Hello all, I am so very glad I found this website...
I am so very glad I found this website - it has been such a great source of information! I've wanted a BR as long as I could remember. I was always a D+ cup, was always frustrated that people paid more attention to my BBs than anything else, but just figured it was my lot in life. Now that I've had two wonderful kiddos and made it through breastfeeding, I figure these things have done their duty!
I'm 39, 5' 7, currently a bit overweight at 168 pounds. I've been hitting the gym like a maniac for the last six months but the BBs stay the same. Married to a wonderful hubby who will support me in whatever crazy idea I get - and I have a lot. I have two awesome little girls, 8 and 4 years old.
I have met with one surgeon, and have a second opinion with a second surgeon next week. I'm currently an F cup, maybe a DDD depending on the bra. Like all of us, I would love to be a C! I am so tired of buying crazy expensive uncomfortable bras! I need to wear 2 sports bras to the gym and it's so constricting and uncomfortable.
I believe my insurance (BCBS) will cover at 85% and so I am trying to figure out exactly how much I am going to be on the hook for. It is absolutely ridiculous to me how nobody will tell you how much this costs! My insurance wouldn't tell me, my doctor won't tell me, I just called the surgery center and they wouldn't tell me. Ridiculous. I'm assuming it's going to be around $1500-$3000 out of pocket total, but that's a big difference, and we're in the middle of some home renovations and repairs so I can't just be throwing around a couple grand like it's nothing. That could be my new washer/dryer!
I will try to take some pictures soon.
So Annoyed By Insurance!
I was able to call the office of doctor #1 and talk to the administrator (she'd been out of town over the holiday weekend). She was able to give me the CPT code, so I tried calling my insurance again. Insurance, once again, could not tell me what my out of pocket cost would be because both providers are "Preferred Providers" (you'd think that would be good, right?) and therefore the allowable amounts are negotiated between the doctor, the hospital, and the insurance company. And, apparently, then locked in a safe, until it is time to send the bill.
Doctor #2 also thought I would be more borderline in terms of getting covered and the amount of tissue removed. He thought I would be closer to 500, whereas Docter #1 seemed to think more like 600-800. I looked up the Schnur Scale and my minimum amount would be right around 500. Interestingly, if I lost like 15 pounds my minimum amount might actually go down, that certainly is incentive to hit the gym extra hard!
It is just unbelievable to me that this amount is such a secret. Do other people have this problem? Did I miss a memo?
Both doctors use the Superior Pedicle Technique. Doctor #1 said he would probably use drains, Doctor #2 said he probably wouldn't. Both said I'd be back to work in a week and back to activities in 3-4 weeks. Both recommended I do it sooner rather than later (no big surprise there, of course.)
Not sure what I will do next. I think I may just try to call each hospital/surgery center and see if they might be able to tell me the allowable amounts?
Booked for September~!
Dr. #2's office, interestingly enough, gave me cost information right away. But the more I thought about that doc, the more I was concerned that a) he wouldn't take enough out and b) it wouldn't get covered by insurance at all. Dr. #1, however - getting cost information out of them was like pulling teeth. I had to call my insurance company multiple time, talk to managers, whine, plead, beg, bully, you name it, but I called the doctor's office again today and they had finally heard back from whoever they needed to hear from and give me actual cost info. The negotiated hospital + doctor cost is $7056 of which (assuming insurance covers it) I would have to pay 15%, which is $1056 which is totally reasonable for my budget. So, I went ahead and booked September 13!! I'm kind of bummed I have to get through another summer with gigantoboobs, but wow, I'm so excited to be moving this forward!
The Only Thing More Mortifying Than Telling Your Mom
Meanwhile, I have not told very many people about this. I meant to tell my mom when she visited this past weekend - she is busty like me - but never got around to it - mostly because my dad managed to break his collarbone on the same visit. (They live across the country from me.) I have to figure out how to have THAT conversation with her now.
But, I did figure out what's more mortifying than telling your mom - telling your personal trainer. LOL.
I work out with a trainer at my gym twice a week - a splurge for my health. He's like 23 years old, recent college grad, recently engaged to his college sweetheart, former college football player. I can only IMAGINE how embarrassing this conversation is going to be. So, of course, I just told him via email as I was asking him about some other scheduling issues but I figure I have to give him a heads up that I can't work out for four weeks and of course I need to tell him that I'm actually having surgery so we can adjust my workouts accordingly. But still. OMG.
