54 Years Old, Small Framed, Athletic, So Ready to Do This- Breast Reduction and Lift! - Kenilworth, IL

I finally decided to have this surgery for myself...

I finally decided to have this surgery for myself as my husband and I are officially empty nesters as of September. Everyone I have consulted with have said that my surgeon, Geoffrey Fenner, is an "artist" with breast surgery; and so I know I am in the best of hands (literally!) Don't have a picture to upload yet but will do so before the surgery. One week from tomorrow and I am a new woman! To update on my preparation, I had a two hour pre-surgery meeting with Dr Fenner's nurse, Melissa, and she was phenomenal! She answered every single one of my questions and gave me loads of good advice in regards to post surgery steps to take to avoid excessive bruising, nausea, pain, or discomfort. I will provide more details about this in my next post. I have also gone to Walmart (throw away clothes if I don't want them later) and bought button up pj's, button up flannel shirts, two sports bras which zip up the front and one or two soft cotton camisoles. Dr Fenner's nurse said that I will likely NOT need a compression bra after surgery and that they recommend that I just wear a loose camisole over my breasts which will only have gauze over them. No bra at all! Are you kidding me? That will be an out of body experience for me after lugging these large breasts around, tightly held up and snug, for so long. My surgery will be one week away, as of tomorrow, and so I will start a regime of "no alcohol, no aspirin or ibuprofen (both interfere with normal blood clotting), washing with a germ-inhibiting soap i.e. Dial, Safeguard or Lever 2000, and taking a multi-vitamin every day." I still need to go to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions for pain medicine, Bromelain, Arnica, and stool softener for after the surgery. More later, I am going to work out for one of the last times with these massive obstacles in front of me.

Before Photos- Surgery in 5 Days

So, as promised, I am posting a few before photos. As I get closer to surgery, I feel more aggravated and ready to have these breasts gone. My bra underwire digging into my ribs, straps leaving indentions in my shoulders, and tight band leaving marks on my torso, are making me feel claustrophobic. I know that I am going to have pain, swelling, bruising and scars to contend with and these are all consequences that I am willing to put up with for the final result. (When I complain or stress out in the coming weeks, I will do my best to remember this.)

One more photo

Two Days Until Surgery

I spoke with my surgeon's office today to get some final instruction. I will hear from the hospital tomorrow with my expected arrival time and surgery schedule. I have been taking Bromelain and Arnica since yesterday and will continue for up to ten days after surgery for reduction of inflammation and bruising. Pray that it helps. I have also stopped eating or ingesting any of the items on the list provided to me which affect blood clotting, blood pressure, strength of the anesthesia, heart rate or water retention. If your doctor does not provide you with such a list, ask for one! There are many important over the counter medicines and foods that you will want to avoid up to a week before surgery. I have also taken a few more "Before" photos to share before surgery. Wish me luck!

Two Days Post Surgery

Wow, so I am finally on the other side of this life changing transition. After one fairly sleepless night in the hospital ie nurses, pain, adrenaline, etc., I came home yesterday. I made certain to check out fairly quickly after taking my pain meds and so the ride home was not bad at all. The first 24 hours, I oozed/bled quite a bit, however, as soon as I got past that milestone and home, it stopped all together. Dr Fenner recommends only a gauze pad over your breast, nothing too hot or cold (NO ice packs!) and rest for the next 48 hours. He did also say that taking short walks is recommended in order to keep blood clots from forming in your legs due to inactivity. I will take my first shower since surgery today which I have heard is really nice. My breasts look amazing, SMALL and perky. Fenner said it will take 30 days for all of the swelling to go down and so I suppose that I will be even smaller at that point. I am fine with that!! I asked for a small C and I believe that he delivered exactly what I asked for. One minor irritant is that I am itchy, all over. I'm not certain if it is due to the anesthesia or pain meds but my legs, back, arms and torso feel extremely dry and itchy. I have put lotion on so I know it is not a "dry" skin issue. I feel confident that this will diminish over time and it is a small price to pay. I touched both of my nipples last night and I have feeling in both of them! I am one delighted, but still in pain, patient. Thank you Dr Fenner for being so good at what you do AND for truly listening to my thoughts and expectations. You are truly an artist! Pictures to come tomorrow.

One Week Post Surgery

I wanted to give an update now that I am seven days out from surgery as well as post a bunch of pictures from the last seven days. First, I want to tell everyone who is going through this, or thinking about going through it, that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Breast reduction surgery takes approximately six months to heal from and each of us must go through the different phases, pretty or not. The reason why we are willing and able to go through the phases, and six months of healing, is because of what we have seen from other brave women warriors who have gone before us and who have shared their journey of healing with us! Knowing what the final outcome will be gives us the comfort to go through the interim healing stages, which are not pretty or comfortable. With that caveat, I am posting pictures of my current stage of the healing process one week after surgery. Under my right breast, I have some bruising and blood pooling under the skin which my surgeon wants me to keep putting neosporin on and covering with a gauze bandage. Under the left breast and arm, you will see the healing is progressed further. The actual incision line under my left breast is beginning to turn white which indicates healing. The incision under my right breast and up under my right arm is still red, however, I can see minute progress each day.

My surgeon told me that I had a large amount of under-arm breast tissue which required a great deal of liposuction. I am incredibly grateful to him for taking the time required in surgery to remove as much of this under arm breast tissue as possible because it does not seem that every surgeon takes this step. (Note to those of you who may have breasts which are very wide across, ASK your plastic surgeon about your need for liposuction and how they attend to this factor.) Needless to say, because of this lipo, my underarm area and the side of my breast is pretty much still completely swollen and numb. I shaved my under arms today and could not feel the razor much past the direct crease of my under arm. This is normal, however, as the swelling ie fluid accumulation could take as much as a month or more to resolve.

I have full sensation in my nipples which is positive, yet, when you are not wearing a bra (who of us would have known anything about going braless!) you will want to cover your nipples with a piece of gauze or cotton in order to keep them from rubbing or chafing on your top. The rest of my breast still feels swollen and tight, although I am starting to see some movement and loosening. Two nights ago, I was gently palpating my right breast when I heard a "sloshing" sound! My friend who was staying with me says she could hear it from five feet away (kind of like when your stomach is full of water and you can hear the water sloshing around in there when you walk.) I talked with my surgeon's office yesterday and they said that this is "edema" or fluid accumulation in my breast. Whenever you move tissue around within the body there is the chance that small pockets of air will form which, due to the injury to the site, can become filled with fluid. Their recommendation was that I start wearing a compression sports bra for the time being in order to give the fluid a chance to self-absorb back into my body. That is what I am doing. They also said that if the breast begins to feel hot, look bright red, or if the skin over that area begins to look more translucent that I should let them know immediately. None of those things are the case here, luckily.

In regards to pain, I would still classify my pain as a 4-5 when I wake up each morning having taken no pain medicine during the night, and again at night after my full day. I am still taking pain medicine at both of those points of my day and my surgeon said that this is normal. The pain medicine has no side-effects, positive or negative for me, other than greatly reducing the ache and pain from the surgery. Thus, I will continue to take it until I feel the pain is reduced to a level that I feel that Advil could handle......maybe a couple of more days. I think that's all I'll report today. More to come in a couple of days.
Evanston Plastic Surgeon

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