Alright ladies, it’s time I come out of the...
Alright ladies, it’s time I come out of the shadows that I’ve been hiding in (quietly reading as many reviews as humanly possible on this site) and share my own story :)…especially since I’ve already had my Pre-Op! It’ll be a long first post, as I have to re-cap (sorry).
I’m a mother of three in my early thirties who’s been in need of a breast reduction/lift for YEARS. I had my first child when I was very young, so I can’t say I remember my breasts being small and perky because it’s been so long since they were that way. See, every time I’ve had a child, my breasts have ballooned to the size of milk-filled watermelons right after birth…they get huge and then basically deflate, lol. With my first child, I went from a large B to a C. With the next one, I went from a large C to a D, and so on…and each time they’ve sagged more. I’m currently a 34DD on one side and DDD on the other…I have disproportionate breasts to boot! I’m 5’6” and 145lbs, so they look pretty big on me. I life a very healthy lifestyle and workout regularly, but it's obvious that none of that will improve the condition of my breasts. I’ve learned to hide them pretty well with REALLY good bras that pick them up and tuck them in, but that means under wire digging into my ribs, straps that dig into my shoulders and the ride up in the back because of the weight they inflict on the bra. I have frequent back pain.
I never wear anything strapless because I feel like strapless bras just don’t hold them up and it’s always been a hassle to buy bathing suits. Even when I go out to buy regular tops or blouses, I have to go a size up so that there’s room for my breasts.
This has been a long time coming for me, as I’ve known that I could use a lift since my second child, but my ex-husband always said I didn’t need it, and you know how that goes. When I knew I was done having kids and became single, I started seriously thinking about it. Now, I’ve been single a while now, so this is in no way an ‘emotional’ decision after a break up or anything like that, lol.
I finally decided to have it done this year. I found this AMAZING site and it really was what sealed the deal for me. It took only about a couple of months for me to schedule and see the doctors that I had narrowed it down to. I saw Dr. Yager first and went to see a couple other doctors as well, which quoted the same price…they also had very good reviews, but I didn’t feel like they connected with me the way Dr. Yager did. Look, I get it, you know the questions we’re going to ask, so you have a script that you go over 20 times a day, but if you don’t even try to make eye contact with me as you’re going thru your spiel and seem uninterested on whether I choose you as a surgeon or not…it’s going to put me off. As a matter of fact, I’m still waiting for a reference from one of those other surgeons and it’s been over a month since I saw them, lol Dr. Yager and his staff have been amazing…I posted my review of him/his staff in the appropriate section.
So, after making my decision to go with Dr. Yager (shout out to the realself member who had the same procedure with him a while back and graciously answered my questions via PM…you know who you are :) …it was simply a matter of when do I do this? I put in my time off at work and decided on March 13th. I want to be all healed by the summer :)
I just had my Pre-Op this week and am all good to go. The Dr. and I agreed that I'll go down to a C cup because a B cup would be too small for me, and I'm perfectly happy with that. I need to go get a mammogram and blood work, which I’ll be taking care of within the next couple of weeks. So, now it’s time for the real countdown ladies...less than a month to go! I’ve honestly been SO busy with work and the kids that I haven’t really had time to get nervous. I suppose that as the day draws near it’ll become more ‘real’. I have my instructions for before, during and after the surgery, and have started putting together a list of things I need to purchase.
I want to thank all RealSelf members for taking the time and sharing their stories and photos; remember that photos are always a HUGE help…not just immediately post-op but 3, 6 and 9 month post-op photos, in my opinion, as they truly show the finished product.
Well, I have now gotten all the tests done and it's just a matter of getting the phone call from the Dr.'s office saying that all is good and we're right on schedule. Fingers crossed! :)
Finally got the call!
The doctor's office called and said that all my tests came in fine and I am now officially on the schedule for the 13th! You know when you realize you've been holding your breath? lol...I felt relieved (not that I thought anything bad would happen, but still). Now, the REAL countdown begins :)
I have already been having a bit of difficulty sleeping and feeling some anxiety (add to that a huge workload and dealing with the kids)...so I just hope these 13 days go by quickly.
Dealing with stress and not much sleep...
Well, today I'm kind of having a bit of a rough day. I'm very thankful for being so busy that I don't have time to obsess over my surgery during the day, but at night it's a different story. I can fall asleep fine, as I'm usually exhausted, but I wake up a few hours later and my mind has a life of its own, so I can't fall back asleep. Granted, I'm not just nervous/anxious about the surgery...I'm also dealing with a stressful situation in general...but lack of sleep just kills my mood during the day. I'm doing everything I can to stay positive though...I am very thankful for the health of my children and my own, for having a good job, friends and family, etc...it's just one of those days where I wish I could just crawl into bed and sleep, lol. Sorry for the venting!
