48 Yrs Old, Divorced, Excited and Scared to Fix These Problem Boobs! - Bay Area, CA

I am currently wearing a 38 DDD bra, though the...

I am currently wearing a 38 DDD bra, though the cup size is too small. The pain is the same as so many describe...chronic migraine, neck pain, notches in shoulders and rashes, back pain. Exercise almost impossible. Plus shame, that my breasts are a cup-sized different. My self-esteem took a huge hit with my husband leaving, especially the way he handled it. To get this fixed means so much to me. I lost weight, then gained 35 lbs after the separation. So I am concerned about these new rolls on the side of my breasts and extra fat under arms. I have lost some weight since scheduling the surgery, but it is primarily through what I eat only... Very difficult in peri menopause. Anyway. Getting my photo taken at my dr. Appt. was the first time I have been that exposed in 30 years. It was traumatic. Usually it's lingerie, creative use of sheets, robes, lighting. Ugh. I need this. So grateful for this supportive community, for you ladies sharing your stories.

Any Kaiser vets? Kaiser does this differently. Feeling like a squeaky wheel...

I get so much great advice on this site...however I am getting a medical BR from Kaiser (HMO) and I get the sense things are done differently there. I did finally call to request to see before/after pictures from my surgeon and that seemed to stump them. I guess I was supposed to ask at my pre-surgical appointment, but I only saw my surgeon for about ten minutes at that appointment andI thought the purpose of that appt was to get approved for the surgery. I was so happy to receive the approval (at Kaiser medical decisions are approved by doctors, not insurance companies) that I didn't ask a lot of other questions. I didn't realize I wouldn't see her again until the surgery.
Don't get me wrong, everyone is very nice, and they have phone appointments and videos to watch online...I think it streamlines the process and keeps costs down. But I do feel like my experience is very different from those I read.
Any Kaiser BR vets out there?
P.S. Just got a call and made an appointment for a "Pre-Op In-Person Questions Appointment" next week with the surgical assistant. That is for me to look at the before and after pictures. Progress!

Nightmare Dr's Appts

I haven't updated, because I am so anxious at this point by what has occurred it is hard to. I haven't even looked at all your updates because I am just too stressed out. After getting feedback to look at before and after photos that my surgeon had done, and to review pictures of breasts I like (size, etc.) vs what I am hoping not to have (wide, bell-shaped breasts, too large or too small for my frame, etc.), I made an appointment to do that. Even requesting that seemed to be confusing when I called to Kaiser, but I optimistically persevered. I was given a "pre-op questions appointment" with the Surgery Nurse. Great. I came prepared to look at the pictures so I could pick out some to email to my surgeon as reference, and ask about Kaiser's criteria for utilizing liposuction for medical breast reduction.
The appointment did not go well. The nurse was very nice, but for some reason misunderstood everything I was asking - interrupting my every sentence did not help that. Her telling me that many people "really want a breast lift for cosmetic purposes, but . . . " and talking about my medical breast reduction was my big clue that asking questions about the "look" of your breasts was a big no-no. At one point the nurse left, then returned and said "let's start over". We did, and looked at pictures, and it went much better. It was then that I learned 500 grams had to be taken from each breast to satisfy the insurance requirement (1.1 lbs per breast) - which is fine, but I wondered why the surgeon never mentioned it. I was told I could not photograph pictures of the before/afters of my surgeon, which I understood, and I said I would just send her the ones I had saved from Real Self. We had a great talk about post-op care, got prescriptions, and I left feeling that, though the appt had started oddly enough, I was very excited about the surgery.
Then, as I was leaving Kaiser, I heard my name called. It was the nurse. She was leaving, too, and saw me. She told me she had just spoken with my surgeon, and she wants to see me. She has some concerns that she can give me the result I am looking for. That set off alarm bells in my head, and I started to feel anxiety again. What? I had only wanted to show her before/afters, which it seems most of you all do, and to ask about lipo criteria, as it seems fuzzy as to Kaiser's use of it. It is mentioned in their materials, but I wanted to discuss it. I was suddenly worried that my surgery would be denied. I told the nurse this, and she said "don't worry. It will be fine, you meet the criteria".
Well, I did worry. I wrote my surgeon and told her how grateful I was that she had approved my surgery, how much I trust in her abilities and judgment (the nurse in the first half of the appointment had talked to me as though I was doctor-shopping, assuring me that my surgeon knew what she was doing, would not do a bad job because my breasts were her calling card, etc. I felt very misunderstood.) I told her the only two questions I had, the reason for my appointment, and let her know how anxious I felt. That set off the most bizarre series of events. Her email reply literally included the statement, when discussing the album of before and afters, "I am sorry if that is not enough for you". (!) She also told me I didn't need to come in. Now I was close to panic. I told her I was definitely coming in, I wanted us to meet again in person, have a friendly meeting, and get on the same page before surgery without any misunderstandings or assumptions made. She seemed to need to get in the last word, as though we were sparring, and wrote me that she assured me no assumptions had been made (though I had spent the first half of my appointment with the nurse dealing with just that, and the "not good enough for you" comment was clearly that), and talking about her customer service. The next morning she sent me, for the fifth time, her information sheet about breast reduction, sort of a disclaimer stating that she can't guarantee results and everything that can go wrong. I had read it months ago, and she had just sent it to me again the day before. She asked that I read it before our appointment that day. I canceled the appointment. I literally could not do it. I had a migraine, was way too stressed, so made it for a few days later.
I had that appointment yesterday. I prayed and meditated before going. I focused on all my social work training in unconditional positive regard and compassionate communication. I was very positive.
It was nothing short of a nightmare. I can't go through all of it, it was awful. She didn't want me to have gotten undressed, she told me from the moment she came in that I was asking for a specific result from a specific picture and don't appear to understand that she cannot guarantee that . . . at one point I took a breath, smiled, put my hand gently on her knee, and asked "Can you please tell me what I have said or done to make you think that?" She seemed to feel it was everything. Despite me telling her, again, and probably five more times in the consult that I did not think that at all. She told me that "In 25 years I have NEVER had a patient come in to review before and after pictures with me". There was more, it was all bad. At one point we had her album out as she flipped through pages, me so shocked and overwhelmed that tears were flowing down my face, as she kept repeating "do you have any questions?" Of course there was no point in asking her questions. She got me tissue and stated the obvious - she could not do my surgery. I was terrified. Still am very anxious. Now I am just hoping that another doctor can do it in the same time frame, as the arrangements I have had to make were so difficult. I know many of you understand.
My migraines are out of control. I have a consult with a different doctor "a cosmetic surgeon" at Kaiser on Friday. I am praying that he can do the surgery. She told me it would still be covered.
I am so sorry to complain, I feel like I'm ranting. The thing is, it took SO MUCH courage for me to ask for another appointment to go over pictures. I felt so much encouragement from reading all your stories, and even being told by some to definitely speak up. One 10-minute consult with my surgeon before this surgery did not feel like enough, so I got brave and did what it seemed like most of you do. To get this result was shocking and incredibly intimidating. I think it felt even worse as I have been dealing with my ex-husband and that situation in trying to get help with the dog after surgery, which has also been stressful.
Okay. I feel better now. If anyone reads this, please pray that my Friday consult with a new Kaiser doctor goes well, and I am able to get my surgery with him at the same time. Also, please tell me if you think I am crazy . . . it is starting to feel that way!

