I have always tried to see my body in a positive...
I have always tried to see my body in a positive light, but my tuberous breasts have made that goal difficult. I even went to counseling and took up nude modeling at the university art department in the hope that I could just get over it. Didn't happen. Now that I'm finally financially able, I'm finally flying down to California (my birth home) to have Doctor Agha Newport Beach fix the shape and asymmetry using saline implants from his Newport Beach office. I'm lucky my husband is coming along to support me before, during and after the surgery. He used to be against it... said he loved my breasts because it was like they had two different personalities (ha!), but I think he realizes how much it means to me to be able to do this. I've paid for the plane tickets, reserved the hotel and rental car, and paid the deposit, so there's no going back!
I like that Dr. Agha takes a nutrition-based approach to pre- and post- surgery to speed up the recovery. I'll start his protein powder regimen soon, although I'd like to see if I can create my own mixture using vitamins that we have at the house and a less expensive protein powder mix.
I can tell that this will be a good center to work with. Dr. Agha took a long while out of his day to answer my questions and address my concerns in a thoughtful and completely non-condescending way over the phone. I appreciated his honesty, especially. I never felt like I was being manipulated into doing something I really didn't. Also Shireen and Andrea at the office have been kind and patient with answering my questions and getting all my paperwork to the right places. Easy to work with!
I had initially called to inquire about getting a fat transfer, but as I am pretty thin (almost underweight), I was warned about the problems I might have if I got that done (e.g. the more donor sites needed, the harder the recovery; higher potential for sagging skin and cellulite later on; and financially much worse on my pocketbook, especially if I needed more than one procedure done). I think I will consider a fat transfer to the breasts in the future when my saline implants wear out and I perhaps, weigh a bit more.
The plan is to get sub-muscular inframammary saline implants. Since I am an A on my right and AA on my left, he said he would remove some tissue from my right breast to create a more even appearance. When I asked whether or not I'd be required to use a tissue expander for my especially constricted left breast, he said that the saline implant will be used for that. My areolae are "jumbo-sized", but I don't care about that so much and I will not have them altered in order to retain sensitivity and the ability to nurse, should I have a baby in the future.
My surgery is scheduled for March 9th with a pre-op on the 8th and a follow-up 5 days after surgery. Surgery is expected to take 3 hours because correcting the tuberous shape takes quite a bit more time.
I'm starting my supplement regimen. The doc recommended a protein shake mix, but as it is 1.) expensive with $18 shipping, and 2.) not ideal for me because it contains splenda (I try to avoid artificial sweeteners), I am taking the vitamin equivalent with my own whey protein powder. It's a lot of vitamins to take all at once, but I hope to stick with it, as taking this particular blend has been shown to greatly accelerate healing after surgery. The only problem is, the regimen has me taking the equivalent of 1 scoop per day for the first week, followed by two the second and three the third week and the three subsequent weeks. Eek! That's a lot of vitamins!
Reaction to the vitamins!
I started taking my vitamin regimen, but immediately felt nauseous. I knew that this was somewhat normal after taking a bunch of vitamins that I wasn't used to. However, the next day I started getting a deep ache in my legs and I felt weak and a little dizzy. It only got worse by the next morning, with the ache moving up to my glutes and lower back and a pain in my eyelids. It got so bad that my husband took me to the Dr.'s office to get checked out. Since my symptoms were fairly vague, she told me the obvious... to lay off the vitamins for a couple of days and see if I got any better and sent me home. Sure enough, I started feeling better by this morning... good enough to attend my pilates class (although I did get dizzy off and on). The ache in my legs is still there, but much less, and same with my eyelids. I called Dr. Agha's office this afternoon and spoke with Andrea, one of the administrative assistants, and also Dr. Agha's nurse about my reaction and what I could do. The nurse told me that as long as I kept my protein intake high (100-120g per day), I would avoid bad scarring and other post-surgical healing issues... and told me to take a B-complex every day, which I already do. With the exception of too much wine (I've been cutting back!), I try really hard to have a balanced and healthy diet, so I was given a thumbs up to lay off most of the other vitamin supplements. Whew! The only issue now is going to be consuming such a huge boatload of protein! :-P
My other concern was over the size of the saline unders. Since I don't live near Dr. Agha's office, I haven't gotten to try on sizers so I don't know what cup size would look best on me. When I first spoke to Shireen, my Admin Asst. who's been working with me, I told her between a B and a C. I want natural-looking breasts without harsh cleavage, but at the same time perhaps a larger size (like a C) would suit my body type better. I am fairly tall and have a heftier ribcage, so maybe that would be best. I asked Andrea about this dilemma too and she said that she would have a talk with Dr. Agha in the morning and get back to me with his recommendations. Anyone else with experience in this department?