Don't get me wrong...I am SUPER excited about the surgery and my spirits are lifted when I see such great updates from you ladies (they really are a great help).
So, at least it's Friday and next thing I know, I'll be going in :)
Waiting for the final call...
I'm supposed to get the phone call from the doctor's office with my surgery time today. I'm SUPER tired from lack of sleep and running errands at night in preparation. Last night the anxiety really started to kicking in. I have now started worrying about my size ending up being too small, lol. I know that I already discussed size with the doctor (in my case, I would not want to go smaller than a full 'C')...I guess this all comes with the territory of uncertainty.
I'm just wishing for the days to go by fast so that I can be on the other side. I'm sure that the outcome will be great and I'll be happy. It is definitely uplifting to see all of your reviews and photos, and how you're all healing well :)
I FINALLY got the call from both the doctor's office and then the anesthesiologist. I'm scheduled for 7:30am tomorrow. Looks like I'll be the first one of the day, which is great because I hate waiting, especially on an empty stomach. I am surprisingly calm right now. I left things in order at work, got all of the kids' things in order and have my bag ready. I already know I probably won't sleep tonight, but I know that I'll get a ton of sleep after the surgery :)
I have faith that everything will go well. Thank all of you that have offered your advice and kind words :). 'See' you on the other side!
Home Sweet Home :)
13 Mar 2014
Day of treatment
Hi ladies...I'm on the other side! :)
Everything went well. I've been home for a couple of hours now. Ate something and took my antibiotics like the doctor ordered. I'm in a bit of pain/soreness but really nothing crazy. I already feel the difference, even though I'm pretty swollen. Still groggy from the anesthesia (no nausea though) but really mostly just tired from all of the sleepless nights. I'm going to try to catch some ZZZZ's before the kids get home from school. I will update thoroughly by tomorrow. Thank you, thank you, thank you all for your support :)
13 Mar 2014
Day of treatment
I've been managing the pain with Tylenol. This afternoon I have been mostly sitting in bed, watching TV and walking around to get my circulation going. It's hard not to be able to hug my little one :) but I am trying really hard not to remove my arms from my torso...that's a challenge!
I have a lot of swelling at the top of one of my breasts...it's pretty hard so I've been using the ice packs on it. Thankfully I don't have drains. I'm taking my Arnica and Bromelain.
My follow up is tomorrow morning. I've been told not to even peek, lol.
Let's see if I can get at least a few hours of sleep tonight :)
I'll let you all know how it goes.
Again, thank you all so much.
Post-Op Follow Up
Had my follow up appointment this morning and all went well. Already the swelling from last night had decreased, but I still asked whether I should be worried about the hardness of the swelling and was told that it was perfectly normal. I had most all of the bandages (with the exception of the strips along my incisions) removed and got to take a peek at the girls. The doctor says they look great :). I knew they would looks swollen and a bit boxy, which they did...but they still looked like nice boobies :) I'm sorry that I forgot to snap a quick photo but it all went so fast...I promise I will take one in the next couple of days. I have almost no bruising as far as I can tell...probably thanks to the Arnica and Bromelain that I've been taking, and my nipples have sensitivity (and they're not flat). There was only a small drop of blood when they removed the tape near my nipples, but nothing else. I was told to not wet my incisions for the next 7 days and to come back for a follow up on Friday. I have to remind myself not to move my arms around, which is the hardest thing for me right now.
Last night was rough; I was in a lot of pain and barely got a couple of hours of sleep, so when I got home from the doctor's I took my pain medication and a nice nap. I've been eating lots of fruit, had soup today and TONS of water. I'm on top of my antibiotics and apply ice packs once a day. I already feel a lot smaller. The nurse said that the surgical bra I have on is a 34D (to make room for the swelling), but that I'll end up as a 34C, which is exactly what I wanted. I'm going to call it a night early today and try to get as much sleep as possible.
Feeling better :)
Hi ladies. Feeling much better. I have not taking any pain meds since the night before last. The swelling has decreased. I finished all my antibiotics is all I'm currently taking is the Arnica & Bromelain. In spite of drinking lots of water and eating lots of fruit, I hadn't had a bowel movement. My belly has been pretty bloated, which I know to be normal after surgery, so I took stool softener last night and had some movement today.
