Hello - I've spent the last few days reading many,...
Hello - I've spent the last few days reading many, many of your wonderful blogs and hoping to be able to be an active participant here. I've been wanting to have a BR for at least twenty-five years and investigated it about eighteen years ago but wasn't able to get the insurance and thought that I'd be stuck with "them" forever. However, a recent challenge has turned into a cloud with a silver lining.
Following (yet) another poor mammogram, I went for a follow up, then was instructed to have a deep-needle biopsy which still left questions and was advised to have surgery to remove some questionable breast tissue for further testing. During the surgical consultation I asked if it might be possible to have a reduction...since they were going to be in there anyway. And they said "YES!" There seems to be no concern about insurance due to the history of suspicious mammograms and now i can hardly think of anything except ridding myself of these breasts that have been a nemesis for much of my life.
So, I have an appointment with the recommended PS on July 29th and hope to join the teeny weeny titty club! We are aiming for an early September surgery and I've already secured three weeks off and am lining up a support system, as my hub might not be the best choice for the healthcare support. I'm also a little concerned about the expectations of those around me. The recovery time for enhancements is so much shorter and those who are not in the BR space don't really seem to understand the amount of recovery time that will be required.
I've been looking for common themes in your stories, especially for those near my age, give or take, and what I'm gathering is: it will take months to really recover fully and become fully operational (work, exercise, etc.) and for the new breasts to take their final shape; three weeks po there may be a setback in energy and progression if I overdo during the first two weeks; there may be a boxy shape to begin with until the breasts settle...about a month po(?) ; of all the surgeries listed on this site, BR ranks the very highest (along with one other) in satisfaction. I'm not likely to post my nekkid boobies anytime soon...you all are so brave! :)
I greatly appreciate all of the wonderful information you've provided, including and especially post-op recovery tips, and look forward to engaging with you over the coming months. I'd love to hear tips from you about what I should be doing to prepare for the surgery (physically, emotionally, and practically). Thanks in advance!
Hi there - I've been a little antsy lately and thought that I'd share some of these thoughts with you. My ps consultation is on Tuesday morning (3 days away) and I can't wait to meet the doc and hear what he has to say, but am also concerned that he may just say "no." In my head i know that this won't happen but I just can't convince myself that this is really going to happen. My older sister is going with me to the appointment. I invited her because she is also interested in pursuing this path (darn genetics) and this would be a good opportunity for her to learn more about it.
My family has been great, especially my husband. He is the worrier in the family; I tend to jump in and plunge ahead without too much thought about the particulars and he is at the other end of the spectrum, sometimes thinking about the particulars so extensively that nothing ever happens. BUT, given that I definitely will be having surgery to remove tissue, he agrees that I might as well do the br at the same time. He's a fan of large chests but he sees how I've suffered from this over the years (mentally, physically, experientially) and is supportive of my decision. I think he's been worried about the outcome of the tissue analysis that will take place later but I'm trying not to think about that too much since it's not in my control. However, it does weigh on me sometimes. My NP said 70% of the time the tissue is fine so I'm trying to keep my mind on the positives of the br. I think I'm going to feel so much younger without the neck and back pain, and avoiding mirrors will no longer be a regular part of my day. Some people have asked me why I don't do the br after I get a positive result on the tissue analysis... one word: Insurance. Plus, who wants two surgeries when you could just have one?
Anyway, where I was going with this post was to say that I've told my kids about the surgery: my younger son (19 yrs) seemed a little uncomfortable hearing about it, despite the way that I kept it to about two sentences and was very positive. My older son (21 yrs) gave me a big hug and seemed a little more concerned about the outcome of the tissue analysis and didn't pay much attention to the br part. None of that was surprising. What has surprised me is how sweet my husband has been. He's sent me little unexpected love notes (one was disguised as a QR code, lol) and has been very supportive overall, doing nice things around the house (he always does a lot, but even more-so now) and asking me how I'm feeling. It's nice to know that he is behind me, even though I'm sure he's worried about the outcome and how the itty-bitties will look and feel later on.
