40 Years Old, 5'4" 143lbs., 32G - Finally doing this!!! - Aliso Viejo, CA

Hello everyone, I've been on this site for a few...

Hello everyone,
I've been on this site for a few weeks now, and decided to finally share a little bit about myself. Like most of you, my breasts began to grow when I was young, in 5th grade. I can't recall what sizes I wore at certain points in my life, but I'm pretty sure I was a full C by 8th grade. The teasing and taunting was unbearable for me, and many days I would come home from school crying not wanting to go back. High school was easier, maybe because I developed a thick skin, or maybe because I wasn't one of the only girls with a big chest anymore. Of course I still got rude comments and a lot of unwanted attention, but I think I was so used to it at that point, it was easier to ignore. I never played sports because it was uncomfortable and I felt awkward. And running? Never.
I've never had a problem with self confidence, but I've always been insecure about my breasts, if that makes any sense. I have done my best to hide them, wearing minimizers and layering clothes. I have curves, and it's difficult to find tops that don't make me look 20 lbs. heavier or matronly. Sigh. What I would give to wear thin straps, or strapless maxi dresses!
I turned 40 this year, and I feel that I'm at a point in my life to finally do this. I've thought about breast reduction surgery for almost 10 years, and in that time I had consultations with 3 different surgeons. The first was in 2007. My insurance denied it. I went back to the same surgeon a couple years later when I had different insurance, and they required 6 weeks of documented treatment (physical therapy, chiropractor) which I did not have, and couldn't afford to do at the time. Surgeon #2 was in 2011 and ended up being out of network. I think I didn't pursue it because surgery is scary to me. I have never had surgery, ever!
So now here I am with surgeon #3. He told me right off the bat that my insurance wouldn't even consider my case unless I had 3 months of PT. So I did it. I just finished my PT last week and saw my surgeon this morning. He took photos to submit to my insurance, and said he isn't worried about me getting approved. He said we have everything the insurance requires, and that I'm a strong candidate for the surgery. On the flip side of that, he did warn me that he's submitted cases he felt were a sure thing that got denied by insurance. He said if that were the case, we will appeal. It's just a waiting game at this point. I hope 3rd time's a charm! I really like my surgeon, and am hopeful that I will finally get to do this.

Waiting, and more waiting...

Today is 2 weeks since my consultation. I decided to call Aetna today just to confirm that my paperwork was received, and if any additional documentation was needed. After a 20 minute phone call (most of it on hold), I was told they haven't received anything. I then called my PS's office to follow up, and was told that the girl who submits the paperwork for the doctor is on vacation, and if I had been in during the last 10 days (which I had), then my paperwork hasn't been submitted yet. Most likely the first day of her vacation was the day of my appointment. Of course.
So now I must wait for her to return, and even then I have no idea how long it will take, given that she probably has a ton to go over once she gets back. I was so over being on the phone at this point, I forgot to ask when she got back from her vacation.
If I'm approved for this surgery, I don't plan on scheduling it until November or December, so waiting for the surgery itself isn't so much the issue. What is driving me crazy is that I want to go shopping! I need new bras and tops, but I've been holding off because I don't want to waste my money buying big sizes if I'm fortunate enough to have this surgery!
I want closure, too. This is the closest I've come to doing it after wanting it for over a decade. I just want to know if I'll be free of this weight and back pain, or if I have to resign to the fact that I'm stuck with these ginormous boobs for the rest of my life.
Okay, I know I'm whining. It's only been 2 weeks. But I'm back to square 1 knowing that nothing has been submitted yet. I just need patience. God please give me patience. And small boobs.

Tentative surgery date!

Yesterday I received a call from Julie, the scheduler at my PS's office. She was so nice. She called to touch base with me, and apologized for the delay with my paperwork while she was on vacation. She assured me that she had submitted all my documents to my insurance and told me we should have an answer in about 2 weeks. Because my surgeon wants me to stay overnight in the hospital, she said my surgery will be on a Thursday. She asked if I'd like to go ahead and schedule a date because Thursdays book up fast. So I chose Thursday, December 10th at 7:30am (which means my check-in time at the hospital is 5:30am-ah!). We also scheduled my pre and post- op appointments. I can enjoy Thanksgiving and have 2 weeks of recovery under my belt in time for Christmas. Part of me thinks I'm crazy for scheduling between holidays, but we shall see! Now I just continue to wait, and keep my fingers crossed that I'm approved so I can keep my date!