Meanwhile, is there like a checklist or anything of what I should be doing x number of weeks before surgery? Like when I was planning my wedding all those years ago there were all these countdown checklists. I need one of those.
One month to go!
That's about it. I think about this every morning when I get dressed...I can't WAIT to be smaller!
One Week To Go!
After sucking at weight loss and eating healthy all summer, I am now going hard core on clean eating. All the websites I've read suggest giving up alcohol and cutting back sodium, caffeine, etc in prep for surgery...so I am trying my best at that, plus trying my best to give up diet coke. I have seriously gained a spare tire on my middle in the last few months...freaking sucks! so if anything smaller boobs are going to make that even more noticeable, so I really want to clean up my diet now and then eat super healthy while I am recovering to speed healing. I think I will plan to order some cooked/delivered meals so I don't have to cook while I am recovering that first week.
Plus, after surgery, I can't workout for 4 weeks. So I really need to eat super healthy to make up for that. However, once I can work out again, I want to try to get back to running (once I don't have to wear two freaking bras that dig into my shoulders and my back.)
First, though, I am taking my daughter to a girl scout camp thing this weekend, so I can't really even focus on surgery prep. I did go to drugstore.com and ordered a bunch of supplies, like arnica and hibiclens and all that.
I need to do more to prep my hubby. Is there a good list anywhere of things I WON'T be able to do and for how long? Like how long until I can drive? Wash my hair?
Five days to go!
- eating: I normally eat pretty healthy as in no junk foo, no fast food. But I still need to lose about 30-40 pounds so clearly not perfect. Last week I read the book, "this is why you're fat" by Jackie Warner and I am trying to clean up by following her "jump start" which involves adding the following to your diet: oatmeal, 2 eggs, 2 servings of fruit, 3 servings of vegetables, and 1 scoop of whey protein.
- vitamins: I quit my usual multi because it has tons of vitamin E, but I am taking my doctor- recommended vitamin D as well as vitamin C.
- cut my alcohol almost completely. I did have a beer last night for Monday Night Football..
- cut out diet soda
- taking arnica montana
- starting Monday, washing my entire torso with hibiclens every time I shower
I need to prep some food for those first few days. I do the cooking so my poor hubby would not be able to find anything in the kitchen!
I have a desk job, so I will only be out of work for a week, but I hope I can work from home a little during that first week so I don't get too far behind.
I'm trying to figure out what food/groceries to buy for the week after surgery. Am I going to be up for stuff like salads? Or should I stick to thinks like chicken soup?
My doctors office doesn't do a pre-op appt. I had all my bloodwork done at my general practice dr. Seems different from most other folks here. But yesterday I spoke on the phone with a nurse who took down all my info and gave me all my pre-op instructions. I had to cut her short - she called me at 5:10 pm and I had to be somewhere at 6- so I have a few more questions I need answered.
24 Hours to Go and...WHAT???
Which is interesting.
Because. I called the doctor's office again today. I wanted to confirm a few more things, like time of the surgery, and whether or not I needed to bring my own bra to come home in. And what time I would be able to go home, so I can tell my babysitter. And Inga, the Woman Of All Things in my doctor's office, the one who put up with my pestering about insurance costs and all that...Inga says, "well, it depends...and...wait a minute, you are having a breast reduction? You will be staying overnight, 23 hours observation, because you will have drains!"
WTF?? Nobody ever mentioned an overnight stay to me before. Nobody. Not the doctor when I first met with him, not Inga, not Rosanna the pre-op nurse. WTF? My husband is going to freak out! I mean, I guess it's okay, I've read on here that lots of people stay over night...but CRAP! I didn't plan for this? What else do I need to bring to the hospital? Do I need to plan for anything else??? I DO NOT LIKE last minute changes!!!
WHAT DAY IS IT?!?
In recovery. Groggy and tired. Doc said everything went well. Nurses are super nice. Pain was like a 6 when I woke up, think of a super tight uncomfortable bra put on over a horrible sunburn. But meds help. Waiting for a room now.
my shoulders down...they are like up by my ears, like I am shrugging,
without me trying, because they are holding up less weight. OMG.
That brought a bout of happy/overwhelmed tears. I'm sure I will have a good cry before I leave the hospital!
First photo of my new girlies!
3 days PO - so happy!!!
