NOTE: You will notice some photoshopping on the...
NOTE: You will notice some photoshopping on the top of my left breast, this is because I have a very recognizable tattoo. It is the only thing that will be edited.
So to start off...
I feel very strange putting pictures of my boobs on the internet, but realself was crucial to me making the decision, so I wanted to give back!
I am in my late 20s and measure at a 34DD, although my most comfortable/well-fitting bra is actually a 32F. I am 5'5'', just under 140lbs (working on getting down to my original weight of 120, I gained weight due to a medication), and usually around a pants size 6.
Like everyone I've been busty for a long time. I think I went straight from sports bras to a D-cup in 8th grade. I'm certainly not the biggest of the bunch, but I've experienced horrible back pain since I was 13-15. I went to the doctor about it and he of course just said "get more exercise." And so it went. I was taken tons of advil/tylenol a day for my back, have frequent headaches, I become incredibly stressed when clothing shopping because most of the time I have to go up 2-3 sizes and then it doesn't look right, tops that SHOULD be modestly cut somehow end up with me spilling out of them... all the usual stuff.
Last year I went to see a new doctor about my back pain, and she sent me to physical therapy (finally, at least she believe me!). I did that for about 3 months and while the worst of the worst subsided a little and the ultrasound massages felt nice, it didn't really do a whole lot.
Breast reductions were always something me and my family joked about but I'm terrified of surgery -- seriously, when I got my wisdom teeth out at 18 I was so scared I cried beforehand, though of course after I was totally fine -- so I never gave it real thought. Then, I got my most recent job, which offers amazing health benefits. 100% premium paid, and an employer-funded HSA card with a few thousand dollars on it to cover deductibles, co-pays, etc. I started to consider it more. I have some friends who had it done, and they told me their experiences and pointed me to RealSelf. Reading people's surgery experiences reassured me that I wasn't going to die! And everything I read said it was the best decision they ever made.
So I did some research on plastic surgeons. I really wanted a female doctor, and there were only a few options in the Boston area. Dr. Yoon Chun at Brigham and Women's received rave reviews where I looked, including from people who traveled across the country to see her! There's only one other person on RealSelf who lists her, but the pictures were encouraging.
I made the appointment on December 5, 2014. She was very nice. However, there was a concern: my insurance (Aetna) required, based on my height/weight, for 550mg per breast to come out. She was not comfortable with that, and said probably 400mg at most. We submitted the paperwork anyway. It seems like I waited FOREVER! I called my insurance every few days. When I wasn't calling my insurance, I was dreaming about all the clothes I could buy when I have smaller boobs.
Finally, on January 2nd, I called and they said I was approved! Even though I had been dreaming of this, I couldn't believe it, since I technically didn't meet all their requirements. I'm so happy though! Aetna covers everything except the deductible--but then my employer-funded HSA will pay the deductible--so supposedly, I will actually have zero out of pocket costs. For reference for anyone else, Dr. Chun's office gave me a quote in case insurance would not cover, and it would have been about $8000.
I immediately called the PS office, and they said they had just gotten a call from my insurance too. We set the pre-op date for February 3 and the surgery date for February 9.
So that's it! I'm only a little over a month away from my surgery! At work I've been approved for one total week off and the following week as work-from-home. I've already stocked up on the fruit of the loom front-close bras, and some comfy flannel button-down pj shirts. Closer to the surgery date I'll be stocking up on things like dry shampoo, snacks, etc. probably.
I'll try to update with anything relevant. Although I've just started this process, I'm happy to answer any questions or take any advice!
4 weeks til surgery and not much to do! I ordered the Marena sports bra from Walmart (in 2 colors, the grey shown and also white). I got the size 36. It's hard to capture in pictures, but it really smushed down my boobs and cut in at the top--when I hold it up in front of me, it's hard to believe it's actually going to fit soon!!!
Also got some pajamas from Old Navy for post-surgery, just a few button-ups and new pajama bottoms.
I am also planning a get together with some friends the weekend before surgery in celebration :)
That's it! Just counting down the weeks now.
9 days to go!
Hard to believe! I have my pre-op on Tuesday. What are good questions to ask? I am definitely going to ask about: 1) anxiety meds beforehand, 2) how long drains should be in, 3) where my fiancee can stay nearby since I'm staying overnight... I wasn't able to find any nearby hotels and we live over an hour by public transportation from the hospital, though if all else fails she can get a cab from home. 4) When I SHOULD go back to work and class. I have 1 week PTO and 1 week WFH which I think is enough, and I'm also in evening classes. 5) I'm assuming she'll cover meds, scar treatment, etc.
