47yo, Size 42F, 175#, BR Surgery in 2 Days - Chicago, IL

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Part of me can't believe I'm doing it. A BIG part...

Part of me can't believe I'm doing it. A BIG part of me can't believe I'm writing about it. LOL And then there's the part that can't believe I waited so long for this. I went from no boobs to HUGE boobs in high school (Sophomore year to be exact). I feel like sometimes I define myself by them. I certainly define my clothing style by them. I'm doing this for pain relief though. My lower back pain is SO BAD!!! I'm just crossing my fingers that this is going to help. I can't sit in a chair anymore without a heating pad or an ice pack on my back. I've tried everything - physical therapy, accupuncture, massage, water exercise, pilates... It's been a struggle for so many years. Don't get me wrong, my shoulders and neck hurt too, but it's nothing compared to my back.

I'm not really that nervous right now - more just excited. I've had surgery twice before so that helps. But I bet I'll be nervous right before they wheel me into the operating room! That part sucks!

Enough for now. More tomorrow perhaps...

Before pictures

2 days to go and worried about post surgery around-the-clock care

So I was doing great today, feeling excited. Then my sister called. She's a doctor. Not a surgeon, but still. Because I am having my surgery right before the Labor Day Holiday, someone is going to be with me 24 hours/day through Monday. My sister is saying that I better make sure someone is with me for the first week post surgery. A WEEK?!?! She thinks I am going to still need help going up and down stairs, getting to the bathroom, etc I have had surgery twice before and it was never that bad after a week. I guess now I don't know what to think. What if she's right? UGH!

Last day before surgery!!

First, I want to thank everyone for your helpful and supportive comments. I think you're right, my sister is just worried about me. I'm just not used to it because I'm usually the one who worries and she's usually the one who is super calm

A couple more things about my case... I have fibrocystic breasts, meaning my breast tissue is full of cysts that get bigger and painful around my period. I sometimes wonder if that's why my breasts are hanging so ridiculously low! Also, my original BR surgery was scheduled for 12/31/15, but got canceled because my lower back pain was so bad and I was taking prescription painkillers every day. It was a catch22, because the reduction is being done to help with the back pain, but my primary care physician decided that I was in too much pain to have the surgery :(
So I went back through another round of P/T, had a minor surgical procedure done on my back, joined a gym so I could go to the pool every other day, started seeing an acupucturist regularly and I don't even know what else I did. I am still in pain! I can't sit in a chair for very long, but it is manageable enough to have this surgery.

Just one more day!!!!!

Surgery is over!


I made it through surgery and I swear to you, I feel GREAT! Yes, there is a little pain, but it just feels like bad bruising. I'm mostly sore under my arms. He said he was going to do some liposuction there, so maybe that's why.

We were told to be at the hospital at 6am. At about 7am was when all the action started. Blood pressure, IV, mild sedative, etc... They also gave me Celebrex, Acetaminophin (may have been Norco) and something else I can't remember. Dr. Howard came in and marked me up (picture to follow) and talked a little about what he planned to do.

At around 7:40am they were taking me into the OR. That's pretty much all I remember. The surgery took 2.5 hours and my surgeon said it went exactly as he wanted it to.

I remember waking up in recovery. Apparently I spent 1.5 hours there but, for me, it felt like 30 minutes (my husband is helping me piece things together ;-) In recovery I had a nurse assigned to me who monitored my pain, blood pressure and probably determined how coherent I was. For awhile I know I was falling in and out of sleep. I did ask for more Norco (pain meds) while I was in there. Eventually they let me go to my room and see my family. We stayed in that room for an hour (I ate a little food) and then they let us go home.

I took one 10mg Norco at 1pm and another at 5pm. Again, I feel so good! Even went for a walk with my husband and the dog earlier. The drugs do make me a little dizzy, but not too bad. Definitely wouldn't want to drive like this though!

That's it for now. I'll go get that picture of me all marked up and post it.


Had drains removed today

I slept pretty well last night. Got up a few times to use the bathroom and to take my pain meds. Slept in my recliner. Feeling pretty good again today. Had an appointment with the nurse at 10am to have my drains removed. It was a weird sensation, but I wouldn't say it hurt. Feels great to have them gone! They were just annoying.