My excitement is diminishing

Today is 6 weeks since my consultation. I called Aetna again today to check the status. I was told the review is still pending. I am trying very hard to be patient, but it is difficult. I know that 6 weeks is not that long compared to other reviews here where people have waited for months, but I really didn't expect it to take more than a few weeks. I will continue to occupy my mind with other things- I am very busy at work these days so overtime will be a good thing. I so hope to hear something this week. At this point, if I am denied, I will be devastated. I just need to continue to have faith and stay positive, but to be honest, I'm feeling pretty blue today. I just want an answer.

APPROVED!!! WOO HOO!!

So, even though I told myself I wasn't going to call Aetna anymore, I called today during my lunch break. I was floored when the woman told me I was approved! She said they mailed my approval letter on the 22nd, so I should receive it in the mail any day now!!! I almost cried I was/am so happy.
Now my focus is going toward fitness. I'm overall in good health, but these last 7 weeks of anxiously waiting and being up in the air have caused me a bit of anxiety, which leads me to eat my feelings. So no more stress eating! Gotta get back on track with cardio and Barre 3, and eating right.
Like so many other ladies on here have said, I can't believe this is actually going to happen! I have wanted this for so long. I can't wait to share my story and help other women, like others here have helped me.
I have uploaded a few pictures. I will post more later because I know the photos don't truly represent the size of my bust. But hopefully it gives a bit of an idea.
I'm getting new boobs for Christmas!!!

Size Uncertainty!

I went to Target today on a whim with my mother after a hair appointment. I wanted to look at bras to get an idea on sizes. At my consultation in August, Dr. McConnell asked ideally what size I would like to be. Being so tired of being a large and uncomfortable 32G, I told him a full B or small C. I think I remember him telling me that is possible, but that he can't guarantee a size because of the possibility of compromising blood flow to the nipple. I remember him mentioning a D cup, and I immediately began shaking my head no. I just thought that would be too large,and I don't want to go through a major surgery and still feel too big.
Now, I trust my surgeon completely. I trust my PCP who referred my surgeon completely. I told Dr. McConnel this, and that I know this is his specialty, and that he probably has a better idea of what size is more proportional to my frame than I do. I mean, having these large breasts is all I've ever known. I told my mom today that I can't even remember being a B or C cup, it was so long ago. I was so young at the time, I don't even think I had a concept of what cup sizes were! I just wore what fit and supported me. I got my breasts before I even wanted them. Anyway, I told my surgeon that if that moment happens in the OR where he's wondering which way to go, err on the side of small. He said , "excellent, will do".
Now, back to Target...
Looking at the bras, I feel a B would be too small for my frame. I've always had an hourglass figure, so now I'm thinking full C/small D. But I'm scared a D will be too big!
I'm so thankful I have 2 months until my surgery to do more research on cup sizes. If any of you that have had this done are similar to my size, any input would be appreciated! Even ladies that are about to go through this, I would love your opinions as well! I only have one shot at this surgery, and I'd like to go to my pre-op completely confident in the size I tell my surgeon I want.
I'm the Goldilocks of boobs! These are too small, these are too big- I want the ones that are sized just right! Help!

Well this was unexpected...

Today is supposed to mark 30 days out from my surgery, but it has now become SEVEN days out!!! When I originally scheduled my date for Dec 10th, the scheduler asked if I would like to be notified if there were any cancellations in the month of November. I said "sure!". I wasn't really anticipating that to happen, but yesterday I got the call! There was a cancellation for next Tuesday the 17th at 7:30am, and I took it!
I haven't really been on this website for the last few weeks. I have been working crazy overtime at work, and I began exercising everday as well and getting into the routine of cooking whole foods as much as possible to get in better shape for surgery. Thinking I had 30 more days, I was feeling good. But now that I only have a week, I'm freaking out a little bit and feeling ill-prepared. I definitely need to make time to utilize this website for guidance and recommendations!
I have my pre-op tomorrow morning. Hopefully I'll get enough information to set my mind at ease, and this weekend I will shop for all my surgery/post-op needs. I'm definitely still in shock that this is now happening in one week!
I'm finally uploading pics of the girls. My official "before" pictures!

