Hello there! I have waited years and years to...

Hello there! I have waited years and years to finally be at the point of getting my breast reduction. I wanted to wait until I was done with pregnancy and breast feeding, so here I am. My current bras are a size 40K. They are a little loose around but that could be from being stretched out because they are so OLD (because, as we all know, buying a bra this size is a PITB)! So...I am somewhere between a 38 and 40. And the K was the largest cup size I could find at the time that I bought these nursing bras. Yes, I have been done nursing for almost 3 years and haven't bothered buying some non-nursing bras because it is too much work!

Pre-op appt.

I had my pre-op appt. with my PS’s PA. She seemed very confident, warm and encouraging. I had a list of questions and got them all answered. I had some questions about what size I will end up and she helped me figure out how to word my feelings so my PS will know exactly what I want on surgery day. I feel so much better about it! Basically, I want to be as small as he can make me while still maintaining the blood supply needed for my nipple/areolar complex. So that’s what I’m going to tell him. :)

At this point I am scheduled for surgery on August 27 at noon. I have to be there at 10am. This could change. I am to call his office the day before to double check. Nothing by mouth after midnight. This might be a little rough with my surgery not being til noon but oh well. My reduction should take 3.5-4 hours. I will have drains in place for about a week. I will be spending the night in the hospital and go home the next day. I will have a post-op dressing and no bra. He does not have any particular bra he wants me in. In fact, the PA told me to go without a bra to help air out my incisions. I can wear a bra if I want, though, just as long as it doesn’t have an underwire. I think I may try buying 1-2 bras in different sizes so I at least have an option of something to wear when I leave the house for my post-op appts. and also in case I am more comfortable with some support. The PA also showed me the ABD pads they use for post-op, so I can go out and buy a few if I want or just use whatever I’m comfortable with. What did you all use? I can take a shower whenever I want. They just don’t want me soaking in water. I scheduled my first post-op appt. for POD 9.

Now I will try to add some pre-op photos! Hm...they are coming out upside down. Not sure how to fix that on here as they are not upside down on my computer!

Pre-op Photos

I tried to take pics from every angle so I could remember what they used to look and feel like. Plus, I tried to think of what pics would help others.

Mammogram

I had my mammogram last week and got the results in the mail, today. All is fine, so I guess I am good to go for my breast reduction! I requested that they send the results to my PS so hopefully they really did.

My surgery is a week from tomorrow and I’m really starting to get excited! I keep going over various schedule things with my husband. Ugh. That is going to be hard for him. The kids started school this week and dance starts back up next week. We have quite the busy schedule this year! I’ve asked my mom to come the day of my surgery, just to help shuttle the kids around. I’m spending so much of my energy trying to work out these schedule details that I’m not really focusing on myself or the surgery. Maybe that’s a good thing. Oh, I did buy a couple of bras for post-op. They were super cheap from Walmart and may or may not fit, but they were exactly what I was looking for- comfy... not that I’ve tried them on. I also bought a couple extra pillows to have on hand.

Hm...what else do I need?

Today’s the day!

I have to be at the hospital at 10am and my surgery is scheduled for noon. I hope they are running on time! I’m not letting myself get too nervous, yet. I have things to do- write out instructions, get the kids off to school, etc. I’ve been “training” my husband on how to get the kids off to school in the mornings. LOL. I even wrote out a cheat sheet for him!

I’m sure I will get nervous when I get to the hospital...eek! Can’t believe the day is finally here!! YEARS in the planning!!! I have a lot of people praying for me and excited for me!

On the other side

Glad to be on the other side! It went well. PS just came to check on me and said he took 3 lbs of breast tissue and 1.5-2 lbs via liposuction off each side! Yay!!! Pain hasn't been bad- more soreness than anything. I will probably ask for pain meds in a little while as it is starting to build back up. I have a drain hooked up to wall suction on each side and leg squeezers, plus oxygen in my nose (chest was tight in recover room). Just relaxing in my hospital room with my jello! LOL

POD 1

I meant to get this written, yesterday, but started feeling pretty yucky. My main problem was a lot of dizziness on an empty stomach, which meant nausea. Ick! I just had to hold really still, take sips of water and munch on saltine crackers. The drive home wasn't fun but I made it. I think my blood pressure is a little low (perhaps from the blood loss). Anyway, I took pics when I was changing my bandages. I have internal sutures, steri-strips and tape. They told me they would change out the tapes when I go for my first post op appt in a week. The drains will stay in until the amount of drainage is under a certain amount, so I have to write down how much I am getting out 3 times per day. I am on Keflex anbx and have Ultram for pain if needed (I requested something other than Vicodin, since that upsets my stomach). I haven't taken anything for pain other than some Tylenol for a headache (didn't work) since 8:30pm on the day of surgery.

