36DDD to Something More Manageable - New York, NY

I've been wanting to do this for a while. I went...

I've been wanting to do this for a while. I went from nothing to C/D cup in a short time, and they continued to grow with time. 31 months of breastfeeding did not help matters. I have chronic back/neck pain pretty much since high school. I'm 32 years old. I currently wear a 36DDD, which there is some bulging out the top, but I'm not willing to wear a larger size. My primary insurance took 5 weeks to deny coverage for surgery, stating that I would need at least 750 gms removed from each side. My surgeon estimated 500 gms. My secondary insurance (husband's insurance) approved the surgery in 5 minutes... literally. So now I'm all set for December 9th. I'm excited and scared, trying to get prepared for surgery.

Gulp! Pics added... and some belly obsession

Ahh! I'm not crazy about posting these pics, but I am finding that reading other people's stories and actually seeing their transformations has been so helpful - and I want to help others as well.

I am now 13 days preop and much more anxious than I'd like! I'm not sure what I'm actually nervous about. I feel I handle pain pretty well, I have confidence in my surgeon, I have supportive family/friends, and 3-4 weeks off from work to recuperate.

I'm about 15 lbs from where I want to be, but I am wondering if I should ask about smoothing out the little ledge along my panty line. I know if I lose weight that will still be there, even though the rest of it slims down nicely (2 years ago I was down 20 lbs). I'm also wondering if I should wait for another time - could something like this be done with little recovery time (no time off from active job) in the future? I keep reading that ladies after their surgeries are now more aware of their bulging bellies and I'm wondering if that will be a regret of mine... or if it will be terrific motivation.

Tomorrow's the big day!

I have to be up in 8 hours. Ahh! I can't believe it's here already. So freaking out. I need to finish packing my bag and try to get some rest. See you on the other side!

Can't sleep

Surgery was yesterday. I was in the OR for about 3.5 hours. I had the reduction and axillary liposuction. Because of the lipo (I'm told), I've had a lot of oozing,needing to change my dressings every 4 hours. No drains. I have caught a quick glance of the girls from above, I feel like a 16 year old girl! The surgeon guesses I'm a C cup, but if course we won't know for a while. Hubby got a good look at them and says they look OK, swollen. He is pleased with his "Christmas presents" overall :-) They are keeping me in the hospital overnight. At first I was numb, but I just woke up and it seems the numbness has worn off. Bummer. Initially I was feeling minor, quick stabs in the nipple area, now I feel a lot of aching under my arms and on the lower sides. I'm taking Percocet for pain, which I don't think I like. It doesn't knock out the pain and it makes me very nauseous. I have to wait 24 hours to get ibuprofen... 7 more hours to go, but who's counting? I found out that my surgeon is against any heat or cold to the surgical sites as well, so that relief is out. I have a sore throat and weak voice from being intubated during surgery. I'm surprised at how exhausted I am - I've had surgery before, but rather quick procedures (~1 hour), and I don't ever remember the exhaustion this long or this much. I'm wondering if it was the length of the procedure. At lunch yesterday I onky had a couple bites of a turkey sandwich and some chicken noodle soup. I was too nauseous. I didn't think I'd want much dinner, but the more I ate, the hungrier I got. And I ordered a second dinner - and we're taking hospital food, so you know I was hungry! 1st dinner was baked chicken breast, broccoli, mashed potatoes, chicken noodle soup, applesauce. 2nd dinner was turkey sandwich, potato chips, apples, and Angel food cake. Oink, oink!

My first look

I had a nurse friend stop by and visit me this morning. I had her take a pic so I could see my new boobs!

Morning, day 2 after surgery

Yesterday I didn't think I would be discharged. Nausea hit me hard after my last post and I spent the majority of the day dry heaving. I just cannot handle narcotics, I think. I finally got home around dinner time and passed out for the night shortly after.

Today I feel weak, sore, lightheaded, tired. I'm glad to be home. I think my sore back and neck are improved from yesterday. I've been sleeping in a recliner with a heating pad on my neck. I was discouraged from using ice or heat for my surgical site pain. I took a Percocet overnight with phenergan, but otherwise I'm trying to make it with just ibuprofen. When does this get better, easier? I've been cleared to shower today. I'm looking forward to that. I continue to have a lot of oozing. It will be nice to put clean dressings, surgical bra, and pjs on! Im just afraid of how much work this will be. Maybe I will get more pics later. My plan for today is rest, medicate, shower :-) I have no idea how people recuperate alone. Get help if you can!