But I got my drains out - WHAT A RELIEF!! And all the extra tape off. Now I just have steri strips and a little gauze where the drains were. Feels SO MUCH BETTER! The nurse did tuck some gauze/padding where the bra kind if hits the incision and that feels better. So much more comfortable and easy to move.
I can shower tomorrow. I go back for another post op next week.
I am so happy!!
Before and after - fashion show!
A few flashbacks from surgery day
As I mentioned, I didn't have a pre-op with my surgeon. My primary care doctor handled the surgery clearance and the bloodwork. I love my doc and she is the one who really encouraged me to get the surgery and recommended my surgeon. So I was happy to have the chance to check in with her. I was a little concerned about not getting enough "face time" with my surgeon to make sure I didn't end up the wrong size, too big, too small, etc, but he was very thorough the day of surgery so that ended up being fine. There was some confusion/misinformation about the fact that I was staying overnight...perhaps that could have been avoided.
Day of surgery, I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of each step of the process, but I wasn't nervous or anxious at all. I knew I was in good hands. I got checked in with the registration desk, and went to the surgery center. There I got a wristband, and waited. A nurse finally came and called me and made me state my name and birthdate. That would be repeated over and over again...they definitely have processes in place to avoid medical mistakes! We went (my hubby still was with me) to what I can only describe as the surgery launchpad area. Lots of little cubicles, filled with waiting patients.
There, I met with a variety of nurses, all of whom checked my wristband and made me state my name and birthday. They checked my medical history, made me repeat any medications I was currently taking, screened me for sleep apnea, and took my medical history again. Eventually the anesthesiologist came by. She was an older lady and was very nice and quite funny. She thoroughly explained the anesthesia process, what drugs she would be using, that I would be given a breathing tube, and every other detail imaginable. She asked several times about my history with GA (limited to having wisdom teeth out 30 years ago) and my family's medical history, and emphasized that whatever combo of drugs she used was designed to help avoid nausea and headache after GA. I also met with an anesthesiology nurse, who covered a lot of the same information, took more medical history, and with another nurse, set up an IV port in my hand.
I also met with the plastic surgeon along with one of his residents, Dr. F. I have a LOT of friends who are doctors and I have a lot of memories of their residency days so I appreciate how much the residents do and how important they are. My surgeon basically repeated the exam he'd given me back at my consult in May or April or whenever it was, did lots of measurements, and then did the drawings. That was sort of awkward and hilarious. It tickled like crazy, and I felt bad that my poor husband had to watch it. Dr. D, the surgeon, answered all my questions and reminded me of all the key details of the procedure, and went on his merry way.
Finally it was getting close to go time. I had been told initially to change out of my clothes into my surgical gown, and that I could leave my undies on at first but would need to take them off eventually. Well, eventually never came...totally forgot to take them off and woke up with them still on. The anesthesiology nurse gave me a shot of something in my IV to "take me to la-la land" so I would already be pretty out of it when they knocked me out. i said "see you later" to my hubby and then they wheeled me down the hall. We stopped to get a surgical cap to put on me...that is when I suddenly, completely, felt woozy and almost drunk...a-ha, this must be la-la land. As we went down the hall to surgery I remember asking "so I am not going to remember any of this?" and the nurses laughed and said "probably not." I have the vaguest memory of the door opening to the surgery room and seeing the gurney/bed/whatever, and somebody pointing to a doughnut-shaped pillow and saying "that's where your head goes" and then...LIGHTS OUT.
Waking up...the first thing I remember is hearing the voices of the nurses. They were sort of arguing about something in their new computer system. it was like waking up from a deep sleep...I even seem to recall I was having a dream of some sort. And honestly, one of my first thoughts was "yay! I didn't die! I'm still alive" Then I heard nurses' voices calling my name and telling me to wake up. They asked about my pain level on a scale of one to ten. I hate that question, pain is relative, I don't have much to compare it to. So I think I said 5 or 6. My nurse, Rhonda, just sat there next to me, asked me a few questions, but mostly I just lay there, in a fog. I was immensely tired, and felt like I wanted to go back to sleep, but wasn't sure if I was supposed to be waking up, or what. Rhonda noted that we were close in age, and we bonded a bit, talking about our favorite hair bands from the 80s and comparing notes on rock concerts we'd been too. She was awesome. The post-surgery ward or whatever it was was loud and bustling...lots of nurses chatting, lots of patients coming and going. I was kind of tucked in a corner and couldn't see much but could hear a lot. I kept watching my blood pressure every time the machine took it, and watching my pulse rate and oxygen level go up and down. It really hurt to move my left arm, the one with the IV in it and the little clamp for my pulse on my finger. I was immensely thirsty. I asked for water constantly and they kept giving me these teeny tiny cups.