Getting prepared!

Well I have a little over 48 hours to go! Today I was finally able to run errands and get a lot of stuff I need. I got 2 sport bras, a neck pillow for sleeping on my recliner, and all the not so fun neccessities (stool softener, pain meds and antibiotic).
I had my pre-op Wednesday with my surgeon's PA. She told me I would most likely end up a full C or small D. I told her I was fine with that, and to let Dr. McConnell know, since when I saw him in August I told him I wanted a B/C. I've looked at a lot of bras since then, and a D doesn't seem to be as big as I remember. I'd prefer a full C size, but if I end up a D I won't freak out. She gave me my Hibiclense and my prescriptions, and a pre-op packet which includes a pre-op checklist and a log to record my drain fluid. My post-op appointment is one week after my surgery, which means I will have those gross drains attached to me for 7 days! EW! What is worse, is that I can't shower until 48 hours after my drains are removed, so that is 9 days without a shower! Ah my gawwwd! I told my husband to just spray Febreeze at me a few times a day. I know I can do a sponge bath, and I will, but I still never feel as clean doing that. This will be a struggle for me. Because my date changed, I will no longer have my surgery in the main hospital, but in the Plaza across the street from the hospital. This means I am discharged the same day, instead of having to stay overnight. I'm happy about that, because nothing is better than your own bed (or recliner).
Today I got a call from a nurse from the outpatient testing center to ask me health questions for an assessment and medical history. My surgeon didn't order any pre-op testing for me, and she told me the anesthesiologist would be reviewing the information of the assessment and history later today. I was a little shocked that I don't have to have any lab tests done. Has anyone else not had to do tests? I just assumed it was standard.
Tomorrow I will take a trip to Walmart to hopefully find some loungewear. I also plan on cleaning the apartment, and getting my food shopping and meal prep done. Is there anything I am missing, or that you ladies that have been through this recommend?

Hello from the other side!

Yes, I had to do an Adele reference. :)
I made it! My surgery went super quick. I don't think it began until a bit after 7:30, and when I woke up in recovery is was 10:20! My nurses and the anesthesiologist were all so nice. My surgeon was so informative and funny, which helped calm my nerves.
I can't believe it's over! When I first saw my PCP about the possibility of a reduction, I told him I have never had surgery before, so the mere fact that I was willing to go through it to alleviate my back and neck pain should really speak to the seriousness of it. I had nervous energy all day yesterday, and this morning on the way to the hospital I even thought, "I wonder how many people back out the day of surgery due to fear? " I didn't want to be one of those people, and I just focused on how long I have wanted this, and how hard I have worked for it. I put my big girl panties on and did my breathing exercises, and kept telling myself that I would be asleep and not know anything that was going on. They do these things everyday!
My mom was there for me at the hospital. Dr. McConnell told her that my surgery went great and he removed 1lb. from each breast! My 2 biggest fears going into surgery were (1) they would find a tumor or some type of scary mass and (2) I would bleed so much I would need a transfusion. Thankfully neither happened. I apparently was very shaky coming out of anesthesia, but they gave me dilaudid and that stopped it.
I have an ace bandage wrap and I cannot remove it until my post op next Tuesday, so I have to wait a whole week to see my new girls! Although, looking at myself with it on I cannot believe how small I am! Dr. McConnell said my insurance required 500cc's (I think cc's) from each breast, but he said if my breast health wasn't compromised he would take out more. I think he was able to! He told my mom that I should end up a full C, small D. I am totally fine with that, because I feel tiny! (In a good way!)
I feel really good. No nausea, thank God. I told the anesthesiologist that was a big concern for me because I get motion sickness, and I think he took really good care of me. I came out of anesthesia easily, also. No grogginess. I told my nurse when I woke that my pain level was a 3. I still don't have pain really, just soreness like a lot of other women have said. I'm just trying to get my sleep incline right.
I will post about the sugery tomorrow. I just wanted to update that I made it through, and to thank those of you following my journey and for for all your kind words, wishes and prayers. I really appreciate it.
Now to have some soup and binge watch Once Upon a Time...

Surgery deets!

Hello my BR sisters! I forgot to post about my surgery! Let's just blame that on the Hydrocodone...

