Counting Down To A

I am having surgery on May 23 and it has been hell...

I am having surgery on May 23 and it has been hell to get there. I first applied in April 2011 and was rescheduled and denied the day before surgery in August 2011. I tried again and have finally been approved but only because of the severe pain I am in. I am 36, have been pregnant 4 times and breastfed 2 children. I am having 1500 grams removed total and hope to be a C cup when I am done.But am working hard to lose weight as quickly as I can before the big day. I understand about being nervous, as I get more so by the day. On top of all this, I am 2 1/2 - 3 hours from the doctor's office in Pittsburgh, but that is the closest doctor for this surgery.

Surgery at May 25th was cancelled because my cat...

Surgery at May 25th was cancelled because my cat scratched me the night before and Dr. S is a perfectionist. He refused. It was then rescheduled for July 17th, the nearest opening, but then someone cancelled and they did my surgery on June 13th. Today is exactly one week postop and I am doing great. I refuse to lift anything and am making my kids do most of the work in the house. My incisions are releasing the hold on the glue, as is natural at this point, and the bruises are starting to fade. I feel like a million bucks and the best advice I could give right now is to listen to your body. Don't stretch or expend too much energy and let people do things for you.

22 days post op and doing OK. I am still a little...

22 days post op and doing OK. I am still a little sore when resting and after a long day, the girls are really sore. I was cleared to go back to work on Tuesday. With Wednesday as a holiday and court today for child support, I worked 2 days this week. If you have a lot of movement or walking in your job, I would not recommend going back this soon. My incisions were burning an the heels on my work shoes made me bounce too much after 3 weeks or sneakers and sandals. I finally put my foot down on Thursday and refused to leave my classroom except for lunch! I felt so much better on Thursday than Tuesday after that and wearing sneakers to work helped, too.

I also learned this morning not to pick at your scabs, no matter how much is hanging, as I had about an inch long scab falling from the length of the incision. I tugged a little and should have gotten a pair of scissors. It stared bleeding and I had to get out the gauze again. Live and learn.

I stole a water balloon from the kids and hid it down my bra, intending on throwing at an unsuspecting child. Low and behold! Cold water balloons are wonderful! They feel awesome on my poor abused boobs and lowered the body temp enough that I'm not sweating, either.

I love odd discoveries.

Went to work today and felt MUCH better today than...

Went to work today and felt MUCH better today than I did last week! Last week was 3 weeks on Wednesday and I was so miserable, tired, sore and my incisions burned when I got home. My classroom is definitely too far from the car to walk that soon after surgery. We measured it with a pedometer one day and it was almost a mile. I wised up and wore comfy shoes, a pair of capris and an over-sized blouse with an extremely supportive bra. I gave myself extra time to move from place to place and lifted NOTHING! This week was so much better work wise.

On the down side, my incisions seem to be peeling back a bit from the center and curling at that point. The PS is 2 1/2 hours away and he told me to put bactracin on them but they are really worrying me, so I "sealed them together a bit with liquid skin adhesive and they feel so much better. I will wait a few more days before deciding if this was a good idea or not, but I can't imagine that it wasn't since this is how they covered the dis-solvable stitches after surgery.

Today is July 16th and I am getting really...

Today is July 16th and I am getting really frustrated with the amount of time this is taking to close the holes and gaps in my incisions. On the upside, they are doing much better than they were last week, but only because I am using a combination of butterfly stitches, neosporin, the liquid adhesive and tape. My daughter checks them every morning and evening because I can't see them myself.... Thank God for cell phone cameras! Basically, I am lying on the bed braless or with the edges rolled up my chest while the neosporin dries and then I have the butterfly stitches holding everything closed with the tape holding the sticky parts of the "stitches" on securely, leaving the incisions exposed to the air partially. The liquid adhesive goes on over the actual incision, if the neosporin is dried. After all that, I have a piece of gauze that I just layer between my sutures and my bra, untaped, while I go to work. They are getting lots better, but I am definitely getting fed up with all this, it has been 5 weeks on Wednesday and I still have open sores. I did figure out not to exchange the butterfly stitch every time we check them because it is just like removing a regular stitch every time. Hence, the tape to hold them down because they are not as waterproof as they claim to be!

Haven't been on here to update anything in a while...

Haven't been on here to update anything in a while. I am finally "on my feet", so to say that while I am still babying it a bit, I am still more active and doing for myself more. I haven't gotten to fast paced exercise yet because these wounds are still open, but I am walking more and doing stuff around the house.