Now let me try to post pics from my phone.

POD 2

A lot less dizzy and by the end of the day I was able to eat more foods. I think my antibiotic and probiotic were battling it out a bit in my intestines (sorry if that's TMI). Soreness decreased. Spent most of the day on the couch resting and watching TV. I could be up for a while but then needed to lay back down on the couch. I took 1 Ultram at about 10pm.

POD 3

Got some good sleep at night, again. The recliner is my friend! Wondering when I'll be able to sleep in my bed. I can lift my arms higher and there's less soreness. That part seems to improve a little each day. My dizziness has gotten a little worse, today. I don't know if I overdid it yesterday or it's the fact that my period started yesterday. Ugh. I was glad it didn't start on the day of surgery, tho. I was more tired today, too. I have taken two short naps so far. The hospital called to see how I was doing. Also, I got a card signed by each nurse who took care of me in pre op thru recovery room, yesterday. I thought that was a nice touch. Took pics again, today. I think the bruising on my sides looks less. I have a few spots that are draining- 1 place on my left nipple and 1-2 places under my right breast. I have feeling in my right nipple but not my left. The areas where the liposuction was done are still quite numb.

POD 5

I've had a rough couple of days- very dizzy and out of it. I slept most of yesterday after having a bad night the night before. And slept all last night. Today has been better! My drainage has slowed down. The area around the drains is starting to get sore. I hope I can get them out on Friday. My left boob is bigger than my right. I don't know if it has more swelling or is just going to be the bigger boob (used to be that my right boob was the bigger one). Incision pain remains very reasonable IMO. I think if my period hadn't hit (combined with the blood thinner the med student gave me the day after my operation), I would have been totally fine. Took pics this morning after a shower.

1 week post op

Today is one week since my surgery! I am super happy with how my right breast is looking and healing. I can’t tell if any of the incisions have opened back up or not with the tape over them. I feel like my PS made it as small as he could. I think I have full sensation in the nipple and most of the breast but the underarm area is still numb. My left side, however, has me a bit disappointed. It is visibly larger than my right side. You can even see that the nipple hangs lower. I don’t know if it is more swollen than the right side or not. It has definitely been more bruised than the right side but has had less drainage. It also has more numbness. I can now feel certain areas of my breast but not the whole thing and no feeling on the nipple or underarm area. I am just feeling sad that it appears he didn’t make it as small as the right side. I keep telling myself that it is impossible for a surgeon to make them the exact same size, and I know they didn’t start out being the exact same size. I am more disappointed that it isn’t as small as I was hoping for. Does that make sense? I realize it has only been a week and I still have a lot of healing to do, so I am trying to put those thoughts to the back of my mind. The important thing was getting all that weight off my back and shoulders. Also, some of the tape around my left nipple has come loose and it looks to me like that incision isn’t completely closed. I guess I will find out for sure when I go to my first post op appt in 2 days. I hope my drainage is low enough that my drains can be taken out!

Now for a bra... I don’t even know where to start looking for one, what size to try (not like I can try them on and return them with blood/drainage going on), etc. I guess it would be good to find a front fastening one for now. The two I bought before my surgery are the kind you just slip over your head. I haven’t been brave enough to try to get one of those on just yet, especially with the drains and bandages in the way.

I will take new pics after I get a shower tonight.

POD 7 Pics

Forgot to come back and post these, last night.

POD 8

I had a good talk with one of my friend today and she said something that really clicked for me (we were talking about everyone’s breasts being different on each side). I went back to the mirror and LOW and BEHOLD, I think I was mistaken when I said my left breast is larger. It hangs off my chest wall in a slightly lower location, compared to the right. When I hold them up side by side, I do believe they are close to the same size! I was like DUH! If they don’t start at the same place on my chest wall, they aren’t going to end at the same place. I can’t tell you how much better this realization has made me feel! I think once I have a bra on, I will be thrilled!