Sleeping sitting down, even with the bed rest pillow is no fun, lol. If you have or can afford to get a recliner, then it will surely make things easier for you. The surgical bra I was put in at the doctors (Marena brand) is not the most comfortable, but I'll live. I was instructed to not remove it at all until I go for my follow up on Friday. Not being able to really use my arms is definitely a challenge. I don't know how someone could heal properly without any help at home for a week or more. I'm still trying to get some good photos...the ones I've taken don't come out well and my mother doesn't want to disturb my bandages "just for the sake of a photo" lol...but I'll sneak a good one in soon :)
I'm starting to have enough of sitting in bed and walking around the house already, lol...though I do feel tired and take little naps throughout the day.
Oh! Something funny...I had to sneeze today for the first time since my surgery...I felt it coming and was just completely terrified lol so I tried to keep it from happening...not very successfully, lol. I'm still in one piece though :)
So it appears that I've now entered the 'itching stage'...it started yesterday evening along the top of my breasts, so I applied a bit of Palmer's oil to the skin (nowhere near the incisions), to moisturize. My (previously existing) stretch marks are very pronounced on my right breast, and I know that's not something that can be easily fixed, but I'm hoping that they don't look so 'raised' once the swelling has gone down and my breast have fallen into place. Sleeping has been a hassle, so when I tried just using pillows vs a bed rest pillow last night and fell asleep fast, it was great. It is now around 2 in the morning and I have been woken up by the itching EVERYWHERE! I've already been having issues with the discomfort of the surgical bra...it feels tight and I can't wait to take it off...plus, not being able to shower is driving me crazy. I have taken 'half baths' and use baby wipes below my arms, but I still feel gross, so this is now just another reason to want to fast forward time :(
I know that this is only temporary and I am happy I did this...I have virtually no pain and have yet to see a bruise, so I feel like my healing is going well...but add the 'cabin fever' to the not sleeping well and all of the above...a bit frustrating! Well, there's my rant for the day, lol...it does feel good to air it out :)
I'm a very positive thinking person, so I'll end it with this self-therapeutic thought: My surgery went well, so I am thankful...I am healing, so I am thankful...my children are well, so I am thankful....I have this great place with great women to turn to, so I am thankful...and this will all pass soon, so I am thankful :)
A week and a day!
Just had my follow up appointment. I thought about posting yesterday at the exact one week mark, but figured I'd just wait 'till today, after I went to the doctor's. Yesterday was my first day going out for a walk, since the weather here hasn't been that great. I walked quite a few blocks and definitely felt the soreness and tiredness that everyone talks about. I was also a bit more swollen than I had been in the last couple of days.
So...went for my week and a day check up and was able to take a GOOD look and quickly snap a photo! They tell me I'm healing very well...the incisions look good and healthy. The meeting of the incisions or where the 'T' forms has a little spot that hasn't fully closed, but they expect it to close up soon. The nurse warned me of taking a look, but I told her I would be ok. I must say that seeing all of the photos on this site definitely prepare one for how they look, which is not too pretty, lol They are still swollen and boxy-looking, but I know that they will look much better in a matter of weeks. They do seem rather small to me, but I know they're about a 'C' cup, which is exactly what I asked for. I got taped up in the areas where the incisions aren't fully closed yet, and was told I could shower, but that I needed to use a blow dryer immediately after on my incisions. Since my surgical bra was a bit stained and quite frankly, I couldn't stand it much longer, I asked if it was ok to use my sports bra (zipper in front) while I washed it and to give it a rest. The nurse said the doctor advised against using anything but the Marena for the first two weeks, but that if the sports bra wasn't too tight, I could wash the Marena and wear it for short periods of time. So guess what I have one right now? lol
I have another appointment on Thursday. I was told to continue to (try) to sleep sitting down for another week, which sucks, but I know it's for the best. I go back to work on Monday and was looking forward to it, except that now the weather is turning frigid again and I'm concerned as to how my commute wil be :(
Anywhoo...thank you ladies, as always, for your comforting words. I think that the first week will be the hardest for me, and now it's behind me.
As I mentioned from the beginning, I had stretch marks before and they look more pronounced now that the skin has been pulled. I have faith that once the swelling goes down they won't be as 'raised' and I will be using whatever product works best for minimizing their look (as I know it's impossible to get rid of them). Open to suggestions on that matter :)
Back To Work
First day back at work. When I put on my work clothes this morning and saw how loosely the top fit, I was a bit taken aback. It's not that I didn't like what I saw, but my mind was expecting the 'bustier' me, lol so it was a bit weird. I think I am definitely buying a bunch of new tops in a few weeks, as a smaller size would look better on me now. By lunchtime I started to feel worn out. I made sure I didn't push myself too hard, but this has been the most active I've been since the surgery. When I got home I was exhausted and having a lot of soreness and more zingers than usual. I could barely take my shoes off. I've been relaxing and watching TV for the last couple of hours and feel a little better. I really hope I can sleep more than a couple of hours tonight.