This really surprises me because I am usually the person that heals quickly and usually up and at 'em before anyone recommends it. However, my incisions are now about 3/4 closed and are only open about an inch. I am not seeping the way I was, even 2 days ago and my holes under my nips are closed totally! I am so happy to be at this mark, which sounds weird to me when surgery was on June 13. I know I should be closed and back on par by now, but I'm doing well, all things considering!

The thing that really hung me up was the "wear the bra 24/7" thing from the PS. Nowhere in any of the instructions does it say, "air out for an hour a day"! That and some of the skin was entirely too fragile to support movement, stretching and even light lifting like a gallon of milk or doing dishes until late this week. Even swinging my arms while walking prohibited those incisions from closing. Now I am paranoid about getting out there to normal activities too quickly and really want to go swimming. The LAST thing I need, though, is an infection in my slow healing incisions, though. Cold showers just don't cut it, though!

OK.... It has been more than 2 months since...

OK.... It has been more than 2 months since surgery and these stupid incisions are STILL not closed totally! They have been *almost* closed for the last 2 weeks, but still not totally there yet. I am finally back almost 100% but I have noticed that even now there is still residual pain and discomfort. My breasts are still tender and sore like your muscles are after exercising.

I really wish I knew how long that would last, as I have no idea what normal is. After ripping out my sutures so much, my scarring under my right breast is wider and redder than my left. I massage it carefully on a daily basis but am trying really hard not to touch it too much because i don't want to open those sores any more than I am currently.

Overall, though, I am still pretty happy with where I am to date.
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon

When You first meet with him, he is a little off putting and impersonal. As you go along he does get friendlier and more personable, almost as if yhe more time you invest in yourself, the more he invests. His PAs, Autumn and Colleen, always calls me back and worked hard to get my surgery approved. He was highly recommended by a friend of mine, who used to work for him. She didn't like him much but said I would have "Breasts only comparable to those God would create!" He answered any questions I had was up front about everything he did. No complaints.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
3 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
3 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
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Jeesh Barb, sorry you still are having some issues with those incisions closing. It has to happen though! So be patient, eat healthy, drink plenty of water and try not to stress the area too much. As far as the pain, even at six months I was getting occasional twinges, that does take some time to subside completely, and even at a year, I will get some zingers just to remind me that, why yes...I did have a major reconstruction!
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I had a turning point yesterday and I think it was because of a combination of factors. I had a few places that never healed closed and were open along the incision line about 1/2 inch long. They would tear open after closing so I "stitched them back with the butterflies and taped the ends of those, liquid adhesive and then laid out braless under the fan. I think they kept reopening because the doors are so heavy at work and the moisture and heat. Everything is still seeping a bit but scabbed over tremendously the last few days, thank God! Now it all itches but none of it is as red.
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Sounds like you are on the right track! Can you avoid those doors?
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I can't win. Ripped them open again while saving a kitten. I have an appointment in Pittsburgh with the PS on Monday.
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Hi BarbB: I FEEL you on the frustrating ups and downs of recovery. Weeks 3 and 4 were probably the worst for me. BUT..week 6 has been AMAZING. All of my open spots are not scabbed over. As of 4 days ago, I stopped using the neosporin and gauze pads!! It WILL get better..just hang in there. Just some soon as I started "easing up" on the neosporin, I noticed a big improvement. Sometimes I think if the area is "moist" all of the never gets a chance to dry up and scab know? Just curious why you are using butterfly stitches and liquid adhesive? I know that I had a spot underneath my left side, that looked like my incision was coming apart, but it wasnt. My doc said it would heal up fine and it has. Sometimes I think doing "too much" (over washing, overdoing neosporin etc) causes you to heal slower? Good luck..6 week was a turning point for me and a couple other of my surgery hang in there.
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Good advice! I will try to do this tomorrow. Everything on the left side was finally cleared up this morning and I didn't need anything on them at all! I was so happy! Now I will try top let them dry out more before and after the neosporin. Thanks!
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Hi Barb..I agree with Iowa about equal times of neosporin/air drying. Ive been dealing with spitting sutures..which have caused some open areas. I am on my last spot..all the others have healed up. It took about 2 weeks for it to heal up completely. What Ive been doing is applying neosporin in the morning after my shower...then washing the area when I get home from work..and letting it air dry with no neosporin. Then before I go to bed..putting a very small amount of neosporin and a gauze pad, with a loose sports bra. You have to find a routine that works for you, because as we all know everyone heals SO differently. Good luck!
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Iowa - How soon does the soreness go away and the open sores heal up totally?I am at 4 weeks today. I know I can't do any lifting or exercise until August per the PS, but it seems like I have been stagnant in the healing process lately.
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Barb, are you still keeping quite a bit of neosporin or any other goop on them. I know the antibiotic ointment is to fight infection, but sometimes if you keep an open area moist all of the time it can't heal. I had no open areas and all of my incisions were basically closed at the four week mark. I would occasionally have some drainage, but never much. I would give yourself another week to see if you can start seeing some progress. My recommendation would be to put the neosporin on, but then let it completely dry before you put gauze and a bra over it. That way you are giving it the antibiotic you need, but not creating that warm, dark, moist area in which bacteria thrives. I know it is hard if you have to go to work in the mornings or have appointments, but maybe you could use the neosporin in the evenings after your shower and then just lie on the bed (or couch if you can get away with it) and give it plenty of time to absorb. Then just lightly cover for the night. Then if you are too rushed in the mornings you could just change your dressings to allow enough padding underneath your bra band so that the incisions aren't getting irritated and go about your day.

