I feel like definitely the odd ball in the Real...
I feel like definitely the odd ball in the Real Self community. Everyone's profiles that come up, 98% are so very thin and beautiful, and all getting silicone. I at least upon last checking, seem to be the only 200 pound woman getting saline. I've always been large muscled as far back as I can remember, which just means I look big, but over the years, fat has been added to that muscle too. I'm on a very good regimen of slow weight loss; a half pound to 2 pounds a month, and while it is very slow, it also means my skin isn't getting loose and my body can adjust well to the changes. I was really scared for my consultation, thinking for sure my doc was going to say you're too heavy, but he was incredibly supportive. I have a very flat chest for my muscle frame, a very broad chest, with ptosis (grade 3) and asymmetry. Even at my size, he said the lift with implants will help even out my figure, and when I tried on my sizers, I couldn't believe the difference, how smaller they made my waist look, probably by obviously drawing attention away from problem spots.
I had considered waiting until I hit my weight loss goals which is another 40 pounds, but at the slow weight loss, it would be years and my breasts, and my age, is only going to get worse.
I decided on saline for several reasons. Like everyone else, when you squeeze the silicone and it feels fantastic and then squeeze the saline and it feels like a hard plastic shell, you want silicone. But I consider that I am feeling these outside of the body. It's not a fair assessment of how they will feel once under the muscle and my breast tissue. While the doc says he prefers silicone, he confirmed that I have enough breast tissue, that feeling a difference probably won't apply. Because I am not very skinny and never will be, rippling should not be as much of an issue for me as with someone else.
When he told me that if the saline ruptures (and it will inevitably) it's a quick in office procedure, under half an hour to pull out the saline and insert a new one. But if it was silicone rupture, not only would I need MRIs every several years to test for silent ruptures, the surgery to replace a silicone is more expensive and requires scraping out the chest cavity to remove the silicone. Yes, the silicone is not liquid, but inside the warmth of the human body, I have seen plenty of verified videos that silicone does still in fact, turn sticky upon rupture and will cling to the pocket. My doc said this does require "scraping" to remove.
Given the need for MRI's, the potential of a more costly and difficult repair surgery, and because of my body size, I feel saline is the best for me. I have watched plenty of youtube videos of women with saline and they have all shown that their breasts are soft, that they have good natural movement, and seem pleased.
Forgot to add
I did forget to mention that the only complication from undergoing BA and lift at my weight is that they don't want to do it in the doctor's office, that it has to be scheduled at the nearby hospital, which I am perfectly okay with. It all costs the same regardless of hospital or clinic.
The size hasn't been fully settled on yet until the pre-op in a few weeks, but tentatively 400 cc.
I've been pretty excited, but had my first full on anxiety attack a few days ago, when I somehow got caught in a negativity loop from Google searches about women who hated their implants, and women who had severe complications, to marriages that split up because as one man put it "it felt like two cement blocks with skin over it," and then I started getting paranoid and scared, and thought well maybe I'll just do the lift and not the implant. And jeez, don't ever follow the link about black mold developing in saline implants because you just might faint. Turns out though (thankfully) that the mold issue is extraordinarily rare, to even potentially being a fake news story that gained traction, to if it's real, it was more than likely the cause of an un-licensed, not board certified physician, that used un-sterilized conditions for both filling the implant to placing the implant.
To calm my nerves, I just try to remind myself, it's not permanent. If I find I absolutely hate them and it's not working, I can get them removed under just a local (saline is nice that way), less than an hour, and an additional doctor fee.
I've tried very hard to educate my husband. I've had him look at pictures of the scars, the healing process. I've told him about how they might be hard and not move for several months, to the Frankenboob, the rippling, the contracture. I've told him about the relationships that felt changed after implants. He assures me, and he's never been good at lying ever (this is not always a good thing :) ) that he is there for me, he supports me, and that it will all be okay.
I have a blog post below that gives some of the background history and thoughts which is a little too lengthy I think for RS post.
3 weeks out
So I'm getting closer to the big day. I flip flop between being calm and excited, and being terrified. This last week, I've found myself looking at my chest more and just sort of thinking, in a few weeks time you will never look the same again. Even if I have implants removed decades from now, they will be forever changed. This is also the last few weeks I'll have breasts without scars, and I kind of wonder what this whole process is going to be like. I've also been touching them a bit more, I guess as a goodbye to the way they feel now, knowing too, that they won't feel this away again for a long, long time, and trying to mentally prepare myself for the pain and recovery that I know is to come.