When I arrived, I was nervous. Never had surgery and had no idea what to expect. I was in the waiting area for maybe 10-15 minutes before being called back to fill out paperwork. Once that was done, I waited probably another 10-15 minutes before being called to prep. Once back there, I took a pregnancy test. Negative, of course. I had 2 nurses tend to me. One checked my vitals, put in my IV and put my compression stockings on, the other came to talk to me about what to expect after surgery and what would happen once we got to the OR. Dr. McConnell came in to greet me. He took my hand and asked how I was doing. I told him I was suprisingly calm at the moment, and he said, "oh that's great, wish I could say the same". That made me laugh and calmed me even more. He asked me if I got enough sleep, if I was comfortable, reiterated some things the nurse explained to me, and drew on my chest explaining what the measurements meant as he did. He answered every question I asked thoroughly, and other than his joke earlier, was all business.
Last to arrive was the anesthesiologist. I think my surgery started after the scheduled 7:30, because everyone was waiting on him. I told him that even though I was calm, I was nervous and he said he'd give me something fun. Once he left, everything went from a steady pace to what seemed like super speed. I was being wheeled down the hallways to the OR, and I don't recall much after that. I remember music was playing- I think maybe the Police? I think I started singing (must have been from the "fun" cocktail). I saw my surgeon, and my nurse Kathy was next to me as the mask was put on my face.
Next thing I know I'm waking up in the original area I was in, and my mom was sitting there smiling at me. That was when she told me Dr. McConnell said everything went great. My nurse asked my pain level, and she said all my vitals were great! She explained how to check my drains and I got got post-op instructions. I was discharged quite quickly. I don't have much memory of that either. I remember being helped out of the wheelchair into my mom's truck, and I remember feeling woozy in the elevator in her apartment complex. I wasn't nauseous, just light-headed. I didn't get sick once after my surgery. My anesthesiologist rocked!
My husband picked me up from my mom's. The ride home wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I had a pillow as many BR veterans suggested (thanks ladies!) We stopped at Jamba Juice because that was the only thing that sounded good to me. The rest of the day I just relaxed and slept as Dr. McConnell instructed.
I have to say, I had a really great team. The nurses were so nice and did a great job of easing my anxiety, and Dr. McConnell is just amazing. Like I said, he was all business (thank God) but also very caring and compassionate.
As scary as surgey seemed to me, it was a positive experience! You sleep and wake up with weight lifted off your chest! To those of you that have never had surgery (like myself), have faith in your team and let them take the best care of you- they will! It will be over before you know it!

Post-op!

Today is exactly 1 week post-op and I am feeling great!
I had my post-op appointment this morning with Dr. McConnell's PA, May. So far, every experience I have had with him and his staff has been great!
She took my bandages off and freed me from the drains! 7 days with those annoying things! I feel liberated! Seriously, I cannot believe how much those things slowed me down the first week. There was a slight pinch when cutting the stitches which May warned me about, then in a couple seconds, the drain was out! It didn't hurt, but there was this tugging feeling in my breast that was slightly unpleasant. After the second drain was out, I got woozy. Like, really woozy to the point that I had to lay down or I was going to pass out. It was embarrassing. This is why I could never be a nurse. I apologized to May, because I was so light-headed that I couldn't even deal with looking at my new breasts! I told her I hadn't eaten, and she was so kind to offer me a bagel that her daughter brought earlier.
Before I started going down, I asked her how my breasts looked when she took off my wrap. I was so scared that one (or both) of my nipples had necrosis, or that I had a hematoma. I was not allowed to undo or open my wrap the entire week, so I had no clue what could have been going on under there. I was so happy when she said everything looked fantastic! I took a quick peek and couldn't believe how much smaller they looked!
She left me in the room alone for about 5 minutes to recover from my wooziness. I had some water and a few bites of the delicious everything bagel with cream cheese that she gave me. When she came back, she put on my sports bra, and gave me more post-op instructions. I can't shower for another 48 hours, I can sleep on my sides if my body allows, still no activities for another week, and I wear the sports bra round the clock for 3 months. She cleared me to work from home starting next Tuesday, until I can return to the office with no restrictions after the New Year. I have another follow up in 2 weeks.
Other than almost passing out, I had a great appointment! I got the courage to take a look at my breasts earlier this evening, and I am VERY happy with how they look so far! Minimal bruising and soreness. After my surgery, one of the nurses told me I would be very happy with Dr. McConnell's artistry, and she was right! So far so good! May said I will probably end up a D. If this is what a D looks like, then I'm actually thrilled because they already seem so much smaller to me, and they are still swollen!
Week one has been good. I took my Hydrocodone every 4 hours for the first 48 hours, then starting spacing out the time until I completely stopped taking them Saturday. I took a pill before my appt today because I was worried the drain removal would hurt. Today was the first day since my surgery that I left the house. I just felt too awkward to go anywhere with those drains, and I also really wanted to take it easy even though I felt like I could do more. I pray that the rest of my healing goes this well!