I'm not trying to go against anything your doctor has told you, but this is the procedure I used and was very satisfied with how it worked. Let me know how it goes!
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I would say that the main thing is that they feel better. I don't know that the adhesive would have any negative effects since that is what they use in hospitals. I think you are on the right track though with limiting your lifting and doing whatever you have to in order to make yourself more comfortable. Hope your week continues to go well.
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I know. This really is a unique surgery because of the feelings and recovery that takes place with it! No one understands the process like people who have been along on the ride.
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Sorry to hear that your week was rough. Each day will get better as you build your stamina. Good luck!
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Well, for the last few days i have been driven crazy with the itching. No one tells you about it, and i'm not talking about my incisions, either. Those itch mildly, as to be expected, but still. my breasts itch from the inside out. I know that it is the healing process, but still. I finally went out and bought Benadryl this morning and broke open the box and beverage right there at the counter! Waiting for it to kick in now ....
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I definitely am although it has only been a week and I feel awesome! I have been reading up, though and am not looking forward to next week. I hear the third week is horrible in the process!
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So glad to hear that you are doing so well, and that you are living the life of a queen and letting those kiddos worship you like they should...that is probably why you are doing so wonderfully! Keep it up!
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It was a long weekend. I had so much stuff to do for the family and was also the guest speaker at church a few hours away. I stopped taking the pain meds and switched to ibruprophen which helped reduce the swelling more. I am still really tired after being really energetic and my oldest 2 are giving me so much help! The youngest is being a pain in the a ........ OK. We'll leave it at that since my ex is manipulating her to make my life hell. Some of it is her fault, some of it isn't.
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The drains slip right out, no problem. The doctor said, "Did you peek?" and I said, "Nope! I followed medical advice to the letter." I am really tender and my incisions itch like crazy, but they look great if you can get past the purple bruising! I got the same spiel about buying sports bras and I bought 3 last night on the way home. Good thing, because I was seeping all over the one I had on by the time I got home. I do not recommend long car rides during this time. I am so tired. Thank God I don't have to drive.
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Oh my gosh Barb! That is super. Please let us know how you did getting the drains out!
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So happy and excited for you Barb!!
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OK. A lot has happened since I last posted. I was scheduled to be in surgery on July 17th but then someone cancelled on Wed, June 13th and I got phone call. Would I take it? Of course! So after huge amounts of juggling with child care and rides, I struggled through and had my surgery on Wednesday. The last 2 days have been nuts. The biggest thing I would recommend is that if you are driving a long distance after surgery, make sure you are in a smooth riding car. While stationary, with drugs, the pain isn't too bad, but my brother's car is an older car and jerks when accelerating and braking and potholes were the worst! I am getting the drains removed today and am looking forward to seeing what is under those bandages!
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So sorry BarbB..I would be really frustrated too! Especially with your long drive!! And July 17th is the sonnest? Try to stay positive, and trust that your doctor made the right decision!
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I drone 2 1/2 hours to go pick up my mom and then drove 2 hours to Pittsburgh to go to surgery. I got all the way through to get changed and my cat had scratched me the night before - right where I would be cut. The doctor cancelled the surgery until his next opening on July 17th. Then I had to drive her home and then back home from there. That's it! That cat is getting declawed!
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This is the 3rd time it has been cancelled/delayed. I am so frustrated!
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Oh Barb, I'm so sorry! I can't even imagine the frustration. But try to remember that you would rather have ti rescheduled than to get an infection that gives you a lot of trouble. I will be thinking of you...and continuing to cheer you on!
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How are you doing Barb ???? Hope everything went wonderfully. I am Wishing you a quick recovery an fantastic results :O)
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