And, here's a list of things I've bought for post-surgery comfort:
- 2 fruit of the loom cotton sports bras in a perfect fit, 2 in a bigger size just in case for extra comfort
- 3 soft camis with shelf bra
- 3 sets of button-up flannel pj tops (and new pj bottoms)
- New regular pillow (for a total of 3 of my own)
- Wedge pillow for upright sleeping
- Heat pack
- One of those cups with a built-in straw for easy drinking
- Face cleansing wipes
- Body wipes
- Dry shampoo
Of course, we'll be stocking up on easy snacks/drinks the weekend before surgery. I also just got a fresh haircut, and booked a massage for the Friday before surgery.
I think I am ready for it to hurry up and get here!
I had my pre-op Tuesday! I saw my surgeon (or rather, one of her assistants) 11am. They had me change into the gown, which ended up being totally unnecessary since it lasted maybe 5 minutes! I had only some basic questions (drains, can my fiancee stay overnight with me, should I stop taking my vitamins now, etc) so she answered those, I signed a form acknowledging I was informed about all the risks, and that was that.
My appointment in pre-registration/pre-op wasn't scheduled until 12:30! Luckily they had a lobby with a Starbucks and wifi so I just browsed on my phone.
Around 12:15 I went over to the appointment. They got me registered and then I went in for an exam, which would determine if I needed any blood testing or anything. The nurse (I don't remember if she was actually a nurse or more a PA but you know what I mean) asked some questions about my medical history, did the basic physical check up part, and that part was good. There was a bit of concern about my blood pressure because it was high, but I told them, "I was thinking about the surgery out there, of course it's high!" They took it again at the end of the appointment and it was normal.
After the physical exam part the nurse/PA/what-have-you went over the instruction on when I need to stop with food and drinks, etc. There was also stuff I didn't realize, like I can't put on any lotion after my last shower before surgery! She also gave me a special anti-septic body wash to use for the last 3 showers before surgery.
And that's that! My surgery is scheduled for 12pm on Monday.
YIKES, I'm starting to get nervous!
9 Feb 2015
Day of treatment
Got out of surgery around 5pm today and now I'm in my room for the night. Will post a longer recap later but it went great! I don't even remember getting the anesthesia. Minimal pain, mostly like a very strong ache. Small peak I've had looks great!! They are def small and I love it!
The Surgery Recap
9 Feb 2015
Day of treatment
This morning I got to the hospital around 10:30am as instructed. The prep (vitals, paperwork, etc) took a total of like 5 minutes, so I then got to wait and freak out for another 30 or so minutes while I waited to go in, haha.
I got called in--they took me to an area where Dr. Chun did the markings and I got into the gown, they started the IV, the anesthesiologist came and explained her part. My fiancee was able to sit with me during this time. After about 30 minutes, they took me into surgery. I remember them wheeling me in and stopping, and then I was out. Next thing I know, I'm groggily waking up!
I was a little fuzzy when waking up but got coherent pretty fast. Since I'm staying over night, they then took us to our room where I was able to order dinner.
Pain is very manageable with the medication they are giving me. We'll see how I do at home! Mostly, it seems to be a dull ache and then a few pangs around the nipple and where the drains are inserted (thank goodness they come out tomorrow!).
I'm super pleased with the size. Before surgery, Dr. Chun asked me if I wanted to err on the side of smaller or bigger, and I said smaller, and she went with them. I'm very glad she's not one of those surgeons who pushes back against someone wanting to be small.
Overall, I was very anxious but it's been a good experience! I've attached a quick picture (with a very sloppy cover up of my tattoo, lol), and will get better ones once the gauze and stuff is off!
Day 2 post surgery! I am mostly feeling stiff and sore, with a little bit of pain when I get in and out of bed. I am supposed to change the primary dressings today and will get a better look at my boobs then, but from quick checks everything is still looking great. I've only had a few small spots of blood.
I can't shower until tomorrow or Friday and it's killing me!
I cannot wait to be fully healed and go shopping!!
Quick picture update!
Took a picture before my fiancee helped me replace the dressings. This is the first time they've been changed since coming home so there's a little dried blood, but not too bad!
4th day post!
Yesterday I took a quick, shallow bath with the help of my fiancee. I figured it would be easier than standing up in a shower, and I was right. the bath was very nice but once I was out and she was re-applying the dressings, I started to get lightheaded and had to lie down.
Then last night I thought I would try to sleep through the night instead of waking up every 4 hours to take my oxycodone. I took a dose before bed around 11pm, and ending up waking up around 2 or 3pm in discomfort... not really pain but discomfort and stiffness so I took the meds and am back on schedule. Oh well, don't know until you try! Now I am mostly just SUPER ITCHY everywhere. Also, pretty bloated :( even though they gave me a stool softener prescription (which is another reason I was hoping to cut down on the pain meds).
When we change the dressings today I'll take a peak and see if anything looks different and post a new picture if so!