December 10th

Today was my original surgery date! Now I am actually 23 days PO. I feel great, and still can't believe my surgery has come and gone. I was so scared, but now it's just a memory and personal triumph!
However....I hate driving! Every little bump freaks me out and I feel as if my boobs are going to fall apart! Anyone else feel this way, or should I just add this to my list of irrational fears??

One month post-op

Well, today marks exactly 4 weeks since my surgery. Feels like so long ago! My recovery has been pretty uneventful so far, though I think I may be a slow healer. I still have some small scabs on my nipples, and scabs along my incision lines under my paper tape. I see my PS tomorrow, so I am anxious to hear what he has to say. I think he'll either change or completely take off my paper tape. It's getting itchy and annoying, so I won't be sad to see it go. But me being me, I'm terrified of having an open wound when he takes it off. I'm such a worry wort!
I am still swollen and a bit tender. Also, I still have some numbness on the underside of my breasts. I hope that's normal at this point. I'll probably drive Dr. McConnell crazy with all my questions.
Overall, I feel fantastic. Each day I'm getting more and more back to my normal routine. I'm sure I'm capable of doing more, but I'm really taking advantage of the time I have to heal. I will post another update with more photos after my appointment tomorrow.

6 weeks post-op

Yesterday marked 6 weeks since my surgery. I know I'm not far into my recovery, but my surgery seems so long ago!
I feel fantastic. I can't believe how great this recovery has been for me so far. I really took it easy. I know many people return to work after 2 weeks or so, but my surgeon cleared me for 6 weeks. I did start working from home at 2 weeks PO, and last week I returned to the office. So, I really took 4 weeks of being at home. It was great. I just kept telling myself that I only have one opportunity to heal, and all the things I was restricted from doing would still be there afterwards. No rush, no stress.
So...my breasts. I'm very happy with Dr. McConnell's work. My right breast is definitely the slower to heal, but it's still coming along well. It's a little larger than the left, (and it was before the reduction) but I also think it is more swollen at this point than the left. Both breasts have tiny little scabs at each end of my vertical incision. I have no problem with this and am in no hurry for them to come off, because I would rather have the scab there over my healing skin than to cause an open wound.
I had a lift along with my reduction, and my breasts have still not dropped yet. I haven't had perky boobs in so long, so I'm really enjoying this part!
I still have some numbness, but it's improving. I have moments of tenderness, usually when I'm changing my tops or driving- but I feel much better about driving! I don't give it a second thought anymore!
I haven't started using anything for my scars yet. My skin has been really dry, so I put coconut oil on the areas of flakiness, but not on my incisions.
I really want to start exercising again. I lost 10lbs prior to surgery, and an additional 2 lbs after (thanks Dr. McConnell!) and I definitely don't want to blow all my hard work from beforehand. I'm going to start treadmill work, but I'm still leery of returning to HIIT. At least, not until my little scabs are healed. I don't want to tear any skin. I'm nervous about jumping/weight lifting. Ladies that are exercising at 6 weeks- how much weight are you lifting? My surgeon's PA didn't give me a number, and I know I need to listen to my body, but I'd just like a general idea. Also, at what point in recovery are we "in the clear" from open wounds? That has been my biggest fear. Each week that goes by without it happening I hear a choir in my head singing "Hallelujah!".
This weekend I am going to get a new sports bra for fitness and will get fitted to see where I am at this point. I know I am far from my final size, but I really just want to hear any letter less than "G" come from the saleswoman's mouth! So excited! I still can't believe this finally happened for me! I am so, so grateful.
Fullerton Plastic Surgeon

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