25 Days Post-Operation & Feelin' Fine!

Only 11 days post-op. Stiff, but lots of back pain...

Only 11 days post-op. Stiff, but lots of back pain has been relieved, which was goal. Not a mother yet, so only glaring con was inability to breastfeed in future. Surgery was largely covered by insurance. Healing perfectly, no complications. Pleased with procedure so far, can't wait to see full result.

Can't say how life has changed just yet, but am excited to buy new bras and clothes in near future. Also excited to no longer hunch over and to possibly get rid of shoulder indents. Anticipating exercise to be much easier.

I am currently 12 days post-op. I am still having...

I am currently 12 days post-op. I am still having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, despite being off of pain medication for over a week now. I take Tylenol periodically throughout the day but find that I don't need it too often. My only guess as to why I cannot sleep is because I was (and always have been) a stomach sleeper. I never slept on my back or on my side. Obviously, I've slept on my back since surgery. I continue to sleep propped up with two pillows on each side of me. I find that I'm most comfortable when my arms are elevated.

What I'm struggling with now is the swelling underneath my arms. I still cannot full put my arms down at my sides. There is a constant burning or stinging sensation around my sutures, but it is slight. My surgeon assured me that because he did not manipulate muscle and did not open the chest cavity, that my pain would be minimal. I don't know that I would use the word minimal ;) However, the intense pain immediately following surgery last just a few days. Since then I've mostly had to deal with itching, burning, stinging, and being stiff.

I return to work today for my typical 8-hour shifts. I was back to work two days ago but only worked 4 hours. I still tire easily...I anticipated pain, but I guess I didn't anticipate being so fatigued all the time too. That is definitely something you should prepare yourself for. If you've had the surgery, please tell me when you returned to work and how you did? I unfortunately stand for 8 hours straight at my job, no sitting...that's been difficult.

Will update again soon!

 

Almost two weeks post-op and I'm feeling alright....

Almost two weeks post-op and I'm feeling alright. I've been changing my bandages everyday as instructed by my PS. Last night, my left nipple began to bleed quite a lot. I didn't tug on the skin or bump it, so I'm not sure what irritated it. It actually was a little bit disconcerting. Tonight it was not bleeding but the skin appeared raw. The doctor said that a scab would form, slough off, and to leave it alone. Maybe this is the beginning process of that?

After my stitches are out, I'm going to invest in some Mama Mio products. They're expensive, but I've read fantastic reviews and I would really love to be proactive about diminishing these scars.

I have been cooking some small things, done a load or two of laundry (with help carrying it up and down the stairs), doing dishes, and have returned to work. I thankfully have the next two days off and I'm going to be lying low. I will tell anyone getting this surgery to be sure to rest rest REST. Everything is so exhausting! Overall though, feeling pretty good considering I'm still stitched from armpit to armpit ;)

I've received a couple of comments regarding my...

I've received a couple of comments regarding my latest nipple pictures. I know they look gross. I personally cannot stand to look at them. I am going to call the PS tomorrow to be on the safe side even though he's told me that peeling and scabbing is all normal.

Feeling about the same today as I have been without too much pain. There is still quite a bit of swelling. Sutures and stitches all look pretty good to me. They are smoother than I thought they'd be. YAY!

One other thing worth mentioning...I've had continuous muscle spasms just below my ribcage, in the diaphragm area, for the last several hours. I do not have abdominal pain, gas, or hiccups. It is not painful but is uncomfortable. I highly doubt it's even related the procedure as this is only the second or third time I've ever noticed it. But! It's very odd indeed.

New pictures! Nipples cracking and peeling, but...

New pictures! Nipples cracking and peeling, but not too much bleeding. They are continuously itchy and kinda painful, particularly my left side. I love how they're looking overall though! :D

Hello everyone! It is the 1st of September (oh my...

Hello everyone! It is the 1st of September (oh my goodness, can you believe it?!) and I am 17 days post-operation. I still have some considerable swelling going on underneath my arms. I'm pretty sure it's going to hang around for awhile yet. Thankfully, my sutures are healing nicely (with a little bit of bleeding) and I have been experiencing minimal pain. In fact, the most pain I'm dealing with now is my skin...the paper tape has made it raw in many places. NOT cool.

When I first started my review, I thought there was a word limit and that's why my first entry is very short. I blame my oversight on the drugs ;) I basically want to take this opportunity to explain a little more about my history and why I chose this procedure for myself (for anyone who cares to read it).

