sports bra with no extra padding over the incisions, so I figure I am making progress. I am still on pain meds... I am a little concerned as to why. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, and so this is unusual for me. I can't go longer than 8 hours without giving in and taking either Hydrocodone or Tylenol, depending on the pain. Sometimes it is incision pain, other times it is a deep, painful ache all over my chest.

I still have no feeling in my nipples and the underside of my breasts are numb. I get a zinger every now and then. Occasionally I will get this sensation that all of my skin, all the way around my body in the torso area, is all of a sudden super-sensitive. Sort of the like the prickle-on-the-back-of-your-neck feeling. It is very weird. It is like it washes over my skin, this wave of super sensitivity. It lasts for a few minutes than it goes.. Other times I feel like everything tightens, like I was just injected with a ton of water and my boobs are pushing out against the incisions. That one HURTS. I still feel really tight, and I most aware of that in the shower, when I am washing my hair. I can't move with a full range of motion yet.

A couple of emotional moments... I was whisking eggs to make scrambled eggs a few mornings ago, and as I was finishing, I realized that my boobs were NOT swaying back and forth as I was whisking. I had tears! The same realization happened when I was brushing my teeth. And finally, when I was shaving in the shower yesterday, I had my foot propped up on the wall, and I was leaning over my leg to reach forward. Usually my boobs would hang all over my thigh and wipe away the shaving cream before I had a chance to shave there... Not anymore!! It is the little things like this that actually mean a lot...

Getting annoyed with the discomfort...

My incisions were covered in dermabond and tape on the day of surgery. It is day 12, and I go to the PS tomorrow to get the old tape removed, get a look at the incisions, and then I think it is yet another round of tape. The tape that is currently on is getting sooo uncomfortable. It is getting dirty, rolling up and away from the incision line underneath my breasts, and it sticks to the band of my sports bra. Then, every time I move, the bra pulls at my incision... :(. I am sick of sleeping sitting up, I'm sick of the swelling, and I just feel tight and dry alllll over.

Don't get the impression that I am regretting doing this, I am just saying that recovery is no walk in the park...

Yesterday was the return-to-routine day. My husband went back to work, and it was back to the regular schedule for me. We homeschool, (I'm a SAHM), so it is a comfortable routine, without *too* much stress. I still get very tired - partly due to the lack of sleep. The kids all have activities to get to each and every day, so I was back to driving on day 9. Driving hurts...especially the seat belt. I need to bring a small pillow or something to cushion the belt for awhile.

Husband has been very supportive throughout this experience - I catch him looking.. A lot. :). Lol... He thinks they are just the right size - he was worried about them ending up too small. He is also a 'picker' type, so I have to fend him off from picking at my tape, or the couple of popped stitches I've had so far. I'll be so grateful when my appointment comes tomorrow...

Two weeks post op...

I went to the PS yesterday afternoon and got the tape removed. It felt sooo good to get that stuff OFF! It pulled at the T-junction just a bit under my left side, and so it bled just a bit, but luckily it is not 'open'. The right side is completely closed at the 'T'. This is such a relief to me...one of my biggest worries was having to deal with nasty wound care. I know I'm not out of the woods yet, but so far so good.

I now have paper tape over the sections that are closed, and the rest is open to continue healing and close up. The paper tape is even more irritating to me than the other stuff. I think my skin reacts to the adhesive a bit. I have two options here. I can continue with the paper tape for two weeks, then begin with Mederma scar cream, OR, I can dispense with the paper tape NOW, and use a serum that my PS suggests (name escapes me) instead. You got it.... Huge $$$ difference. But the tape is so irritating, I just may go for it.

Some interesting timeline tidbits from the nurse:

Days 11-14 you should experience a significant decrease in swelling. (Hasn't happened for me yet)
Days 14-21 (week 3) you should expect the incisions to get red and puffy. It's a normal immune system response. (A bit delayed, no?)
Weeks 4 & 5 - boobs will soften and drop as swelling continues to decline. There will be a lumpy section that runs vertically down the breast, underneath the nipple. This is part of the pedicle, the nerve and tissue complex that supports your nipple and so forth. The surrounding tissue is sort of 'settling into place' around the pedicle, so things may feel different day-to-day, and not to panic if you feel a lump.