It's a Go!

So grateful to have found a terrific new surgeon to do my BR surgery. He listened, he answered my questions throroughly (yes, I was brave enough to ask!), and oddly enough, almost everythkng he said was the opposite of my first surgeon. There were still a few odd hiccups with miscommunication with schedulers, but that's behind me now and I get the surgery Monday.
Today I got my period and the inevitable migraine that accompanies it...am treating it per my primary dr's instructions. I am in a bit of an in betwern zoneat Kaiser, where staff is confused as to who my dr is and answers are hard to come by. But I feel confident in my research and info given so far. And my surgeon seems very good. Today I treat the pain, rest, and will hopefully be able to tackle the cleaning/disinfecting/food shopping phase soon!
Thanks to all who share their stories and offer support. It is everything.

Surgery tomorrow! Before pic...

Scared. Migraine. Endless laundry. Still need to vacuum and organize. Praying for small, more symmetrical breasts and LESS PAIN! Thank you to all you ladies for sharing your stories, you help so much. I can't tell you how scary posting this picture is. You give me courage. I feela bit like I am doing this journey alone, am a little worried about aftercare, but your stories have helped me prepare and be brave. Blessings to those who are healing today, and courage to those waiting for their day!

Home from surgery

Where did my breasts go? Definitely smaller! I still had a migraine when I went in, that was a bummer. Other than that, all went well. My surgeon spent a lot of time drawing on me, he was very careful with the asymmetry and measuring, etc. I trusted him completely. I just kelt saying "smaller is better", like Rainman. My forms said he was doing lipo as part of the surgery. Maybe that is why I am experiencing so much pain...but guess what??? NO NECK AND SHOULDER PAIN! I can turn my head side to side, easily, and no pain running all over! I kept reading it, and it's true!
Taking another percocet, just had some grapenuts and my mom emptied my drains. Heal well, my fellow surgery buddies, and don't worry, the rest of you!

Cellulitis

Just posting pictures of cellulitis infection, which began 9 days after surgery. I couldn't figure out why I felt so awful, almost flu-like, and why my breasts hurt so much. VERY swollen, overnight, and red. Also low fever. After 10 days of antibiotics it improved a great deal.

Three week update

This is me three weeks after surgery. The cellulitis is mostly cleared up, swelling gone, just a little redness left. I am much smaller than I ever thought my surgeon could safely go! I am at this point cleared to start massage...though my side incisions are too painful. I am using generic Mederma and vaseline at this point, some bacitracin on certain sore spots. Massage is not my favorite thing.

Four Week Update

This is me with Mepitac tape. Money is tight, so I chose this over silicone sheets. I also have heard great things about it (thanks smurfette!) It is very easy to work with, and stays put. My ps approved it, said it gives the same result as silicon sheets. Who knows? I am now at week 5 ( this is last week's picture), and massage is easier. I try to do it twice a day. The sides are still painful, but I get a little in. I use generic Mederma, Bio-Oil, Vaseline. I wear tape as well, and do not yet have a good routine down...sometimes I wear tape overnight, sometimes during day, sometimes for 24 hours and I skip that day's massage. I really wish there were clearer guidelines for scar care and bras. Doing my best ^_^. Sending courage to those with upcoming surgeries and healing energy to those in recovery!

Ooops...here's the photo

Me at 4 weeks with Mepitac Tape
Kaiser

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