Holy cow! It's happening! My original surgery date...
Holy cow! It's happening! My original surgery date was November 28, but they just moved me up to October 5! So now I have less than 2 weeks to prepare for surgery when I was planning on having 2 months. I'm beyond excited but nervous that I'm not prepared. The one appointment I've had with my surgeon was more about how the procedure works and how long afterwards that I should lift heavy things. So thanks to RealSelf I know I should get an unlined bra, and that I can't sleep on my side. I would love some input on what things were the most helpful to those of you who have had a breast reduction. I've seen those pillow wedges to help with the sleep issue, I've seen bras from Walmart that people have raved about. So what things should I focus on acquiring in the 10 days I have until my surgery?
And to hopefully help someone else down the road: I've struggled with back pain since high school. I threw it out a couple times when I was around 17, and a few more times in college. I've done physical therapy to strengthen my core, to stretch out the muscles that would help relieve tension on my lower back. I've done massage and chiropractic therapy. Ice packs, electrode machines, so many pain killers. All the things. And literally nothing helps.
So finally, after being married for almost a year and thinking about having kids, I decided to talk to my doctor about getting a breast reduction, which I honestly didn't even know was a thing until a couple years ago. So she sent me to another physical therapist and gave me a muscle relaxer, (the muscles in my lower back are rock hard literally all the time). So my new PT, Sara, told me that with chronic back pain your brain literally shuts down the muscles because it knows it hurts. So it thinks "if I don't let those muscles work, they can't be in pain, right?". Wrong. The result of that is the muscle turns into fat, because the brain won't let those muscles build. So that was comforting. But made sense to me. So I was very grateful that my doctor was helping me with my pain while I got the ball rolling for surgery.
Fast forward to my meeting with the surgeon and nothing is news to me. My mother in law and sister in law have both had breast reductions so I already knew the process. The money question was "will insurance cover this?" I think he actually interrupted my husband and said "Oh definitely. For it to be considered medically necessary we have to be able to remove 500 ccs of tissue, and you'll probably be 750+." Oh good. So he thought we'd be able to schedule about 6 weeks out, well that ended up being 12. So I turned down the excitement meter because now I'd have to wait 3 months. BUT IT GOT MOVED UP!! So now I'm freaking out because this is so exciting but I want to be prepared. And thankfully my work was able to work the schedule around with such short notice. Praise.
I had my pre-op appointment this morning with the nicest nurse I've ever met. She made me feel so comfortable. She gave me all the rules going into the surgery, none of which surprised me. I have to stop taking ibuprofen/naproxen as they are blood thinners. Tylenol would be fine but that never worked for me. I have to stop eating and drinking 8 hours before check in which would be 1:30 am, so I can have dinner but the morning might be tough. Surgery is scheduled at 11:30, so I imagine I'll be pretty hungry. And then knowing I might be nauseous afterwards makes me sad that I won't eat all day. ????
But I got 2 packets of antibacterial soap that I have to wash with the night before and morning of the surgery. I got some blood work done to make sure things like electrolytes are fine. And a urine pregnancy test because it's been about a month since my last period (even though I have the arm implant.) She also asked me a LOT of questions about my health and history. If I'm a smoker, had a history of asthma, any rashes, shortness of breath, heart problems, headaches...
We also had the talk about breast feeding. My surgeon said probably not, but the nurse said some can some can't. I'm not worried about it as my mother and grandmother weren't able to breast feed without this kind of surgery. But she was very kind about it. Other than that, she told me to wear clothes that are easy to put on, leggings, sweatpants, and button up shirts. I wasn't surprised by that either but now I have a good handle on my surgery outfit. ????
Then I went to my physical therapy appointment. I wanted to get in one more session before the surgery. We increased the difficulty of some of the exercises for my back, which are done on my back, so hopefully I can get back into them a few days after I come home. Obviously I'm not going to push it, but if they don't affect my upper body I don't see why they would be terribly hard to do with bandages on. We'll see how that goes. 5 more days to go!! I'm so ready for this.
I'm definitely NOT sick.
So I'm starting to freak out a little but because it seems like I'm getting a cold with 4 days before my surgery. I've been taking zicam, emergen-c, mucinex, my allergy medicine... I took an epsom salt bath, I'm drinking lots of water. And I feel ok but I'm getting a little too mucous-y for comfort. I didn't have a temp at my pre-op appointment but I'm terrified that I'll get worse and they won't let me get surgery with the sniffles. Praying that I dry up before Wednesday!!