Feeling better... thoughts about surgery
I stopped taking all those vitamins and, while I am still achy (now in my back!), it's not as bad as it was. I've been trying to get plenty of exercise and stretch my muscles too, so maybe that's helping.
Also my reasoning for getting surgery has been on my mind. Besides the self esteem boost I hope to get from having normal rather than droopy tube-shaped breasts, I'll get the "balanced" look I've always wanted. I was anorexic during my last year of high school and first couple years of college. I think a lot of what kept pushing me to starve myself was a desire to have a balanced-looking body. Since my breasts were so tiny, I thought the only way to look normal was to have a thin body to match. Of course there was a lot more to it than that, but my abnormal breasts certainly fueled the fire. I am so glad that I met the nutritionist that saved my life and put me on a path to good health, regardless of my breast size. Now that I'm finally making the plunge into breast reconstruction, I feel mentally lighter than I ever physically did during those dark years of my life.
Just got my pre-op physical and blood draw done. This is feeling more and more real, and even though my surgery date is closer now, it feels even further away. I think my husband will be relieved when I stop checking this website and reading about breast surgery everyday!
Since I live far away from my PS (and thus, I've been unable to try on sizers), I decided to follow the RealSelf instructions for making my own implant sizers at home out of rice and nylons. I made approximately a 360 cc sizer for my left breast and a 300 cc one for my larger right breast. I think that works out to about a size and a half increase... so large B, small C (if 210 cc is generally one size larger). I got them pretty even inside of one of my mini-me sports bras and paraded around the house. My husband says the they didn't look unreasonably large, and that he couldn't notice that big of a difference. To me though, they looked like Amazon titties. What do you think?
Breasts I admire
I've always admired naturally beautiful breasts. The reason I hadn't made an effort to get a BA in the past (besides the obvious financial constraints) was because I fought the idea that I needed to change in order to fit some sexist view of how women should look. I used to go braless or with an unpadded bra--even though I hated my breasts--so that I wouldn't be "lying" about my size and shape and there would be no surprises for boyfriends. I'm kind of a hippy, and definitely a feminist. Finally though, I decided that my tuberous breast angst needed to come to an end, and my "pure" ideals don't need to trump my own self-esteem. The only people who will know for sure that something is different are my husband, closest family and friends... and artists who I nude model for (haha!). I've attached some pictures that I used on a vintage pin-up calendar I made for my husband a couple years ago. Of course Marilyn is there. I don't know if I can call these my "wish" pictures for surgery because I don't think I have the skin or the body type to get breasts that look just like these, but I do admire them and maybe I could even get something close!
2 Weeks 'Til The Big Surgery Day
It's 2 weeks 'til my surgery date and there's a cup of protein shake in front of me and 2 rice bags under my sports bra every night so I can get used to the idea of having c-sized tatas on my chest. If all goes well, 2 weeks from now I'll be recovering from my surgery in a La Quinta somewhere in Santa Ana, CA. I must say that I really appreciate this website. All the comments, stories, and opinions expressed here have been a source of great support on my journey. Never have I felt so sure that my upcoming surgery is the right thing to do. I am full of warmth and gratitude!
One Week To Go!
One week to go, and it feels surreal. Every time I look at my breasts in the mirror, I wonder what they will look like after the surgery. I've been wearing the stupid rice bags in my sports bra every day... even out in public, to get used to the size difference. I've gotten so I really like the size and shape. If those bags are even close to what I'll end up with, I'll be the happiest girl in the Pacific northwest! No more wine this week (damn! I'm such a lush for red wine), nor any for the post-surgery weeks so that I can properly heal.
Now, it might seem off-topic but it's not...We'd had our house off the market, but a friend told a friend that we were going to put it back up for sale this Spring, so they looked at it, loved it, and want to close on it by the end of May! Hooray, but one big problem is... how am I going to be helpful at all with the moving process after I have sub muscular implants put in? Have any ladies had surgery before having to move a lot of boxes? I'm worried and don't know what to expect.