We'll see if all of this bears out... So far it is day 14 for me, and this swelling business is getting REALLY old... :(

I went swimming yesterday with the kids. By swimming, I mean that I stood in the water up to my knees. Putting on my swimsuit was an exercise in futility. It is a size 16 Land's End super minimizer-squeeze your insides-squash your boobs flat- throw in some underwire-don't even try to breathe suit. When I finally got it on, my underwires ended up several inches below my boobs, squashed flat against my tummy. Odd. And incredibly satisfying. I took a picture, then grabbed my seam ripper and dug those suckers out. Don't need them anymore! Two hours spent compressing my swollen self into that suit was enough to near kill me...but I survived. I treated myself to sleeping without a bra to make up for it. It. Felt. Awesome. I probably won't do it again for a few days, but boy did I sleep good. I used a small pillow to 'hug' as I slept on my side. I actually wedged it in between my boobs to support the side that was on top, and that felt pretty good. It is so nice to sleep flat again. These past two weeks have been very long, indeed.

If you have any suggestions for help with the swelling, I'm all ears. I am now cleared to take ibuprofen, so I am switching to that.

18 days post op

My last appt was six days ago, when they changed me over to paper tape. I managed to put up with the paper tape for 3 1/2 days... And then I said the hell with it. That stuff makes me itch, it pulls on my incisions and makes me feel so tight. I could not take it anymore. So I went without tape all day yesterday and today. I went back to my PS today to purchase the scar cream. It is called boiCorneum plus. It is pretty pricey, but the fact that I can use it instead of tape is nice.

I have been feeling pretty good the past couple of days. That means my energy has been decent and pain has been manageable. Today was the first day I didn't take anything for pain. I still feel tight and itchy, and the swelling is still an issue. I am also having some really, really painful zingers from time to time.

I walked a couple times last week, and the second went much better than the first. My doctor said absolutely no exercise without wearing two sports bras (as in, ever again). I've been doubling up on sports bras for years! Isn't that why I did this surgery in the first place? Well, wearing two sports bras is almost more compression than I can handle, right now.

I updated with some pics of the tape off. They were take a couple days ago.

3 Weeks...

I've been really sick this past week with a super bad head cold. Headaches, body aches, chills, cough, sore throat... and to make it worse, all the kids are sick too. Having body aches - you know the feeling when you're sick and it hurts to have anything touch your skin? - compounded by incision discomfort is NOT FUN. We've hunkered down all week, the kids dragged themselves out for about 20 minutes total of Trick-or-Treating and my poor husband has had to pick up all the slack.... well pretty much since surgery, poor guy. I'm on the mend, so here I am catching up on everybody's recovery - you are all doing/looking so well! I actually started last night, and fell asleep as I was leaving a comment... lol.

Three weeks...

Incisions:
My scars are improving, and little bits of scabbing fall away as each day passes. I *was* totally closed up, and then the end point of my incision under my left armpit opened up about a 1/4 inch night before last, when I accidently rubbed away the scab. I wasn't picking! Honest! It scabbed up again yesterday. I have spit a few stiches here and there and I have found cuticle clippers most excellent for clipping them away. I have been using the scar serum for a week now, and things are looking pretty good. Just a few more scabs to go.. I still feel very 'tight', and itchy at times. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that the PS and I both had the goal to make things high and tight - and boy did he do so! The small area of skin right between the breasts is very taut with all of the swelling. I can push it in almost a full inch before I touch the breastbone. The nurse took note of that at my last appointment, and said that it was due to swelling, and would relax in time. I decided to get some arnica gel just a couple of days ago. My son had walked into a metal pole the day before Halloween, and had a big goose egg on his forehead, so I got it for him and me.. lol. I have noticed a very welcome change.. The right side relaxed about a week ago, and FINALLY the left side relaxed late yesterday. I had been in pjs all day, so I decided to take a shower before bed - the steam would help clear my airways a bit. As soon as the hot water hit my breasts, they both swelled instantly. I could FEEL it. Dang.. Just when I thought I was getting somewhere! Just temporary though, they both look pretty good this morning. Something else I've noticed is that going outside in the cold is no fun. I live in Colorado, so the cold is here to stay for awhile. The shiver response is sooo painful - everything tightens and pulls... uugh. So to recap: cold=pain. hot=pain. Awesome.