Now I need to get these incisions healed, and I have a feeling it is going to take a lot of work! It’s ok! I knew I was higher risk for healing difficulties going into this (due to my large breast size). I’m eager to see my surgeon for my first post op appointment, tomorrow morning. I wonder what he’s going to say about the skin irritation, etc. I do hope they change out my tape. I have tried really hard to keep it on as instructed. I have only taken 3 showers (with my back to the shower head), changed my dressings each day, etc. I have draining coming out multiple places under each breast, so that does make it harder for the tape to stay on.

I feel like I have more soreness now that I’m getting more feeling back. It’s still less than what I thought it would be. I’m eager to get back to sleeping in my bed but don’t want to try to do that with these drains still in.

My husband has been a champ! He is getting the kids off to school by himself while I continue sleeping each morning. I spend most of my day on the couch watching TV, reading a book or checking email from my phone. When the kids get home from school, I have them bring me their papers and help them get going on their homework if needed. I do have to be up on my feet here and there to help them. My husband has been coming home from work early to help get the kids to their various activities (mostly the dance studio). We have been very blessed with some wonderful friends bringing us meals almost every night for the past 8 nights! And then my husband cleans up the kitchen and usually puts the kids to bed by himself. I am trying hard to do lots of laying around/resting to help with my incision healing.

POD 9- dr appt

So I went for my first post op appointment, this morning. My PS removed all of the tape and replaced most of it. He left open most of the bottom incision on both sides, probably because of the nasty rash I have going on. My right side was borderline on being ready to remove the drain, but he went ahead and removed it on both sides. That didn’t hurt at all- I didn’t even feel it. He put a little gauze over the drain holes and said they would seal over in a day or two.

My big goal now is to get rid of this rash. He wants me to use an OTC anti fungal cream and leave the area open to air as much as possible. The problem is that I still have skin on skin, even after the reduction. So I am working on coming up with a way to keep it as dry as possible with all the drainage I still have and normal sweat. He wants me to use a bra to keep an ABD pad on the area when I need to leave the house- no tape! He gave me a couple of ABD pads so I could see what he is wanting me to use and also gave me some extra tape in case the areas that are taped start to come off. I will go back in 2 weeks.

Now I need a bra! When I got home, I tried on the bra I had bought before surgery and it is ok but not great. It just isn’t strong enough to hold up my breasts and I think the straps are too long (not adjustable). I need to find something. Any suggestions? I think I need a DD or maybe DDD cup right now and either a 38 or 40 chest size.

My PS told me I could start driving as long as I am not taking any of the pain medication but reminded me of my lifting restrictions. He told me my incisions are only about 10% healed right now, so I know I need to be very careful not to do too much. I plan to continue mostly laying around the house for another week. Our kids have a couple of appointments next Wednesday, so I need to decide whether I am (or should be) up to driving them to those or whether my husband should take time off work to do it. I know once I start driving, I will start doing too much.

POD 9 pics

POD 11 pics

POD 13

Well, I’m almost to the 2 week mark. I think I have more soreness now than I did in the immediate post op period just because I have more sensation back. Still, it’s all very minor soreness (some of it reminds me what it felt like when my milk came in after I had each of my babies). One weird thing I feel is when I take a swallow of cold water. I feel it go down and kinda zing my whole chest area. It’s weird.

So, I have been wearing a bra during the day now. I am actually using the one I bought before my surgery. At first I thought it wasn’t going to work, but it actually works quite well for what I need right now- something to hold my ABD pads in place. I am still getting drainage out the bottom incision on both sides. In fact, my left side has an area that has started to bleed a little- that T junction. I think I can see that my incision has split open a tad there on both sides. I am still struggling with my rash. I think today it finally started looking a little better- not quite as red hot. It is kinda gross as I have skin peeling off. I am still applying anti fungal cream twice a day when I change my ABD pads. I am also using some essential oils very sparingly on some of the rash areas but not directly on my incisions (that will come later when I am more healed).