Night before we get on the plain to California...
I'm nervous and excited about my big day, BUT I am a bit concerned that I have a little tickle in my throat :-(. I hope I can stave it off with antiseptic spray and vitamins because there is NO WAY I'm going to get a cold right before my surgery! If anyone reads this, please send some wellness vibes over this way because I most certainly need them, not only now but also when I encounter the barrage of sick people at the airport and on the plain.
My "tickle" I experienced last night progressed to a full-on sore throat. My nasal and ear passages are clear though. I'm drinking lots of tea, took a hot shower (will soon take another), put Hydrogen peroxide in my ears, gargled salt water, inhaled steam from a pot of water with a towel over my head, took decongestants and expectorants, and *tried* to get lots of sleep last night in spite of waking up in several fits of sobs at the thought that my surgery that I've waited my whole life for and spent all this time and money on, may be cancelled if I'm sick. I'm trying hard to stay positive though, and will rest up and take it easy this morning before my husband and I catch our plane to CA this afternoon. I'll call my doc office as soon as they open at 9 and ask for their advice.
After reading through some other "sick before surgery" questions on RealSelf, I see that some doctors will still perform surgery on someone who has a light cold; just not a fever. Others will cancel outright. I'm hoping that my doctor will be lenient with me, especially because of the long distance travel and expense that I'll endure for this operation.
For any reading this, thank you for your positive thoughts while I try to cure the "incurable" common cold.
9 Mar 2016
Day of treatment
Well, apparently my doctor (who I met in-person for the first time today) doesn't think my cold I came down with is any big deal because we're proceeded with the surgery this morning! My sore throat mostly went away, but yesterday I felt tired, stuffy, bogged down, and even a little feverous towards the evening. The office was busy. My hubby surmised that it was a lot of women coming in for their broadly advertised cool sculpting. There wasn't even enough room for everyone to sit in the waiting room.
After filling out my paperwork, I met with Dr. Agha in one of the examination rooms. I was told beforehand to dress in the robe they had hanging on the coat hook, so I did. Because today was such a busy day, I could tell that he was trying not to seem rushed. First I tried on sizers. He picked out one size, then said, "You're tall!" and said, "let's go bigger," and pulled out another and stuffed it in the surgery-issued bra. He asked what I thought when I looked in the mirror and I thought they looked great. Apparently this equates to about 425 cc's, giving me a full C cup. I expressed some concern about post-op pain with a size that big and he said, "Who cares!" and said all sizes will have some degree of post-op pain and what I really want is a good end result. Then, he took my measurements down all his numbers down on a sheet of paper. He asked if I wanted areola reduction and I said no. He asked why, and I explained that I wanted to keep the possibility open that I could nurse, should I have a baby in the future. When we talked about this during my consultation, he downplayed the possible effects that surgery would have on my ability to nurse. Yesterday, he seemed to say the opposite. 50% of women who undergo surgery don't nurse in the future, he said. Plus, he wanted to remove some mammary tissue from my right breast to even them out for surgery and reduce herniation. Then, he said I probably wouldn't be able to breast feed anyway. I couldn't help but feel a little betrayed, even though I knew that he was probably right. So, he took pictures from the front and sides and told me to think about the tissue removal; that ultimately it was my decision. He also warned me that not messing with my areolae would result in one being lower than the other and a different size. I didn't care.
So, still with a cold, I took it really easy at the hotel room, drank lots of fluids and ate one of the Korean ramen bowls Walt brought for me for dinner. I drank as much water as I could that evening and set an alarm for 11:45 PM so I could dose up on approved cold medicine before the clock struck midnight. It was a difficult night of sleep though, because my nose was too stuffed up and therefore I had to breath dry air through my mouth, causing my throat to get dry and chapped (and no water to relieve myself with)!
This morning after my dry-mouthed, restless night, my husband drove us to the clinic. It was a nice big, clean waiting room with a salt water fish tank. Walt and I were the only people in the waiting room. Finally, I got called back to answer questions, and they hooked up to an IV. I felt pleasant and woozy, like I'd had too much to drink maybe. Then, Dr. Agha came in to map out his surgical plan on my body. Next thing I knew it, I was in a new hotel room in San Clemente with a partial view of the ocean and a post-surgical bra on my chest and noticeably much grander tatas. I have to have my husband take pictures of my nippleodeons tomorrow and email the pics to the Dr.'s office so they can analyze the color.