Here's to getting back to 'normal' life! :)
2 weeks and a day...
I wanted to post an update yesterday but was honestly exhausted. I had my 2 week follow up yesterday so I left work early and went to the doctor in the afternoon. I have a TON of work going on right now and have been so busy my head could spin. Prior to the day before yesterday, I was feeling great; barely any pain or discomfort. But then I had a more-than-usual active day at work and a stressful day altogether, which resulted in my breast swelling :( I noticed that in addition to the swelling I've experienced before (at the top of the breasts), I now have some swelling under my left breast, which is the one that's been more swollen from the beginning. I was a bit alarmed when I saw it because it's below where the crease is, so it just looks to me like my breast is 'dropping' below where it should be. I asked the nurse about this and she said I had nothing to worry about, but I still don't feel too satisfied about that. I am attaching photos. Thoughts ladies?
Anyways...my check up went well overall. The nurse said I'm healing nicely and I 'look great'...explaining "I know you don't think you do right now, but I see what you're GOING to look like, and I know that it'll be great". I went in to the doctor's thinking that all of my incisions had closed up, but I was told that the 'T' spot, where the vertical and horizontal incisions meet, on my right breast was still open. I also have a couple of spots along the vertical line on my left breast that are 'raw' as well. I don't really spend much time in front of the mirror these days, inspecting every nook and cranny...I don't see a big difference in my breasts between last week and this week and my belly is still swollen from the surgery, so I don't feel that sexy right now, lol, but I did see it when she pointed it out. She applied Sulfadiazine and gave me a prescription for it so I could apply it at home.
The nurse told me that I have to continue to use the Marena bra, continue to sleep propped up, try not to move my arms much, etc. Her words were "act like you just had the surgery". That was a huge bummer for me, as I wanted to be able to wear something other than this uncomfortable bra (I feel like it pushes my breasts down and it doesn't look that great with my work clothes), and I have not yet had a truly good night's sleep because I can't fully sleep on my back yet. I wear a sports bra every now and then at home, but I don't feel like it supports me that much right now. I want to give foam, wireless bras a try, but was told to wait. So, even though I was told I am doing well, I walked out of the doctor's office feeling down. I have to go back next Thursday, as the nurse wants to make sure that the open areas don't get worse.
I know that it's normal to have 'down' days and I knew it would be a process to heal...I guess I had just been feeling so good that I thought that I was hoping to be able to start wearing bras and feel more 'normal'. I read about some women who are allowed to do things way earlier than me, but I guess every doctor is different when it comes to instructions. I admit, I can be impatient :)
I had been staying clear of my incision area as much as possible when showering, but I've now been instructed to scrub it softly with Dial soap. I've done it and already the dark 'gunk' around the incisions is starting to come off. You can see how clean the vertical incision looks on the right breast (lefty still has some more to go).
To top it all off, today I woke up feeling like I have a cold coming on. My little one has been sick with a bad cough the past couple of days, so I think I may have caught it. I'm taking Vitamin C and drinking lots of liquids, but I already feel the itchy throat, cloudy head and body aches. I'm fighting it, as it would suck to be sick while recovering...don't know if I can take anything, should I need to, so fingers crossed!
Again, to any of the ladies who haven't had their surgeries yet and are reading this: I am SO happy I did this. I should've done it YEARS ago. I think that the fact that I only took a week off work (because that's all I could afford) is what is contributing to my stress. I say, if you can afford to take 2 weeks off...definitely do it.
I pray that by next week I am all closed up and I can feel more comfortable. Can't wait to start the oil process and be closer to full recovery :)
After posting my update last night I went to bed and I turned on the news. I saw a young mother who just lost her baby girl (and only child) AND mother in that horrible landslide on the West Coast. My heart broke for this woman. I immediately remembered how blessed I am...my children are here and healthy. I have a good job and a good life AND I got the surgery that I always wanted... and immediately the 'down' feeling started lifting off me. I know it's very easy to focus on the things that aren't so great about the recovery, especially when it involves pain and setbacks, but I know we all end up feeling happy we did this and it's a matter of focusing on that finish line. I will do my best to focus on that :)
Hi ladies. I've been SO busy lately. Each night I say "I'm going to post an update", but then I have a million things to do and then I just want to go to sleep, lol
I've been feeling much better emotionally. I keep telling myself that this will pass and that I have not had any sort of complications, of which I should be thankful for. Yes, it would be great if my incisions were all healed up by week 3, like some of you ladies, but everyone is different and my time will come.