I also have this weird worry about laying on my back for a few hours for the surgery. I've never had surgery like this before and I'm afraid that my back will seize up like it does when I lay on my back for too long (I mean like 10 minutes). Did anyone with bad back pain have issues coming out of surgery? I know I'll get pain meds but my back has been killing me the last couple weeks so that's all I think about now.
Today's the day!
5 Oct 2016
Day of treatment
In T-3 hours I'll be checking in for surgery. My last appointment with my surgeon was very quick and really put my mom at ease, who flew out to help. He basically just asked if I had any questions, the only one I had being if I would have drains. He, gloriously, said he stopped using drains 10-15 years ago. Yay!! I also mentioned that the sides of my breasts are quite annoying, so how far over would he go? And he showed me exactly where he'd be drawing on me to make an incision on the sides. And my cold is pretty much gone except for some residual coughing from some mucus that's coming up. So all good all around!!
I used the soap they gave me at the pre-op appointment last night and this morning. It's like traffic cone orange and smells faintly like rubbing alcohol. Not entirely unpleasant though. I work at a salon so I went in to get my hair braided in pigtails to it'll be out of my face. All the ladies I work with are being so supportive and loving. It's such a blessing to be surrounded by people who care about me, and understand how important this is to me. So I might go back in a couple days, after my post-op on Friday maybe to get it washed. I also still have my appointment for Saturday to get it styled for a wedding we RSVPed to last month that I would really like to go to. So hopefully that'll be able to happen.
My husband and my mom are being wonderful. I've done enough research to know what I need to do, but it's nice having them affirm things. We had dinner kind of early yesterday so I was told to have some protein before bed. And to drink as much water as you can the day before so you're still kind of hydrated by the time you go in.
I think that's all the pre-op stuff, so I'll see you on the other side!!
All went well!
Surgery went very well yesterday. He was actually able to take me early, which was nice because we got there an hour before my check in time. :P And I was just really hungry, so the sooner the better. My pre-op nurse was so nice, and took very good care of me. She asked me a million questions about my health, medications, allergies... the usual. She put in my IV and took some blood just in case they needed to test something later. My body doesn't like when blood leaves it, so I got a little hot and light headed, but she was great and got me feeling better. Then my husband and mom were able to come in and see me. Everything happened really fast after that. Dr McDowell came in and marked me up, the anesthesiologist talked to me about what we would do and the side effects afterwards. My nurse gave me a shot in my leg that for the life of me I cannot remember what it was for. Then I said goodbye to my husband and mom and they wheeled me off.
The nurse who took me to OR made me feel very comfortable. She mentioned that she loved working with Dr McDowell and that she would gladly have a procedure done by him if she needed something. I didn't have any doubts about him but that made me feel extra good. Then they started hooking me up to things, gave me some oxygen and then I don't remember anything.
I woke up crying because the pain was so bad. So they gave me some good stuff and I calmed down. I think I napped a lot but woke up easily when they needed me. They had to change my bra right away because I bled through it, but the surgeon wasn't worried about it. So I got to see the tops of my new boobs and they looked perfect! They seemed a little rough when they changed me but after they were done I was fine. And the nurses were very nice. They let me hold their hand when I was in a lot of pain. I was also really dizzy, which is a side effect of the anesthesia. Once I felt better they wheeled me to the recovery room where I could see my husband and mom. I was still really dizzy but not in a lot of pain. They had to add a few more fluffy bandages because I was still leaking a little. I drank a lot of water because my throat was really sore from the breathing tube they put in for surgery. After maybe an hour I finally threw up and the nurse was really excited lol. He was like "You must feel so much better!" Which I did. I went to the bathroom, changed out of the mesh underwear and pad they gave me since I was in my period, slowly changed back into my clothes, and we left! The drive home wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. About 30 minutes, and I thought I was going to be sick a couple times but I was fine. My in-laws met us at home and had chick-fil-a for us. :) Eating was kind of hard just because my throats was so sore. But I had most of the grilled chicken nuggets and 2 waffle fries. And a bunch of water. I was really glad to have the company. My sister-in-law came a little later and I showed her my bra. She's had the procedure done so she could relate to everything. We both reacted the same to the anesthesia apparently.