Energy:
I feel tired still. I had one good day last week (just before I got sick) and I took a short walk. It still feels uncomfortable to put on a second sports bra, but not unbearable. I wear my new size, and then put on my old one over that - but the compression is still intense. I haven't moved much since last Monday. My poor fitbit has a layer of dust from disuse!! I've worn it everyday since I got it in late July (I lost 20 lbs!), and I only took it off the day of surgery. I think I've worn it only a few days since then... and I only hit 10K steps once.. :( I hope to get back on track this week as my energy levels return.

Sleep:
I haven't been sleeping well, mostly due to being sick. I am still very uncomfortable, and flip back and forth all night. I have slept maybe a total of three nights with no bra (just to give my incisions a breather), and all the other nights I wear my sports bra. I started sleeping on my side at week 2, and hugged a pillow (kind of wedging it between my boobs) to support the upper boob so it wouldn't sag and pull at the incision. It feels pretty good that way - but turning to the other side is a production in and of itself. And I do this a jillion times over during the night. I can't sleep on my back. The boobs splay outwards, and that just pulls at the already-tight area between my boobs. During this week I noticed a strange new feeling. It may be just that I was super-sick and slightly out of my right mind, but when I would undress, I would reach up behind me in an attempt to undo the hooks on my bra. I don't have back hooks on these new bras. But, I swear, I now have this sensation that I am wearing a super-tight underwire bra, and if I could just take it off, I would feel loads better. So it is not so much that I am feeling pain anymore, it is more discomfort than anything. Laying on my side while sleeping exacerbates this effect. I hope it slacks off in the coming days...

Feelings about size:
I measured myself. I used to measure 36" band, and 44" bust. I now measure 36" band, 40.5" bust. That puts me at a very full D, or even a DD. This depresses the hell out of me. I know, I know... I'm ONLY three weeks out. I am just going to be really pissed if I went through all of this, only to wind up feeling big. I had told the surgeon that I would be extremely disappointed if I came out of this bigger than a C. We shall see. I feel big. I still feel like I have this big 'mass' of boob attached to me. I still feel boob rubbing against my arms all the time. I don't see that area of my breast changing at all. The nurse told me it was swelling, but I am beginning to think otherwise. They haven't softened yet to the point where I feel 'bounce' (I don't want to!!!), but if they remain this size, and that day is sure to come, the bounce effect will be a real downer. I really, really wanted to come away from this being able to run - and feel good doing so. Don't get me wrong - I look worlds apart from where I was - and I am insanely grateful for that - but it's like I didn't *quite* cross the finish line...you know? It is very emotional. I've spent the past 26 years feeling like a freak - I'm done already!! I hope that the next few months totally prove me wrong. I will happily eat that plate of crow! I am also a bit unhappy with the way my nipples are turning out. Instead of nice, smooth circles, they are a bit jagged, and my right nipple isn't centered on the areola. It isn't like I will be showing them off or anything, but the results, as they stand right now, are a bit wonky..

I guess that sums it up... I will do a separate update to attach new pics.

3 weeks post op pics

4 weeks post op

The entire family has been sick this week. On top of a nasty head old, I got pink eye and tonsillitis. :(. On a positive note, all my BR aches and pains got shoved to the mental back burner this week! After obsessing about everything boobs for months on end, it was nice to think about something else for a bit!

So how do I feel?

Incisions:
I have about four moderate-sized scabs to go, and then I am totally sealed up. Can't wait! I think the scar serum is doing it's thing. So here is a weird sensation... The nurse at the PS office told me that when I use the scar serum along the incision lines, that I need to use moderate pressure when applying. Very gentle at first, but then, as the weeks progress, to get rather physical with the scars - like mash them against my rib cage, and really push them around. But for now, just use light pressure. And you know what happens? Your scars make a popping sound! Have you heard yours pop? It sounds like I have bubble wrap under my skin at times. I run my finger along the seam, and I'll hear pop pop pop pop pop.... I've poked around, and this sound is actually the scar tissue breaking up - and it is a good thing. It will lessen the chance of developing thick, rigid scars. So rub your boobs!! Lol... I have minimal discomfort at this point. Mostly it just feels like I have a super-tight rope tied around me at the base of my breasts. My nipples have feeling, but it is painful to touch. I still have no feeling in the inner quadrant of my breasts that I mentioned at while back.