Like many of the women on RealSelf, I developed early. My cup sizes were B by fifth grade, C by sixth grade, and DD by eighth grade. I went through high school and college and eventually ended up being a DDD/G. I was teased about my weight all through my school years and the "girls" didn't help. But the emotional and physical pain I went through was acute. I struggled with chronic back pain from about the age of 16. The indents in my shoulders were awful (and will probably never go away). For almost two years of college, my sciatic nerve was pinched and I often couldn't walk to class or even get out of bed to walk. I've also struggled with depression from the age of 11 -- which obviously wasn't caused by having a large chest, but it did exacerbate and amplify my emotions at times.

Over the years, I've researched the breast reduction procedure hundreds of times. I pretty much had my heart set on it from age 17...but the timing was never right. I was either in high school or college (I attended classes through summer). I graduated from college over two years ago and *finally* got the ball rolling in February of 2012. My surgeon had performed the same surgery on my grandmother and my aunt also had the surgery a few years ago (see a pattern here?). It took four months for paperwork, photographs, recommendations, and records to be gathered, sent to, and reviewed by my insurance. THANK GOD I was approved without incident. I was very, very lucky that I did not have many issues. There was a little misunderstanding with the surgeon's office that added to that time frame, but that story is for another day ;)

I was approved for surgery in June and then scheduled for August 15th. As you may have read above, my experience has been pretty smooth. I am pleased with how everything has turned out and cannot wait to have my stitches removed on the 7th. I had 1100 grams removed from one breast and 1024 removed from the other -- about 2.5 and 2.4 pounds respectively. I had drains inserted, stayed overnight in the hospital, and then was released without incident the next morning. Those yellow things above (still don't know what they're called!) were on my nipples for 5 days. My nipple stitches came out an additional 5 days after that. By the time September 7th rolls around, I will have had all the other stitches in for 23 days! I also had a 100% full nipple graft.

Besides being overweight, I am generally healthy. I am glad I didn't wait any longer to have the surgery. Being 24 definitely has its benefits as far as bouncing back and my skin looks to be handling everything well too. YAY!

Thanks for the kind words and support everyone has shown me here. It's made me feel less alone in this whole process. Good luck to everyone with planned surgeries and recovery coming up. You've chosen an amazing community to be apart of.

Well it looks like I spoke too soon ladies. I'm...

Well it looks like I spoke too soon ladies. I'm having a rough day. First of all, I'm overworking myself. On Friday I worked for just over 13 hours and yesterday, I worked over 14. Back at work for another 8 today...needless to say, I'm a little overextended. Being that I stand totally for my job, I've found that I'm in more pain than usual at the end of the workday. I also notice that I'm more swollen :(

Anyhow, as I've mentioned before, I am *supposed* to change my paper tape and bandages everyday. Because the whole process has been so painful and time-consuming, I reverted back to showering every other day and bathing on the in-between ones (that way my tapes don't get wet). This is where my sister would called me a Naughty Naughty Rule Breaker. I also iced my breasts periodically and took a little ibuprofen a week after my surgery -- under the supervision of my mother, who's been an intensive care nurse for many years.

With all that said, I bring you to this morning. I woke up with not one, but two problems. My skin is completely raw in spots, the top layer has literally been ripped off by the constant tape changes. Not to mention I have tape residue everywhere that sticks to everything! My left breast developed a blood pocket overnight where the skin was trying to heal -- nowhere near my incisions, so thankfully there's no complications with those. THEN on my right breast, there's an open sore that is now oozing. They both developed overnight and my bra was stuck to the right side this morning.

I've been feeling super positive despite my general discomfort...but today is just not a good day. I'm also not sure what to do about that sore. It is small and not too deep. But because I cannot be without a bra, it constantly rubs against cloth and rips back open. I have some gauze in there now as a barrier, but even the gauze will most likely irritate it. I thought about sleeping without a bra for one night. Is that a super big no-no? Help? :(

Yesterday was my first real excursion since...

Yesterday was my first real excursion since surgery. I've been out to eat, at work, and shopping a few times since the procedure was done...but nothing like yesterday. I went to the zoo with some friends and was naturally walking in the heat all day long. I didn't mind the exercise, especially after being cooped up so long. But man oh man did I feel it last night and this morning. I'm still sore.

The sore on my right breast is healing very, very slowly. It hasn't gotten infected or anything. I am a little concerned about healing properly under my right breast. The incisions look different than on the other side and may be separating. It's painful at times. My mother says I'm a worry-wart. My sister says I should call the doctor. I'll see him on Friday morning for stitches to FINALLY come out. Hallelujahhhh!