I just finished week 9 (the final week) of the couch to 5k to prepare me for doing a color run on the 21st, just 5 days before my surgery. I've started taking Metamucil, and will do that once every three days until a week before the surgery. I always have a horrible time with constipation after surgery, and I want to do some preventative approach there. I read some other women who ate a lot of pineapple before their surgery's because of it's anti-inflammatory benefits, so I'm doing that a couple of times a week. I've been rubbing Burt's Bees Mama Bee belly butter on my breasts and side of my breasts every day for the last two weeks. I read some other women saying to make sure the skin is soft and moisturized leading up to the surgery to help ease the drying and stretching that is to follow. I think those are the only maintenance things I'm doing at the moment.
Under two weeks to go
I had my two week pre-op. Went through sizers again. I chose the 450 with an overfill I think to 480 is what the doctor said. I got my wedge pillow today for help with sleep, and a few sports bras in a variety of sizes because the doctor says I need to bring my own, they don't supply you with one after surgery. They did give me a 1 oz tube of Obagi Dermatix Ultra Advanced Scar Cream that retails for about $30 online for free at my appointment and that was nice, even though my husband joked that for the $75 consult fee that doesn't get applied towards the surgery and was non-refundable, it was the least they could do. I'm very happy with the choice in doctor. He's very calm and attentive. I am a little disappointed that they have no 3D imaging software, when so many other offices do. It looks like a very upscale office, and they seem to be technologically paced with some very nice screens in each room. Also some of their sizers they use look really worn out from all the use, but that's just nitpicking. So the biggest event of that particular day was when I got home and got to see online the pictures the took of my chest. I knew they weren't pretty and I knew they were sagging A LOT, and when I look at them in the mirror at home, I am obviously disappointed and distressed, but when I saw the doctor's pictures, that was the first time I ever really saw them as ugly and that was kind of a hard moment for me. It lets me know without a doubt I'm making the right decision for myself, but it definitely stings to feel so awful about a part of your own body. I want to give a solid thank you to all the women who have posted photos of their before bodies, and those that posted all the bloody, crusty, stitches popping, bruising, all the healing because it's so important to see what things could look like and cut down on the surprise.
I am about 24 hours out from mu surgery. The day started out a little rough. The surgery ahead of mine ran long, so I had to wait a few extra hours for my prep. The IV in my hand was a little wonky all day. I think I was under sedation around noon, and I didn't come out of sedation until 5:30. I had the augmentation with a lift and it was scheduled as a 2.5 to 3.5 hour surgery. When I came out of anesthesia, I saw that I had drains. I was not supposed to have drains. I learned that my doctor did something incredibly generous for me.
I am overweight and I've been losing weight slowly, but I had side boob fat. It was something I knew wouldn't look great with new implants but I felt that over time with exercise and more weight loss, I could maybe decrease the bulges. When the doctor was doing my surgery, he decided to actually cut away that excess skin and lip the rest. I had no idea he was going to do this. We never talked about it, and frankly he did a lot of extra work that he didn't charge me extra for, and he did all this to make sure that I came out looking as good as possible. I don't know how I got so lucky to find a doctor who cared so much about my final results, that he went far above and beyond for me.
However, the unexpected changes meant I was under surgery much longer than expected, and the pain was more extreme than I was prepared for because lipo bruises and swells and the crease incision extends now all the way to the side of my body instead of under the breast, but it looks amazing even now.
I know a lot of women on RS have said they had good anesthesia results for at least a few hours after they woke up. I was in pain the moment I was conscious. My drains were only in for less than 24 hours so that was nice. The first 6 hours or so after I woke up, I couldn't take the pain. It was unbelievable to me. I vomited several times. It burned so bad. It took to about 2 a.m. when it started to come under control.
24 hours out now, I'm doing much better pain wise, and starting to get a glimpse of what they'll look like, and I'm super stoked. Yeah, they're super hard, they're super high up, and one side has a bit of a squarish appearance, but you can already see the potential of the shape, and while I am massively purple all over, I can't wait to see what the next few months bring as the healing progresses.
I'll post pictures in a few days when my arms don't hurt so bad and I can hold a camera.
pics at 3 days post
Like others, I'm having a hard time getting pictures to load. Two look like they're loading upside down, can't do anything about it.
As an overview, I was only scheduled to have a breast lift (anchor) and implant 450 saline, filled to 480. During the surgery and completely unknown to me and not discussed, the doctor performed a skin excision of my side boob fat. He then lipo'd the rest. This meant my excision which was just supposed to be under the crease, extended all the way through the side of my body. That has added a layer of pain and unexpected healing requirements. However, I think it looks better and is something I never would have asked for.