I slept on the on the couch because I had found a comfortable position. I set an alarm to take more pain meds during the night, and my husband woke me up when he got up for work so I could take more. I didn't sleep very well, I woke up about every 2 hours, but I was comfortable. The morning has been good, just watching Sherlock with my mom. But I did find a sticker that was still on me from surgery. And then I felt something poking me, like a splinter, but it's on the side of my back. So I'll have them look at it tomorrow at my post-op appointment. For now we put a bandaid on it to keep from rubbing on the bra. But I feel pretty good! Just the incisions on the side are uncomfortable. More tomorrow after post-op!
My post-op appointment went very well. The nurse took off all of my bandages and everything looks good! She was amazed by how even I am. So in the one picture it looks like the one is bigger, but I think that's just from awkwardly taking a selfie of my chest. I woke up a little dizzy this morning so she told me to alternate the Norco the gave me and ibuprofen. Seems to be working so far. I'm definitely getting the nipple zaps already and I have sensation in both of them. I am beyond happy with how they look!!!! I was worried about them coming out to the sides but they don't. They are completely perfect.
She changed my bra and told me I still might discharge a little bit, and that it's mostly saline but it'll look like blood because it's getting mixed with blood. So when I took these I noticed that the new bra is a little bloody looking, but I'm not worried since she told me to expect it. I plan on grabbing a comfy bra or two tonight because these surgical ones come up so high. I don't want to try any on because of the discharge, but it looks like I'm a D now, and I just want some stretchy ones. I'm still planning on going to a wedding tomorrow so I'd like to be able to wear a dress, and preferably a bra that doesn't come up to my collarbone. :P
I have had the best support system since the surgery. I had a good friend come over yesterday for a few hours. She had a reduction several years ago and was impressed that I was up and walking around. And my bestie is coming over tonight and is bringing dinner. I feel so loved.
Anyway I just have a little bruising underneath and they're still pretty sore on top. But day to day seems pretty easy. Just relaxing and taking it slow. Thanks for all the love!!
2 weeks post-op
These last couple weeks have been up and down. I only took a week off of work so going back was hard. I was only taking ibuprofen the last few days I had off, and going back reverted me to the Norco they gave me at the hospital. I had to ice a lot too. After 3 days of normal shifts I was pretty miserable, but what can you do.
These past couple days have been good though. I'm still sore and bruised a little, but everything seems to be healing nicely. I have one pokey stitch under lefty, but my husband told me not to worry about it. I have another post-op appointment in 2 weeks so if it's still there I'll tell them about it. I still have some steri-tape around my nipples and I think one per side underneath. They don't really bother me but I want them off so I can see my nipples properly.
My biggest annoyance is the sides of my breasts. That's where the bruising is the worst for me, and small movements of my arms will hit them just enough to hurt. But I haven't even needed to ice them in several days. It's still hard to shower but not impossible. It just hurts to reach up to get my products and bend down to wash my legs. I can wash my hair but by the time I get out of the shower I'm too tired to do anything with it. I'm getting used to sleeping on my back, and it's actually really comfy on my neck.
And most excitingly, I went to Victoria's Secret and got fitted! It wasn't at all what I was expecting, but what they put me in fit great. She measured me at a 34DDD at first and then said my sister size would be a 36DD. They wanted to put me in the 36 first because of the surgery, and it fit great. I got their wireless Body by Victoria style. They pulled some push ups for me and the extra padding just wasn't comfortable. I think I'm still a little swollen on the sides so the ones I got will fit even better in a few weeks, and eventually I can try on the cute stuff!
3 weeks post-op
Ok, it's been 3 weeks and I'm still really sore. It probably doesn't help that the cat jumped on one of my boobs yesterday. All of the tape is off, so I'm happy about that, but now my nipples seem really sensitive. They're more painful now that the tape isn't protecting them. And little stitches are starting to come out. I was really freaked out at first because I had these tough black spots that I thought were stitches. But as they softened after showering and I started picking at them I think it was just scabbing around the stitches, which are really light and white.
Otherwise it's not too bad, I'm just impatient for them to feel normal. And as the swelling goes down I'm hoping some things about them change. The left has some sagging at the middle incision that I don't like, and I think he could have made my nipples higher. BUT they're easily half the size they used to be and I don't have back pain anymore. So I'm very happy, just noticing the small things.