So I honestly feel like I could go back to work today, if it weren't for the drains and bandages being there. They'd probably look pretty silly under my work clothes. The worst "pain" I'm having right now is just a tight and itchy feeling where I'm swollen under the bandages, but I'm icing pretty frequently to help keep that under control. I'm mostly just taking the percocet to help me sleep, rather than because I actually need the pain control. And my drains are really easy to manage (I'm really not draining that much fluid, only about 35 ccs all day yesterday).
So as far as the operation went:
I woke up about 6am, super nervous. I took a shower with the special antibacterial soap that they gave me (they gave me two packets, one for in the shower, and one to wear like a lotion after I got out). Then I puttered around the house trying to distract myself until my mom was ready to take me to the surgery center. I had to be there at 9:30, and we got there about 10 minutes early.
I was actually quite glad to be at an outpatient surgery center instead of in a hospital, since I think it lowers the risk of being exposed to the more noxious diseases and bacteria that you find in hospitals (a lot of hospitals in Alaska have had issues with MRSA, for instance).
They called me and my mom back at about 9:30 and I filled out a few more forms and consent sheets, then they had me get changed. The gave me a paper gown that opened in the back, then a thin cloth robe that opened in the front, and I also had to wear compression socks with little booties over those. (I told my mom I was bringing sexy back, lol). I got to keep my underwear on, which was nice for two reasons - first, I was on my period and didn't have to worry about bleeding on stuff, and second, it meant that they weren't planning on using a catheter on me.
Almost as soon as I got into the pre-op waiting area, they put me on an IV with an antibiotic. It stung a little when the antibiotic first started flowing, but that went away pretty quickly. They numbed my skin and everything before they put the IV in, but they didn't really need to. I've given blood often enough that having to sit around with something in my arm or hand doesn't really bother me anymore.
Then we waited. The waiting rooms were pretty nice - small, but I had a recliner to sit in, so I was comfortable. My surgery wasn't actually scheduled to begin until 11:30 - the big reason they wanted me there so early was so that the antibiotic could have time to completely get into my system. While I was waiting, my mom kept me company. I practiced some deep breathing exercises to help control my nerves. A few members of the staff came through (a nurse, the head anesthesiologist, and the anesthesiologist that was going to be in the OR with me), and they all verified my information with me, and made sure that I didn't have any questions or concerns. The staff made me feel super comfortable with the whole thing, actually.
My surgeon had a patient before me, and that procedure was running a little late, so she didn't actually come in to mark me until about 11:40. She marked me up with a sterile marker (individually wrapped), and marked which boob was bigger (I had slight asymmetry). Then she handed me over to the nurse so I could get brought back to the OR. They let me go to the bathroom one more time before we went back.
Once we were in the OR, they put a sticky pad on my back for the heart rate monitor, and started me on some IV drugs. Those drugs stung a little bit when they started going in, and I joked that at least now we know for sure that it's working. And then I was asleep. No countdown needed, lol.
I woke up in the recovery room really groggy. Apparently my surgery didn't take quite as long as was expected - they wheeled me into recovery at almost 2 o'clock on the dot, so my surgery must not have taken even two whole hours, even though I was scheduled for two and a half. As soon as I opened my eyes, there was a nurse next to me asking what my pain level was from one to ten, and if I wanted any pain meds. I told her it was about a three, and sure, go ahead and give me some meds - why not, right? I asked for something to drink, and over the course of the next hour or so I had a glass of water and two cans of apple juice, and two packages of applesauce (they didn't want to give me pain pills on an empty stomach). I remember asking the nurse questions right after I woke up - but I don't remember what the questions were or what her answers were, I was still too out of it because of the meds. The nurse staff was super attentive the whole time I was in recovery - any time I waved my hand or even just looked like I wanted something, someone was there to help me with whatever I needed.
My mom got back after I'd been in the recovery area for about thirty minutes. Apparently I said some really nice things to her about how awesome she was and how much I loved her and appreciated her being there with me. I don't really remember that part either, but I definitely still feel really grateful to her for being there with me for the whole process.
During the wait, they gave me one more hit of IV medication, and then gave me a 10mg percocet to tide me over for the car-ride. The nurse mentioned that I should be pretty well hydrated by now, because not only had I drank plenty of fluids, I'd also finished off three saline bags (one big one, and two little ones).