Day 4 post-op
Bleeding was very minimal days 2 and 3 and mostly around nipples. Day 4 has shown no bleeding, so pretty excited about that.
Feeling blue today. Nothing to do with breast size or shape. I love all that. It's the incredibly slow healing process. I'm 6 days post and I can't control the pain. It's constantly sore, and the part that's making me the most distressed is every time my four year old presses her head to my chest, I have to push her away because it's excruciating, and I miss holding my girl so bad. I think if I had just the planned for lift and implant, I would be farther along in my healing, but while under sedation and unaware to me, my doctor cut away some fat bulge under my arms and lipo'd the rest to make it smooth. It looks phenomenal, it really does, it just added complications to my healing that I was not prepared for. So many other women have said by day 4 they felt mostly back to normal, could go clothes shopping, could drive, could do some simple stuff around, the house...I'm 6 days post and I still can't even reach a glass off the top shelf or open a twist cap bottle of water. My morning boob is more like 24-hour boob and the massages I now have to do make me chest feel like I set it on fire with the green Wildfire stuff from Game of Thrones.
Still lots of bruising and soreness. I go back to work in a couple of days. I'm a transcriptionist so I jumped on today to type a report and start slowly getting back into it. It hurts. Makes me more than a little nervous for jumping back in at full speed in just a few days. I had no idea a lift/augment could affect so many things.
2 weeks post op
Well, it deleted all my update, and now I'm too frustrated to retype it all, so in short, still in pain, still ache all the time. Having a hard time at my job. I type for a living and that means my arms are pressed to my side chest all day long and that has been causing unbelievable soreness. The typing also seems to be aggravating my breasts too. Not sure what to do. I can't stop working, but doing my job is hurting me. Terrible conundrum. Still love the shape. My husband has been great. He has been very fond of the new boobs even in their condition. He has always been wonderful even when they were saggy, but I think he can tell I feel better about them, and even though they are super hard right now, he touches them very gently and even with the scars and the bruising, he has been very complimentary and passionate. All in all, slow, slow going. Not much dropping at all even with 4 a day massages. Chest always feels tight. All sensation back in nipples, which means they burn sometimes if I stretch too far to grab something.
About 2.5 weeks into recovery
So far things are healing well. Almost all of my glue has come off and the incisions are looking thin and pink. I'm actually really impressed with the scars. So some of the notable things in my process was the first sneeze after surgery, KILLS. Oh my goodness, I felt like my chest was going to explode. So beware of that for those of you about to go through surgery in allergy season.
I've been having a pretty extreme probably with dysesthesia or skin sensitivity. My nipples are fine. I have sensation and they have not been painful at all, but the rest of my breast tissue has been super sensitive. Any fabric, even the softest of fabrics, hurt my skin. It feels like there is a chemical burn on my skin except the skin is perfectly healed. In fact, where it hurts the most is where I have zero incisions. I looked online and it's been difficult because when I look for skin sensitivity after lift/augment, the results are 99% about nipple sensitivity which is not what I'm feeling.
A handful of doctors have suggested to use a vibrator pillow like for back massages on those painful areas as a way to hyper-stimulate the oversensitivity and desensitize the nerves. I have a vibrating back pillow, like the ones you put on office chairs, but brand new batteries was way too powerful, so I had to steal some half dead batteries from my daughter's toys and that killed the vibration down to about half strength. I will admit, it works and provides temporary relief, but temporary relief is the key word. It helps with the sensitivity while it is applied to my sore spots, but as soon as I turn it off, the sensitivity is right back.
So, my husband went to the store and found some maximum strength aspercreme that is lidocaine only, 4% lidocaine. Since the parts that are super sore are parts of my skin that have no incisions, I have lightly and carefully applied this cream to my hyper-sensitive skin areas and it has provided pain relief. I don't want to use it more than twice a day because I want to be careful, but it has helped.
Lastly is the tightness. 2.5 weeks in and my chest still feels unbelievably tight. The breasts move more and they're getting softer, but my chest plate as a whole, feels stiff as a board at times. I had to get a second refill of muscle relaxants because I can barely handle it sometimes.