I will post with an update after my Tuesday appointment and hopefully will have a surgery date set for very early in September. Then, the get-ready will move into full swing!
I hope all of you who are recovering are feeling well today and are able to take your new itties outside. Have a great weekend!
Today - Initial PS Appointment
Today was a very exciting day! My sister and I traveled to visit the ps to discuss first steps in getting this surgery on the books. They took my vitals, several pictures, and then the ps and I chatted about the process, surgery, look and feel, and post-surgical requirements/advice. I noticed when I got home that they had transposed the bottom number in my blood pressure so I called to straighten that out. I don't want "high" blood pressure to be an issue later when it's always low! They had 116/96 and it was actually 116/69.
I must say that the ps was not very forthcoming. He answered all of my questions succinctly and I was out of there in a flash. I trust that his surgical skills are stronger than the communication skills, which is fine by me. He didn't really give me any of the advice that I've seen from so many reviews on here; maybe that will come later once the insurance has been approved. It's not that I didn't like him; he seems very nice. I wonder if he didn't want to expend too much energy when the insurance hasn't yet been approved? Our conversation lasted about ten or fifteen minutes.
The shorter-than-expected appointment meant that my sister and I could go out for a nice late breakfast at one of my favorite Atlanta landmarks, The Majestic. Although the late-night crowd is more entertaining in this 24-hr restaurant, the food is always pretty good, especially breakfast.
Insurance is the next step and then a date will be set. They will send me home post-surgery with a surgical bra and he offered to give me a spare to alternate during washing, which means one less thing to order. Post-surgery there will be a one-week follow up and then a one-month follow up. He drew me a diagram of before not-ibt's/after ibt's and I must say that the new sketched boobies look very nice. :) The doc suggested a C-cup and I pushed for a B-cup. He wasn't sure about that possibility but asked that I remind him during the mark-ups that I prefer smaller to larger.
I don't mean to sound impatient but October is really slammed with personal and professional obligations so I would really prefer an early September surgery. Hope the insurance comes through quickly so I can get on his schedule.
I've been following several of you that have recently had surgery and think of you often. I wish for you a speedy and smooth recovery and hope that you will take this opportunity to slow down and recuperate. It seems that those who try to do too much too fast are the ones that have problems. I'm ordering some DVD's and books to keep me entertained...when the exciting time arrives. Hugs!
I got a date!
I'm very excited to share that I got a call from the oncologist a few days ago to reserve a date for my surgery! She is working in collaboration with the PS, as mentioned in my initial post. So, one month from tomorrow I'll be joining the IBT club. While I thought that I would be thrilled with the news (and I am!), it actually turned me into an emotional mess. Between work stress and the worry of the tissue testing, I've been a mess the past couple of days. Plus, I've been suffering from Ear Rocks (google that one!) and have been rather dizzy the past ten days. It's getting better now. Also, my older son is returning to college this week and that always gets me down for a few weeks.
All in all, I am looking forward to the surgery. I know that I'll be thrilled with the results, I'm optimistic about the tissue analysis, and I'm taking a month off from work to recover and rest from a grueling year, physically, emotionally, and professionally.
I promise to be more upbeat in future posts....but just wanted to share that the date is set!
Thanks for all of the support and, as always, to those of you who have shared your stories so openly and without filter. You've made such a difference and I'll be continuing to ask you questions in the coming weeks! :)
Good things are happening!
It seems as things are starting to pick up. Just today I had several discussions with the people who support the doctors that will be working on me in a few weeks. I've got my pre-op with the oncologist scheduled for September 9th at 1:30pm and an appt with the anesthesiologist immediately following. Then, 7:30am check-in time for the surgery. Yea!!
After reading so many of your reviews I called the PS today to ask about the extra cushion under my armpits, on the sides. I've seen a few reviews where ladies have been left with some extra fat there that looks out of place when the ibt's are in place. The PS assistant indicated that they are called "dog ears" (WTH, that's a little rude) and that additional work may or may not be needed, but to talk with the ps during the mark up. My preference would be to get it all done at once but she indicated that it would probably be a revision surgery, outpatient, if needed. So, I just wanted them to be prepared, just in case.