I went to the doctor's this morning for my 3 week check-up. I took a few more photos this morning, just in case I felt too tired to do it tonight. Bear with me, as it's pretty hard to take them by myself. The dark, dry scabs have slowly started to come off as I shower everyday and scrub my breasts softly. As you can see on the photos, I still have the opening at the 'T' on my right breast, and still have openings along the vertical incision on my left breast. I've been trying to be as careful as possible not to make them worse. Work is insanely hectic right now for me and there are things causing me some stress, so I know I'm probably pushing myself further than I should.
So, the doctor saw me this morning and both he and the nurse said that I look much better than last week. I apologize for not taking photos of the openings last week so that you all could see the difference. I've been pretty concerned with the openings. I know that most women experience them during recovery, but I guess psychologically, knowing that you have them is worse than the actual fact of having them. Anyways, the doctor instructed me to stop applying the ointment I was prescribed last week and to just cover up the left with non-stick gauze (so that I don't stick to the bra) and the right with a bandaid. He said not to worry about the openings, as they will close up in due time. As for the swelling underneath my left breast (which has also been concerning me), he said not to worry and that it's just 'puffiness' that will also correct itself. It still looks pretty weird to me.
The doctor wants to see me again in 3 weeks, which surprised me, as I thought they were going to keep making me come back until everything had closed up. The good news is I can now stop wearing the surgical bra! I was given the OK to wear whatever bra I'm comfortable in, as long as it doesn't have under-wire. I purchased a couple of foam, wireless bras that I will gladly give a try, as the sports bras I have don't look good under work clothes. I can finally sleep on my back too! I already know that it'll feel pretty weird for me, as I have not even dared to try it in 3 whole weeks (it's kind of scary). I was also given the go-ahead to work out my lower body, and if everything goes well on my next check-up, I'll be able to start working out my upper body. I can't wait! since I still have some swelling in my belly, though it's coming down a little each day, and I want to both look and feel as healthy as I did pre-surgery.
The doctor told me that I can start using cocoa butter all over my breasts...even around my open areas, which was surprising to hear. I don't know if I'll get too close to those areas, but I'll definitely start massaging with the Palmer's Oil with Vitamin E that I purchased and will also 'air the girls out' as much as I can...hopefully that will help my incisions close up quickly. I will try anything at this point.
These new photos aren't pretty and I do feel a bit self-conscious about posting them, but I remembered how I appreciated those ladies who had the courage to post their own, not-so-pretty photos and how much they helped me prepare; so I know that my photos will help other women understand that recovery is a process, and the end result will be great! :)
As always, I appreciate all of your advice, encouragement and kind words...even if I'm not commenting every day, I do still keep tabs of your journey thus far.
4 Weeks...Love my new breasts! :)
Hi ladies. So it's week 4 and I can honestly say "I love my new breasts!". I don't think I've said that before, and it's about darned time :)
I have definitely seen a difference from week 3 to week 4. I have virtually no pain and very few moments of discomfort. I've been using foam, wireless bras 24/7. My open spots are drying up too. The vertical incision scarring on my left breast doesn't look as 'neat' as the one on my right due to the open spots, but it could be worse. The swelling under my left breast has decreased a lot as well. I feel like the girls have 'dropped'. They are a lot less swollen, sit a bit lower and are more tender to the touch. They're still pretty perky and full-looking to me :)
I've been applying the Palmer's oil w/vitamin E and trying to 'air them out' as much as possible.
I've been sleeping well on my back and I've been trying to sleep on my side by putting a pillow underneath my breast, which seems to help for a little while, but it's still not a comfortable position.
The one thing going on right now is some redness and itchiness along my horizontal incisions. It started yesterday, which has me a bit stumped, because I've been doing so well. The incisions became really itchy and all of the sudden the area was red...I have not scratched at all, so it's not caused by that. I don't think it looks like an infection, rather a skin reaction to something (don't know what), but I left a message today with the nurse to see what she says. I can definitely see that the red spots below my right nipple are being caused by the bandaid that the doctor told me to wear;but I haven't been putting anything on my horizontal incision, so I don't know why this is happening. Anyone else experience this?
I'm sorry my photos aren't that great...it's just a bit difficult to do it by myself. Other than that issue, I've been feeling great. I'm super busy all day, but I have not felt more tired than usual.
Thank you all for your help. I definitely stay up to date on your updates as well.