Boob greed...I wouldn't have thought I would experience that since it was never about being big, but about fixing the droop and having some curve, but yeah, I can see where it happens. With some clothes, it doesn't even look like I changed breast size at all and sometimes I wish I went higher than 480 cc, but a few things. They still haven't dropped yet. Also, with as much as my skin has felt stretched, I can't even imagine having gone any bigger. Lastly, if I was really skinny with a small waist and a flat stomach, I could pull off bigger breasts, but with being overweight, anything bigger than what I got would make me look matronly on top and heavyset up top. I think I actually have the perfect size for my frame and build, and when I lose more weight and shrink my waist and stomach, I think my breasts will look even bigger, so the goal is not that I should have more cc's in my breasts, but that I should drop some lb's in my body.
3 weeks post-op
Really happy with the healing, but for the first time feeling like they are too small. Not real sad about it because they look 100 times better than my real boobs, but for 480cc, I've seen some women with 500 cc and they look voluptuous and feminine
So, I got the blues. It's just a lot of recovery. I think I must ask myself at least 20 times a day "is this normal?" Like I have a lot of puckering in my incisions on my lower breast. Some are pretty significant indents. Is this normal? Then I go on a one hour Google binge trying to find pictures that look like mine, and I can't. Or like today, on the side of my breasts when massaging, it feels strange, and I think "is that my implant that I'm feeling?" And that leads to an hour Google binge of I am suffering from lateral displacement? It's the white hot searing pains that shoot through my sides. It's things like why were my incisions super light and pink when the glue came off, but now my side incisions are super bright red. Is this normal? Google binge. Why after three weeks can I still not tolerate having my daughter press her head to my chest? It hurts so bad and I just want to hold her so bad! Before surgery, I was exercising about 5 times a week, 3 days running 30 minutes and the other doing various routines. I want to get back to exercising, but most days even trying to lift myself out of bed causes a tearing sensation in my side incisions. I feel myself de-conditioning. My energy level is at an all time low.
Working as a typist is agonizing right now. Every bra I try on, no matter how soft and wonderful, the band always sits right on top of my side incision sites, rubbing and irritating to the point where I have to go braless for hours on end which also makes me ache because they're kind of heavier now.
They haven't dropped at all after 3 full weeks with massages. I can't wear the band because my doctor says because I had the lift, the upper chest band would put too much pressure on the incisions for the breast lift. Sometime the chest muscle still feels hard as a rock even though I can actually squeeze my breasts now and I can shake them, so they have some movement, so why is my chest still so tight and muscle relaxers aren't helping at all. Back to another hour long Google binge.
I want to soak in the bathtub so bad. Before surgery, I would take a hot epsom salt bath at least a few nights a week and just relax and meditate. I need a bath so bad, but there's a lot of conflicting information online about when it's safe. Even after three weeks and wounds closed, sitting in water softens the skin and can cause them to re-open (per online), or if you have a small opening somewhere in your incisions that you can't see and you let in tub water, you're bound to get bacteria (and with a 4 year old running around the house, you can bet your ass there is bacteria EVERY WHERE!).
I used to be able to take super hot baths and showers too. I measured it with a bath thermometer once and I can tolerate 120 degrees, usually tend to stay in the 115 range, but still really hot. I can barely have the shower on halfway hot. The breast tissue is so freaking tender right now that even slightly hot water really hurts. That's never happened to me before.
So at the moment, it just feels like every day, even though there's some slow healing here and there, I feel like I'm not making any progression; that I'm still in pain, always thinking there's something wrong and weird happening to my boobs, wondering when I'm going to be back to normal, wondering when I'll be able to actually sleep on my side again (have always been a side sleeper) but when I try that now, it kills. It hurts to lay on the incisions on one side, and ironically also hurts the opposite side too, for no good reason. I'm not sleeping well. I'm restless. I'm popping ibuprofen and Tylenol like tic-tac's it seems and it doesn't really do anything.
And I also haven't told any friends or family that I had this done. I know some of them too well. They will be so judgemental and I don't want to deal with that.
My husband is a great trooper though. He massages my scars at night with cream. Even when they looked bruised and at their worst, he didn't flinch. I mean the man had to help pull my underwear down to pee hours after surgery when I couldn't even move my arms. He didn't even have to help me like that after my C-section.
I know I read many, many, many places that emotional up's and down's are common after this kind of surgery, as you adjust to your different body, and the immune reaction of your body knowing there is a fairly large foreign body inside of you and trying to figure out what to do about it; does it want to attack it, does it want to send out inflammatories as a way to try and kill it, before it finally decides, oh hell, I guess that saline bag is here to stay... so I get the moodiness. Just need to write it out like I do with most of my emotional moments.
