45 Year Old, Mother of Two, 44DD/DDD to Full C - Houston, TX

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Well the time has finally come! This Wednesday I...

Well the time has finally come! This Wednesday I am scheduled to have my breast reduction surgery and I'm nervous and anxious but also excited. I've always had large breasts and I've suffered from serious back, neck, and shoulder pain for years, as well as terrible headaches, which after reading some of the other reviews I'm thinking could also be attributed to the pain and discomfort caused by my large breasts. I lost 27lbs this year, currently at 247 and I'm hoping that this surgery will help make it possible for me to be able to exercise more and get more active without the pain and weight of my heavy chest. I also developed a very irritating and painful cyst on my left shoulder from my bra straps digging in there. The doctor has also graciously agreed to remove that during surgery as well! I'm excited and looking forward to meeting the new girls! I'm praying for a successful surgery, a quick healing and recovery process with no complications and minimal scarring, no more cyst, neck or back pain, and a solid "C" cup :). Say a little prayer for me! I'll keep you posted.

Today's the day!!!

Just a few short hours and I'm off to the hospital for my BR surgery...5:45am arrival time. Of course I havent slept at all, too anxious..I guess I'll do enough sleeping under anesthesia later lol. A little nervous but more than ready. My doctor, and reading about your experiences here has helped me to feel completely confident in my decision to have the surgery. Thank you guys for all of the well wishes, and I'll post post-surgery pics and an update as soon as I'm able to.
See you ladies on the other side :)

So it's been nearly a week now since my BR surgery...

Let's back up a bit...its surgery day. Things were going according to expectation, however, once surgery was complete and I had been brought to recovery, the surgeon decided that my right breast appeared too swollen and thought there could be internal bleeding (mind you, I really don't comprehend exactly what's happening at this point). She decided to return me to the operating room and reopen the breast, where fortunately there was no bleeding, however she says she did see some extra tissue that was removed that could've been problematic later (*yeah, that made me really optimistic). They kept me overnight just to keep an eye on things. I was sent home on Thursday, no drains necessary, just some gauze tucked into a zip front bra the hospital put on me. By Saturday I had woken up enough, and worked up the nerve to take a real peak at them. They were pretty much as expected at this point, swollen and sore, with the exception of the right one which was a bit more swollen up top and the nipple darker and not as smooth as the other. However, knowing they had to go back into that one a second time I hoped it would even out. On Sunday I took my first shower which was nice, removed the gauze as instructed, and took advantage of the well-deserved rest. Suddenly things got a little weird on yesterday when I noticed the skin starting to come away from my right nipple area, along with some drainage at the nipple and bottom incision underneath. The drainage doesn't concern me so much as the peeling skin / raw exposed nipple flesh. I'm just trying to stay optimistic regarding the process and results for now, but I see the doctor in two days on Thursday. I'm really eager for her to look at things and reassure me that it will turn out okay, and also to talk to her about why the tip of my tongue is still numb (mostly the tip toward the right side). I told her at the hospital and her only explanation was that it could have been from the tube placement during the procedure.
Also, the doctor did remove the cyst from my left shoulder which was a bonus.
(*Warning: Some of these are pretty gross looking)

Added bonus...

I forgot to mention earlier that prior to the surgery I weighed 247lbs, 3 days post I was at 241. Today, 6 days post I'm at 238 lbs. I haven't been having much of an appetite, and even when I feel quite hungry I start to eat and lose my appetite. I'm hoping that this can be a jumpstart and transition into better eating habits, exercise and weight loss. Just that part alone is worth this journey. I'm also only taking 1-2 pain pills per day depending on how much I exert myself, so hopefully soon I won't be needing them at all.

Not so good news..

Saw my PS for 1st post-op visit yesterday and she pretty much confirmed what I had suspected, there appears to be a lack of blood flow to the R areola and nipple which is why it is turning black and hardening. I was very perturbed by my experience with the doctor yesterday (actually, I learned that she's a resident and not the PS I had seen the entire time leading up to the surgery, nor who I expected to perform the procedure smh). She just kind of sat there looking at me, and looking down...saying, "well these are the kinds of complications that we warn you about, and I've done lots of these and this has never happened." Thank God I know my way around a computer and have the wherewithal to research and gather some info for myself. I was not there to blame anyone, or even feel bad about it...I just wanted to know what was actually happening and how we would proceed. She acted as if it had happened to her and didn't know what to say or do. I had to question her about every little thing just to get a clue as to what I should/could do, if anything. She ended up saying she was concerned about the L breast also due to the darkened outer ring of the aeriola. She applied this yellow medicated strip to the R aeriola, sent me home with those to apply daily, as well as an oral antibiotic (Keflex) to take 4 times per day for 10 days. She said that once I've healed up we could do nipple reconstruction and tattooing which will likely be required on one or both breasts. Yes this is un unwanted and unexpected bump in the road, but for now I plan to focus on my overall healing. I will deal with the rest as it comes. Actually, after wearing the strip for just one day the area actually looks a little better and the skin has softened there. I am still very happy with the size and shape. Still quite a bit of soreness and swelling but I expect that for a while, the nerve pain is intense at times but infrequent. Next appointment in Aug 4th, let's hope it goes better :)

Update: 12 days post op - 2nd follow up in 3 days

After 4 days of applying Xeroform strips for R nipple/areola complex necrosis still lots of drainage from the under breast incision and areola requiring constant padding/dressing. The skin over the areola and nipple has since softened over the past few days whereas it was completely black and hardened before, and a little more pink tissue has become visible which I'm hoping is a good sign. L areola and nipple a little suspect also, darkening more around the areola edge but otherwise seems to be healing well. I'll see PS again on Thursday, will post an update after.