How long did y'all get spotty bleeding for? My first day home (day 2 post op) I had some spots on the bottom of my surgical bra and I was really worried. But since then there hasn't been anything. I was re-reading some reviews today and it seems like "spotting" is really common and can even happen for a few days! That's a relief. I'm soo paranoid about healing correctly.
Went to lunch today with a friend, just around the corner. Had to wait 10 minutes for a table standing which made me feel a little woozy! But once we got seated and ate some food I felt great.
Napped at home for half the day, and when my fiancee got home had another shallow bath. A little bit of the steri-strip came off today under my breast which was a little weird to see! I'm also pretty yellow and have a little bit of a ripple pattern, probably from the surgical bra. But still seem to be healing well!
Not to much to report, still just healing! I'm a lot more comfortable moving around, and this morning the cats decided that obviously meant they could crawl on my chest, lol. I pushed them away before they got more than a paw on though!
Yesterday I was SUPER nauseas which I think was due to weaning myself off the oxy. I'm taking it now only when I need it which is usually once a day or so. I went to bed early last night (around 9:30pm) and am feeling much better today.
Today I got a slight poke-y feeling under my left breast, but couldn't see anything myself. Maybe just feeling one of the stitches since I'm not numb on pain meds anymore? haha.
They have dropped quite a bit I think and feel pretty soft.
My first follow-up is next Friday. That's so far away!
I had my follow up yesterday (it was supposed to be next Friday but they had a last minute cancellation!).
The tape came off and it was so weird to see underneath it! I was also given permission to switch to regular sports bras, thank god! Everything looked great, they said, but I have a tiny "problem spot" which of course isn't unusual. I've seen a lot where it looks like it's actually an open spot but mine just hasn't sealed back together quite as well as the rest yet, I think. They gave me a cream to put on it, and an anti-bacterial ointment for the rest of the sutures for the next few days.
Last night I had a minor freak-out about taking a shower without the tape on. I felt like the sutures are basically papercuts and without the tape were going to split at the slightest movement or touch! Eventually, I got over it and took a shower, and everything was fine :)
I have another follow-up 2 months from now. I go back to work (and school) on Monday and am SO not looking forward to it, ugh
Addition to last post (amount removed & pain levels/impact)
Oh duh! They told me they took like 310g out of one and 350g out of the other breast. I think the 310g may be a LITTLE under what they told my insurance so hopefully I don't get stuck with anything there.
I am pretty sure I've GAINED a little weight since sitting around in bed for 2 weeks. while I don't wanna go back to work, I will be glad to be more active!
Regular pain levels: I am sleeping flat with no problems and take tylenol as needed, usually when I first wake up in the morning and am a little stiff.
Bust-related pain levels: I know a lot of women feel INSTANT relief. I didn't really, except for obviously no longer having bra straps digging into my shoulders. I am not worried though, since I know sitting propped up in bed for 2 weeks is not doing good things for my back, AND it will probably take a bit for my posture to re-adjust. I have noticed that my shoulders aren't quite as hunched over anymore though I still have to correct them sometimes.
Healing is coming along
so first I really am loving how I look in clothes that fit right! I also really realized how BIG most of my clothes were just to accommodate my chest.
My nipples are looking great and the vertical incisions are healing well too, but I've still got that problem spot at the t junction on the left boob! it's MUCH better than before, if you compare pictures you can see it's almost knitted back together again, but I'm still getting a little bit of blood on the dressings daily. I know healing takes time but it's kind of discouraging to think it looks like it's starting to heal up and then come home to bleeding through the pad! (it's not a lot of blood, but it does come through)
if you had a t-junction problem spot, how long did it take for it to stop any oozing or spotting blood?
Not too much to report
Vertical incisions are looking fantastic, but lefty's problem spot in the t-junction is still healing, sigh! There's a tiny spot that wasn't there before, but based on where it is it's also possible that it's not new, the skin just healed over in the middle of the existing spot, creating what looks like 2 separate ones. IDK. It looks better, though. I am no longer getting blood spotting, and it no longer bleeds through to my bra--just a bit of the yellowish gunk. It's also no longer tender to the touch, and it looks a bit more firm, so I think that's good too. I am still drinking lots of juice to keep myself healthy and encourage it to heal quickly, haha.
I haven't gone bra shopping yet but earlier this week I gently cupped an old D-cup bra I had over them and it was so big!! I can't wait to try on Bs. I tried when we went to Target, but my fiancee dragged me away from the bras and said I had to wait until I was healed more, haha :)
Also, this morning I woke up and switched to my side to sleep!! First time I've done that for more than just a few minutes. It felt so great.
So that's it for now... good luck to everyone who has upcoming surgeries!