There is so much to remember to tell him during the mark up! I need to make a list. I guess my husband will be in there with me and I'm worried about being distracted and nervous (and hungry) and that I won't convey everything or ask the right questions....or remember everything. I'm going to start making lists right now, what to get in advance, what to ask/state about the surgery, what to ask about post-surgery. I definitely won't forget to tell him that I prefer to go to a small C or B; if I forget everything else, I must remember that.
Work has been so stressful lately that I suspect I've gained about seven lbs. I cannot wait to start getting healthy again. Like many of you have experienced, I'm going to feel so much better and younger, some of my tops will fit again, I won't have bras crunching me all the livelong day, and just getting around and exercising will be so much easier...cannot wait!!!
Your reviews and pictures have inspired me so much. Your recovery information and preparatory feedback and advice will be my saving grace. Truly, I don't know what I would've done without this site for knowledge gathering and information sharing. Thank you, thank you to all who have shared and paved the way for us newbies in the "itty-bitty" market. I'll try to get some pictures posted just before the surgery. I know you feel my pain when I say that I just can't stand to take a picture of these bigguns. Have a great weekend, everyone!!
Hi There - After a nice weekend and an extra day off today, I'm feeling positive and ready to go! My back-up surgical bra has shipped, and I got some new jammies that I hope will serve me well afterwards. They don't button up but I should be able to slide in and out of them pretty easily. I spoke with my mother-in-law last night and she's been really kind about offering to travel up and stay with me for a week, helping out around the house, ensuring that the dogs are walked a lot and kept tired. :) I have a huge calm Great Dane and a small-ish mix who is a bundle of energy. They usually sleep with us so there will be an adjustment for them, too, during my first stage of recovery.
On Thursday I'm returning to the PS for another consultation, this time about whether or not to have lipo during the surgery. I know there are pros and cons, but I'd really prefer not to have to go back in after the healing is done. I don't have sideboobs now but there is definitely some tissue there that is helping to support my girls. What will it look like later if it's not removed? I wonder why this wasn't discussed initially...it would never have crossed my mind if it weren't for reading some of your reviews. I'll let you know what I find out.
Other than that, just counting the days. And learning from all of you who have already been through this experience. For those of you who are in the process of healing, or who have recently had the surgery and are already on the mend, I just posted a question to the discussion board (Q&A) asking for the top things that everyone should know for a smooth recovery...what to have on hand, what to wear, how to wash your hair, when/how/what to use to change your bandages, etc. I hope that you will post some answers. Many thanks in advance!
I've been dreading posting a pic, but here goes...
Well, I met with my PS for a follow up consultation yesterday. While the first consultation wasn't extremely helpful, this one was provided more insights, mainly because I was able to speak with a nurse. (When you need real, practical information, nurses are the BEST resource, always.) My PS is rather short-winded and I just pray that it's because he's an artist and doesn't really enjoy the conversational part of the process. Regardless, I feel much more confident now that I'll know what to do, and when.
For example, I had discussed post-op with my oncologist and thought that everything would be done by her office. Not so. I learned yesterday that I'll have a couple post-op meetings at the PS office. This should probably have been obvious but that wasn't the way it was put to me previously. :/ Also, the nurse thoroughly explained the drain measuring and emptying process, something that I may or may not need to have, depending on how how deep the oncologist goes on her "dig." I also learned that he will be removing about 800g per side. Not sure how that will be manifested physically, but it sounds like a good amount. We discussed small C. I'm going to get professionally measured prior to the surgery so that I'll have a real size to go by.
I can shower two days out...I was able to get my prescriptions early (something they don't usually do since it's a teaching hospital and apparently with residents and doctors both working with patients, it's easier to double-up or make mistakes). So, my son is off delivering the prescriptions to the pharmacy. My Bromelain arrived from AmazonSmile yesterday. My Merana arrived this week, too.
