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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