I received my first bill from the hospital today and thought you all may be interested to see the detailed costs. This is the total before insurance. This does not reflect my balance with the plastic surgeon's office. Ready? ;)

Pharmacy $1,606
IV Solutions (CIAS) $899
Sterile Supply $531
Supply/Implant $1,215
Laboratory $742
OR Services $10,020.45
Anesthesia $1,296.10
Drugs Requiring Detailed Codes $36
Self Adm Rx No Detail Code Req $44
Recovery Room $1,930.30

That all adds up to a grand total of $18,319.85! I don't even know what some of these things are...but I'm sure my mom can explain it to me. Let me know of this compares with your bills, ladies!

Earlier, I meant to write that I'm going to try...

Earlier, I meant to write that I'm going to try sleeping a different way tonight -- still on my back, with pillows for my arms and to prevent me from rolling over. But because I only have two bras that fit now (not nearly enough by the way), I'm going to wear a cotton cami and then my wrap OVER it. My bras are in the wash. I may go out and look for some new ones tomorrow. Will keep y'all posted as to how this works/feels.

I went ahead and took new photos today. I am now...

I went ahead and took new photos today. I am now 20 days post-op. You'll see that my nipples are healing alright and new skin is peeking through. The redness, bunching, and irritation you see is almost solely due to the paper tape. My incisions look pretty good to me! I do feel like I'm going to have a "dog ear" underneath my arms, we'll see though.

Stitches come out tomorrow -- so stoked! Went bra...

Stitches come out tomorrow -- so stoked!
Went bra shopping last night and seem to be a large B or small C -- may change over time.
Nipples are looking great -- more peeling and cracking with new skin underneath, SO ITCHY!
Sleeping is getting a little easier -- thanks to one of you lovely ladies for "hugging the pillow" suggestion.
Breast sizes continue to fluctuate -- some days the left is bigger, some days the right looks bigger.
Will update after doctor appointment tomorrow -- may put pictures up after stitches are removed too!

I had my stitches removed on Friday as planned. ...

I had my stitches removed on Friday as planned. It didn't hurt too bad at all. Far less than my tattoo or piercings ;) I even took a picture of the long plastic stitches she pulled out and will post them soon. The doctor instructed me to STOP taping and I swear an angel chorus starting singing. No paper tape for almost four days now and I still have residue from it.

I'm almost totally back to my regular routine, although I'm still pretty cautious with reaching, bending, and showering. The scabs have fallen off my nipples and the incisions look pretty freakin' fantastic in my opinion. I do still have swelling underneath my arms which I completely loathe. The doctor also told me to keep my skin moisturized on and around my incision lines. No particular brand or type of lotion was suggested. They told me to use whatever I wanted -_- Gee thanks! Any suggestions would be helpful. Right now, I'm using baby lotion because I figure it's pretty gentle and it doesn't irritate my skin. There is some skin separation underneath my right breast like I suspected. The PS assured me it was superficial and should heal just fine. It's the only painful incision spot I have right now. The sores on my breasts where the skin had been rubbed raw are almost totally healed too. Yay!

Finally, I am so excited to say that I got four bras the other night from Walmart for...$25! Most of my bras before cost $40-60! Granted, they are the comfy, not-so-cute ones BUT still a huge victory for me. Also went dress shopping for a friends wedding coming up. I actually fit into and purchased a STRAPLESS dress! I felt like crying when I came out of the dressing room in that. My grandma bought it for me as a surprise and said it was a, "...first dress with your new boobies present!" I sure do love that lady.

Will post pictures soon!

PS -- A word of caution for you ladies who like to shower once a day (or more) like me...be careful with the temperature of your water, especially so soon after your surgery. My incisions were super red today because I overdid it with the heat. Not to mention the skin around the incisions is so sensitive, the hot water will dry it out and cause even more discomfort. That's all for now!
South Bend Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Zucker was highly recommended by family members. He'd performed the same surgery on my grandmother (large breasts run in my family) and my mother has seen his work on her patients in a local hospital. The office staff was agreeable for the most part; I especially love the nurses. I also chose Dr. Zucker because he was the best surgeon covered under my insurance plan. Overall, I'm pleased with how everything has gone and I am happy with the decision I made.