First shower

Just took my shower. It was a scary thought, being so sore, but was well worth it. I do feel better being cleaned up! I put new surgical bra on with a new dressing. Still some oozing, not too much. Old bra soaking in hydrogen peroxide now. I got a good look at the girls upright in the mirror today. I was not happy with what I saw - boxy, foreign - but I am glad that I was prepared for this by reading other pay stories and setting other pics. I was really sore and unable to get a good pic, so this is what I have for now. Now back to bed, or should I say recliner?

Day #5

So I'm on postop day #5. Not a significant change since surgery, but I have noticed a gradual improvement with time. Most of my back, neck, jaw pain is gone - this was from being in the hospital bed and spending postop day #1 dry heaving. In terms of breast pain, most of my pain is aching and under my arms. If I lie perfectly still I can have periods of time with zero pain. I will occasionally have sharp, stabbing pains in my nipple areas, and while it can be quite uncomfortable, it passes within seconds. My surgeon does not allow any ice or heat to surgical sites postop, but I do feel like that would be tremendously helpful. I take ibuprofen 600 mg every 6 hours. I'm also taking one Percocet with phenergan (nausea medicine) every 6 hours. Yesterday for 2 doses I took plain Tylenol instead of the Percocet. My pain was better controlled with the Percocet, but at least I was more awake with just Tylenol.

I took my second shower since surgery yesterday. I needed someone to squirt the shampoo and conditioner in my hands, but otherwise did it myself. I even tried to shave my legs, which was difficult and painful, but did make me feel better. After the shower I pulled the dressings off the surgical sites. I was told I could do this after 2 days, but chickened out after the last shower. They came off pretty easily and the incisions themselves seem to still be numb. Fortunately the drainage seems to have almost stopped. My breasts haven't changed much since the last pic. Slight bruising, still boxy. I did not take a pic, sorry.

My appetite is so-so, but I definitely try to eat something with my pain meds. I don't feel constipated, but things have definitely slowed down and I am regretting not having a stool softener. This will be on our grocery list.

I tried to sleep in bed last night, but only lasted a couple hours. I am definitely more comfortable sleeping in a recliner. Someone before mentioned sleeping in their "pillow fort" - that's exactly what it is. I have a back rest pillow on my lower back, a memory form pillow behind my head/upper back, one pillow beneath my knees, then a pillow on each side underneath my arms. Hey, it works.

One of my biggest concerns about recovery was keeping my mind busy while my body was out of commission. I have literally been sleeping ~20 hours a day. Yesterday morning I woke up feeling more alert than I had yet and immediately began to feel anxious. I knew that my brain was now awake and going to want to be industrious when my body couldn't. That was short lived and I ended up sleeping away most of the day. I have yet to watch an entire movie. I have been getting in some reading, however.

I think those are all the updates I have for now! The Percocet has kicked in and I'm ready for another nap.

Day #6

I continue to be awake more each day. I'm still taking 1 Percocet, nausea medication, and 600mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours. I get quite uncomfortable without this. The majority of my pain is on the sides, under my arms. The pain at my actual incision sites is very tolerable. I'm still limited in what I can do. I tried to shower independently, but just got too tired and lightheaded, so my shower got cut short. Sorry I missed out on the pic again. I don't think the appearance has changed much from the first day, though. I have my first postop appt tomorrow afternoon. My mom is leaving after that. I'm hoping that I will be ok to manage without her. I have found my kids to be surprisingly understanding and helpful, but they are still little kids. I'm just very ready to be independent again.

One week out!

I had my postop today. Official word: 584 gms from right breast, 520 gms from left breast, plus underarm lipo. I'm still quite sore under my arms, but the surgeon says that should now improve over the next couple weeks. I have graduated to a sports bra. I went to Target right away. I will put the new bra on after I shower tonight. I also got the green light to use deodorant again... yeah!

I will say that today was the most activity that I've had since surgery. I wrapped two presents, went to postop appt, post office, out to lunch, bra shopping. For the first time I'm actually feeling breast pain, I'm not sure if I over did it?