I did have some seeping blood last night coming out under my right arm. We're not sure if it was coming from where the drain was inserted or not. It didn't hurt that much, but it was REALLY messy. Not sure I will be able to get the blood out of the surgical bra. Right now I am in a sports bra. I think the hardest part is finding a bra that doesn't cut in under your breasts. I just ordered this one from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Playtex-Womens-Wirefree-Racerback-Sportsbra/dp/B00FXT7ZGK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472837677&sr=8-1&keywords=playtex+zip+zip+hooray+bra because it was recommended by my surgeon's office. I hope it will work.

I've attached some post-op pictures

2 days post op - first shower

Today has been a good day so far. I would have to say I have a little more pain now. I think some of the numbness has worn off. But I would still say it's only like a 5 or 6 on the pain scale. I took my first shower today, that felt really nice. I've been putting Arnica Montana gel on my bruises and Triple Antibiotic cream on my incisions. I do still have the steri-tape on the incisions though. I am taking 10mg Norco every 4 hours.

Ran some errands today (I did not drive). It felt good to get out and do normal stuff. Taking walks with the dog is nice too.

The painkillers make me feel very tired, sometimes when I'm talking to people I feel like I can barely keep my eyes open. Don't like that feeling at all.

More tomorrow...

4 days after surgery

It's been 4 days since surgery. I feel pretty good, but I tried to stop taking the painkillers (10mg Norco) yesterday because they are making me SO tired and that was not not successful. Woke up in the middle of the night with sharp pains in my chest that made it hard to breathe. Guess I'll keep taking them for a few more days! I also think the painkillers are making me itchy. Not on my incisions, but on my face and scalp - very annoying. I feel like a tweaker! You know? Like the people you see on tv that are on Meth and can't stop picking at themselves??

Now my dog has gone and gotten sick somehow :( She's been vomiting for the last 48 hours and now she has diarrhea too. Had to take her to the emergency vet this morning since it's labor day and everywhere else is closed. She'll be okay, but I hate that I'm not 100% able to take care of her right now. A mother's work is never done, right?

4 days post op picture

Going to try to get off the painkillers again today

Today is my first day home alone. Definitely don't feel like I need someone watching over me 24/7. I can do almost everything myself except for reach for something up high or carry something heavy. I'm going to try Ibuprofen vs. Norco again today. I took my last Norco at 3am and it's 9am now. So far so good. The majority of my pain is still under my arms (where my drains were and where I had liposuction). I've still been putting triple antibiotic gel on my incisions 3x/day and Arnicare Pain Relief gel (Arnica Montana) on my bruises 3x/day. I had never even heard of the Arnicare gel before this surgery, but I am a convert. I really think that stuff worked to make my bruises go away faster!

My little pup is on the mend too, she ate some boiled chicken for breakfast and hasn't thrown it up - thankfully. I will post a picture of her so you can look at something besides my gnarly boobs for a change ;-)

Off painkillers, seeing surgeon today

I am officially off the Norco. It's a relief to have a clear head again. I've been taking ibuprofen every 4 hours, but I think I might switch to aleve or something else today.

Have a post-op appointment with my surgeon today. I'm worried that it's going to hurt, but I just can't take another Norco, so I'm going to tough it out. I'll probably just pass out in his office - no big deal ;-)

If things look different, I will post pictures later.

Searching for mid-level pain relief

So yesterday was a little rough. I had my post-op appointment with my surgeon. It actually went great. He said everything looked great, the surgery couldn't have gone better. He took off my steri-strips (which made me bleed a little) and it was over. Unfortunately I think I got really anxious about the appointment beforehand (I have problems with anxiety) and I just really screwed myself up. I thought the appointment might be painful and I was only taking Acetaminophin. After the appointment my back started hurting really bad from the stress. I went home and could do nothing but lay in bad the whole rest of the day. Today I am feeling only slightly better. I've called my surgeon's office to see if there is a pain reliever I can get that is weaker than the Norco 10mg but stronger than the OTC stuff. I need something in between. Maybe Norco 5mg would be good. I've taken those before. Gonna wait to hear from them. In the meantime, here are some pics w/out steri-strips.
Dr. Michael Howard

Dr. Howard is excellent. I am used to surgeons having a bad bedside manner and spending absolutely no time with you before they are on to the next patient. Dr. Howard isn't like this at all. He gives me the time that I need and always makes me feel comfortable - even right before I went in to the operating room. I would definitely recommend him to someone else if they needed a plastic surgeon.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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