I don't feel nearly as bad as I thought I would! I take oxi's for pain and an antibiotic every six hours. Hubby and I went out to dinner and I had a slice and a half of delicious pizza. I was so worried that my cold would make for a horrific recovery, but actually, my sinuses have cleared, the sore through is gone and I feel pretty damn good. I'll share some pictures tomorrow and/or later this week. Thank you to all the folks who sent me positive thoughts about recovering from my illness. It meant a lot to me!
I know they need time to settle, but it's never fun to see post-surgical breasts! Ha! However, I was definitely happy that the operation went smoothly and that there were no complications. I notice that my more tubular left breast has the remnant tube shape jutting out from the breast mound, and not much volume in the lower pole. I find this unattractive and I hope that talking with my doc tomorrow will alleviate my concerns. Oh, and I still have sensation in my nipples (hooray!).
Yep, there are a few challenges that go with this breast augmentation stuff. First off, my throat is sore and I'm pretty sure I'm having my first oral herpes outbreak from having a tube jammed into my mouth during the surgery. Secondly, the surgical bra they gave me makes me walk around kind of like Igor; and talk like him too. When the nurse from Dr. Agha's office called to check on me to make sure I was taking my antibiotics, I had to resist the primal urge to say, "Yeeessss, Master!"
Thirdly, the constipation and bloating (TMI?) makes me look like a 4H sow in the judging pen.
Lastly, I am no fun to be around for my poor husband, who incidentally caught whatever bug I had. So, here we are in sunny California, moaning pathetically on our queen-sized bed. But hey, it's my party and I'll cry if I want to!
One step forward, then one step back.
On one hand, I am pleased that my left breast is looking a little less tuberous. The doc told me that it may take six months for the tuberous look to completely go away (I'll be patient). Plus, they are not quite as painful as they were. The 10 massages per day I have to do aren't nearly such a strain. On the other hand, I feel like a miserable ball of goo. I'm nauseous because my ear patch wore out, mostly constipated, groggy from the oxy's, and weak. My hubby isn't doing a lot better either with his sinus blockage and headache. What a mess! Hopefully in the next few days, our health and vigor will improve!
Trying to strengthen up
I took my second shower today and was pleased to watch my nipples change shape and size with the changing water temperature, just as they would have before surgery. They are still quite numb, as hard as inflated balloons, and don't look like I hope they will, but I am patient and expect they will soften and relax with time. Also, even though it's somewhat uncomfortable, I do a press-down massage to the upper pole about ten times per day in an attempt to soften and flatten that area.
I've been lax on my high-protein diet that I'm supposed to be following rather strictly now because the oxycontins have been making me so nauseous and constipated. I was so ill, I threw up yesterday afternoon after having very minimal food to eat. I managed to get some chicken soup down at the end of the day, along with a litany of laxatives. Of course, then I was up all night with the opposite problem, but at least I wasn't stopped up any more.
I don't feel as weak or as loopy today. My husband no longer has to watch me like a hawk to make sure I'm not wandering off somewhere in a daze (yes, this actually happened. those oxy's must really screw me up!). I have my last appointment with the doc tomorrow and hopefully I can get his seal of approval before we fly home on Wednesday!
Last in-house appointment
It's certainly been up and down with my health these days. I think it's really all to be blamed on the oxycodone; the nausea, listlessness, constipation, etc. However, I went in for my last appointment here in Newport Beach, and was given medication for oxycodone-related nausea (yay!) and information on what to expect for the next couple of weeks. Dr. Agha was pleased with the results when he looked at me today. He reminded me that the tuberousness in my left breast would take a while to go away entirely. Then he put the vulcan death grip on my right breast and pushed down. I thought I was going to faint from the pain! "We need to push the implant down so that it falls into the pocket," he said. Then he did the same thing to the other one. Absolutely excruciating!!! What's worse is he told me that I would need to do the same exercise myself once a day for the next 7 days :-P. He said it's to prevent capsular contracture and to make sure they drop properly. From my pictures, you're able to see that the top poles still jut out. That will be less and less the case as time goes on. I've been told to go braless for the next 2 weeks, except I'll still have to wear a compression band across the top pole of my breasts (I call it the north pole). My husband asked me the other day how long it would take for my breasts to "drop and flop". Pretty sure he meant "fluff", but I think that's the term we'll be using from now on.