Day #8

Sore today. I'm only taking Percocet at night, I'm out of the surgical bra and into a sports bra, I'm a little more active. Not sure if it's one or a combination of things, but I'm feeling it. I'm starting to get really nervous about going back to work in a couple weeks, but then I have to remind myself that I'm only 8 days out. I'm very happy with the surgery, I'm just very ready to be back to normal and fully functional again.

Day #9

I tried to sleep in bed last night, but I don't think I'm ready. This morning was a little busy with the kids. I was very uncomfortable. For the majority of the day I just rested. Tylenol and ibuprofen weren't cutting it. I had one percocet and felt much better. It's frustrating that I'm still taking meds, but overall I am starting to notice gradual improvements. I still have the pain on the sides, but now I am feeling pains along my incisions, which is new the past couple days. Also, car rides are not so much fun. I feel like with each bump my chest is going to fall off. It's a weird sensation.

Day #10

Today was what I would consider my first good day. It was busy. I went to my daughter's Christmas pageant, then out to lunch with a friend, followed by a quick shopping trip to Target. I did this with only Tylenol and Motrin. I was moving around slowly, but improved from previous days. I came home and still felt decent. A few hours later I started to feel very uncomfortable. My breasts feel very full, like when I was breastfeeding and really needed to nurse or pump. I ended up taking two percocet and I'm looking forward to being due for more. Despite this I am pleased with how today went. That being said, if I wake up tomorrow in a lot of pain I may change my mind :-) But for now I'm thinking that returning to work 2 weeks from now is totally doable.

Day #11

Quiet day for me today. I'm sore from yesterday, so it was good that I did not have plans. I've spent today resting and taking pain meds. Anyone out there breastfeed in the past? The new, near constant sensation is tingling in my nipples. It feels like the zingers I used to get when breastfeeding. You know when it's been a while and then the baby starts crying? I'm half expecting to start leaking! Sorry to be graphic, but that is exactly what it feels like. Some of my swelling is starting to go down, so that's nice to see another step towards my new normal. I know I should post another pic, but I'm just having a really hard time coming to terms with how they look right now. I know with time it will improve, but I just don't want to see or share them now.

Day #12

I slept in bed successfully last night. I was really starting to miss it! I'm still sore, but as time goes on, each day brings an evolving pain. Today is zingers. Not the constant, mild zinging ache of yesterday. Today it's intermittent, stabbing pain. These zingers last a brief moment to a few seconds. It can happen anywhere along my incisions underneath my breasts and around my nipples. I took Tylenol and Motrin this morning, but nothing else. We did some purging in the kids' rooms this morning - getting rid of outgrown toys and clothes. I didn't want to push it so I took it easy the rest of the day. Overall, pretty good.

Something that I've been meaning to ask - has anyone had hot flashes since surgery? I'm so warm all the time, which is not my normal. This has been going on since right after surgery. I do not have any fevers or signs of infection. I wasn't sure if it was a hormonal thing or a consequence of sitting in my pillow nest all day long. Anyone else?

Day #13

I did not sleep well last night. It's the first night I've gone without the narcotic and sedating anti nausea medications. I'm typically an exclusive tummy sleeper. I will occasionally have a zinging pain that would wake me up. I'm still having my hot flashes. All these things combined made for very poor sleep last night. I think that tonight I will sleep in the recliner.

Today was a completely med free day. I'm still sore, but I want to try going without, listen to my body about what I should and shouldn't be doing. The soreness today is predominantly the intermittent burning/zinging pain along incisions, primarily my nipples.

I was fairly active today, albeit light activity. We had breakfast with Santa, went grocery shopping - I was just along for the walk, the hubby did all the lifting and pushing the cart. I went home, rested a little bit, then made and decorated Christmas cookies with the kids. My husband went out for the afternoon, so it was just me and the kids. I tried to use cookie cutters, but using the rolling pin was beyond my abilities at this time. We had to get creative and free hand our cookies :-)

So tomorrow will be 2 weeks out. I guess I could see how someone in a desk job could go back at this point, I really think my body would need to heal more. I'm back to being nervous about my return to work in a week and a half, but then I have to remind myself how far I've come in the last week and a half!