Update: 2nd po ps visit - 16 days PO

So I saw my ps again yesterday and the good news is that there doesn't appear to be any infection (im still taking the Keflex as a preventative measure). She did call in my original ps Dr. Marques to get his opinion and he agreed with her to just stay the course with the xeroform and dressings. I asked if I would lose my nipple and areola complex and he said it was too soon to tell, I needed to heal up a few more weeks before the area "declared" itself then he would know more. I was relieved to find there was no infection and I pray it stays that way, but my bottom right breast incision has opened recently which is another setback. The ps told me to stay patient, keep the area clean and dressed, and we will keep an eye on the left breast also as it is drying and darkening around the areola edges. Tonight after showering I noticed the areola skin on the right breast is starting to really peel away from the tissue underneath which is a bright pink/red. It is very hard to see this happening to myself, and the pictures are quite vivid and gross but I will post them anyway to accurately document my BR journey and maybe show someone else going through this that they aren't alone. The doctor wants to follow me weekly for now which makes me a bit more comfortable. I'm just ready for this ordeal to be over but I know it will take some time. I'm just hoping I don't require any more surgeries :(

Where we are now..

I've seen my ps a few times since my last post and on my last visit this past Tuesday she decided to go ahead and do a debridement of the necrotic skin/tissue on the R breast (areola and nipple) which had turned black and hardened. My appt wasn't scheduled until Thurs but she said she had been worried about me since our last visit and decided to call me in early. She did the procedure right there in her office, no anesthesia or numbing medications required as surprisingly she said I shouldnt feel anything and I didn't. However it was rather gross and troubling to hear scissors snipping away at your breast...ewww! It's a fairly deep open wound. But it was over in a matter of minutes. She said to pack the nipple area and bottom R incision with gauze wet with saline and cover with dry dressing. The tissue should begin to granulate and heal up over the next 2-3 weeks, at which time she said we will do a skin graft, then at a later point inevitably do a nipple reconstruction. It's a lot to take in, and of course not the outcome I'd hoped for. My healing is obviously prolonged but this is the hand I've been dealt so I'm trying to remain positive. I will continue with follow ups on a weekly basis for now. L breast doing much better, some skin discoloration after scabbing has peeled but I'm hoping that will resolve or may require some tattooing as well. I am still quite sore and tire extremely easily, especially after moving around a while. Pictures to gross right now to post. Hopefully I'll have better news to post in a few weeks.

Update..almost 2 wks since initial debridement

I still can't quite believe that I have lost my nipple and areola on my right breast. The initial debridement was done just about 2 weeks ago, removing the hard black scab and dead fat and tissue that was my right nipple and areola. then I saw my ps again last week and she conservatively debrided the area again leaving a golf ball sized hole in my breast. In other bad news my ps told me that I am not healing at the rate she would expect and its likely due to the poor blood flow that caused this problem with the nipple and the amount of tissue that was removed from that one breast, and also the fact that I am diabetic. She asked if I had ever smoked which I have never but she warned to stay away from even second hand smoke. She prescribed another round of antibiotics (Keflex) as a preventative measure. I'm just happy that there haven't been any infections thus far with these open wounds. R under breast incision that opened up has widened a bit but tissue looking healthy, the doctor says she will do a skin graft on both areas once I heal a bit more. For now it seems that the course of action is to continue wet/dry dressings, take antibiotics 4xdaily for 10 days, keep glucose levels under control, stay away from smoke, and pray for speedier healing so we can move on to the next stage in the process. As for my left breast, there are a few scab spots and some discoloration of the areola, still a bit sore and firm in spots but overall seems to be doing ok. I'm still quite sore and swollen, the right more than the left, and get frequent sharp nerve pains, especially after sleeping, driving or showering...I guess anytime I put any kind of pressure or friction on my breasts it irritates them. In better news, my back and neck pain have been completely alleviated (yayyyy!)...I was hoping that would be the outcome but didn't really expect it but that alone makes it all worth it! I was leery about posting current photos here because I feel they are pretty alarming and gross, but this is my BR journey and I want to document it truthfully. I've read the reviews of others who are dealing with similar troubles and have been truly inspired by their courage and transparency so here goes. Perhaps someone here will be strengthened by my sharing. Praying that everyone is doing well in their recovery :)

Update: 2 months post op

Last saw PS 2 weeks ago and he was very pleased with the progress of left breast at that point. Tissue is filling in much better than it had been and I'm using less packing gauze which is a good sign. There had been talk of using a wound-vac however on my last visit my PS decided we wouldn't need to right now with the way things are going. I was so happy as I I just really needed to hear some good news for once :). I didn't even require a debridement on my last visit. He left it up to me to decide if I wanted to see him back again in one week or two, as he felt comfortable I was on a good path but wanted me to be comfortable as well. I appreciated that and decided to go back in two weeks..hopefully in that time there would be a significant improvement. Bottom left incision healing up as well, there will be a larger scar underneath but he said we could do a skin graft there as well. One step at a time though. I see the PS again this Thursday and looking forward to another good report! :)
Erik Marques

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