One thing that was weird was my left hand developed crazy pins and needles. The nurse said that was probably due to the fact that my arms had been stretched out straight at my side for so long. The IV was also getting uncomfortable.
I was waiting for a bed to open up, since I was staying the night. But eventually Rhonda told me that they were very busy that day and that it was taking a long time for a bed to open up. So I asked if my hubby could come in. He did and I was so happy to see him. It kind of hurt to talk because my mouth was so dry, and I was still so thirsty, so we didn't talk much. Best of all he brought me my iPhone (yes, I am an iPhone addict) so I was able to text my mom and my best friend and a few other people. And do things like check my email and Facebook. I kid you not, I was sending work emails by 4:30 pm after a 1:30 am surgery.
Around 5:30 or 6, Dr. F, the resident, came by to check on me. Dr. D, the surgeon, had talked to my hubby earlier. Dr. F was great, answered all my questions. The first thing I asked him was how many grams. I was shocked how much more they had to take on the left side! He also said they had removed a small fibroadenoma - lump of really dense tissue - which I remembered showing up on my mammogram. He said he was quite certain it was nothing to worry about but that it would be tested/biopsied anyway. He was super nice and very pleasant. I saw him again at my post-op. I chatted with him a little about his residency and what he wanted to do...he said his favorite specialty so far was restorative/reconstructive plastic surgery for kids/pediatrics - I'm sure he'll be excellent at it.
It was about 8:30 pm before I got to move out of that ward. In the meantime I had gotten at least a slightly more comfortable bed and managed to go the bathroom and eat some applesauce. I got to my room and was bummed to find that not only did I have a roommate, but one that liked to watch TV AND who snored.
The pins and needles feeling in my left hand didn't start to subside till around midnight. I had a terrible time getting to sleep with all the noise, which was tough because I was tired!
I met with another resident - who turned out to have the same wedding anniversary as me - in the morning and she got the discharge process started. My hubby and my two wonderful daughters came to pick me up and I was so happy to see them!
Okay, that's enough flashback for now. I hope that is helpful for some of you.
One week PO!
I go back to see the surgeon on Monday and from there, back to work!
2 weeks post op
I think the healing is going okay. Left side is a little more sore - that was the bigger side. Right side, incisions all look good.
Of course, just my luck, my hubby got sent on a business trip - and he had to leave today. So I'm here with my two kiddos and on top of that I'm fighting off a stomach thing I think.
Suffice to say the kids and I will be watching a lot of DVDs.
One Month Post-op!
* scars: I was pleasantly surprised to look at my scars a day or two ago to find the ropey-ness had diminished considerably! I haven't used any scar treatment yet, except a little bio-oil more for moisturizing and keeping itching down, and then only on the really well healed parts.
* I do have one hole at the t-junction one my left side. But I'm keeping neosporin on it.
* size: I haven't tried on bras yet. I feel like left side is still a little swollen. But overall size is good. I hope it goes down a little more.
* soreness: things are still sore and tender, but it does feel like it's getting a little better each day. I try to change bras throughout the day, and I've found wearing a seamless tank top UNDER my bra really helps with chafing.
* no one has commented yet, other than the small number of people who know I had the surgery. Which is fine w me.
* I'm sort of afraid to go back to the gym, but I know I should. I'm just nervous about getting my incisions all sweaty.
* I haven't even been clothes shopping yet, again, sort of afraid to. It will be so weird to shop without thinking "will this hide my boobs enough?"
3 days PO: Overall, I've had a very good experience with Dr. Ducic. He is very straightforward, up-front, and professional. He comes across as a very skilled technician - in addition to plastic surgery he is also a nerve surgery specialist, which added to my level of comfort in working with him. His staff is patient and helpful. I did a lot of back-and-forth trying to get information about insurance coverage and they were very patient. A pre-op appointment is not standard practice - I did my pre-op bloodwork with my primary care doctor - and it would have been nice to get a little extra time with Dr. D. However, day of surgery, he was very thorough and answered all my questions. He works in a teaching hospital, so I also interacted with several residents, and they were all fantastic. I am very pleased with the results so far and everything has gone as smoothly as possibile!