Energy:
I have been sick, so I can't really judge. But I have been able to do stuff around the house pretty freely - still not carting around any heavy stuff.

Sleep:
Geesh. I wonder when I will ever get to experience a good night's sleep again! A month with half the amount of sleep I should be getting is really wearing me down. Most of my sleep issues this week are with being sick, not the BR. So I guess that is good.

Feelings about size/progress:
I haven't been thinking about it as much since I was sick. Minimal softening happened, and mostly on the right side. Still measuring the same. :(

Hard to believe almost a month has gone by, but it has also felt like million years...

Five weeks post op

Feeling a bit tired still from being sick, but it has been a low-key week otherwise. My 6 week post op appt. is next week, and I am a little anxious for it to get here.

So how do I feel?

Incisions: The spot at the beginning of my incision line on my left side has been giving me fits since day one. It is the locus of the majority of my discomfort. It opened back up last week, and has been growing a bit bigger, and then a bit bigger, and then a bit bigger... Out of the three bra styles that I have - the Fruit-of-the-loom front closure, the Fruit-of-the-loom sports bra and the Genie bra, only the Genie bra provides enough 'give' for me to be able to withstand the band covering this painful opening. I am keeping it dry and uncovered (no gauze), but I can tell from spots left behind on my bra that it is weeping a fair bit. I also have a red patch on the underside of the left breast, as well as a decent amount of swelling. My incisions are still in the process of closing here and there. They are red everywhere except around the nipples. I also noticed that along the incisions that run from nipple to the chest, there a hundreds of little tiny purple capillaries all over the place. I keep telling myself that blood flow is a good thing. The incision also looks like it is very stretched out, like it is under a lot of stress. I am beginning to question my decision to dispense with the paper tape. It came with the PS's blessing, but maybe it was too soon. :(

General appearances and sensations: they look nice and proportionate, and have dropped quite a bit. There is now a not-so-attractive overhang of skin/fat along the incisions at my side. All this week the breast-wide extremely tender and sore feeling returned, but I am fairly certain that was related to my period. The zingers had taken a break last week, but they are back with a vengeance. I still have no feeling in the inner quadrant on both sides (like the lower portion of my cleavage). I also lack sensation on my areolas, but the tips of my nipples do have feeling...it only registers as pain though... :(

Feelings about size: my right side has come a long way in the past week, so there may be hope yet for the overall picture. I lost half an inch on my bust line measurement, so that is a good trend. I tried on an old VS bra, a 38D, and it fit like a glove. Wish it were a C, but at least it is not bursting out of a DDD like before. I am walking everyday, and there is considerable bounce now. This makes me sad. I really, really, wanted the bouncing to cease. You know... END OF BOUNCE?? Meh...

Seven Weeks Post Op: Lots to be thankful for!

My surgery was seven weeks ago today. Even though it has been a bit of a rough journey so far, (and will continue to be), I am so, so, so very thankful that I did this. I have never felt more confident about my appearance in all my life. It is absolutely a life-changing experience. So if you are feeling unsure about your upcoming surgery, or are sitting on the fence, I strongly urge you to embrace the big picture. You may have to slog through weeks of discomfort and perhaps some minor complications to get there, but the other side is an absolutely incredible place to be.

It's been two weeks since I've updated. Last week not much had changed, and life was pretty busy. Then things slid a bit downhill, but there is a very happy event to update as well.

So how do I feel?

Incisions:
I had previously said that I was due to see my PS at week 6 post op, but I was wrong. I wasn't scheduled to see him until next week; during week 8. But, I went in anyway because the spot in my incision on my left side had split open, and was continuing to grow. I emailed in a picture, and they saw me within hour. (A very responsive office!). The assistant wiped it clean, but said that it was very clean in the first place, so that was good. My PS looked at it and gave me a couple of choices. It had grown to an inch long, and about half an inch wide. It was very deep, and the edges were very raised, red, and painful. I was worried about infection, and wondering if the wound was maybe too deep to heal on it's own. He said he could cut the whole thing out and stitch it closed, or I could leave it be. It needs time to heal, and it is healing from the inside-out. It will likely take about four weeks to close. I didn't want anymore stitches - it would make that area even tighter - which has been the main problem all along.