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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You are looking so good now, healing so nicely. I know how you feel with the dress my sister brought me a summer dress with a shoe string strap. It fit perfect and I could wear it with no bra! I can't believe it and I am so happy for you too!!!! Your Grandma is great!
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There's nothing quite like the relationship between a girl and her grandma! Congrats!
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Aww, thank you! And yes, my grandparents are two of my best friends and have so supportive throughout this whole process. Can't wait for you all to see how they look now! I'll post pictures after the wedding too :D
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*been supportive
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Oh, my dear, so glad to hear how well you are doing! I went back in your updates and saw the hospital bill list that you posted -- OMG, what a bunch of bull!! As you may or may not know, my surgery is Thursday, and I am paying out of pocket. The ENTIRE thing has been pre-paid, and the cost was $9,100! Anyhow, congrats on your new self, but please still take it easy, okay?? Hugs xox
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I know! That bill was crazy to me too. The only thing I can figure is that my surgery was performed at a local hospital, rather than in a private office, hence the $10,000+ charge. I think the surgeon essentially "rents" the OR. Plus, I was under for over 5 hours and that's a little longer than normal. Thanks for the encouragement! Good luck to you!
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EXACTLY! I used to go into Victoria's Secret with friends and look longingly at all the cute bras they were buying...I had to buy lotion and lipgloss. LOL! I have kept all my bras because I am throwing those babies onto a huge bonfire in the very near future! I'm going on vacation in January and my best friend's wedding in April...so looking forward to clothes shopping then.
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Wow you really have turned a corner haven't you!! The scabbing over is good and the nips are looking way better. The shape is awesome and wow so perky and adorable huh??!?!? Don't you love the little strappy things? I've just bought a pile full of stuff from Target for like $4-7 each and having SO MUCH FUN with all the little cute patterns and such. Never in my life a bra under $45-80! I counted the ones in my drawer and I swear I should have an Ebay auction. I must have $5k invested in French 38DDD!! These ones from Target are like wear once and toss away! And the lingerie shopping I just can't wait! Have fun and SO glad you are healing up better.
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Thanks! I am very excited about everything. I bought four bras the other night for less than $25...that's unheard of for me! No cutesy ones yet, as I still can't wear an underwire. But in time!
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Sunny it's it a sheer miracle to be able to buy a $7 off the rack bra at Target? No one but US girls on here can truly appreciate that. I'm with you having to wait it out before the cute ones come into the drawer, but today I donated all of my big ones to the Susan G foundation and sent a stack of clothes off to a girlfriend in Texas who just lost 100lbs.!! She LOVES my hand-me-downs and I'm thinking this Christmas shopping season is gonna be OUT OF HAND this year!!! Whooop WHoooop
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They are look like they are healing well now. I hope your feeling great today!
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Feeling pretty good, getting the stitches out wasn't too traumatic at all!
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you certainly have come a long way,looking great! glad you are happy!!
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I get happier by the day :D
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Good luck :)
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Thank you so very much!
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Good luck at your appointment tomorrow!
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Thanks dear! I am very anxious to get the go-ahead to start exercising and doing other normal stuff like...uhh, cleaning ;) My house looks like a hurricane went through it. And my car too! Haha!
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You're looking great sunny. Your nips are nice and even and I love the overall shape of your twins. They look awesome. I know you'll be happy to get that tape off. I know I will. It takes forever to dry after shower. Blah. I know what you mean about the small straps on that bra. Ain't it grand. I am so tired of wearing those bras with the thick gel straps for comfort and I don't know about you but my bra was constantly riding up my back and I would have to pull it back in place everytime I stood up. I am so happy those big boobas are history. Happy healing.
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I feel like my left breast is still bigger than the right and my nipples are pointing downwards, instead of more outwards...But honestly, I'll take that over the issues I had to deal with before. I don't find myself adjusting throughout the day nearly as much either, which I LOVE. I would constantly tug at my bra band or straps. My healing would go much better if I didn't have to deal with this tape. All the residue is making my bras stick to my skin.
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Hey ladies, I saw my ps today and it's looking like the steri strips are staying on for a month or more. I do have one major concern though. I am VERY happy with my post op size but am worried that I will go down a whole cup size once swelling goes down. I am not very swollen but there is certainly some swelling under my arms. I really don't want to go down to a B from my current full C small D. what do you girls think?
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Really? I wonder if my PS will make me keep taping the girls? He better not or I may have to flat out refuse! It makes me wonder if I'm doing something wrong. As far as your size fluctuating, I'm not sure...I'm told that 60% swelling goes down within 6 weeks and the rest takes 6 months to a year :-O
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I couldn't sleep without my surgical bra. It makes me feel secure and my doc wants me to wear it as much as possible. I still have steri strips 17 days post op. doc says it helps incisions heal faster and better.
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I wish I had steri-strips still...instead of this damn tape.
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It seems that you are overdoing it on the tape/wraps! I never had to do any of that and that is probably what is irritating the skin! After I'd say, 3 days post-op I was able to get out of my surgical bra and actually threw it away at the doc's office! So I've been wearing either a sports bra or NO bra! It's so funny how different each doc's instructions are! Some are so rigid with the rules, while others have none! (like mine!) Good luck and hang in there lady!! xx
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