I have an area in my right armpit that has a couple little, hard lumps. It is sore. My side bruising is almost all gone. In fact, my all over bruising is looking so much better! The flap under my arm on my left side has gotten kind of hard. I am assuming this is swelling. I do not have my full range of motion, yet. I have a feeling it will take a few more weeks for that. I started driving again, yesterday- just drove both my daughters to their piano lessons. It felt a little ouchy but not too bad. I don’t feel like I should do any dishes, cleaning or laundry yet. Well, actually, I feel like I can fold some laundry but not put it into the washer/dryer or carry to my bedroom. My husband has done really well with all of that and I’m going to keep having him do it for as long as I can to give my incisions the best chance at healing faster. Not sure when I will start cooking again. We are still eating leftovers from all the meals our family and friends brought us. I think we will run out in the next 2-3 days.

Well, here are the pics from this morning... Oh, I also weighed myself this morning. I am down about 13 pounds since the day before my surgery.

POD 17

My main concern now is my incisions. The bottom ones have split open more since my last update. Sorry if the pics are a little gory, but it really helped prepare me to see pics of healing difficulties ahead of time, so I’m sharing mine too. It’s kind of freaky to be able to see some of the internal sutures.

My rash is so much better! I cheated a little. I was using the OTC anti fungal cream and felt like progress was going so slowly. I have some prescription strength stuff from before my surgery as I have battled yeast rashes between/under my breasts for YEARS. I had run out of the OTC stuff so I started using some of my prescription and it has helped lot! I still have some peeling skin but it looks and feels a lot better!

I am still having to use the ABD pads under my breasts to catch the drainage and keep the open areas covered. The drainage has slowed down quite a bit, tho. Some of it is kind of a nasty yellow, but from what I’ve read, that is most likely fat necrosis coming out.

My sensation continues to get better and better. I still have none in my left nipple, but my sides/armpits (lipo areas) are starting to come back. I have some zingers here and there but not much yet. And I still have that weird zing/discomfort when I swallow liquids.

I think I still have quite a bit of swelling in some areas that are hard to the touch- the most in my left side where lipo was done. It is like rock hard. I am super eager to see how my sides look over the next few months. My PS says the skin will tighten up. I sure hope so!

I have begun to do more activity the past few days. I am not doing any dishes, cooking, cleaning or heavy lifting for sure. But I am driving and getting out of the house some. Tomorrow, I am going to help my husband fold the laundry after he takes care of washing/drying it. I do feel like I could be doing more, but I have decided to hold myself back until I see my PS on Friday. I want to make sure I don’t do anything to make my incisions worse. My mother keeps getting on my case about making sure I am resting and doing NOTHING. Well, that’s hard to do when you have 3 kids. My husband has been wonderful thru this, but I know he is looking forward to the day when I can resume my normal activity level!

Pics

Sorry, forgot to include pics...

Wanted to add one more thing. I am still sleeping in my recliner. I keep trying to lay flat in bed and it is not comfortable. It feels like I have a ton of weight on my chest. I keep thinking it should feel like LESS weight but it feels tight. I could not even tolerate lying flat on my back for my 30 minute massage on Friday. She had to prop me up a bit because my chest felt too heavy/tight.

Do I need to call my PS?

My surgeon had told me that if my incisions opened up, I should cover them with gauze. He was calmly preparing me for this possibility at my last appt. I had assumed this meant I didn't need to call if they opened up, but now I have people asking if I've called to let him know they opened. I have an appt. on Friday. Do I need to call before then? Would he have me change anything because of how large the opening is?

Went to the doctor

After talking to a friend who had her incisions open after breast reduction, I decided to call my surgeon’s office to let them know. They asked me if I could come right then for an appt, so I did. My PS wanted me to use Silvadene on my open wounds but because I may be allergic to Sulfa, I can’t. Instead, he prescribed Nystatin to use. I am to put that on once a day under my ABD pads. The main thing is to keep yeast from growing in the open/moist wound, and it will also keep it from sticking to the ABD pad and then bleeding each time I take them off. He also wants me to try to keep it open to air when I can lie down at home. I explained that my breasts cover the wounds, so he said to try lying back and kind of holding my breasts up to get some air to them. I’m not sure how well I will tolerate that but I’ll give it a try at least once or twice a day. He said drying them out will speed up the healing.