I always forget something
I was doing my scar massaging last night and heard a pop! For a second I was terrified that I had done something horribly wrong, but it didn't hurt and looked fine. I looked it up and it's a normal thing. It was in a spot where there was a bump, so that makes sense, and now that spot is laying flat. So if you hear popping when you're doing your massage, don't worry!
Updates! (insurance claim, bra size)
Look at that picture! My insurance finally finished processing the big bill from the hospital. I was a little concerned because of how little (compared to their requirements) was taken out, even though I got pre-approved, but it's all good! I'm only responsible for the remaining deductible, which my job pays for me. Pretty good deal.
I tried on bras this weekend and right now it seems like I'm about a 34C. Of course, I've read that it can take months for you to be at your "real" final size so no bra shopping sprees for me yet! I did however by some triangle/soft cup bras so I can get a bit more shape than the sports bra is currently providing. Can't wait to start wearing those!
My problem spot has really started to speed up with the healing. Once it's all healed over I will definitely post new pictures :) And I just got a new camera, so it will be better than poorly-lit iphone pictures!
It's been a week so I thought I'd update! Problem spot is still healing (you can see the bigger red spot at the t-junction in the picture) but getting much smaller. On that some breast though, you can see that the vertical incision is already fading pretty well so that's good. I'm still super happy with the size and shape (though I wouldn't complain if after all the healing they're a bit smaller). I am so impatient to start using scar cream and wearing a bra without the sterile pad, which I have to use since I'm putting a cream on the problem spot!
Hope all you with surgeries scheduled this month are doing well :)
still making progress
I feel like 2-3 months is probably the most boring, right? things are going along but no major developments. The problem spot I had is now closed up, though the skin is still a little uneven there from the holes. I've gotten more comfortable massaging the incision/scar lines so those have flattened out more too. Left nipple still seems to be a bit red/irritated though, I don't know what its deal is!
Funny thing: like at least once a week I ask my fiancee "Are they still big? Do you promise me they're not still really big?" and she's like "OMG, they took 3/4 of your boob, you're small now, chill." I'm sure it's totally normal--like losing a lot of weight and not seeing the difference in the same way other people do. I'm still happy though :)
10 weeks post I think
14 Apr 2015
2 months post
This time I decided not to edit my tattoo out. at this point it's not one of the thumbnails when browsing and if someone sees and recognizes it, they've already looked at a lot of boobs and it's their own fault, lol. Also, this allows you to see that Dr. Chun did a fantastic job with not distorting it at all.
Other than that, not much going on... just working on massaging those scars! As you can see the left nipple is a bit bigger/more oval right now but it's also the one that is taking longer to fully heal so hopefully it evens out as time goes on. If not though, it's a small thing in exchange for such great boobs!
it's been nearly a month since my last update!
Hard to believe it's been that long, but then again, not much exciting has been happening!
I can tell that they are still going to settle a little more because my t junction is still a little hard, but overall they have really settled into a nice shape. I started using a real scar cream today. Before I had been using a solid lotion with neroli, which helps a little with scar healing but isn't actually specifically for scars. I'm trying a brand called Body Merry. I will update with how that goes :)
I have also attached pictures of me in JUST a cami! Unbelievable, I never would have been able to do that before lol. This is just a cami from Old Navy with a built-in shelf bra which would have been useless before. I love it. I haven't been brave enough to venture out without a bra yet because I get cold easily!! and it would be a little obvious. But I'm sure that day will come.
Purchased a real bra today...
30 May 2015
3 months post
I'm not supposed to actually wear underwire bras for another 2 months or so but I got super excited looking at them at Target and tried some on.
My current size is... drumroll please!
I think I could get down to a 34B, I'm just a little out of shape and that band size was a bit too snug around (cup seemed fine, though). :x
In any case, I'm very excited by this!! I also bought this swimsuit in a medium:
No underwire, only molded cups, and it fits like a dream!
Long time no see!
30 Jul 2015
5 months post
I scribbled out my face in these because it's a terrible angle lol. I'm also not posting regular updates anymore since really the only thing left is scare fading but I will still keep y'all updating on that, just less frequently :)
So yeah. Things are going great. On the picture of my left breast you can see a red spot along the incision line. About a month and a half or so ago I had a stitch pop out. It was weird since I was so far along in healing! It actually really hurt at first, and I called my surgeon's office -- they just had me send a picture (so nice not having to trek all the way in since their office is quite a distance) and then confirmed yep, that's a stitch that didn't dissolve, put some cream and a bandaid on it and you'll be good in a few days. And I was! Now that spot just has to fade.
I can start wearing underwires again but honestly, why would I?? I would like to get more slightly-supportive soft cup/bralettes.
Oh, and after surgery I had lost feeling in my right nipple only. That has returned! I wouldn't say it's at 100% back to normal, but probably like 90%.
That's it I think... hope all of you who have had surgery in June/July are doing great!!