Day #14

Holy moly. Overnight I stretched my arms over my head without thinking about it. And everything was fine. I startled myself at first, then realized it wasn't as painful as I thought it should be. I waited a minute, then stretched again. It felt amazing.

Overall, I'm still not sleeping well. I'm so tired, but I just can't sleep well. After my hubby and kids left for the day I tried to go back to sleep. I fell asleep for 30 minutes. I tried to fall back asleep. Again, I slept for 30 minutes. I gave up on sleep. I decided to try to be a little more active today to see if this would tire me out more, help me sleep. I was also interested in seeing how much I could do.

I headed out to run some errands. Driving is getting easier. I went to Target. I walked around the store, more to walk. I browsed the bras. No front closure ones. I browsed the holiday stuff to make sure there wasn't anything I didn't know I needed. I walked around for an hour, more to stretch my legs and see how much I could do. Aside from walking slowly, I feel like I moved fairly normally. It was great. I spent $3. I came home, did some light house cleaning and wrapped some presents. Overall I was feeling pretty good, but as the evening wore on I broke down and took some ibuprofen - my first pain meds in 2 days. It definitely made me more comfortable, but I still get those zinging pains.
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Pace yourself, sounds like you are doing great and 30 minute naps will be a help.
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I remember the stage you are at - kind of no mans land........ready to be better - restless but not really better - still needing to take it easy - weird time but it will pass. I would take something to help you sleep - I had muscle relaxers - I loved getting a good night sleep. best wishes
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Sounds like you are making great progress!
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Yes! :-)
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Did any of you have the operation without liposuction? If so were there "dog ears" or as one lady said on the internet "saddle bags?" My surgery is without lipo and I'm concerned.
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I had my BR 4 weeks ago. I did not have any liposuction. I do not have "dog ears" nor do I have "saddlebags". Feel free to check out my review and pictures.
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So I did have lipo and I think I have some mild dog ears. I'm not exactly sure what that entails, but I do/did have "flaps" of skin on either side. I haven't looked full on at my chest in a few days. The swelling still needs to go down a little, then the skin will need to firm up.
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Jenny - I just looked at your pics and what a difference between weeks 1&2 to 3&4. Tomorrow will be 2 weeks for me. I feel like I may reach my new normal soon, seeing your pics :-)
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Yanno, PB, it's funny when one looks at their own pics... at least when *I* do. You're right, I do see a change between weeks 1&2 and weeks 3&4 but what I don't see is a change between week 3 and week 4. That disappointed me a bit. But then again, I suppose my real "reward" is seeing the change from BEFORE to week 4 hahahahahahaha. When I look at how my boobs were in the BEFORE photo, well, how can I be anything but pleased, right? Sometimes I have my moments when I feel like "good grief, nothing's happening, nothing's changing, I need my AFTER to be here right now"... but then I get dressed and move on with my day :-) I can be quite impatient and extremely nit picky if I let myself obsess too much over it all. I haven't seen you post any in a while but are you taking pics for your private collection? To me that's really the only way I can see how far I've come so I encourage everyone to keep taking them weekly even if you don't post them here. Have a great day!
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I have not taken any pics since the last one posted. It's half that once I'm showered I'm too tired to take pics. Also if I shower, but forget my phone downstairs, then I won't grab it - it's too far away. And outside those instances I'm wearing a sports bra that I pull up to put on/rather than over the head - I wasn't able to find a front closure sports bra during my limited shopping trip. It's just such an uncomfortable ordeal for me to get my bra on and off. I'm hoping in the next week or so to go get a regular front closure bra. The other half is I just do not like the way they look now. I know it will get better. I can see that it's improving. I just have no motivation to take pics :-/
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I'll be interested in learning after you have completely healed whether you have them or not.
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Thank you PB for responding to my question. I hope when you did look after a few days, that you did not. If you did, would you please post a picture of what they look like from the side? Thanks.
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With a lot of wounds, tingling happens during healing so I think it is probably a good sign!
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I have 3 little kids and I'm wondering how I am going to take care of them. My mom will be there for 10 days to help. How did you survive? Getting them to school? Feeding? Changing diapers? Am I going to die?