4 weeks in
Well, I'm a month in, and like a large percentage of other women's reviews I've followed, I'm not real happy with the result. I love that they don't droop anymore. Super love that. But they're smaller than I was expecting. 480 cc is super big on some women, and on me, and I already had a decent amount of breast tissue before surgery, so not flat, just real, real droopy, I feel like I am the same exact size I was before. I fit into all my old bra's B's and C's. I have no cleavage. In certain sports bras and other bras, I still look flat. I have none of that beautiful roundness on top, if anything they just look like pancake shaped. I still haven't dropped even after 4 weeks and massaging. I told my dr I wanted a D cup and he said on my body shape that wouldn't be a problem at all. He only showed me 420's and 450's implants. They never once brought in anything in the 500's or even suggested that I look at sizers in the 500 range. There is nothing quite like the feeling of undergoing surgery and pain, paying over $8000 that includes implants, and I still fit into my old bra's and no fullness, no cleavage, no roundness. I am very depressed at the moment.
I asked my PS about high profile and he insisted on medium profile and round.
I do like my nipple placement and the areola reduction.
I know a lot of people say it takes at least 3 months for you to get used to your new body, for things to settle, for the chemicals in your head to start telling you that you're okay, but that feels like a forever way away. I also want to exercise really bad, and every exercise I love to do involves the chest and arms, like dancing in particular. Can't do cardio. Can walk but that burns practically no calories. It certainly doesn't release the endorphins that running does for me. Just feel in limbo.
Almost 5 weeks
Well, I feel much better this week. The pain level has decreased quite a bit, moving from pain to just sort of daily stiffness and discomfort. I've been exercising the last 7 days. Can't do cardio yet, but have been on the treadmill for 45 minutes daily and then about 25 minutes on a stationary bike with my hands in my lap so I don't hurt my chest. Both those things have helped my mood significantly. I'm still thinking they are a little smaller than I was expecting, but I am coming to appreciate them again. They are squeeze-able, and they actually bounce when I walk, so for all the talk that I have seen (one RealSelf doctor even said regarding saline "Why would you get water balloons in your chest. I only give my patients silicone"), they don't feel like water balloons. I haven't felt any of the sloshing that some women say they feel with saline. They still feel firm in some spots particularly on top because they still haven't dropped even after 5 weeks, though the chest is getting softer. Used to be my fingers couldn't even make an indent in my chest muscle it was hard as a rock, but now the skin can be depressed.
Anyhow, back to the saline versus silicone debate of what looks and feels more natural, with my saline, I think I have a very natural look. They feel very nice when I squeeze them. They have a nice natural movement to them. I'm actually pretty impressed with how well the saline feels inside. We'll see if that changes as they drop. Maybe they will feel differently then, but for right now, my outlook is more positive than it was just a week ago.
I am six weeks tomorrow post-op, and I had my six week post-op visit yesterday with the doctor. I have officially been released to do activities, but to add insult to injury, I now have to wear that chest band above my breasts for the next six weeks because they aren't dropping very fast, and they haven't. I can still feel the bulge in my armpit area of the muscle tension and implant. I've heard the chest band was uncomfortable, and it really is. My breasts, already still a little sore, are really feeling the pressure of having this thing on. I'm hoping they respond quickly to it and that I don't have to wear it for the whole six weeks, I'm talking 24 hours a day for six weeks, that's what they told me. Anyhow, was told to start taking vitamin E pills basically for as long as I have implants to help keep them soft. All in all, nothing to really complain about. It has been the longest 6 weeks ever though. It has felt like a lifetime of daily worry, concern, constantly checking my breasts to see if they are okay. I like everyone else, is just waiting for complete healing and for it to not be something I obsess about anymore, and can move into just enjoying them instead of worrying about their position, the tenderness, the scars...
10 weeks today
Well, I have come a long way. Still some up's and down's. I think there has been a lot of fluffing in the last few weeks, but sometimes I still feel a lot of hardness or mass feeling up high and near the armpit. I'm a little confused about their shape. Sometimes when I look at them, something doesn't seem right, but can't put my finger on what it is yet. Mostly happy though. They feel soft. They move nicely. They're fitting into bras a little better. I'm still only about a C though. They are separating more than I would have liked. I would've liked that they had stayed a little fuller in the center and closer together. I'm afraid that is going to get worse over time. I still get periods of numbness on the side breast, and it appears to happen if I have been more physically active and oddly enough, on very stressful days, they tend to get numb and stiff. I hate the scars that were left from the fat removal/lipo. Since I did not consent or know that procedure was going to happen to me until after I woke up, I still feel a lot of bitterness and resentment from being left with a 7-8 inch scar versus the standard 2-3" breast lift scar.