So that was last week, and since then it has diminished in size by a small bit. It also resides in the unfortunate position of being right under a fatty skin crease, so it is not getting as much air circulation as it ideally should. It is still very sensitive and painful. I have not been putting anything on it, as of late. The PS said that I could put neosporin on it no more than 2-3 times per week.

Inexplicably, four days ago, the hard and lumpy scabs that had been at my T-junctions underneath each breast just 'dissolved'. The left was about the size of a nickel, the right about a dime. We were driving to our in-laws for the holiday, and I felt very uncomfortable the entire drive. It felt like my bra was constantly sticking to me, and it felt 'wet', as I was adjusting the band constantly. When we got to he hotel, I changed into pjs immediately, and saw that in place of the scabs, there was 'goo'. A sticky, brown goo (the dissolved scab??), and raw flesh underneath. I immediately thought of our friends FitGirlNow and (crap...drawing a blank, but the lady that had a skin graft taken from her leg) who have been dealing with open wounds, and I can honestly say I am very scared. I hope I can stop this in it tracks, so they don't grow in size. I have no idea why this happened, but I think the scar serum (BioCorneum) maaaay have played a part in it. I use(d) the scar serum morning and night, and occasionally it would wind up on those scabs. It is crazy how they did it at exactly the same time. It hurts, and the oozing sticks to my bras. I got some more gauze pads at the store yesterday, since I forgot to pack any with me. Another strange skin response is a red rash that has appeared all along the lollipop incision line. Lots of red bumps and small pimples have cropped up - very unattractive. I think that the serum may be responsible for this as well. I am not putting anything on at all at this point. Things are tight and itchy, so I may need to at least use some lotion, but that is it. I see my PS in six days, so we'll see how this plays out. I am feeling pretty discouraged that I hit this roadblock seven weeks out, but at least the situation is small and manageable at this point in time.

General appearances and sensations: no zingers, which is a concern. Super-sensitive nipples (none of it pleasant), and the same numb sections on the breast. Lots of redness on the incisions. The right side is looking quite good size-wise, the left is still swollen quite a bit.

Feelings about size: This is where the good news comes... I am running again! I ran 2.5 miles three days ago, and 3 miles yesterday. The first half mile of the first run was very tentative, and I felt some bounce, but after that my boobs moved like they were a part of me, rather than like a floppy appendage. I cried tears of happiness during the last half-mile. This feeling of freedom was why I am going through this! It is sooo worth it. So, even though on occasion I feel a little bit bigger than I would like, I am very satisfied with the results. (Apart from the brown goo)

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! :)

Nine weeks Post Op...

It's been a good two weeks, and a lot of healing has happened. I went to see my PS last week, and he was very pleased with the way things were looking/healing. I was given full clearance to do anything - push ups, heavy lifting...whatever, as long as I eased into it. I still don't think I feel quite up to lugging around big heavy objects, but I think I may be ready to start doing wall push-ups. He also cautioned me to get a very supportive sports bra to wear while running. He advised me to get something that really mashes them flat (that doesn't sound so comfortable right now) and holds them as tight as possible. I know it sounds silly, but I asked him if there was a chance that my boobs 'could grow back'. I am thinking about the upcoming hormonal changes - like menopause and such. He said that it would never be to the extreme that it was, but, YES, breasts do tend to continue to grow (downwards, lol) as women approach their later years - different for every woman, but that change will continue to happen. He said that it could be easily revised with a lift. They also took pictures again and then presented me with some 'before & afters'. Wow! They are quite amazing - what a difference!! My husband was actually shocked. He said some things that sort of strayed into hurtful territory "I didn't realize they were so saggy!!", but it is true. They were absolutely saggy - and then some.

So how does nine weeks post feel?

My sides are still very tender. There must still be a lot of stress on the incisions in that area. I don't typically wear a bra to bed at this point, and the moment when I first sit up in the morning, there is an initial shock of pain as my breasts settle and drop down, pulling against the incisions. It lasts only briefly though. I don't go without a bra, otherwise. I don't want to stretch out the ligaments that are holding them high and tight all over again! Hugging still hurts, as does carrying something while it rests against me (like a large box or something...). Otherwise, I don't feel much discomfort anymore. My boobs are no longer the first and foremost thing on my mind anymore, which is very nice. :)

My incisions: The base of the right is now completely 100% closed and healed. There are still rough patches of skin and a little peeling, but it is looking good. The left has just a little bit more to go. It went from completely scary (when it opened up two weeks ago), to just a small scab as of today, at the T junction, and at the beginning of the incision under the arm. There is still some itchy spots here and there.