Overall, I'm pleased with the results. They're a bit bigger than I had initially planned, but I'm sure I'll get used to the size. I'm already getting accustomed to seeing them in the mirror every morning. It's just a little weird walking around and not feeling them move at all... just sticking out like traffic cones! Ha!
We catch our plane home tomorrow morning. I'm excited but I'll definitely miss walking down the beach with my hubby and shooting pictures of exotic flowers. Really thrilled to be home with our cats, dogs, and poultry though, all with a new set of normal-shaped knockers! I'll keep posting as things progress.
Almost 10 days after surgery and feeling great!
I'm completely off the oxycodone and only take a couple of ibuprofen every once in a while for pain. I am steadily "growing into" my new breasts, which are looking better by the day. I've attached a before and after shot to show the level of improvement thus far. Very happy!
Off with the band!
Today was my first day without my compression band; good riddance! I still have to go braless for a few more days though, which feels pretty uncomfortable since it's also almost that time of the month which makes my tits feel like rocks and feel really sensitive... but soon enough! Also, even though it's a little too early to wear underwire, I couldn't help it and I tried on/bought a couple of bras that were on sale at Macy's for $27 total. I know I have to wait until I drop and flop to accurately be fit into a bra, but the preliminary purchase yielded bras that were 36D!!! Holy crap! Weapons grade!
Healing-wise, the left one is still numb and I can't feel my nipple yet, but it responds to touch and temperature (eventually), so I'll be patient, especially since that was the far more tuberous of the two breasts and had more done to it. Also, they are pretty hard and firm, but they are getting softer daily. The only thing is, we just had a cold snap up here with snow (ugh), so the cold makes them reeeeeally uncomfortable. It makes me wish I was back in southern California where I got my surgery! That's all for now. Over and out!
4 Weeks Post-Op
It's been 4 weeks since my surgery day! Here's an update:
Last time I wrote, I took the band off. However, since my left (more tuberous) breast had a smaller existing pocket to fill, the implant kept riding up and not falling into place like the other one. SO, I had to put the band back on and do more frequent, longer "pinch" massages. Since then, both breasts have become noticeably softer and easier to handle and all the bruising is gone (yay!). However, my left breast is still the evil twin and is slow to settle down. Plus, my tuberous-looking and numb (can't feel a thing if I touch it) areola gives me the blues. That's supposed to go away in another 5 months, so I'll be patient there. I haven't worn a bra in 4 weeks, which has been annoying at times when I'd like an extra support layer between me and the cold spring chill, but it's not like they move around all that much yet. It's like I'm 14 again! Plus my husband doesn't seem to mind the bralessness. Ha!
Almost 7 weeks later
I thought I'd send some update pictures nearly 7 weeks after surgery. I still have a few issues with my left breast, but they are both softening and jiggling like jello. I feel so much better about myself and my appearance! Very happy overall.
3 Months Post
14 Jun 2016
3 months post
Here are some update photos... I am now used to being a D, and wondered how I ever put up with my cartoonish little A/AA tubes. They have softened immensely and definitely feel more like a part of my body than in the past. My left one is still the demon spawn and has no sensation in the nipple/areola or the lower pole. It also still looks fairly tuberous at the end. Nevertheless, they are dropping and looking better.
Before and After
14 Jun 2016
3 months post
It helps to look at my before and after pictures to give me perspective. Here's the 3 month difference.
It's hard to believe that it's been 8 months since my surgery, but here we are! I had lost some feeling in my left (more constricted) breast post-surgery, but I'm pleased to report that some of that feeling has come back, just in the past couple of months. I really like them now. They are looking and feeling much more natural, the scars are healing up and I am finally starting to take them for granted a little bit, like they've always been there. The only thing I haven't quite recovered from is the financial burden, but it is so worth it, that I barely care! Thanks to everyone from the March (and vicinity) surgeries who gave me their support and encouragement during this process. I am forever thankful.