I've been a little emotional since learning about the insurance approval and diving more into the nitty-gritty with the nurse. These "girls" have been such a presence in my life, leading to self-esteem problems, undeserved attention in various levels of seriousness, and of course the daily challenge of dressing without looking tramp-y or being uncomfortable. While I can't wait to come out on the other side (I am very optimistic about the results), I'm surprised at the inner voice that seems to be shouting, "What?? I am a part of who you are!!" It will be nice when everything is settled and I can start evolving into the Me that isn't affected by the ladies on a daily basis.
As always, thanks for the support. Also, thanks to those of you who posted on the Top Ten Recovery Suggestions in the discussion forum!
Two Weeks Away!
Hi there - just a few quick updates to share:
1) I measured my actual bra size today (Real Simple process found online) and it completely blew me away, let's just say that I'm way too far back in the alphabet! Cannot wait to make that change.
2) I tried on my surgical compression Marena bra and it's far more comfortable than what I wear on a daily basis, but I do spill out (see attached). So soft!
3) I have the most amazing friends. Five are coming from out of town or out of state to take me to a Ta-ta to the tata's party the weekend prior to surgery. Another is treating me to a spa pedi the following day. Love my golden friends.
Tomorrow's the Day!
After years of wishing and hoping, the day has finally arrived. By the time you read this message I should be on the other side...the small side. :) My pre-op was today. As you may recall from above, this is primarily an oncology surgery but I was able to work in a br at the same time. I feel optimistic about the surgical biopsy and hope to report back to you with good news on that front in the next eight days. Thinking about that, even though I am sure that everything will turn out well, has added a component of stress and emotional fluctuation that is not commonplace with me. However, I am now in the right frame of mind, armed with pillows, prune juice, surgical bras, and all of the other necessities.
My husband has been a lifesaver and has been very patient with my mood swings. Even my boys have been supportive and helpful. My mother in law is coming up tomorrow to stay for a week, helping to keep the dogs tired and the house clean. She's the best, a real energizer bunny and lots of fun, so I'm looking forward to having her running the house for a bit.
Thanks to you all for your support, advice, and encouragement. See you on the other side!
Two Days Post-Op
Well, 48 hours ago I was prepping for surgery. I've been home now about 33 hours and have probably slept about 30 of them. I've had some company for short visits and my husband and mother-in-law have been preparing meals and bringing my meds. They've been wonderful to me.
As far as the surgery went, I checked in at 7am and then proceeded to the Breast Center where they inserted a wire and took additional mammograms for the tissue removal portion of the procedure. This area is where I am now the most sore...there must have been some additional excavating going on in the left portion of my left breast. That process took about an hour and didn't feel good, and the wire protruding continued to be uncomfortable until I went to sleep. Not a big deal, though. I was wheeled back to pre-op and my husband and I met all of the attending physicians and residents for both the oncology and the plastic surgery, the anesthesiologists and the nurse. After getting hooked up to IV's it was time to go in. They gave me some "stress reducing fluids" and my husband kissed me good bye. That is the last thing I remember. I couldn't tell you what the hallway looked like, much less the operating room. :) When I came to, I had no nausea whatsoever. I had a few crackers and some water (lots) and was wheeled out after a couple of hours. I slept the rest of the day and night.
My husband is sleeping in another room with the dogs but he is available by text (lol) as is my MIL. I haven't seen the new girls yet but plan to take a shower tomorrow and get a look. There has been a little blood seepage on the right but that's all. My appetite is just now starting to come back. Some of the worst pain I have is headaches. I was instructed not to take any additional Tylenol while I'm on the Percocet (not ready to come off that yet but am starting to stretch the windows between pills). When they start to wear off, the headaches come on. Could it be from lack of caffeine? I usually drink a good bit of Diet Coke. Anyway, more later. Thanks for the support! Time for a nap. :) Oh, peddiewife - I've been drinking the prune juice regularly but no results yet, however my first real meal was last night so will keep trying.
Forgot to say...
I had a tube so my throat is sore and scratchy but getting better daily, and my oncology post-op is in one week, which is when I'll get my (hopefully good) results. My PS post-op isn't until two weeks!