Sensation: still no change in the numb parts. Not too many zingers, but on occasion I'll feel something akin to a 'tittie-twister'. Holy hell that hurts. But I suppose feeling at least something is a good thing. Otherwise the numbness prevails, but I am okay with that.

Feelings about size: I measured a week ago, and I dropped below 40" on the bust line to 39.5." Band size is 36". So I am somewhere between a C and a D. My right breast is heading in a good direction, my left just needs to catch up. It is still swollen, as I can still see a bra imprint at the end of the day. Even if the size difference between the two is noticeable, I am totally good with that. After seeing my before & afters, the change is so phenomenal, I don't care about the imperfections. My left nipple is not even with my right, but I think it is tied to the swelling, and they were also never even in the first place.

All in all, I am just over-the-moon with the whole experience. It's been a long time to deal with some pretty serious discomfort at times, but it continues to improve with time. I have not, and WILL NOT go bra shopping until at least the 16 week mark. Since my left side is still so out-of-whack, that would just be setting myself up for disappointment if I went any sooner. My PS cautioned me not to, and I've read enough sad stories on here that I know to save myself from an unpleasant experience. I am happy with the shape and support from the Genie bra and Fruit of the Loom sports bra, so that is good enough for me. The front closure Fruit of the Loom bras that I wore right after surgery are not fitting so well at this point. I now have little 'muffin tops'. That's a bummer. Those of you that are in those first couple weeks of post op - enjoy the high and tight, because it won't last long!!!!! Lol. I haven't gained any weight, in fact I've lost a couple of pounds, so I know that it is just my breasts settling and softening. I am 42, after all. I can't expect to have teenage boobs forever...

I am very pleased with my PS, the aftercare and so forth. I haven't adjusted the cost of the procedure yet because I haven't received all of the bills, as several of them are still pending. I did pay the patient portion of the anesthesia, which was about $140, I think..

One last thought. I've noticed two extremes in some reviews lately... Either ladies upset with being too big or too small. I've seen others comment, and I will throw in my two cents as well. Give. It. Time. I'm at nine weeks and the dust is still far from settling. Give yourself time to heal physically and emotionally. You've already spent years beating yourself up over the way you look - it's hard to stop, isn't it?? Your breasts are going to change an amazing amount over the next few months.. You need to let your body do its thing, and give yourself the emotional space to adjust to the new way you look.

Happy healing to you all!

3 Months post op

I am continuing to feel better and the weeks are just zooming by! Three months already - and it feels like a lifetime ago, now. I feel absolutely terrific. The only discomfort comes from when somebody hugs me too hard or if one of the kids settles on my lap and leans against me with their full weight.

I ran a 5K last week! I ran an evening run on NYE. I wore my new sports bra, an Enell bra that I ordered from Amazon. This bra is *amazing*! Absolutely no movement, whatsoever. I have also seen recommendations for the Juno bra, from Moving Comfort, on mother runner forums. My PS had told me that a high-performance sports bra was the key to keeping saggy boobs at bay, so it is totally worth it, to me.

So how do I feel? Great! My energy is good, my skin feels good with the exception of one spot that feels like sandpaper. I don't know why it's there, but I am guessing it is a residual thing from the paper tape. My nipple sensation is more pronounced in one side versus the other, but the sensation is minimal. I still have the same numbness on the underside of my boobs. It hurts to squeeze or push them around very much, but they can take more 'abuse' as the weeks go by. By 'abuse', I mean the everyday stuff like seat belts, heavy grocery bags, accidentally bumping into someone, that sort of stuff.

Incisions: they are 100% closed, and mostly flat. The incisions on the underside are very red and a bit tender. Occasionally they still get itchy. The incisions the run vertically up to my nipple are hard to even see at this point! The junction areas where the vertical incisions meet the nipples are red, wide, and still tender. The lines around the nipples are healing nicely - a bit red still, but disappearing gradually. I am back to using my scar cream, BioCorneum, 1 or 2X day.

I still have a dog-ear on my left side, and a small bump on the right. My PS will revise them at my six month appt. Both are gradually diminishing in size, though.