He said to go ahead and keep my appt for Friday as well. It will probably look about the same but it will be good for him to keep an eye on it. I’m super happy I called and they had me come in! I guess I should have called last week!

Also, I asked about the hard areas on my sides and he confirmed that it is swelling from the liposuction. He said it will take a couple months for that swelling to start going down and then it will flatten out. I will be THRILLED if my sides flatten out!!

3 weeks

These pics were from 3 weeks post op.

4 weeks

I’m moving along here at 4 weeks post op. Still dealing with my open wounds but I can see improvement in them. My reach is not quite 100% back but will be within the next 1-2 weeks I’d say. I am still not supposed to live more than 10 pounds, tho. I’ve had to deal with some massive systemic yeast (a result of the antibiotics, I’m sure) and am still having issues with that. My surgeon finally put me on diflucan and that has definitely helped. I still feel sore- some days more than others. It really is still my skin that hurts the most. I guess it’s my bruised nerves (from lipo) waking up. Still have some numb areas, including my left nipple. My surgeon told me it can take 6-12 months for the feeling to come back. Oh! I had to take the tape off my areolas because one side started squirting something out. At first I thought it was coming out of my left nipple but then realized it was coming from under the tape. Whew! Yes, I have an open area there. My surgeon had told me I could leave the tape off whenever it fell off but I just went ahead and took it off so that stuff could get out. My right areola had a very small opening, too, but it is pretty much dried up now. I am out and about now, helping at the kids’ schools and stuff. Still getting help with getting the laundry switched between machines but doing some of the dishes and getting the kids off to school in the mornings. Haven’t done any cleaning yet. Here are some pics. My surgeon took some more of those internal sutures out as they have been poking out of me. I can feel a few more now but can’t seem to get them out myself. Guess I will have him do it when I see him in a week and a half.

5 weeks

Sorry the time has gotten away from me! I’m going to get caught up on posting pics now.

6 weeks- doc appt

No more lifting restrictions! I’m doing pretty much anything I want, although things are still a bit sore in bed and certain areas of my skin under my arms. My PS was extremely pleased with the progress my incisions have made! I am seeing a difference almost everyday. Amazing!! He said to continue what I’m doing and I didn’t need to come back for 6 weeks. I asked him what the white patch was underneath my right breast and he said it would fall off and then heal up. I guess I still don’t know WHAT it is.

7 weeks

Thought I’d also show you my “tools” for healing my incisions! Each morning I tend to each breast with the following steps after I’ve pulled my bra on but left it up high above my breasts:
1) use one hand to hold up breast and keep it up the entire time
2) dry off with towel
3) apply melaluca (tea tree oil) to skin underneath bottom incision ward off yeast rashes
4) apply helichrysm right on and around opening(s) in incision
5) use blow dryer on low setting to fully dry skin on and around that bottom incision
6) apply nystatin ointment to opening(s)
7) apply ABD pad
8) pull bra down into place
Then I repeat for the other side. Also, some days I’ve had to use moisturizer around my areolas as the skin was getting too dry (PS told me to do this). I will also show you a pic of what it looks like to have my bra holding my ABD pads in place. I think this was the last day I used the 8x10 size pads. After that, I switched to the 5x9 pads. I wish they made these even smaller. I really prefer the feel and function of the ABD pads over gauze pads, etc. I know some people like using menstrual pads, too.

At night I just use the melaluca, new ABD pads and an athletic wrap to keep them on so I can go without my bra (I really needed a break from the bra at the end of the day earlier on) and no tape. Took me a few weeks to figure this one out. I should prob take a pic so you can see what I mean.

8 weeks

The incisions around my areolas are a little darker red this week. Wondering if that’s from the moisturizer I had to use for the past week? They aren’t bothering me.

Tried to give you a couple different views. The white patch is still there...
Peoria Plastic Surgeon

I have been happy with Dr. Elwood. He isn’t super touchy-feely (more on the scientific side). He showed me before/after photos of some of his patients, talked about risks/benefits, and answered all of my questions at my first consultation. His office is nice, and I do not feel rushed. I think he really cares about his work. He came in to check on me in my hospital room the evening of my surgery, before he went home, which meant a later night for him. I will add more to this review as I receive follow-up from him.

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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