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I've had lots of surgeries for my intestines and often wondered the same thing. As for your little ones, do you have church members, siblings, parents of children your children's age or dear friends who will come for a visit to help you out? I know asking for help for ourselves is something all of us are slow to do, feeling we'll be a "burden" to someone, but actually, there are those who really LOVE to be of help. It gives them purpose. Don't be afraid to reach out, even if it's just a cup of tea with someone who will listen to you and perhaps give you a cheery lift. You are going to be fine, and although we all have to die, I'm thinking you aren't ready to go just yet. : )
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How old are your kiddos? My mom was here for the first week. My oldest is in 1sr grade. My younger one is 4. My kids could go to school/daycare all day. My husband pretty much provided most care before and after. We let my 6 year old skip daycare, but he was gone most of the day. When he was home it was with the understanding that I was recouping and he needed to be extra well behaved. Both kids were/are pretty good about it. If your kids are younger you need to realize that you won't be able to pick them up - no heavy lifting - I would ask your surgeon for how long. I would recommend getting someone to come in to help care for the kids, or better yet take them out of the house. Driving is still a little difficult for me. I get tired very easily.
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My kids are 1, 3, and 5. Maybe I can get a babysitter to come help for a week. I do have in laws and church friends too, but you are right scaredycat, it's hard to ask for help. Thanks for the advice.
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Hi, I've been reading your posts...so similar to my journey. I did not write as much as you have so your posts were like reading my own (or what I would have written). The zingers and nipple tingling..weird sensations huh? Well I am 4 weeks post op now and it's getting easier. I can actually lift a milk jug, pull my car door shut, load the dishwasher....without feeling pain. I am still taking it easy, I don't want to put undue stress on my incision lines. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Don't worry about how you look right now, I have had apprehensions about my breasts and how they will turn out. But many on this site have encouraged me and assured me that they look good and will even out. Best wishes for a great recovery and healing. You are doing great!
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Thank you so much. I will go back to work Jan 2nd - 3 weeks, 3 days postop. I hope it's not too soon. I will only then be back for 3 weeks before leaving for a 2 week family vacation. I want to make sure I am healed from surgery, but I also don't want to get too far behind at work.
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Purple Beagle; I also go back to work Jan 2nd. I work in an office so I think it will be fine. I do find that bending forward does cause pressure in my breasts so I'm going to try to not stand and bend over large files when I go back. Good luck!
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I go for my pre-op tomorrow and I'm starting to feel like not going through with it. I have had many bowel surgeries and was able to endure that, except once I was in the hospital with throwing up and diarrhea for five weeks. I wanted to die. I read one ladies experience regarding saddlebags, that scared me. My breasts already hang over the bra. If they will still do that, why am I doing this surgery? I am a 38 DDD, but the bra doesn't fit, I am over the top, under the bra and over the sides. I have a small waist but it is hardly noticeable with my large breasts. Are there any pep talks to help me with this panicky feeling?
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I'm sorry. I'm just reading this now and about to go to sleep. Hugs! I will message you in the morning!
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I went to my pre-op and I felt much better afterwards. He will be taking 500mm from each side. They showed me a replica of what that looks like. It is heavy. I asked the doctor how much it weighed and he said about a pound. So, it won't be any big deal on the scales (2 lbs), but appearance wise, it sounds good to me. Thank you for your reply. I love reading about your experience. I hope you will be ready to show us what the actual appearance will be before they are normal. I think it may help us to prepare ourselves. But, I COMPLETELY understand how awkward it must be for you to show any pictures at all. I may have my husband take some pictures for my diary, but I'm not brave enough to post them. Kudos to you though. Thanks for the "Hugs!" it felt good.
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Imagine all the cute tops and dresses you can wear? You will look like you lost a ton of weight! I always feel frumpy because my shirts are baggy to fit the boobs but my waist is hidden. Think long term! (Coming from someone who is also freaked out and uses this pep talk many times a day)
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I know! And I'll finally be able to see my waist! I love Victorian blouses and you sure can't find cute blouses to fit my bust. Also, it will be so much better not to have to pin my button-up blouses so there is no undies showing. And, maybe I'll be able to wear a belt and not look like a bag of flour tied in the middle. Thanks for your thoughts. When is your surgery?
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