Three Days Post-op
This morning I had my first shower. I couldn't remember all the details about tape, water, bathing, etc. So, I took off most of the bandaging tape and pads, leaving the tape over the sutures. I kept my back to the water and really just tried to be sure I wasn't stinky and washed my hair. My husband was helping me and I forgot how squeamish he is with health matters. He helped me get rid of the pads with a minimal amount of gagging. Geez. Afterwards, I patted dry the areas with seepage, mainly on my sides, and then air-dried for about twenty minutes. Took a while to get into my new compression bra and get it all lined up with maxi pads. Felt good to be clean but all of that work left me very tired and sore, leading to a pain pill and a long nap.
I posted before/after pics. The new girls are fresh out of compression in this photo and it's still very early but I think I'm going to like them. I already like myself better in a t-shirt.
All in all, I'm feeling pretty well and look forward to continued progression. It's supposed to rain all day today but I may go out for a short walk tomorrow. I'm trying to avoid getting sweaty and it's supposed to be fairly cool tomorrow.
All my best to those who are lined up for the BR next week. Thinking of you and happy to answer questions.
One Week Post-op
Well, it's been quite a week! I'm feeling pretty well, only taking one pain pill/day now and have another day or so of antibiotics. Almost no bleeding whatsoever. Everything feels very tight and stiff (especially where the anchors extend into my sides) so I'm icing a good bit.
I've been out and about some, walking, going out to dinner, so today I'm spending the day today in bed resting. I haven't seem a doc since before surgery! Been very careful to stay clean and dry, and to not overdo. So far, so good.
The girls are bruised, of course. I'm not looking at them much because they're mainly just sore, but I do find that I look completely different when I see my reflection. It's not just that they are smaller, but everything just rests differently somehow. I definitely look a little younger and hope to feel the same way before too long. I see the oncologist tomorrow and the PS next Tuesday. After that I head to the beach to relax for one final week before returning to work.
Good luck to all of you in the brink! (Pic from a Week 1 is attached.)
Almost 3 Weeks Post-Op
It's been a while since I posted and wanted to update you on my progress. Quite honestly, despite all of the reviews that I read, I thought I'd be further along with my recovery by now. It's a little discouraging, as I see that some of you are getting on with things and I feel like I'm still very restricted, not by my PS who said that I can take on activities as tolerated, but by my inability to do so.
I'm at the beach with my husband, brother, and sister who have all really supported me and continue to help me out (don't know what I'd have done without them). Obviously I'm not swimming or doing many of my normal activities, but even a short walk on the beach can wear me out. I'm swollen...not just the ladies but my ankles, and feet, my face looks puffy, etc. I am able to get up and down more easily than the past couple of weeks, but I'm getting concerned since I return to work in only nine days. I forgot to bring my Bromelain so maybe that will help out more when get home on Wed.
The PS said that he removed 875g from my right breast and 775g from the left (after the oncologist had taken what she needed). The skin is so sensitive, feels almost like burn recovery might feel, and the incisions on my sides are very painful, off and on. I'm a little embarrassed to say that I still take a pain pill now and then, especially at night.
This is all concerning because there is a lot going on beginning October 5th with my dad's 90th birthday, a (sort of) job interview the next day...need a new outfit, then traveling with my sons in WY followed by a work conference in CA. Will I be able to keep up? I'm just not sure right now.
Aesthetically, the ladies look great (aside from the bruising and stitches)! I think that sensation is returning to my left nipple and the right one has been fine all along. I should finish out at a small C, and feel sure that I will be thrilled with them after a few months. The great news is that I had good feedback from the oncologist and, although I will be going on some preventive medication for high risk breast cancer women, I should be fine!
Hate to be a Debbie-downer but does anyone have advice to offer? #tryingtobepatient
Three Weeks Post-op
Well, what a difference a few weeks can make. Tomorrow morning marks the third week since surgery. It's not a time that I'd relish doing again, but boy am I glad that it was done. Overall, nearly 1650g removed! That's so much and no wonder my body is rebelling.
I've been fortunate to have no infections or holes, etc. but am still very swollen, stiff. and sore (especially on my sides). I've attached a before/after pic and I'm really pleased with the results. It may take a couple of months for the swelling to go down completely and you can see the side swelling in this pic.
Best of luck to all who are preparing for this adventure!