Feelings about size: My right side is definitely a C, and my left is a D. Things have not changed much in that regard in the past month. I am still going to wait until 4 months to go bra shopping. My nipples are a bit uneven, but I am not too upset about it. Some days they look 'off', other days they look fine. I didn't go into this expecting they would come out perfectly symmetrical, and things may still change in the coming weeks. I do still feel 'big' from time to time, otherwise I don't even think about it. I am not finished with my weight loss journey, either, so I am hoping that further changes are in store.

Happy Healing to you all!

5 months post op

I've been a silent *listener* for several weeks here, reading updates of fellow BRs as the come in, and I am so pleased with how well you are all doing. FitGirlNow, you are my hero. :). I love your positive attitude!

I've been feeling pretty good, and the healing continues. One the upside, I stopped using the BioCorneum cream, and switched to Bio Oil. I think the BioCorneum was irritating my skin, and worsening a persistent rash area on my right side. I really like the Bio Oil, and even after just a month, I can tell a real difference in the scars. As of this past week, I can now stretch for things. Like *really* stretch. Before I could lift my arms up and reach up high, but not to the point I was really stretching to reach something, because that would cause immediate pain. It is another milestone in my mental map of recovery. Another good thing is that the area of numbness is decreasing. Before, if you imagine the breast as a clock face, I was completely numb from 3 to 9 o'clock, extending from the areola to the base of the breast. Every week or so I take an object, like my tooth brush handle, or a comb, and run it along the underside of my breast to test for sensation. It isn't possible to do this with my fingers, because I get confused about what I am really sensing. After 5 long months, the area of numbness has finally decreased, down to more like 4-8 o'clock. It really does take some time for the nerves to reconnect, so if you are some of the unlucky few who have lost sensation, don't give up hope! My right nipple does have sensation, but it is more painful then pleasurable. The left side is numb. Also on the upside, I've finally received all the bills that were outstanding for the surgery. I paid $79 to the surgery center the day of the surgery, $16 to the anesthesiologist, and $130 to the PS. All the rest was covered by insurance. What. A. Blessing!

On the downside, I still go back and forth between being happy with my size, and feeling too big. I went bra shopping at 16 weeks. I was getting to the point in my recovery when I had a bit of spring in my step, but bounding up and down the stairs in just a Genie bra was a more bounce then I could comfortably handle, so it was time to get a more supportive set up. I went to Kohl's, and spent TWO hours trying on THIRTY FOUR different bras. Thirty four is just f*€king ridiculous. It shouldn't be that difficult. I'm not an idiot. I know how to measure myself, I know what I SHOULD be able to fit into according to the numbers, but my body just doesn't see it that way. I tried on different models, sizes, shapes, underwire (groan), sports bras, and it seemed like nothing fit properly. The problem is that the left side is a bit bigger then the right, and the side boob on both sides is causing fit issues. I really regret not opting for lipo when I did the BR, but it would have been out of pocket. I am now back to seriously considering it, because the bra shopping was just ridiculous.

The hard truth was difficult to swallow:

My 'before' bra was a 40 DDD minimizer with spillage.

My 'after' bra?? 38 DD. (wire)

I cried some *serious* tears in the dressing room. After all the pain and recovery, it is hard to stomach that I didn't have the boobs I really wanted. I wanted the kind of boobs that looked good in any outfit, and that could fit into any style of bra with ease. That being said, when I look at them in the mirror, they don't 'look' like the size my bra label says they are. They look a good deal smaller, to me. And then, whenever I see a picture of me from before, I am always shocked at just how huge I used to be. So if you are feeling down, just whip out some old pics... good therapy!

I also still have some discomfort. Occasionally my boobs ache. A deep, incessant ache. Like an internal squeeze. It goes on for awhile, then relents, then comes back. I think it may be tied to my period, but I haven't gone through enough cycles to be sure. Before my BR, I never had any discomfort in my breasts due to my period, so this is new to me. My scars are still very tender, and wearing a wire bra is no picnic. I'll take that discomfort, though, over the discomfort of not enough support. It still hurts to go without a bra, since the weight of my breasts pushes down and against my still-tender incisions.

Wishing you all continued healing in the coming weeks...stay positive!
Fort Collins Plastic Surgeon

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