While we were waiting there, they gave my mom my post-op instructions (drain care, when to take pain meds and antibiotics, etc.). I tried to pay attention, but my mom pretty much had to repeat all of it to me once I got home.
At about three, they removed my IV and cleared me to get dressed. I had packed sweat pants, slip on shoes, and a lightweight zip front hoodie, and we got all of those on no problems. The drains were a little awkward to work around - they clipped the little bulby ends to the bottom of my ace wrap using safety pins, so they're underneath any top I wear. They asked if I felt up to walking out to the car, and I told them that I still felt too woozy to trust myself not to fall over, so they helped me into a wheelchair and wheeled me out. The nurse, on my request, reclined my mom's passenger seat a bit before I got in, and then helped me into the car.
Then my mom drove me home. The ride was smooth and easy, and I wasn't feeling any pain at all, really. When we arrived, my brother helped me get out of the car and go upstairs (I needed help getting out of the car, but the stairs were alright. I just told him to follow me and catch me if I fell over, which I didn't). I immediately needed to use the bathroom, which I did just fine on my own. Then I took a little nap for maybe an hour or two. I had no problems getting into or out of bed on my own.
When I woke up, I actually felt really good - the anesthesia had completely worn off by then and I was much more clear headed. I took my first antibiotic pill (I was supposed to take one the first day, and four every day after that until I run out), and got back on my thyroid medication. Then I decided that since I was feeling so well, and I wasn't really tired enough to go back to sleep, that I would make some phone calls. I texted a bunch of people and told them that I was doing good, and then I called a couple family members who I knew were going to be really worried about me. I also updated this page, and my facebook.
My mom brought me some cough drops to help with my sore throat (they used a breathing tube while I was under), and she brought me a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. I didn't have much of an appetite, but I made myself finish. I wasn't feeling nauseous either - they gave me a scopolamine patch behind my ear for nausea. Of course, I don't know if I wasn't nauseous because of the patch, or just because I wasn't nauseous anyway.
I did feel quite itchy after a while, and I saw on one of my post-op instruction sheets that I was allowed to take benadryl for itching, which is apparently one of the more common side effects for some of the drugs they gave me while I was in surgery.
After I ate and took another round of medications (ibuprofen & percocet), my surgeon called just as I was starting to fall asleep again around 7pm. She said I sounded like I was doing great, which I said I was, and she blessed off on taking benadryl and using ice packs. She told me that if I had any questions or issues, then I could call her or the office, and if I had any problems with my bandages or drains, I could come to the office whenever and they'd fix it for me. Then she wished me luck and said that she'd see me on Friday for my first post-op appointment. During this phone call was also when I found out how much tissue had been removed - she said approximately 550 grams from each side.
And that was it, that's how my whole surgery day went. If things keep going this well, I might even go back to work early. I took time off until next Thursday and before the surgery I thought that might not be enough time, but now I think I'll probably go in on Tuesday and Wednesday, maybe just for a half day each, to ease myself back into it. I work a desk job, so it won't be anything too strenuous. The biggest deciding factor will probably be whether or not I can go a whole day without pain meds (no driving on narcotics, folks!), but so far I don't think that's going to be an issue.
My mom is pretty amazed by the whole thing. She told me yesterday that I just look so normal - I'm clearly not in any pain, and I'm getting around the house just fine. I told her that if I didn't know for a fact that I had major surgery two days ago, I never would have guessed it on my own. The only other surgery I've ever had was getting my wisdom teeth out (I got all four out at the same time and was sedated for the process - not general anesthesia, but similar effect), and I would say that the first three days after that procedure were 100 times worse than the first three days after this procedure.
So far I've been really pleased with the whole experience. My surgeon and the staff at the surgery center have taken excellent care of me and have all been willing to answer any questions I might have had. The whole process has been nearly painless, and I'm super excited to get to see my new boobies for the first time on Friday. I'm so curious - I can tell they're definitely smaller beneath the bandages, but I can't tell exactly how much smaller, because the bandages are so bulky. No matter what they look like though, I can already tell that the surgery has changed my body for the better - it's so much easier to breathe, and my back hasn't been hurting at all, and that's a pain that I've been living with constantly for *years*.
Thank you to everyone on this site who has shared their experiences and given me the courage to go through with this surgery. Hopefully my review can help someone else in their decision making process.